If you are considering installing a new driveway for your home and business, think of a milled asphalt driveway. Asphalt milling is also a perfect option if you need something economical and durable to cover the exterior areas around your home.
Because of gravel’s uses for different purposes, many homeowners and business owners appear to ignore the fact that there are substitutes that can effectively get construction work done apart from it.
Asphalt milling can effectively replace gravel, and they even offer several benefits that traditional gravel does not have.
So, what is milled asphalt, and how are they made?
Milled asphalt is old asphalt that is crushed into gravel, which, when compacted, hardens or binds. When replacing an asphalt road, the common practice is to use a milling machine to crush the existing asphalt down to a specified depth and then vacuum up the milled asphalt material.
The material is extracted, grounded, and redistributed as milling after the service life of asphalt ends. Then, the material that remains will act as the foundation for laying the new asphalt.
But is milled asphalt the right choice for you?
Asphalt milling is a good option if you intend to install new pavement in your home or business, given its many advantages. The milled asphalt is laid and compacted with tremendous pressure to form a robust and flexible driveway or road; while they are normally not ideal for streets with a lot of traffic, they function well for small private roads and driveways.
What is milled asphalt?
Many people failed to understand that old asphalt can assume a new life by being recycled after serving its purposes. The milled asphalt driveway results from extracted old pieces of asphalt that were crushed back into tiny pieces, similar in size to gravel.
They usually perform this method of disintegrating asphalt parts with the aid of a milling machine. Milling machines crush asphalt to a specified depth and further vacuum the ground material.
You can use the milled asphalt by applying it on your driveway or road surface and then compressing it. The milled asphalt can form a surface nearly as strong as paving with a hot asphalt mix if compacted; hence, you can also use it as a foundation for subsequent paving with tar and chip or hot mix asphalt.
You can reuse the asphalt product extracted during milling for many other projects at a lower cost, and it can also be a substitute for hot asphalt and stone gravel. Milled asphalt can also withstand extreme weather elements and is less costly than other materials used for paving.
While many owners of properties do not know what asphalt milling will do for them, one thing is for sure; it has characteristics that allow it, in some ways, to be better than the regular gravel alternatives.
How is a milled asphalt driveway installed?
The following steps will help you understand the process behind the installation of milled asphalt:
- Step 1: Measure the old driveway
- Step 2: Clear the Way and grade the surface
- Step 3: Grade your driveway
- Step 4: Compact the soil to create a strong/stable foundation
- Step 5: Add crushed rock base
- Step 6: Install the milled asphalt
- Step 7: Compact your new driveway
Many homeowners and property owners have taken up the practice of using milled asphalt as a substitute for pavers, concrete, and gravel. Still, they often face a dilemma about how to build a surface with the material. Although asphalt milling is an environmentally friendly and cost-effective alternative, it requires specialized equipment for proper installation.
Are you an ambitious DIY individual considering installing your own driveway or simply looking to observe the work that your contractor will do during pavement installation? You can use the highlighted steps for your next project.
Measure the old driveway
We recommend that you call in a milled asphalt contractor to measure up your old driveway before breaking it up. Professional contractors can give a clear picture of the tonnage you’re going to need for the driveway.
Clear the Way and grade the surface
If you have an existing driveway that you want to replace, there is a need to clear it entirely; clear everything straight to the soil, including removing any existing pavers, plant matter, debris, and concrete. You need to detach all pieces and clear away broken gravel. Ensure the surface is as clean as possible before proceeding to the next stage.
Grade your driveway
The next step is to level your space so that your new road or driveway creates no drainage problems; This step is necessary to build a smooth, well-drained surface. For you to get good drainage and not end up sitting in water, your driveway ought to have the correct gradient so that water can flow off the edges of the driveway or right to the bottom.
Compact the soil to create a strong/stable foundation
After clearing and grading your space, create a solid foundation for your milled asphalt. You will need to employ a drum roller compactor to drive it over the base soil cautiously to evenly compact it, ensuring that your foundation has no air spaces or loose soil.
Add crushed rock base.
Next, add a layer of grounded rock to cover the compacted soil. This provides something that the milling can adhere to, and it offers the surface of your new driveway with even more intensity.
To facilitate drainage, ensure you are using the correct road base mix. You will need about 20 cm of crushed rock for clay-based undersoil, while 10 cm is quite enough for sandy soil. After distributing the crushed rock, allow the project to stay for a few days.
This waiting time will provide a more robust, substantial base to apply the asphalt milling over and enable you to detect and address any potential problems with your initial compaction.
Install the milled asphalt
You can begin the distribution of your asphalt milling after creating an entirely stable base. It would be best to put down the milled asphalt over the driveway at a thickness of around 100mm–150mm. It is important to take extra care, ensuring that the spreading is as uniform as possible but tapering off at the ends so that the fall maintains consistency with the gradient of the road base.
You can use a delivery truck to place the asphalt in layers along the driveway or use a bobcat, in this case, to transport the asphalt in place.
Compact your new driveway
After distributing the asphalt uniformly, it’s time to compact. You can hire a drum roller compactor and get rolling to polish the surface. The milled asphalt will now be compressed down to 100 mm, and the ends of the driveway would be treated to create an angle of 45 degrees. This step is vital because compaction provides a milled asphalt driveway with its toughness.
Cost of a milled asphalt driveway
Since milling is the derivative of recycled asphalt pavement, it is much cheaper than fresh asphalt or other paving products, such as gravel.
So, what is the cost of paving a driveway with milled asphalt?
Milled asphalt cost varies from $7–$60 a ton based on the geographical location and the amount of recycled content in the mix. Homeowners usually spend between $55–$460 for milled asphalt to pave a regular double driveway (excluding installation labor and materials). However, expect to pay between $500 and $2,500, including getting the material and installation labor cost.
Milled asphalts are simply previous asphalt projects being grounded into gravel. Since no new materials are used in the making or required to be moved, it costs much less in almost all situations based on how much preparatory work and the material thickness applied.
You will not pay for the production of new materials, the shipment of new materials, or any extra costs associated with traditional paving materials. If you want to save on your next paving project, milled asphalt is the cost-effective option for you.
Milled asphalt durability and maintenance
Asphalt milling is less vulnerable to the elements than conventional gravel products and does not require regular resealing and patching. Over time, a milled asphalt driveway becomes stronger and more rigid, rather than disintegrating as hot asphalt seems to do. Asphalt milling can last 20 to 30 years without resurfacing and resealing, unlike traditional asphalt.
Asphalt milling is more durable than gravel, with hardly any maintenance. The secret to achieving this success is to install it properly at the very start and time to harden the surface. Millings do not need regular raking or refinishing, and with time, the surface will firm up.
Weeds and grass would have an exceedingly tough time sprouting through asphalt milling, even without maintenance, rendering your driveway looking pristine. A correctly installed driveway constructed with milled asphalt can add significant value to your property.
Advantages and disadvantages of milled asphalt driveways
It is entirely up to you to use milled asphalt or otherwise. With the pros and cons mentioned below, you ought to make an informed choice whether to purchase milled asphalt or go with the new traditional kind.
It is environmentally friendly
Milled asphalt is an eco-friendly method that lowers the environmental emissions of greenhouse gases. The quantity of fuel needed for asphalt recycling is comparatively less than the fuel required for asphalt aggregates to be mined and processed. This ensures that you can also support a cleaner world by milling and recycling asphalt besides preserving scarce resources.
It needs no maintenance.
The best aspect of milled asphalt is that it does not need much maintenance. This helps extend the lifespan of asphalt driveways.
Resistant to weather
Asphalt milling has an excellent ability to withstand extreme weather. Besides creating less dust and thus less mud, the snow appears to melt quicker on asphalt milling compared to gravel. Also, ice has a harder time developing a smoother walking path. Above all, a milled asphalt driveway strengthens over time, becoming much more resilient to elements than weakening.
Asphalt milling does not require new materials, making it possible for contractors to decimate the cost of building driveways with milled asphalt.
Asphalt milling is more durable than conventional gravel. It perfectly seals together when compacted by machines, unlike gravel. This makes the driveway surface to be more solid, suitable for those recent gravel roads. You will not need much cleanup afterward by plowing an asphalt milling road because gravel would not be forced back onto your lawn.
Used asphalt rarely maintains its color like new (virgin) asphalt. Since the material has already been subjected to rain, sunlight, and other conditions, it is already prepared for discoloration. Suppose you are passionate about the deep black color of an asphalt driveway. In that case, you should imagine how the finished product will look compared to fresh non-recycled asphalt, and this may mean opting for fresh asphalt conversely.
Often, recycling processes may produce quality problems that later transform into cracks or potholes on driveways. Some milled asphalt might not be as good as fresh asphalt regarding quality. This is because milled asphalt quality relies on where and how it is recycled.
Ensure that you do your homework before you buy milled asphalt to make an informed decision. Make sure you buy from a reliable recycling facility to ensure you are getting high-quality milled asphalt.
Can you seal a milled asphalt driveway?
Much like fresh asphalt, you can seal a driveway that is paved with milled asphalt. Many property owners can independently seal their new asphalt driveways, but a milled asphalt driveway is a little more complicated. You can’t always pour a layer of seal coat on and expect success because asphalt milling comes in a wide range of quality.
We advise that you contract an asphalt specialist if you want to seal asphalt milling. A skilled asphalt contractor can inspect your milled asphalt, decide if it requires any fillers or minor repairs, and help select the correct seal coat and application process for your particular circumstance. They will also help determine if you can seal the driveway yourself.
You should consider milled asphalt if you’re searching for an inexpensive and durable material for road or driveway installation. Milled asphalt, also referred to as recycled asphalt, is more economical for many projects than fresh asphalt and can still do an outstanding job. It is an environmentally friendly, relatively inexpensive, and efficient solution to your requirements for paving.
The choice between fresh (non-recycled) asphalt and milled asphalt depends on your preference. Hence, consider the pros and cons, and seek professional advice to make an informed decision for your next paving projects.