Replacing an asphalt driveway

by Cindy
(New Brighton, MN)

We have received 3 estimates with 3 different quotes for the number of inches the contractor will put down for the base and for the actual asphalt. How many inches should a contractor put down for the base and the asphalt for Minnesota weather?

Dear Cindy,

In Virginia, asphalt is put down anywhere from 3-5 inches thick. I was with a client yesterday that recently used a 5 inch thick layer for his driveway and was pleased that he hadn't had any problems since it was installed. In 31 years, I have only seen one residential driveway that was 6 inches thick. A good strong base of at least 4 inches of compacted crusher run gravel is important to support the asphalt. The depth of the base will also depend on the soil. Soft spots will need to be removed to a depth where good hard soil is found. Because you live in an area where I haven't worked, I consulted an experienced asphalt contractor I work with regularly. He tells me the colder climate does not mean you need a thicker layer of asphalt. FYI-Asphalt is not put down when the temperatures are below 40 degree fahrenheit. The asphalt plants actually close here when the temperatures get low. Seal the driveway after the curing period. Deal only with experienced, very competent contractors to assure a good job and to reconfirm this information. Ask for references and call them. The Department of Transportation for MN may also be able to give you some guidelines.
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