Paving can be a DIY thing or a professional endeavor, but regardless of who's doing what, the right equipment for the job is a key factor in the outcome.
As a paving company in North Texas, we know the challenges involved with driveway and road paving first hand. When considering what the biggest issue with driveway repair and constructing new driveways and country roads was, quality equipment was at the top of the list!
Having done most every paving job with the wrong equipment, using the right equipment has made even more of an impact on our opinion. The equipment used is really the key factor to creating long-lasting, beautiful driveways, roads and accomplishing the many interesting horse property, ranch, and country property dirt work and grading projects found here in Texas.
Things to consider...
First off, if you have equipment of your own, use it. Just be on the lookout for the benefits and drawbacks to the equipment your using. If nothing comes to mind, just know that there are some! For instance, a lot of folks out here in the country grade roads with a tractor. If that's what you have available that's great, but we've found grading to be better accomplished by a loader like we use (pic above). It allows for visibility of the bucket blade and has minute movement capabilities so we can cut or drag with precision.
If you're renting equipment, learn as much about the types of controls the equipment has, what attachments or capabilities, and see if anyone has used the same equipment for a similar job. The more you can find out, the better off you'll be.
When hiring a professional paving company, no two companies have the same history, financial capabilities, or experience. This means, just like in most industries, that some paving companies use better equipment than others.
Country Roads Paving uses newer, premium equipment and while that isn't the only reason we're worth getting a free estimate from, the machinery saves us time and money every single day. Yes, you can get a good job from other companies that use other equipment, but most often we find that people like how we get in and out quickly, the equipment making it possible to do things quicker and with more precision than they're used to. Here are a few of the items we use on a daily basis:
• LeeBoy 7000 Paving Machine
• Wacker Neuson ST-45 Loader
• Wacker Neuson RD-12 Roller
• Stratos Asphalt Distributor
Using the wrong tool can be fine, but the consequences are more time on the job, a higher difficulty level, and the possibility of a lower quality job.
Commercial Vs. Box Store Supplies & Materials
When repairing an asphalt driveway, things like filling potholes, sealing cracks, seal coating, and repairing alligator cracks have various commercial products as well as products sold through big box stores or available on eBay and Amazon.
We're not presumptuous enough to claim that commercial products are any better than the ones readily available on the market, but the possibility does exist that purchasing through a local store may not be as good.
For instance, we just used a bag of cold patch from a big box store at the same time as a bag from an asphalt supplier. In this case, we found the commercial product to be light years ahead of the consumer product. The commercial product in this case was remarkable, the consumer one lackluster. Researching the methods and products will be a great benefit as you embark on any DIY project.
So, if you choose to do any driveway repair yourself, check out our blog post on DIY Driveway Repair or our post about Seal Coating Your Own Driveway
Feel free to ask any question about if your own equipment is up to the task, renting equipment, or more about the equipment we or other paving companies are using.
Country Roads Paving is providing ranchers, farmers, and property owners in North Texas with high quality, affordable paving and excavation services. For those who keep horses, in particular, we offer stall flooring installation and repair in addition to other services.
Using sand, recycled asphalt, crushed concrete, or hot mix asphalt, we create durable, dependable flooring that will increase the longevity and durability of your barns and horse stalls. Additionally, Country Roads repairs damaged or waterlogged surfaces using crushed concrete.
We also specialize in constructing affordable, long-lasting pads made of recycled asphalt to keep heavy machinery and equipment clear of mud, dust, foliage, and other debris. These pads are perfect for everything from boats and RVs to horse trailers, tractors, trucks, and ATVs.
Additionally, Country Roads can build, repair, and upgrade driveways and parking lots to optimize outdoor facilities. We also install and grade access roads and provide brush removal services to improve accessibility to fields, barns, and any other area of the property you choose. If you already have hot mix asphalt roads, we have a 300 gallon spray tank ready to seal coat your asphalt driveways and roads so they last for many years to come.
You can also hire us to ensure effective water drainage and prevent erosion. We offer culvert installation and repair, as well as berm construction for canals, ponds, and ditches. Another of our services is soil stabilization, which protects your property from erosion and ensures you won’t have to worry about costly and potentially dangerous deterioration to your land. We can fill in ruts left by cattle and machinery, stabilize hills, or drain areas with mud or standing water.
At Country Roads Paving, we know our customers work hard and expect the best. That’s why we offer a variety of services at affordable prices to improve the safety, quality and accessibility of your property.
County websites in our area:
Collin County Culvert Forms & Permits http://www.collincountytx.gov/development_services/Pages/culvert_forms.aspx
Denton County Culvert Noms & Permits
Grayson County Culvert Forms & Permits
When determining who should handle your driveway culvert maintenance, the key is knowing who owns and is responsible for the land on which the culvert is located as is laid out in the town or county’s government policies. Many people avoid researching such policies because they don’t want to deal with all that legal jargon. However, this article equips you with the information you need to navigate government resources concerning culverts.
First of all, it will be helpful to familiarize yourself with some key terms concerning culverts and drainage policy:
Now that you are familiar with the key terminology surrounding culvert maintenance policies, it’s time to find the correct city or county department to contact. Usually, the information you’re looking for can be found by contacting the government department in charge of road regulations. A good place to start is your county’s government website. This can usually be found by using an online search engine to search the name of your county followed by 'official website'. In the search results, the website you’re looking for will usually be one of the top results. It should also plainly state the county’s name. For example, when I searched 'Randall County, TX official website' the county’s government website, www.randallcounty.com, was the first to pop up.
Once you’re on your county website’s main page, you will usually see a 'Departments' tab or something similar. Click this tab and scroll down until you find the department title related to roads, streets, or drainage governance. The exact name of this department will vary county to county, but it should be pretty easy to spot. On Randall County’s website, the proper department can be found under 'Road & Bridge'. Once you’re on the correct department page, you’ll usually see the names of government officials as well as their contact information. The fastest way to get your questions answered is to call them directly (it’s up to you whether you want to call the head of the department or other available contacts on the list). However, you may also send an email if you prefer.
When speaking with (or emailing) a representative from the department, there are a couple of questions you should ask right away. First of all, confirm that you’ve found the correct department by asking them if they are responsible for upholding regulations surrounding culverts. If they are not, ask them to transfer you to the correct department or, at the very least, get the name and contact information for the department you need to call. Once you have confirmed that you are talking to someone who can help you, tell them about your situation and why you want to know who is responsible for culverts in your area. Whomever you talk to will probably want to know your address as well as if you own the property in question, as regulations usually vary depending on who owns the property as well as the property’s location (township, county, subdivision, etc.). They may also ask if you know of any drainage easements on or near your property. Additionally, you should let them know if your culvert’s malfunction has damaged anything on your, your neighbors’, or government property. With this information, the government representative should be able to answer your questions or direct you to someone who can.
Even when you have your answer, it doesn’t hurt to do some independent research to confirm what you’ve been told. This involves using a search engine or public files (usually obtainable at a courthouse or other location of public records) involving land development/drainage codes, policies, and regulations. On the Randall County Road & Bridge Department webpage, this information is readily available. It can be downloaded as a PDF via the Road & Subdivision Policy link, found under 'Information' in the page’s left column. If your county’s website isn’t as straightforward, you can politely ask the department representative with whom you speak to direct you to where the policy can be found. There should be no reason they cannot do this. However, if for some reason they can’t help you, you should be able to find the information online by searching the name of your county, plus “culvert policy” or something similar. If possible, find the original policy scanned online as a PDF. Use the Table of Contents to find the section related to culverts and drainage, and read through it. This will help you feel more informed as you move forward in repairing or replacing your faulty culvert. Sometimes, the terminology used in the policy can be pretty convoluted or dull. However, stick with it, and use the key terms from this article to help you.
The policy will usually describe who is responsible for different types of properties and culverts, as well as the permits and other steps one should take in order to comply with regulations. In our Randall County example, if the culvert is located on private property, the owner of that property is responsible for the culvert’s upkeep. If a culvert is located in a subdivision, the subdivision developer is responsible for maintaining culverts and must do so in keeping with the city’s code. Meanwhile, culverts on public land are the responsibility of the government. According to Randall County Law and Ordinances, inspectors are required to check all culverts on public land once a year. Additionally, if someone notices a problem with culverts on public land, they should contact Law and Ordinances to resolve it.
These are some fairly common regulations. However, every county’s laws are slightly different, and loopholes abound, so do your best to get the information specific to where you live. Best of luck!
Keep in mind, we're a paving company with good standing with the state of Texas and the local communities we serve so if you have more productive things to do with your time than mess with the driveway, have us come out and do a free estimate. Additionally, these fixes are on the 'temporary' side. More permanent fixes are available with hot mix asphalt if preferred. Also... know the risks:
There may be safety concerns for homeowners who choose to do their own driveway repair such as exposure to chemicals and irritants, damage to people, wires or pipes, or real estate due to heavy equipment, or incorrectly diagnosed or completed repairs.
Have you asked yourself any of the following questions?
• How do I fix alligator cracks in my asphalt driveway?
• How do I repair a pothole in my asphalt driveway myself?
• How can I seal coat my own asphalt driveway?
How to fix my own driveway - The following offers a step by step overview of how to approach repairing your own damaged driveway:
When it comes to asphalt driveway repair and maintenance, there are three main types of damage to look out for—alligator cracks, potholes, and sinkholes/birdbaths. Alligator cracks (sometimes called spider web cracks) are fine fractures that appear in the asphalt’s surface. They can result from wear due to fluctuations in temperature, heavy traffic, or even faulty construction. Alligator cracks may not be noticeable when you’re driving over them. However, they don’t look nice and, if left unchecked, can turn into potholes over time.
Potholes result from untended alligator cracks. Potholes are simply holes where the asphalt has been broken and worn away. They can make for bumpy driving and sprained ankles if you trip on them. Potholes are disruptive, and usually grow larger if left unchecked.
Sinkholes are similar to potholes in that they ruin the flatness of a driveway's surface. However, they are caused by different factors. A sinkhole forms when the base foundation beneath the asphalt has worn away due to erosion, poor construction, or other variables. The depression left behind still contains the material of the road surface. However, due to the unstable base, the affected section of driveway sinks. Small, less serious sinkholes are sometimes called birdbaths (usually 1” to 2” deep). Alligator cracks, potholes, and sinkholes all require unique methods of repair.
Fixing alligator cracks
To fix pesky alligator cracks, you’ll need the correct materials—alligator patch, sealcoat, and a squeegee. In general, one gallon of alligator patch material can cover 20 square feet. Make sure you consult with a professional to learn what type of and how much patch you’ll need before making your purchase.
As for asphalt squeegees, they are pretty affordable. The standard sizes used are 24” and 36”. You may also want to grab an old paintbrush for places the squeegee can’t reach.
For alligator cracks and all other types of driveway damage, you'll want a quality sealcoat to strengthen more repair. More on sealcoat in Step 3 of the alligator crack repair instructions!
Have you gathered your materials? Let’s get started!
Step 1: Clean your driveway!
Make sure the area is free of dirt and debris such as weeds, as these materials will prevent the material used to repair the driveway from adhering properly. This can be accomplished with a broom or leaf blower. It may be tempting to use a hose or pressure washer to clean, but keep in mind that getting water in the cracks in your driveway can do more harm than good, particularly in areas where rapid changes in temperatures cause water to expand and contract. If you do choose to use water to clean the driveway, ensure that the area is completely dry before sealing any cracks, as moisture will cause additional damage.
Step 2: Lay your patch
Pour the alligator patch you have purchased to fill the cracks in areas needing repair, and use your asphalt squeegee to spread it evenly until the layer is 1/8 to 1/4“ thick. Use the squeegee to blend the new material into the existing, undamaged driveway surrounding the trouble spot. You can also use bottled crack filler to fix small cracks. Use a scraper to level off and spread this product. No matter which method you choose, allow several hours for the material to dry.
Step 3: Sealcoat
Using a sealcoat (also called sealant or sealcoating) is technically optional, but most experts agree that it contributes greatly to the longevity of your asphalt driveway. Sealcoat is made of coal tar pitch or asphalt cement mixed with fillers. The sealcoat protects the driveway surface and also makes it look nicer by giving a finished appearance to the entire surface.
If you do choose to use a sealcoat, here’s what to do: First of all, you must wait until the repair material has had time to harden and fuse with the surrounding driveway. Depending on the patch you use and professional recommendations, waiting for the proper time to apply sealcoat after a repair varies from 4 to 8 weeks or even up to 2 years. Remember, asphalt maintenance is a journey, not a one time event!
Once the product you use to fill in the alligator cracks is dry, you’re ready to lay the sealcoat. Working from the top of your driveway, pour the sealcoat in a line parallel to the garage door and use your squeegee to spread it evenly over the driveway working towards the road. For edges and hard to reach corners, use an old paintbrush. Make sure you exert enough pressure on the squeegee to spread the sealcoat thinly, but not so much that it oozes over the squeegee’s edge. When finished, allow at least 48 hours for the sealcoat to dry. Going along with that, make sure you choose a period of time in which no rain is expected, as precipitation will throw a wrench in your driveway maintenance plans.
Check out our article about DIY seal coating for more detailed information!
For potholes, you will want to purchase some cold asphalt patch. This usually comes in 50-lb bags and can be picked up at hardware or home goods stores such as Lowe’s. You will also need an asphalt tamper and sealcoat, if you wish.
Step 1: Clean, clean, clean!
As with alligator cracks, make sure your driveway is free of dirt and debris before beginning the repair.
Step 2: How big is your pothole?
Ten pounds of patch usually covers a square foot of pothole at a depth of 1". If the pothole is deep enough to reach the driveway’s base layer (usually made of gravel, dirt, or concrete), use sand or gravel to fill it in until it's level with where the asphalt layer begins. This will save you costly pothole filling material!
Step 3: Pour your pothole patch.
Pour your pothole patch into the hole, making sure to overfill by 1 to 2”. You can use a rake or other flat-headed tool to spread the patch material if necessary.
Step 4: Compound your patch.
Using your pothole tamper, compact the patch material so that it won’t crumble later on. Feel free to top off the hole as you compact the patch until the compacted patch is level with the rest of the driveway. Be thorough when compacting your patch, as doing so will increase the longevity of your repair.
Step 5: Follow up with Sealcoat. Check out our article about DIY seal coating for more detailed information!
As you did with repaired alligator cracks, use a good sealcoat post-pothole repair to protect your driveway!
The term ‘birdbath’ is used to describe small sinkholes (usually less than 2” deep). Birdbaths can usually be repaired with the same material that is used to fix alligator cracks. Here’s how to do it:
After cleaning out the birdbath depression, apply a layer of patch about 1/4” thick. Let it dry completely, which can take up to eight hours but depends on temperature and humidity, before applying another layer at the same thickness. Repeat the procedure until the patched area is level with the surrounding driveway. Then, apply a sealcoat.
Sinkholes are depressions deeper than 2” and require pothole patch to repair correctly.
Step 1: Know your sinkhole!
Take a look at the sinkhole cracks. If the depression has cracks only around the perimeter where the material broke away from the surrounding asphalt, you can proceed with the following instructions to fix sinkholes. However, if the material in the sinkhole has fractured, you will have to use a pry bar or other tool to remove the chunks before moving forward with your repair. After removing these pieces, you can repair the sinkhole as you would a pothole.
Step 2: Have the right tools for the job.
Because sinkholes are less stable than potholes, repairing them can be tricky. Instead of a pothole tamper, consider renting a plate compactor or roller to compact the patch, especially if you’re dealing with a shallow sinkhole where the patch might not have as much sticking power. This will increase the longevity of your repair. Additionally, if the sinkhole goes past the layer of asphalt into the driveway’s base layer, don’t use sand or gravel at the bottom of your repair as you might when repairing a normal pothole. Instead, use patch material all the way through to increase stability.
We generally caution homeowners from fixing serious items like this on their own. It's a safety thing and there may be unforeseen consequences from not hiring a professional.
Step 3: Sealcoat
As with repairs made to alligator cracks, potholes, and birdbaths, use sealcoat to seal up your repair and protect your driveway. Check out our article about DIY seal coating for more detailed information!
A final not about sinkholes:
Sinkholes can seriously undermine the integrity of an asphalt surface. If the sinkholes in your driveway are too extensive, it is probably best to tear up the bad asphalt and rebuild the foundation to the level of the surrounding base before filling with patch. Keep in mind that this method is time and energy intensive and usually requires equipment rental, so it may be better to hire a professional if you want those big sinkholes filled in properly.
There you have it! An overview of what you need to repair your driveway, and how to do it!
When a hot mix asphalt driveway starts showing signs of age, if the damage isn't too severe it can be paved over. We have to spend time preparing the driveway beforehand by addressing the most damaged spots so an even coat of asphalt can be applied. For this job, we had a mix of damaged surfaces, so lot of prep was needed. Hot mix asphalt is a bit of a challenge when it's over 100 degrees outside, but we think this one turned out amazing!
How Deferred Maintenance Costs You?
There are two main components to deferred maintenance at your home. First, there's things that could impact the sale of the property and then, there are things that effect your enjoyment of the home.
The reason this is important is that if you are selling, you could receive only lowball offers. This is because a future homeowner will not make a full price offer on a home that needs upkeep that they consider to be major in scope. This would be driveways in bad shape, roofs in obvious need of repair, broken windows or shingles, damaged or broken appliances, and are not the sort of thing new homeowners want to deal with on their own past the closing date.
They will lower the offer. But, that's not the only reason to take care of deferred maintenance. Studies show that every $1 not spent on maintenance costs $4 later. Avoiding regular upkeep can reduce the lifespan of all sorts of things around the house significantly. This means they have to be replaced earlier. Perhaps more importantly, letting some problems go leads to emergency repairs, or more serious repairs down the road.
If you're living in the house with no plans to sell, there are still reasons to stay up with any emerging maintenance issues. For one, your enjoyment is at stake. Every time you see that crack, dent, hole, or broken thing, your frustration emerges, or your thoughts turn to the dilapidated. Focusing on what's broken without fixing it is most likely a cause of stress, anger, helplessness, or anxiety — all of which are negative influences on your well being. The simplest way to look at it is that every second you spend thinking about a repair, that's a second you aren't thinking about making money, making healthy choices, or relaxing. There's no doubt, that's a cost.
Asphalt Driveway Maintenance in Texas
There's no perfect solution for Texas roads and driveways. The hard-hitting storms combined with regular wind, rain, and temperature extremes breaks down all surfaces over time. Water can erode underneath, and our soil can heave and fall. In the end, if you keep a driveway or any sort long enough in North Texas, you'll be fixing it up at some point.
Sealcoating a Texas Driveway
So, what you can do with asphalt to protect it is seal coating. It's got a good cosmetic purpose being that it gives a driveway a nice deep black look, but it also serves as a protective layer which repels water. If the water takes longer to penetrate into the asphalt, the driveway lasts longer.
Hot Rubber Crack Repair
Next, if deep cracks do appear, they can be filled with hot rubber through a process called hot rubber crack repair. This really is the last line of defense. If you fill the deep cracks, you'll add years to the driveway.
Hot Asphalt Patching
In some cases, you can do what we call a hot asphalt repair or hot asphalt patching. This involves taking out damaged areas, fixing any problem under it, and adding new hot asphalt to recover the damaged area.
So, what happens when none of these things are done to extend the life of the road or driveway? Well, they can degrade pretty far. Don't be surprised to find cars bottoming out or worse.
Here's where it gets good.
There is a point somewhere along the line where a driveway has to be taken out in order to be fixed. That could mean starting over from scratch completely. That would cost a homeowner more — a lot more! (See photo below.) This rural driveway had worn to the point where none of the regular maintenance listed above would be able to fix or extend the life of the driveway any further.
Believe it or not, we could still fix this long driveway affordably! Now, instead of bottoming out on a bouncy ride to the house, it's smooth as butter. So, if you need some good news and you're living somewhere around North Dallas (from Frisco, McKinney, or Allen north all the way to Whitesboro, or Sherman, we'll come see what we can do for you too. Contact Us
Rural drives and private roads are our passion. We post recent jobs, paving techniques, and tips and tricks here. Enjoy!