Frequently Asked Questions

What are the benefits of using VDOT approved asphalt as your paving material instead of ‘virgin’ material?

One of the important facts about Hot Mix Asphalt (HMA) is that it is 100% recyclable and can be used over and over again.  It is the #1 recycled material in the USA!

In Virginia, most asphalt mixes specified for use on roadways allow up to 20% of the material to be recycled asphalt product (RAP). Base Mix asphalt material can have over 25% recycled asphalt pavement (RAP). The use of RAP in HMA provides a number of benefits:

  • It reduces the amount of virgin material used in the mix, thereby preserving natural resources.
  • Since it is 100% recyclable it does not need landfill space for disposal.
  • Recycling HMA results in substantial savings to taxpayers (for road work) and other users.
  • Asphalt pavement is unique not only in the volume recycled, but also its renewability. It is comprised of approximately 95 percent aggregates (stone, sand and gravel) and about 5 percent asphalt cement. When asphalt pavement is reused in a new asphalt mix, the old asphalt cement is rejuvenated so that it becomes an active part of the glue that holds the new pavement together, just like the old aggregate becomes part of the aggregate content of the new mix. These singular properties make asphalt a uniquely renewable pavement.

See the following links for more information from the VA Asphalt Asscociation:


Asphalt manufacturers have created ways to reduce their carbon footprint.  One way is by recycling the asphalt.  This is done by taking old asphalt pavement or shingles to an asphalt plant with the machinery that grinds up the asphalt into loose rocks.  The Recycled Asphalt Product (RAP) can be used as gravel for driveways and/or subgrade.  In the correct ratio RAP is best re-used in new asphalt, which is now used in VDOT approved highways.  Now it is available at only the best asphalt plants.

Asphalt pavement is not only America’s most recycled and reused material; it now is being recycled and reused at a rate over 99 percent. Use of environmentally friendly warm-mix asphalt grew by more than 148 percent from 2009 to 2010, a trend that is expected to continue. Recycling of asphalt pavements and asphalt shingles in 2010 alone conserved 20.5 million barrels of asphalt binder. *

Here at Tom’s Paving, we work with local asphalt plants that offer recycled asphalt with the latest technology.  We at Tom’s Paving are always looking for more ways to better the environment.

*National Asphalt Pavement Association, Recycling,

What is the life expectancy of VDOT approved asphalt?

A properly installed and maintenanced driveway is expected to last 25-30 years.

How thick do you pave the asphalt?

Asphalt thickness is engineered and is generally laid 2 1/4″ thick. Pavement that is 3″ or more should be installed in multiple lifts/layers. On new construction jobs with site plans or VDOT jobs, we must follow the specified and required specs.

How long should vehicles stay off the newly paved surface?

Most driveways or parking lots are blocked off for 2 to 3 days.  However, if necessary, asphalt can be driven on but it is not recommended that vehicles park on the asphalt.  If vehicles are parked on the new asphalt in the same spot, depressions can form from the tires.

How long does a new asphalt driveway take to cure?

This typically takes about a year. During the first year your new driveway may be come soft or tender on very warm days. This is normal and care should be used on these days. For example don’t turn the steering wheel of a car without the car moving, also be aware that a jack stand, or even a bicycle kickstand could make an impression.

Why do some parts of my driveway have a slightly different texture?

Most driveways are paved by a paving machine. However due to the size of the paving machine certain areas such as in front of garages, walkways or along walls are spread and raked by hand. These areas may have a slightly different texture as a result of hand tools and in part because the asphalt is a mix made up of different size aggregates. This is normal and as the driveway ages, these areas will become less noticeable.

Is asphalt less expensive than concrete?

There have been numerous studies which have shown that asphalt pavements have a lower life cycle cost. Also, asphalt repairs are less expensive. With our pricing, asphalt is generally half the cost of concrete.

What are the advantages of asphalt over concrete?

Asphalt is more cost effective than concrete, also less expensive to repair. It usually does not need to be removed, it can easily be resurfaced. Asphalt is designed to flex with slight settlements.

Is asphalt pavement high maintenance?

All materials require maintenance (gravel, brick pavers, concrete, asphalt, etc). Preventive and routine maintenance is the least expensive option compared to doing nothing.  For asphalt, routinely seal coating the surface and filling cracks when first detected will prevent major repairs in the future.

Why should asphalt pavement be sealed?

The asphalt binder that holds the pavement together begins to oxidize and weather soon after installation from seasonal temperature changes and sunlight.  Moisture penetrates the asphalt causing further damage and deterioration to the pavement. We use asphalt based sealer that replenishes the binder that is lost through weathering and aging.  The sealer also gives the asphalt a newer appearance.

How long should we stay off the driveway after seal coating?

The asphalt should have no traffic (foot or vehicle) for 24 to 48 hours, depending on weather and other conditions. Beware if you have pets walking outside also.

What is an overlay?

An overlay is the resurfacing of existing pavement. Existing asphalt or concrete pavements can be overlaid with hot mix asphalt generally 1 ½” in thickness with excellent results. Before paving, existing pavement should be checked for any repairs needed, cleaned of all loose debris and tacked for successful adhesion.

Is patching or pothole repair permanent?

No, it will provide a temporary solution to prevent damage to vehicles or tripping hazards for pedestrians.  The life of the repair depends on how the patch will be prepared, the area of the patch, and the traffic the patch will endure.

How long will the asphalt coloring last on the driveway or recreational surface (tennis court, basketball court)?

Typically in our area of Virginia, it will last between 3-5 years. The variables include weather conditions and the amount of use the surface will endure.