Are you planning for an asphalt paving project sometime in the near future? Then it’s important to understand asphalt installation can be a highly involved and complex process. While installing the asphalt itself doesn’t require a ton of time, the design, demolition, and prep processes may.

Altogether, there are nine distinct steps involved in asphalt pavement installation, and we’ve outlined them below to create an overview of how the process works.


Step 1: Design the Surface

At Bituminous Roadways, we use GPS technology and AutoCAD software to survey, design, and prep project sites with a design error of less than one inch throughout the entire site.

To learn all about how the process works, check out our blog on using GPS technology to make asphalt paving more efficient


Step 2: Demolition

When the project design is finished, we move on to demolition. Whether there’s currently asphalt pavement, concrete, or pavers in the area, they must be removed so we can install the sub-base and pavement later on.

After we demolish the existing surface, we remove the debris if it’s old asphalt, we recycle it at one of our asphalt plants. To learn more about the steps we take to be as environmentally friendly as possible, check out How Can an Asphalt Company Be Sustainable?


Step 3: Grading

Grading is critical because it allows the finished pavement to achieve proper water drainage, which helps prevent premature deterioration.

The appropriate percent grade varies from project to project based on location, landscape, and other factors.


Step 4: Preparing and Installing the Sub-Base

Although you might never see it, the sub-base beneath any asphalt pavement installation is its most important component.

Properly prepared sub-base is critical because it:

  • Provides a barrier to protect against frost heave caused by thawing and freezing.
  • Creates a stable surface that’s capable of supporting the new pavement and its projected traffic load.
  • Provides a thick, compacted, and stable support for the road or parking lot to improve its long-term durability.

The aggregate sub-base is prepared using crushed rocks or recycled asphalt or concrete from other projects, depending on the situation. Project requirements and projected traffic load help determine how the base must be prepared.


Step 5: Butt Joints, Transitions, and Curbing

Most asphalt pavement installations connect existing roadways, parking lots, or driveways, and there are usually also adjacent curbs and sidewalks. When we install asphalt, we must smooth the connection between the new pavement and the existing paved structures.

To do this, we create smooth, seamless transitions between butt joints and add considerable value to every project we undertake by performing sidewalk and curb repairs. Butt joints exist anywhere new pavement meets older asphalt or concrete, and they must be as seamless as possible to ensure drivers or pedestrians don’t detect a difference between the surfaces.

Proper grading is also important to ensure efficient water drainage.


Step 6: Installing the Base Course

The base course is the layer of aggregates and binder that sits right on top of the compacted sub-base or subgrade, depending on the project and its requirements.

After spreading the material, we compact it to provide additional strength and stability for the asphalt pavement that will sit on top of it.


Step 7: Installing the Wear Course

The wear course, also referred to as the surface course, is the surface asphalt pavement layer, which is designed to accommodate traffic load and resist environmental wear and tear. This layer is composed of small aggregate, sand, and liquid asphalt (the binder), and it’s what we see when we look at roadways and parking lots.


Step 8: Compaction

Once we’ve installed all the asphalt, it’s time to compact and smooth the surface. Compaction serves to securely join together the asphalt-coated aggregates, which allows the finished pavement to achieve the stability necessary to resist deformation over time.

Compaction also ensures no small chunks of aggregate stick up through the new, smooth surface and helps improve the pavement’s long-term durability by reducing permeability.


Step 9: Striping and ADA Compliance

Lastly, we add necessary road surface markings and rumble strips to roadways that need them.

For parking lots, we add parking stripes and accessibility markings as required by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).


Bituminous Roadways: The Twin Cities’ Number One Asphalt Pavement Contractors

When you need premium asphalt paving services, look no further than Bituminous Roadways in Mendota Heights, MN! We operate multiple asphalt plants throughout the Minneapolis/St. Paul metro and we’ve proudly served the area for over 75 years.

To learn more about how we can help you with your asphalt paving project, get in touch with us today at 651-686-7001 or contact us online and we’ll get in touch.