Whilst asphalt is one of the most affordable driveway surfaces on the market, there is a risk of poor installations leading to premature asphalt wear and failure. DIY asphalt projects can be difficult to pull off without the help of experienced contractors.

There are several factors that can cause future damage to your driveway including water ingress, tree roots, oil and fuel spillages, and general wear and tear. Most of these factors are out of your control.

However, throughout the years, the NK team has also seen and repaired many DIY asphalt installations which have resulted in issues for residential and commercial clients in a relatively short period after the material was laid.

In this article, we will outline common issues associated with poor DIY asphalt installations. You might not be able to DIY asphalt or bitumen driveway but understanding the scale of the operation will allow you to decide whether you need to hire a quality asphalt driveway contractor for your project.


The Secrets of a Long-lasting Driveway or Car Park

asphalt surfacing by NK Asphalt

Asphalt being laid by paving machine on a large parking area, not something to be done DIY


Are you considering a DIY asphalt project? Read below to find out the secrets of designing a durable asphalt driveway, and … think again. Can you really do it yourself?

The site for the new driveway must be prepared beforehand. Some specialist equipment will be needed before starting the job such as a plate compactor, rollers, wheelbarrows, bobcats and material delivery trucks. Experienced labour is essential. As part of your DIY asphalt project, you will be required to:

  • Provide enough slope for draining water, otherwise, water can pond on the surface or next to the driveway causing damage. A 1% (one in one hundred) or greater fall is required.
  • Provide enough thickness and compaction for the underlaying base, otherwise, asphalt materials will not compact.
  • Ensure mechanical compaction of the base with heavy rollers (often 2- to 3-tonne vibrating or larger rollers are required) for a long-lasting driveway.
  • Know how to waterbind the base material to give a consistent bound surface.
  • As asphalt loses heat and therefore workability very quickly, delays and bad weather can cause wastage and failure during compaction/laying.


The Risks of Poor DIY Asphalt Installation 

cracked asphalt

Cracked asphalt surface.

Poor DIY installation of asphalt is likely to cause many significant issues to your asphalt driveway as the years go on, for example:

  • Asphalt upheaval – an upward movement in your asphalt driveway due to increased moisture in the soil or expansion of water.
  • Raveling – uneven surfaces and accumulation of standing water can cause asphalt particles to dislodge from the surface.
  • Depressions – low areas of asphalt surface which contribute to water ponding and creating potholes caused by poor compaction of the base material.
  • Potholes – one of the most common asphalt defects especially in old thin pavements.
  • Alligator and edge cracking – caused by structural failures in the basework combined with continuous heavy traffic as well as inadequate drainage.
  • Longitudinal cracking – caused by poorly constructed joints when laid and asphalt fatigue as the surface ages.
  • Block cracking – caused by poor asphalt installation and base material movement.

Read more about Common Cracks to Asphalt: How to Tell What Repairs You Need.


DIY Asphalt Repairs

If you are a DIY homeowner looking to make repairs for the very first time, make sure you are only attempting to work on smaller potholes that are not being caused by larger issues below the road base or by tree roots or other movement. It is imperative you keep water and tree roots from getting into the basework in order to minimise future potholing.

However, once cracks and potholes start to occur in the base and asphalt replacement or resurfacing may be the best option, to avoid serious long term damage.

Small DIY asphalt repairs are not a long-term solution and if you are not sure about the issue causing the damage you should seek a quote and advice from an established and highly regarded Perth asphalt company.


What’s The Best Way to Install Asphalt on a Driveway?

If you are intending to lay a new asphalt driveway, replace the existing one or repair potholes, we advise getting a quote for professional asphalt services.

NK Asphalt is one of Perth’s highest regarded asphalt driveway contractors, we have been repairing asphalt damage for over 30 years and will provide you with a free measure and quote to install or repair an asphalt driveway or car park with minimal disruption or inconvenience.

As a team, we aspire to consistently deliver the highest quality driveway installations and resurfacing, as we understand the need for longevity and value.


Get an Asphalt Driveway Quote

If your job is 150m2 or more and in the Perth or surrounding areas.

Trevor Calnon

Trevor is a founder and Director and has over four decades of experience in the asphalt and bitumen industry. NK Asphalt was established in 1989 to deliver top-notch asphalt works across the Perth metro area and outer suburbs. He is dedicated to providing the right solution for clients and is an expert in all aspects of asphalt works - and the alternatives that clients often compare.