There are many popular materials used in driveway constructions, including concrete, bricks, gravel, limestone, asphalt, and road base. Choosing a material to surface your driveway with depends on your specific requirements, such as its layout, function and size.


What is Road Base?

Base materials can be granite roadbase, crushed gravel or limestone, which are then compacted to form a hard surface. They are frequently used in the construction of roads, paving substrates, hard stands, parking areas, footpaths and driveways.

It is a cost-effective solution as it is inexpensive to install and doesn’t crack easily. When it is compacted at a reasonable depth it can be very strong.


How Are Road Base Driveways Constructed?

The subgrade is the natural soil under the proposed structure, and depending on where you live, it can either be suitable or in a poor condition. If the existing soil isn’t a suitable base (e.g. clay), it may require boxing out and removal.

The base material is then laid at an approximate thickness (from maybe 100 to 250mm depth). This will give your driveway or car park structural integrity and strength. The surface is then graded, compacted and waterbound to give an even surface finish

Whilst the surface is bound initially it will loosen and unravel over time.

If your driveway is constructed correctly initially, it is possible to rework the existing material with a small amount of new material added, then lay a more permanent asphalt surface.


Why Wouldn’t You Get a Road Base Driveway?

While there are many positives to constructing a road base driveway, the material commonly becomes loose under traffic and due to weather. This leads to an uneven or rutted surface that requires ongoing maintenance or repairs which can be costly. It can also be dusty in summer and waterlogged in winter.


Alternatives to a Road Base Driveway

One solution is to use asphalt as the surfacing material, to create a more durable finish.

Asphalt is a mixture of aggregate and sand with a bitumen binder. It is dried and mixed at a high temperature to form hot mix asphalt and is commonly used to create car parks, hardstands, and large driveways.


To Asphalt or Road Base Your Driveway: Which is Better?

Asphalt and road base are both viable options for your driveway, but each has its own strengths. Asphalt provides a smooth, durable surface that’s easy to maintain, while road base is a cheaper, lower-quality material. Asphalt requires less maintenance, tends to be more aesthetically pleasing and can increase property value.

Nk asphalt driveway

New asphalt road base driveway being rolled.


Why Use Asphalt for Your Driveway?

Asphalt offers resistance against weeds, ants, dust, and water erosion, meaning it requires less maintenance and repairs than some other materials. One of the reasons behind this is its flexibility to shape itself around bends and corners to form a tight seal with kerbing, keeping water and debris from permeating the structure.

Perfectly suited to the Perth climate, asphalt resists damage from high temperatures and adapts to changes in temperature, which often results in cracks in other materials, like concrete. It is also durable under heavy traffic and vehicles when designed for that type of use.

Asphalt is recommended for driveways of over 150m2 because the cost of moving the equipment for the baseworks area, asphalt crew and kerbing crew if needed, is proportionally less when spread over a bigger area. Once underway it is more cost effective to remain on site than moving to another job. As the area increases in size, the square metre rate will usually reduce. This makes it a great option for driveways on semi-rural properties, large estates, farms, or commercial areas, as it is resilient enough to withstand most challenges and is also cost-effective.


How Are Asphalt Driveways Constructed?

Hot mix asphalt is manufactured and laid at 150-170 degrees Celsius because this increases its viscosity, flexibility, and ability to spread. Any moisture in the aggregate mixture is dried by a gas burner before bitumen is added.

As soon as the mixture begins to cool it will harden. This means you can begin using it within hours of installing it, which will have a huge impact on the accessibility to your home or business.


Maintaining an Asphalt Driveway

If your asphalt does become damaged or potholed, repairs are generally easy as the damage can be swept out and repaved due to the material’s granular nature. Eventually, when the surface is nearing the end of its useful life, the area can be repaired and fully resurfaced to give a brand new appearance and working surface.

By comparison, if concrete needs repairing, the entire damaged section will need to be removed before any work can be done. This means that asphalt repairs are normally quicker and less expensive than repairing other materials.

red asphalt driveway with kerbing

Well maintained red asphalt driveway with white kerbing and a large gated entrance.


If you are looking to build a new driveway, get in touch with the experts to find out what the best option is for you. There are many design elements to take into consideration before you commit to construction. With over 30 years of being in business, our team is well-equipped to help you make any decisions.


Get a road base driveway quote

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

Paul Calnon

Paul is a Director of NK Asphalt and has over thirty years of experience in the asphalt and bitumen industry since joining NK Asphalt in 1994. He’s an expert in all aspects of asphalt works - and can give advice on baseworks, kerbing and other site services. He is dedicated to providing the right solution for clients - and can give great advice on the pro’s and cons of different methods clients may be considering.