Frequently Asked Questions
What is chip seal?
Chip sealing is a cost-effective way to both build a durable driveway and a decorative driveway or private road. Chip sealing is a coating of hot applied liquid asphalt. The second step is to embed crushed rock chips in the surface.
The top surface of the stone is left free of asphalt so the black asphalt is covered and the rock is the only color that shows. This result in a wearing course of rock glued in place by the asphalt coating applied over the base layer of pavement. The rock selected controls the final driveway color.
The result is a thick layer of asphalt and a layer of finely crushed rock over the existing pavement. These two components work together for years to provide a protective layer that defends against water penetration into the base material, frost heaves and asphalt oxidation. This treatment creates long lasting durable driveway.
Chip seal application provide the following benefits;
- Creates a warm rustic driving surface
- Skid resistance surface is created
- Chip Seals eliminate the need to crack seal
- Smoothed irregularities
- Prevents further asphalt deterioration asphalt oxidation
Why use chip sealing?
Homeowners want a maintenance free driving surface. Chip seal does this.
Chip sealing is primarily chosen for its decorative property enhancing the properties appeal.
Asphalt deteriorates over time, due to the effects of;
- Axle Loads
- The scrubbing action of tires
- Daily traffic
- Utility Work.
A chip seal provides an elegant decorative coating that seals the driveway.
- Enhanced skid and weather resistance.
- In hot weather, chip seals re-seal cracks by flowing back
- Driveway surface sealing is not needed
How is Chip Sealing Different from an Asphalt Overlay?
The difference is in the construction process. The basic ingredients are the same. Both use stone and asphalt cement. Hot Mix Asphalt pavement is produced by heating liquid asphalt and mixing it with sand and a mix of various sizes of stone aggregate and sand in a large drum at the asphalt plant. The asphalt mix is kept at above 180 degrees so it is workable. The hot mix is then spread and compacted to form a durable road that is structurally sound and has a smooth riding surface.
Chip Sealing uses the same ingredients as asphalt concrete paving. The gradient of aggregates used is different. How the materials are applied is also different. Hot liquid asphalt is brought directly to the project. A thin film of heated asphalt liquid is sprayed on the base asphalt of the driveway surface. The next step is the placement of small aggregates (“chips”) that are all within one size range. The chips are then rolled to press the chips into the asphalt cement. The rolling is also designed to orient the chips to form a solid stone surface with little or no asphalt on the top surface of the rock. The rock chips are not mixed into the asphalt cement.
Can I customize the driveway color?
Yes within reason. The chip seal surface will integrate well with your landscaping and natural surroundings. The stone source selected controls the color of the finished driveway. Local sources provide a number of color choices. In particular, a good hard red colored stone is not local. It has to be trucked in so can be more expensive. You customize the appearance by selecting the specific stone or exotic aggregate that fits the look you want to achieve.
Can I use any stone that I like the color of?
The selection of the stone to be used has to meet specific hardness requirements. A stone or material that will fracture with tire traffic is not acceptable as a material to use. An example would be granite. It can have a high mica content and be subject to fracturing. It will break down and not last as long as the driveway should. Another example would be oyster shells. They are not hard enough to hold up to the vehicle tire traffic without breaking down.
What is oxidation?
Asphalt pavement will not last forever. Oxidation is what breaks down asphalt. Age and entropy affect everything. A number of external factors break down the asphalt binder that glues together the components. So the asphalt starts to lose its grip. This is a progressive process over time. Asphalt pavement is a flexible material that over time will get brittle and start to break down. Oxidation is the aging and the degradation of the surface binder.
Asphalt oxidation is the aging process which will eventually rob the pavement of its life. One group of factors is oxygen and water. They start to combine with the asphaltic binder of the pavement; a chemical change takes place over time it gets brittle.
The rate of oxidation affecting an asphalt pavement can vary.
Heat and sunlight will accelerate the deterioration process. Combing ice melt and salt will act as a catalyst speeding up the breakdown. Water which penetrates the surface can get into the base course to cause cracking and freeze-thaw cracks. Then oxidation starts breaking down the asphaltic binder inside the pavement.
Automobile & truck traffic creates the danger of gasoline and oil spillage, which will soften the asphalt and lead to its breakup. On the flip side, warm weather and tire traffic can kneed the surface helping the asphalt last longer. Proof of this is looking at low traffic areas crack and get brittle first. Driveways often do not get a lot of traffic.
What is oxidation?
What does Oxidation have to do with chip seal driveways?
About Our Services
Chip Seal Contractor
Chip seal for driveway and paths is the primary focus of this company. We are Boston based and serve the general area within a fifty-mile radius
How long does it take to install a chip seal driveway?
Your chip seal drive can be completed in as little as a day. This time frame is dependent on surface preparation if needed. Other factors are the weather and scheduling factors. Once we are able to start spraying the asphalt the work will progress quickly to completion.
How soon after completion can I drive on a chip seal driveway?
You will be able to pull your car into the drive right away! Regular use of the drive can begin in as little as an hour after application. Cool or humid weather could delay curing so the wait might be slightly longer in rare circumstances.
Is a Chip Seal Driveway Expensive?
Chip Seal driveways provide an elegant stone driving surface. The stone used controls the color. Based on what stone is selected this can be a big factor. Certain stones can be expensive if they are not sourced locally and have to be trucked in from a distance. A chip seal drive can be surprisingly affordable especially when you factor in the stylish look created warm look created by a chip seal drive.
The size of the project and preparation required controls some of the cost also. A small area is a higher cost per square foot in comparison to doing 2 miles of road since one takes a relatively high set up cost vs two miles is more of a production situation. A chip seal drive can be comparable to asphalt resurfacing. We find the deciding factor is the fact that chip sealing provides you with the ability to create a custom look for your home or property. Call us for a quote if you would like a chip seal driveway. We can go over the project variables with you such as size, location, layers, and existing base.
How does a chip seal driveway hold up during winter?
A chip seal driveway’s surface provides more traction for your tires than a traditional asphalt driveway. An asphalt driveway is compacted with a flat steel drum on a vibratory roller that creates a flat black smooth surface. A chip seal driveway has embedded stone compacted but not pushed all the way down into the asphalt. So you get more traction.
Here in New England, all driveways are constructed to withstand snow removal. Chip seal is no exception. Intelligent snow removal includes using ice melt when needed not down pressure with a plow truck to try and grind out ice. With standard snow plowing your snow removal contractor should always use proper equipment. This includes using plow blade shoes which will keep the plow slightly above the ground and help preserve the life of your drive.
Everyone has seen the tracks and gouges in an asphalt driveway when a car tries to burn through the snow by spinning the tires instead of easing off the gas when traction is lost. With the chip seal surface, you get traction.
What time of year is best to install chip seal driveway?
What time of year is best to install chip seal driveway?
Here in New England warm weather is important. Chip sealing requires an application of hot asphalt and if it was to be applied on frozen wet asphalt it just would not bond well or allow time to apply the stone before the liquid asphalt hardens. This is an extreme example but you get the point. As a rule of thumb, the best time is from May through October. Warm weather, dry base asphalt will ensure the most effective, durable application.
Somehow all construction projects finish with pressure to get the job completed paving is one of the last steps, but if the season is wrong you just need to wait.