How to Mix Your Own Driveway Asphalt
A stone driveway can look elegant, but the surface gets treacherous when it snows or rains. As such, it is better to use driveway asphalt instead. This material is less aesthetically pleasing, but it offers traction in snow and other inclement weather, and it can last for years without needing to be repaired if it's mixed correctly. Using asphalt can get expensive, however, costing you thousands of dollars you might not have for someone to come out and apply it. Fortunately, this is unnecessary; you can make your own asphalt at home by yourself, and the article below will show you how.
Step 1 – Heat the Asphalt Cement
The main part of driveway asphalt is the asphalt cement. This material is a petroleum product, generally left over after the processing of oil has been completed. It is very thick when it cools, so it has to be heated to a very high temperature in order to mix it with your aggregate. A furnace is the best place to heat it in, but an oven will also work if you are only patching cracks and potholes. Place the cement in a metal drum and inside the furnace (kiln or oven) and heat it to about 300-degrees Fahrenheit. At this temperature, the material begins to liquefy and can be poured and mixed.
Step 2 – Combine the Aggregate
The aggregate component consists of different pieces of gravel and sometimes sand. All of these can be found at your local home improvement center, typically in the landscaping section. Add one part whole gravel to two parts crushed gravel in either a wheelbarrow or a barrel mixer to thoroughly combine them (use a rake to mix if you're doing it in a wheelbarrow). Try to get a good mixing, as the whole gravel will naturally sink to the bottom; however, it can be a good idea to keep a good portion at the center for strength.
Tip: Buy extra gravel and set it aside since you will also need to use it for a base below the mixed asphalt. Dig out the area for the driveway and place a layer of whole gravel first. This layer should be about four to eight inches, depending on your soil content, once it is compacted. Grade it also, to slope the driveway properly for drainage. You will then only mix crushed gravel to pour on top of the whole gravel. Always be sure to compact this layer as well.
Step 3 – Mix Driveway Asphalt
Now that the gravels are mixed together and the asphalt cement is liquid, you can mix the two together. Make sure you are wearing old clothes, preferably thick ones in layers, and other safety articles like work glasses, thick work gloves, and a respirator. If the asphalt gets on your clothing or skin, it will severely burn you, so be very careful with it.
When you are confident that you are ready to proceed, remove the oil from the furnace. Take it to the wheelbarrow or barrel mixer and slowly pour it over the gravel. Turn the mixer on or use the rake to properly mix it in the wheelbarrow until there is no stone color remaining. Once this is complete, your driveway asphalt is ready for use.