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Base Removal for New Driveway?

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  • Jul 8th, 2020 8:18 am
Deal Addict
Aug 6, 2004
1816 posts

Base Removal for New Driveway?

Does the base of an existing asphalt driveway need to be removed/replaced when replacing the old asphalt driveway?

I was under the impression that it did but a contractor that I met for a quote said the only thing they do is lay additional gravel to level out any irregularities in the the surface and then lay 2 inches (compacted) asphalt on top.

The current driveway is a 20yr builder-supplied one that's wavy, cracked and rippled.
6 replies
Deal Addict
Mar 24, 2015
1313 posts
Ottawa, ON
Had our driveway done recently. They did not touch the base. Machine came to remove the old asphalt, there was gravel underneath the old asphalt. Then they cleaned the edges, removed the weeds, added gravel, then compacted/rolled, then added hot asphalt, levelled, rolled, cleaned edges with interlock.

The driveway was 17 yrs old. Cracked, wavy, and potholes. If you have an interlock apron make sure you level them before doing the asphalt.

We had a few days window between when they removed the old asphalt and when they came to add the new asphalt. Made levelling the interlock easier.
Deal Addict
User avatar
Feb 17, 2015
1144 posts
90.00° N, 135.00° W
Just curious @ckay1980, how much did you pay for this? single or double driveway?
Deal Addict
Apr 18, 2005
3513 posts
The key here is the base... if you can have them the the old driveway out.. add gravel and level it... then leave it for 6-8weeks.. and drive on it ... water it (if it does not rain).. you want it to settle ... then top with at least 4" of asphalt... if not more.

Sorry .. by level I mean roll it with the heavy equipment... not actually level.. as there needs to be a slope.
Deal Addict
Mar 24, 2015
1313 posts
Ottawa, ON
CuriousJack wrote: Just curious @ckay1980, how much did you pay for this? single or double driveway?
We paid $3100 for a larger double driveway. 4 car can park on the driveway but there's about a metre length of interlock in front of the garage.
Deal Fanatic
User avatar
Oct 12, 2007
7801 posts
OP: A new driveway is a lot of money but the base and site drainage is the key to its longevity. Paving companies typically don't care because base/drainage problems can be blamed on others and serious problems don't occur usually within their warranty period. Hate to be cynical but...

If you're confident that the base is good, re-levelling is all that is required. Good advice above to leave it for a couple of months after new crushed aggregate is added.

4" of asphalt would be a very good driveway but thinner can be okay if the base is a good depth, well prepared, and site drainage is excellent. My driveway sucks in one specific area because the drainage is so poor in that area. Otherwise, the base is fine.

It is, as they say, all about the base...
Sr. Member
Dec 7, 2009
507 posts
As other have said, the base is the key to the longevity of the driveway. You could put down 6" of asphalt but if the base is only 1.5-2" thick, the asphalt can develop low spots and unevenness. 2" (finished thickness) of properly compacted asphalt can last 15+ years if the base is solid and properly done. If you are not sure of thickness, dig up an area of your driveway and measure the base.