Asphalt Driveway Do Over - Is a Second Life Possible?
May 14, 2016 5:03 PM   Subscribe

My home driveway is old bulging, cracking asphalt. I want to remove at least part of it and replace it with packed stone and pavers. The asphalt companies I've called won't take the old asphalt - they say there's not enough for them to bother with. Are there any options for recycling this so it doesn't end up at the dump?

I've considered cutting it into blocks with a concrete saw and using the blocks to build a low retaining wall. Ideally I'd like to see it ground up and used as "recycled asphalt" - elsewhere or maybe even on my own driveway since I'm told recycled asphalt drains water (which the original asphalt doesn't - except where it's cracked and bulging, of course). But since the asphalt companies aren't interested in it, what are my options beyond hauling it to the dump? (Just for the sake of the discussion, we have a skid steer loader to assist with the job.)
posted by summerstorm to Home & Garden (5 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
When you say you called asphalt companies, do you mean paving companies or asphalt plants? In my area, the asphalt plant will take old asphalt (in chunks) for about $5/ton.

I'd try to re-use it, though -- if you can rent an asphalt grinder attachment for your skid steer, you could grind up the old driveway and use it for fill.
posted by bradf at 5:16 PM on May 14, 2016

Will the asphalt companies not accept it, or is it just that there's not enough to justify their coming to get it? Because if it's the latter, maybe you can drive it to them instead of to the dump?
posted by jon1270 at 5:33 PM on May 14, 2016

Asphalt plants, and they won't accept it.
posted by summerstorm at 5:45 PM on May 14, 2016

I would call contractors and find someone who has a milling machine to take it up. The big brand name one for small jobs like this is called an asphalt zipper. However it is likely to be pricey to get someone out with the equipment to do this unless you have a several hundred foot long driveway.

If you do find a heavy civil contractor willing to come out and do this the material you get makes for an almost perfect base course for putting pavers on. You will need to spread it just like you would conventional rock or sand and then compact it and the residual asphalt in the mix will lock together the gravelly stuff and it is pretty much impervious to water (which is what destroys roads/pavers is water washing out the base rock).
posted by bartonlong at 7:37 PM on May 14, 2016

Final update from the OP:
I thought you might like to know what we ended up doing. We rented a standing asphalt/concrete saw and made several long cuts across the driveway. We'll remove the asphalt between the cuts, break it up into smaller pieces, and use it in the bottom half of gabion boxes for short (up to 3') retaining walls. We're building the gabions out of concrete reinforcing wire and hog rings.

The top half of the gabions will be filled with the fist-sized and larger river rock, which is what our subsoil mostly consists of. The places in the driveway where we removed the asphalt we'll replace with pavers after installing a French drain at the downhill end.

It's a big project, but I think it will work well!
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 9:02 PM on June 19, 2017

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