A proper drainage system is paramount for preserving the life of any asphalt driveway, road, or walkway. Proper drainage will prevent cracking and potholes. When considering how to set up a proper drainage system, we consider two factors: surface drainage and subgrade drainage. Good surface drainage will protect the foundational subgrade drainage. The first person to realize this was John L MacAdam around the turn of the 19th century. MacAdam stressed proper drainage through the surface, subgrade, and sides of the pavement. Today, we have perfected his philosophy of pavement drainage to create asphalt driveways, walkways, and roads that drain properly and last for years.
The first step to creating proper surface drainage is to use the correct type of asphalt mix. Hot mix asphalt is a great type of asphalt for drainage because it is more impermeable. An intact surface leads to a dry and protected subgrade, so it’s very important if you find a crack or a pothole to fix it immediately to prevent further damage. The ideal pavement will be structured so that water can flow into a designed shoulder or storm drain. If water is allowed to pool at the edges of the pavement, it can reach the subgrade and damage it, no matter how perfect and water-resistant your surface is.
Good subdrainage can help pavement to stay strong for 10-15 years! Installing filters in drainage pipes is a great way to preserve your subgrade. Not only do filters help water to keep flowing consistently, they also catch fine particles of soil and contain them within your subgrade. When it comes to materials to be used for the subgrade, mortar sand is a highly popular choice. Grains of mortar sand are generally all the same size, which makes it easy to create a filter that will not allow the sand through. Proper subgrade drainage ensures that your foundation will not shift or sink, which creates potholes.
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