5.04.2013

DIY Asphalt Driveway Removal, Part One

   When we bought our house I was rather indifferent to the semicircle driveway. There were so many other fires to put out, that I only noted the condition of the neglected pavement and that it probably should have been resealed some ten years ago. I researched the lifespan of a residential driveway and knew ours was at the end of its life. I did not budget for this expense and it fell far behind replacing the cedar roof that the crows were eating daily. I did some repairs and seal coated the asphalt trying to bide us more time.
  The real problem would show itself as we lived in the new house. We are located at the entrance of a busy neighborhood and our continuous drive provided a quick roundabout for lost motorists. To make the problem worse, there is a business plaza located across the street which amplifies the amount of misdirected traffic.
   I had gone as far as installing an industrial speed bump, hoping to deter drivers from the quick exit. I finally had it, when purely by chance, I witnessed two teenage drivers drifting sideways, racing through the narrow semicircle. They had to be going no less than 20 mph. At that moment, still reeling in complete disbelief of what I had just witnessed, I made the decision that the semicircle had to go. I began laying out ideas immediately.

DIY Asphalt Driveway Removal

   To start, I needed to cut break points in the pavement. This would define the new edges of the walkway I was creating. I needed to cut a minimum of 100' of linear asphalt and some concrete. After getting a reasonable, yet high quote from a local paving expert, I realized that I needed to figure out how to do this myself. Ultimately, it was cheapest for me to buy a low-end Skil saw and a 3-pack of DeWalt masonry blades. This was cheaper than renting a concrete saw while yielding similar results.
   Fortunately, I have one of the nicest, most generous neighbors ever. He gladly pitched in and offered to haul away the broken up slabs. The most I could offer him was to help, when he in turn removed his semicircle drive, which was a mirror image of ours and the source of his headaches.   
   I laid out my lines directly on the pavement with chisel point Sharpies, The lines remained for a couple days until all the cuts were made. Now it was the moment of truth, could I easily break up the pieces?...Yes! and once I got going with the pry bar, I was unstoppable. I do recommend that you have a landscape plan before moving forward because there is a significant amount of compacted road mix under the pavement. I knew that I was going to put large river rock on top so I did not need to remove it. My neighbor decided to put in grass, so we had to excavate several inches of material. This also resulted in us needing to haul in several yards of topsoil.
   When laying out my perimeter for the new drive and walkway, it occurred to me that not only would there be less to shovel in the winter, there would also be less asphalt to seal coat. Granted this is not doable for everyone, but I wanted to let you know about my interesting solution. The second part of this story will cover the hardscaping and the resolution of the newly unearthed space.

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