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Question DetailsAsked on 7/15/2017

Do you put plastic down when doing an asphalt drive way?

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NO - not needed on top (in fact new asphalt needs to be exposed to the air for the volatiles in the asphalt to dissipate and cure the asphalt) - and you do not want plastic under it because it will trap water getting in through cracks and cause potholingz and "pumping" of the asphalt when you drive on asphalt with a water bubble under it on top of the plastic. About the only time plastic would be used would be plastic garden edger sometimes used on uphill side to prevent runoff from running under or eroding under the edge of the asphalt, and rarely over the top of the asphalt for a day or so if needed to keep blowing sand or leaves or tree debris off it till it initial sets (though that can also make for ugly patterning of the asphalt surface, though that wears off pretty soon).

You are possibly thinking of the plastic put under basement and sometimes garage concrete slabs. In those cases, the plastic is a vapor barrier designed to keep ground moisture from wicking or passing as water vapor through the concrete into the house or flooring - basically keeping the water "out of the house". On a driveway, both top and bottom of the asphalt (or concrete) are "outdoors" so serves no purpose and would be harmful.

Concrete drives - same thing, except water curing with temproary plastic sheeting covering the concrete for 2-3 to ideally 5-7 days (depending on ambient temp and humidity) is a very good idea. Can result in significant strength increase, as much as 100% in some cases. But that is just to keep the concrete saturated till it cures (cures by absorbing water to form the concrete binding minerals, not by evaporating and drying as a lot of people think) - letting it dry before it has achieved 5-7 day cure significantly and permanently degrades its dstrength and freeze-thaw resistance. Not that many contractors properly cure it - most at most spray a "curing compound", a short-term sealer, on top and call it good - not even telling the homeowner to keep it as wet/damp as they can once it has "green cured" - which occurs about an hour after it is placed.

Answered 3 years ago by LCD

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