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Question DetailsAsked on 8/23/2016

How to fix bumps and lines from roller on the new driveway?

Just did new driveway, and there are some high spots (bumps), and lines from rollers. Can that be fixed ?

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1 Answer


If only a day ro two old AND cold-mix asphalt, not hot mix, use of a heavier or higher energy vibratory roller would probably even these out - but would have to be sure that it is not enough to start cracking and bulging the paving - a fine line on normal driveway construction. And the bulges would take a foreman who knows what he is doing to direct the roller operator - because the idea is to compact the bump down vertically, not to cause it to creep in front of the roller, which will cause cracking. Can take down minor bumps or gentle waves - not distinct "humps" or hummocks.

If hot mix asphalt, rerolling more than an hour or two (depending on ambient temp) after placement would definitely cause cracking and promote rapid breakup in a few years, so only an overlay would work in that case.

The bumps could indicate lack of or uneven or inadequate precompaction of the base material, soft subgrade, or using short passes with the compactor after placement - should do full-length runs to avoid waves and bumps. Can also be a problem if using a sidewalk sized roller on a driveway - should be no less than about 5 feet wide for a driving surface. Also waves can form on sloping drives where the rollear stops quickly or uses the vibratory function on the downhill pass.

The lines - sounds like the roller operator (and foreman) did not know their job and made too wide of a roller passes or did not compact back and forth across the full width at one time and at each pass, so they got more compacted material on one side than the other, leaving raised lines. Or they laid down one pass and compacted it before laying the next land and did not transition the rolling from done to uncompacted lane, leaving a distinct lane line. Could be ground out with a carbide or diamond grinder - look like a floor polisher and normally used to remove unwanted tooling marks or cold joint marks in slabs, or to prep slabs for high-end or polished concrete finishes. Then recoated with hot-applied sealer in the ground areas to replace the3 ground-off more asphalt-rich top layer which inhibits water infiltration.

Another fix - a total overlay (typically minimum 1-1/2" thick, down to about 3/4-1 inch possible with special small "topping lift" aggregate) - whether a hot asphalt tack coat is needed first would be determined by the cure time of the asphalt and whether it has been driven on (so hads had some road dust and dirt ground into it already) - usually is needed if cold mix is more than a day or two old, or hot mix more than a few hours old, depending on ambient temps. However, would take a good paving machine operator and some hand raking to get a smooth layer down while operating the paver over bumps and such before the overlay is rolled - or doing it entirely by hand from "tailgated" layear laid down by dumptruck, then hand raked out with driveway rakes, not regular garden rakes. (Driveway rakes are about 3-4 feet wide so avoid forming bumps and ridges/valleys like a narrower rake does).

One other option, though almost never done on residential size jobs, is grinding the asphalt surface down smooth with a milling machine - like the ones you see (usually at night and especially on highways) grinding up a few inches of asphalt for recycling or grinding an asphaltic overlay ovear concrete down to the concrete prior to repaving. Available from about 3-10 feet wide but cost a lot to mobilize and run so rarely used on such a small job.

My preference if one of my jobs had this problem, and probably the preference of most contractors duye to it being a lot quicker and less labor, would be the overlay - though you might have a bit of a problem convincing him it needs a hot asphalt (NOT sealer) tack coat first to bond the overlay, because most residential paving contractors would have to hire a specialty hot asphalt sealer subcontractor who does true "hot" asphalt spray coatings - in the 300-400 degree range application temperature. Some use emulsions (water mixed with asphalt) like normal asphalt sealers at 130 degrees or less - my opinion, you are wasting your time if you use an emulsion as a tack coat - should be pure asphalt, hot application.

For local professional consultation on this if contractor will not clean it up, or professional argument with the contractor on what is and is not acceptable performance, a Civil Engineering form (not an Angies List category) which has a civil or geotechnical engineer with a lot of paving design and inspection experience and is familiar with the Asphalt Institute paving manual.

Answered 3 years ago by LCD

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