Residential Driveways

Residential driveways are small pavement sections intended for automobile use and parking with only an occasional medium truck.

Figure 1: Residential Driveways

Figure 2: Residential Driveways

Assumed Traffic

A low volume of low speed and stopped automobiles with an occasional medium truck.

Vehicle Type Vehicles
per day
per year
per year
Cars and Light Trucks 10 3,650 negligible
Medium Trucks and Buses occasional 10 negligible
Heavy Trucks and Buses negligible negligible negligible
Totals 10 3,660 negligible

Design Considerations

  • In areas of pavement where automobiles are frequently parked, a fuel resistant fog seal may be desirable to prevent fuel leaks from dissolving the top layer of asphalt binder.  Consult a paving contractor about the use of any sealant.
  • If unsure of subgrade condition, the design for “poor subgrade” should be used lessen the risk of premature failure.
  • Design driveways with a minimum slope of 2 percent (0.25 inches per foot).  Slopes less than this are difficult to construct and may not prevent pooling of water during wet weather.

Construction Considerations

  • Driveways should be compacted to a minimum of 90 percent TMD (Rice density).  Lower levels of compaction may result in driveways that will significantly compact under a parked car load or scuff as a result of turning an automobile’s wheels while it remains parked.
  • Driveways should be constructed with HMA and not cold mix asphalt.  Cold mix asphalt is typically used for emergency repairs and will often not stand up to even light automobile loads on hot days.  Turning an automobile’s wheels while it remains parked can considerably scuff cold mix asphalt.
  • Where there is the possibility of recurrent vegetation growth, a quality commercial grade herbicide should be used.

WAPA Pavement Note on Driveway Paving Scams

Unfortunately, salesmen going door-to-door offering to pave driveways at very low cost is a common home construction scam.  The typical scenario (but by no means the only scenario) begins with a salesman at a customer’s door offering to pave their driveway for a very low cost because they have some “left over mix” from another close-by job.  If the customer agrees to the work, the scam artist will often request payment up front or in cash.  They then either do a poor job using inferior equipment and materials, do an incomplete job and leave, or just leave without doing any work.  These scams typically result in unsatisfied consumers who end up paying for inferior work that often must be replaced. A driveway paving project should be treated like any other major home improvement project.  The Attorney General of Washington Consumer Protection Division has some basic guidelines for contractor selection.  Some of the driveway paving scam warning signs are:

  • Selling door-to-door.  Reputable HMA contractors will rarely if ever sell their product door-to-door.
  • Claiming they have “left over mix”.  Often, a scam artist will claim they have HMA left over from a previous job that will go bad if they do not use it so they must offer you a great deal.  Reputable contractors carefully compute their HMA requirements and rarely have substantial left over HMA.  Additionally, once HMA cools below about 175°F it becomes too viscous to compact.  Therefore, someone driving around with “left over mix” for several hours looking for a driveway paving job will likely have HMA that is uncompactable.  Poorly compacted HMA can result in a myriad of problems.
  • Pushing you to make a quick decision.  Reputable contractors will provide a quote before doing any work so that you may shop around.
  • Cash only sales.  Most reputable contractors take checks, and don’t require cash-only terms.
  • No contract offered.  Most reputable contractors will offer you a contract in advance of the work to be performed.
  • Deals that seem too good to be true.  If the quoted price seems very low, chances are the quality of work will also be quite low.

A quality hot mix asphalt driveway that is both functional and aesthetically pleasing can be built at a reasonable price.

Recommended References

  • Asphalt Institute.  Full-Depth Asphalt Pavement for Parking Lots, Service Stations and Driveways, 5th Edition.  IS-091.  Asphalt Institute.  Lexington, KY.  (
  • Asphalt Institute.  Full-Depth Asphalt Pavements for Private Driveways.  CL-11.  Asphalt Institute.  Lexington, KY. (AI Construction Documents)
  • Asphalt Institute.  Model Specifications for Small Paving Jobs. CL-2.  Asphalt Institute. Lexington, KY. (AI Construction Documents)