Overview

Generally speaking, asphalt surfaces are long-lasting products that can serve you well for many, many years. However, that doesn’t mean that they last forever. At some point, you might want to take out your asphalt installation, either to replace it with more asphalt or to do something entirely different with the space. For instance, if you decide that you would like to shrink your driveway in order to allow for a bigger yard, asphalt removal could be a project that lands on your to-do list.

Obviously, this is a task that can seem a bit intimidating at first. After all, asphalt is heavy, it can be difficult to break apart, and you are going to need somewhere to take it once it is pulled up. While asphalt removal might not be the easiest job in the world, it certainly isn’t impossible. Read on to learn more about completing this kind of project successfully.

Setting the Stage

If you are thinking of taking out the asphalt surface on your own, you might be tempted to grab a pick and just get started swinging away. That would not be the right approach, however, as even a demolition job such as this needs a detailed plan before it can begin. For one thing, you need to make sure it is going to be safe to dig underneath the surface of the asphalt. If there is a buried line under the surface that you are unaware of, you may do serious damage and put yourself in danger at the same time. Contact your local utilities to make sure you can dig safely, and have them mark any buried lines if necessary.

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Another piece of the preparation puzzle is to acquire the tools that are necessary for the job. If you are going to be taking out a relatively thin piece of asphalt, you should be able to get by with just a sledgehammer or a pickaxe – or both. On the other hand, for thicker pavement, it may be a good idea to opt for a jackhammer. You should be able to find a jackhammer that you can rent on an hourly or daily basis, which is far more affordable than purchasing your own for this one project.

Open Things Up

Getting started with asphalt removal is usually the hardest part of the job. As it sits now, your asphalt is one solid piece, and it is going to want to stay that way – at least at first. To give yourself a chance to break up the slab successfully, you need to provide it with somewhere to go, which means breaking off a piece at the edge to start the process. By looking at the pavement for a vulnerable edge that you can break you will be able to ‘relax’ the entire piece of asphalt.

Once you manage to break off a piece or two from an edge or corner, you should find the rest of the going significantly easier. That isn’t to say it will be easy, of course, as this is still difficult, physical work. Work in toward the center from the edge where you started, and pull away broken pieces as you go in order to clear your workspace. If you are only removing a small piece of asphalt, you should be able to have the project finished up in short order. Larger slabs, of course, are going to take more time, so you may want to call in some friends to help.

The Right Way to Dispose

Old, broken up asphalt should not just be tossed out, as it includes elements which can be harmful to the environment. Fortunately, there are asphalt recycling centers you can use to give your old asphalt a chance at a new life. This is a point that probably should have been included above, as you should really work out the disposal of your asphalt during the planning stages of your project. First, determine where there is an asphalt recycling center near you, and contact that facility for details. Next, figure out how you are going to transport the asphalt to the recycling facility you have selected. A small project could potentially be handled by a pickup truck, but larger jobs may need a bigger rig.

Calling for Help

The removal of a small piece of asphalt is a job that you can likely handle on your own, provided that you are in good physical condition and you have the right tools available. With that said, you don’t want to get in over your head trying to take out a large piece of asphalt, especially if you are working all on your own. When it is a large piece of pavement that needs to be removed, calling for professional help is a wise choice.

There are a couple of advantages to calling in a contractor to remove your asphalt pavement. For one thing, that contractor is likely to have experience with this kind of work. Having removed asphalt before, they will know what to watch for as they go, ensuring that the job is done right. Also, a professional contracting company with a crew is going to be able to complete the work much faster than a one or two-person DIY operation. Yes, you will have to spend some money to bring in a contractor, but that money will be well-spent when your large piece of asphalt is quickly removed from the property.

Before having asphalt removed, be sure to consider other options such as asphalt repair or resurfacing if you wish to keep the pavement in place. One of the great characteristics of asphalt is its ability to be repaired, so you should only look at removal as the right choice if the current surface is either unwanted or beyond repair. If you do decide that removal is the right way to go, take your time to plan the project and think carefully about whether this should be a professional or DIY job.