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Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Why should I pave my roadway, driveway, parking lot, or cart path?
Pavement is not only aesthetically pleasing to look at, but also serves a real purpose. Pavement allows for a smooth surface, providing an attractive and comfortable ride.
Q: What is the asphalt index?
The volatility in cost for oil and oil related products is well known. Thus, the asphalt index was created to provide a benchmark for material pricing on any project at the time of quotation and is used to calculate an adjustment in the cost for materials at the time of construction. The index is a third party calculation based on the average posted price of the liquid asphalt and is typically generated on a monthly basis by the Department of Transportation (DOT) in the state of which the project resides. The asphalt index provides equal benefit for both the consumer and contractor by eliminating material cost speculation when the contractor quotes a project. Otherwise, the material supplier and contractor may inflate their pricing respectively to cover the unknown cost inflation (or deflation) for materials when quoting projects scheduled to be completed in the more distant future.
Q: How long will my new asphalt service last?
Under normal conditions asphalt pavement should last about 10 – 20 years. Pavement life can vary greatly depending on climate, base conditions, amount and type of traffic and pavement maintenance
Q: Is sealing important?
Sealing protects your new asphalt from a variety of elements. Gasoline and oil leaks from your vehicles deteriorate and weaken the asphalt, leaving visible, unpleasant stains. Rain is a key player to raveling; unsealed pavement allows water to penetrate the surface. After a 1year curing period, we recommend sealcoating every 2 to 3 years
Q: How soon can I use my newly paved surface?
We understand that it is not always possible, but, we recommend staying off the new pavement until the surface temperature reaches the ambient air temperature. In the heat of the summer, the surface may experience some blemishes due to use of a vehicle’s power steering while not moving. These are only surface blemishes and do not affect the structural integrity. The blemishes will “work in” with time.
Q: What kind of warranty is provided?
Terra Firma has the confidence to stand by its work with one of the strongest guarantees in the industry, offering a one-year warranty on materials and workmanship for all asphalt paving projects.
Q: Why should I hire Terra Firma of Delmarva?
Terra Firma has been family owned and operated since 1972. We take the time and the steps necessary to ensure a proper foundation to support your blacktop driveway before we begin your paving. The right asphalt paving equipment is brought out to your asphalt paving job to provide all the necessary tools for the proper grade, foundation strength and blacktop material required to do your residential asphalt paving job right. Proper drainage is key to a long lasting asphalt driveway or parking area. We understand the complexity of drainage and how critical it is to each project.
Q: Why should I consider asphalt paving?
Asphalt is designed to ensure your driveway, roadway, or parking lot lasts. It can handle busy traffic with relatively simple maintenance, and is smooth, quiet, and versatile. According to statistics, 85% of parking lots in the U.S. are asphalt.
Q: How do I know I’ve chosen the “right” contractor?
The most reliable and unbiased way to check an asphalt pavement and site work contractor’s reputation and strength is to contact the local aggregate and asphalt material producers. The contractors that the producer recommends will be those who frequently purchase the product (evidence of a good reputation) and consistently maintain the best payment history (evidence of financial strength).
Q: How long will my project take to complete?
The length of time to complete a project depends on the size and scope of the work involved. We excel in our ability to accommodate the needs of our clients by providing crews and equipment as required to meet even the most demanding schedules. If the need arises, we have the ability to utilize resources from our other divisions to adequately provide for your project.
Q: When does my asphalt need to be repaired?
Properly constructed and maintained asphalt can last 20 to 30 years. Heavy traffic, oil and gas spills, sub base failure, water damage, droughts, heavy rains, expansion and contraction all conspire to erode and break up your parking surfaces. Seal coating can prolong your asphalt’s lifespan. Repairing your asphalt and concrete is not only important for safety and fire code purposes, it also enhances your property value and the impression you make on customers.
Q: What about cracks in my asphalt?
Cracks can and should be repaired immediately. Cracks in pavement require immediate attention and specialized sealant materials. No matter what the temperature, moisture in the cracks will cause significant damage to your pavement. These cracks become broken up pavement and also erode sub base over time.
Q: Can plans or specifications be submitted with a project?
To get the most accurate estimates from subcontractors, detailed project plans and specs should be submitted with each project. The simple and easy to use online form will include the option to attach plans and specs. Those plans can be uploaded with any of the following extensions: .doc, .docx, .xls, .xlsx, .pdf, .bmp, .jpg, .dwf, and .tiff
Q. How long should I wait before walking or driving on my new driveway?
Since the liquid asphalt in blacktop needs time to harden and cure, usually 6-12 months, your driveway will remain soft and pliable until then. You may walk on your new driveway immediately, but keep automobile traffic off of it for at least 3 full days and longer in hotter temperatures. Even after the black top has cured, do not expect it to be as hard as concrete.
Q. It seems like my driveway gets soft sometimes. Is there a problem with the asphalt that was used?
Your new blacktop will soften and harden as temperatures rise and fall. Watering down your driveway with a hose on hot days will cool and temporarily harden the blacktop. This is helpful but not mandatory. If soapsuds should appear, do not be alarmed. This is a reaction between the diesel fuel found in blacktop and a high chlorine content found in some city water. Although every effort is made to avoid puddles in your driveway, some small ones are inevitable depending on the natural slope and drainage of your ground.
Q. How can I prevent scaring on my new driveway?
Cars starting out too fast, pulling in too quickly, and just plain driving too fast can scar blacktop. During the first 6-12 months while the blacktop is curing, don’t park in the same spot every time. Do not turn your steering wheel back and forth when your car is not moving. Avoid using jack stands or car ramps unless a piece of plywood is placed under them to help distribute the weight.
Q. My neighbor got a new driveway about two months ago. I can already see tire marks where they park. How can I avoid this from happening when my driveway is resurfaced?
Excessive weight from large heavy vehicles can depress your new blacktop. Keep oil trucks, concrete trucks and any other heavy trucks off your new driveway. When storing campers for long periods of time, place a piece of plywood under the tongue jack and also under the tires.
Q. The house I just bought has has holes in the driveway. They look like a pogo stick was used!
Lawn chairs, and bicycle or motorcycle kickstands exert weight on concentrated areas and will create holes and depressions in your new driveway. Especially watch out for pointy high heels during the warm months when your driveway is new.
Q. The edges of our driveway are cracking. What caused that?
The edges are the weakest part of your driveway due to the lack of side support. Avoid driving on the edges since they will crack and crumble in time. We suggest building up the sides of your driveway with topsoil. This will support the edges and enhance the appearance after grass is grown.
Q. Why is the texture of our pavement smooth in some places yet looks rough in others?
Your driveway may look smoother in some areas than in others because of the makeup of blacktop. Blacktop has various sizes of stone, sand, liquid asphalt, and other ingredients that cause a varied texture of the surface. Also, blacktop areas that have been raked and spread with hand tools may appear different in texture from those spread by machine. Terra Firma works with quality materials to avoid this as much as possible.
Q. What can I do with the holes left in our driveway from a leaky transmission?
Avoid gasoline, oil, anti-freeze, power steering and transmission fluid spills and leaks. These will dilute the liquid asphalt in your blacktop. Any hole left by these spills should be filled with cold patch. Any hairline cracks that may have developed over the winter due to the contraction and expansion of the ground should be filled with crack filler. These products can be purchased from your local building supply store. If the damage is more extensive, you will want a professional repair.
Q. What will the asphalt look like when you are finished?
When brand new, the surface is very black. Sometimes roller marks may be noticed. Some areas where hand work was done may be a bit more visible. After a short time of usage, the surface will blend to a very smooth appearance.
Q. Can you perform asphalt repairs in the winter?
Some work can be done. Usually a temporary repair is done with a proper repair done in prime weather conditions
Q. What’s the difference between permeable and porous asphalt?
Porous asphalt allows water to pass-through the asphalt to a specially prepared gravel base. Permeable pavement provides a method to reduce runoff over impervious surfaces that allows for the management and treatment of storm water on-site while creating a usable area.
Q. How do you decide what type of asphalt should be used in my project?
On most Municipal and new Commercial sites, the specification for the product is provide by the architect or engineering firm.
Q. What do you do with the old asphalt?
Old asphalt is returned to a recycle facility. At one time, old asphalt was used primarily to build temporary roadways in landfill sites. Now, all recycled asphalt and “crushed reclaim” is a valuable product. Used in various amounts and formulations, reclaimed asphalt is found in many of the asphalt mixes.Municipal projects all require a percentage of recycled asphalt in the product. Addition of reclaimed asphalt has been found to improve asphalt mixes, extending longevity and enhancing performance.
Q. Do you offer parking lot striping?
Yes we do. We are equipped to handle any size striping job using the most modern spray equipment available. A newly striped parking lot puts the finishing touch on any commercial paving or sealcoating project.
Q. What is Asphalt Milling?
The milling process is the controlled removal of asphalt pavement to a predetermined depth, slope and/or specified thickness. The milling machine actually grinds down the existing pavement, and the ground down pavement particles are hauled off to the asphalt plant to be used as recycled raw materials in the manufacturing of new asphalt.
Q. What are catch basins?
A part of a storm water drain system which collects surface water and feeds it into the main drain line system to deter any overflow of water.
Q. What is a channel drain?
The collection and disbursement of excess surface water on areas such as patios and driveways.
Q. What is a drywell?
An underground structure that disposes of unwanted water, most commonly storm water runoff, by dissipating it into the ground, where it merges with the local groundwater.
Q. What are french drains?
A common drainage system, these are primarily used to prevent ground and surface water from penetrating or damaging critical structures while also moving unwanted standing water away from your home’s foundation and other sensitive areas.
Q. Describe what grading is.
Updating the pitch or slope that is used to direct storm water runoff away from your home’s foundation and other areas.
Q. Can you do Repairs on an existing drain Line?
Repairs can be conducted on most cracked or broken drain lines. If your drain lines are irreparable, we will provide you with alternative solutions.