Traditional products like black asphalt are responding to consumer demand for style and good looks. We look into stamped asphalt, which like stamped concrete, is now available.
Since we're familiar with concrete and gravel driveways, we thought we would look into asphalt driveways. We're getting ready to renovate another home in the Washington DC area it seemed like a good idea to at least check it out. We were also prompted by a flyer we received in the mail from a company called Driveway Impressions.
According to the company, stamped asphalt can make that basic black asphalt driveway come to life in the color and pattern of your choice. Once more it's touted as less expensive. It should be if when you consider that it is much easier and takes less time to install.
Having installed a concrete driveway and stone walkway, we're pretty familiar with costs and the time it takes to do those jobs. We had an option to do stamped concrete, but because we were on a tight budget we chose not to.
What so special about Stamped Asphalt?
Driveway impressions claims that their stamped asphalt is:
- Stain resistant,
- Never needs sealing, and
- Comes in an assortment of colors and patterns.
There are basically four steps when installing stamped asphalt:
- Your driveway has to be prepared for the new asphalt. This involves removing the old asphalt, grading the driveway and ensuring that the subsurface is stable by applying sand or crushed rock,
- Once the hot asphalt is applied, then the design template is positioned, and imprinted into the reheated asphalt,
- The surface is then fortified and painted using Driveway Impression's Street Bonding Surfacing System called Street Print®, which is a patented process owned by PICK Integrated Paving Concepts.
From what we can tell the process is pretty straight forward as illustrated by the Street Print installation video.
We're not concerned about the actual process of laying the asphalt or stamping it. However, since Driveway Impressions is made up of franchisees, it might be a good idea to see how much experience your particular franchisee has with the Street Print process.
The color and sealant applied is called StreetBond. It's an advanced coating system is an epoxy-modified acrylic polymer technology. In plain English that means cement and some kind of water based polymer (plastic).
Once again, our concern is not so much with the coatings, but how it is applied. We think that Stamped Asphalt's time has come, but like anything in construction and home remodeling, much depends on the people doing the job.
We strongly recommend that you download the Street Print brochure [PDF] which discusses StreetBond as well and how it's supposed to be applied. Armed with this knowledge, you'll be able to see if Stamped Asphalt makes sense for your project and select a suitable franchisee to do the job.