When it comes to choosing materials to construct your new driveway, asphalt is one of the very best, and many homeowners choose asphalt driveways for their incredible durability, low prices and exceptional traction, even in wet weather. However, an asphalt driveway can't just be laid down by any cowboy with a bucket of hot mix; conventional asphalt is largely impermeable to water, and a poorly designed asphalt driveway can create consistent problems with slow drainage and puddles of standing water during wet weather.
Fortunately, preventing these water drainage issues is a very simple matter, and you have a number of options at your disposal to prevent them from occurring. Talk over your drainage concerns with your chosen asphalt driveway contractor, as they will have the expertise to help you decide which of the following options is best for you.
To the untrained eye, an asphalt driveway is perfectly flat, but any asphalt driveway installed by a reputable contractor will be slightly higher down its centre line. While this central camber is largely imperceptible, it is very effective at preventing drainage problems, and allows rainwater that falls on the driveway to swiftly drain to the sides of the driveway and into the soil. If the soil your property is sited on has reasonable drainage characteristics and is not rich in absorbent clay, this is often the only measure you need to take to prevent drainage problems.
If the soils around your driveway aren't absorbent enough to handle severe rainfall, installing simple channel drains that run the length of your driveway is a simple and inexpensive solution. These simple drains resemble miniaturised trenches, and direct rainwater away from waterlogged soil and out into the road where it can be handled by municipal storm drains.
Most asphalt driveway installers are well-versed in installing supplementary channel drains, so you may be able to have the same contractor construct your driveway and the drains that service it, a good way to spend time and money. If you are worried about trip hazards, simple metal grates can be placed over the drains to cover them; many of these grates have decorative designs which can enhance the good looks of your new driveway.
If you anticipate severe problems with water drainage around your driveway that cambers and channel drains cannot fix, choosing a porous asphalt driveway may be the way to go. This unique form of asphalt is just as strong and durable as conventional asphalt, but has larger pores in its surface which allow water to drain directly through the driveway and into the soil and aggregate below. Commonly used to construct car parks, porous asphalt is now carried by many asphalt contractors servicing residential properties, and tends to be only slightly more expensive than regular asphalt.