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A method of using recycled asphalt to pave driveways is cost effective and aesthetically pleasing.

The Dream Driveway

by Sharma Haoward
Norwich Bulletin - Coming Home Section
Friday, April 25, 2008

Homeowner Bob Nilsen of Mystic knew he wanted something different than a traditional black-top driveway for his home, but soon found out the look he longed for - crushed stone - was out of his price range (it cost more than $100,000) for his large driveway (300 feet).

Custom driveways - made from recycled asphalt - can be colored to match the surroundings and cost less than traditional crushed stone.

Nilsen's search ended with Larry Torti, a paving contractor out of Rhode Island who has devised a "green" method of utilizing recycled crushed asphalt, which he secures by spraying on liquid asphalt, then adding a final application of colored agate that imparts an aesthetic appearance.

"I liked the look of crushed stone, but I also wanted a driveway that was somewhat permeable so water would go down through it so I wouldn't have run-off as I did before," Nilsen said.

The color Nilsen and his wife, Martha, chose was tan, because it complements the color of their house, which is a natural shade of a tan/gray stain, with beige trim.

"We also have a lot of combinations of shrubs and grass and a stone wall, and it fits in with a more rustic look, rather than a paved driveway that was just a black driveway," Nilsen said.

His driveway is situated on a ledge, which caused some undulations in his old blacktop driveway, causing it to crack and develop sink holes. Becuase of these conditions, he was looking for a driveway that had more flexibility, which he personally felt the Torti system would give him. Traditional blacktop, he said, comes in thick 2-to-3-inch asphalt sheets.

"This material won't crack; it's not as rigid and thick," Nilsen said about the Torti system.

Torti, who is based in Chepachet, R.I., created the unique application - based on the macadam process - in 1971, well ahead of his time concerning recycled material. He has been featured twice on "This Old House" on PBS. Both homes he outfitted for the TV program were in Massachusetts. He is assisted by Karen Maddalena, who comes to homeowners homes to give free qhotes. He also has a crew that has been with him for 18 to 20 years, but Torti, who said he looks forward to work everyday, supervises each job.

The crew removes the old blacktop, then grades the driveway. Next, they lay down a layer of recycled asphalt, which they roll with a 3,000-pound asphalt roller. Once they spray it with liquid asphalt - they heated to 360 degrees - they can then broadcast the 3/8-inch-thick stone on top. The stone is spread by hand from a chipper box, which rolls backwards onto the driveway, and the irregular-shaped stones, like arrowheads, key into eachother.

The colors offered are lovely blends of stones, which combinations can be blues and grays, barn red, tan, blush and mauve.

Once completed, the driveway is tough enough to withstand a 30-ton truck rolling along it with no cracking. It also gives excellent traction during icy conditions and requires minimal maintenance - just a new coat of liquid asphalt and grit stone every decade. The color can be changed if the homeowner wishes.

And Torti, who said he takes care to curve driveways and make them aesthetically pleasing to the landscape, said a lot of people will hire landscaper architects, "but they don't have to."


Contact Us: Larry Torti Paving 88 Tourtellot Hill Road Chepachet, RI 02814
Call 401-568-1500

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