If your Tom Sawyer, this should be as easy as making asphalt paving look like fun. Since this is probably not the case, you have to be inventive in coming up with ways to get a few hours of free labor from your friends. I can tell you trying to do this in mid July in one hundred degree heat is not a good idea. Spring and Fall with their cooler temperatures makes the work a lot easier to bear. You are going to need some basic tools that you may have in your garden shed. Two wire framed straight backed gravel or asphalt rakes, two short handled square shovels (not round point), a street broom, a metal five gallon pail with a metal bail, couple of gallons of kerosene or diesel fuel in a 5 gallon pail, and a pavement roller. The roller can be rented by the day from many good rental centers. Word to the wise, learn how to operate the roller before the asphalt is placed and is ready to roll. The roller work is what produces the final finished product.
You do not want lines and bumps and humps all over the final pavement. If you know anyone who has done any asphalt work before get him or her to be there. Bribe them with a free dinner or drinks for a week if you have to. A simple straight driveway ten feet wide and forty feet long will take four healthy, fit and active people to install the asphalt. There are no rest periods once the asphalt arrives at the house. Professionals use what is called a paving box that the dump truck dumps the hot asphalt into and the paving box spreads the asphalt in the required thickness over the entire width of the driveway at one time.
The laborers need to trim up the edges and hand tamp them, and pull back blacktop driveway left by the paving box and generally make the job look neat and clean. Once the asphalt is down, one person will use the roller to compress the hot asphalt into it’s final placement. Your going to do all the work of the paving box by hand. Keeping the asphalt level across the width of the driveway making sure there are no piles or humps left behind is back breaking and furious paced work.
It can melt the bottoms of your Vibram soled boots in seconds and blisters on your feet are common. The trick is to wear leather soled boots and to not stand on the hot asphalt for more than a few seconds. If your feet feel too hot, they are. A half hour before the asphalt supplier says they are coming, place a small amount of kerosene in the empty metal pail and light it using some old rags. Spray the shovels and rakes with kerosene and heat them in the lit pail being careful not to set fire to the wood handles.
Decide before hand blacktop driveways and who are shovelers. Hot asphalt will not wait for discussions. Once the truck arrives have him set his tailgate chains to spread the asphalt to the closest thickness you want the asphalt to be. Remember the asphalt will shrink once the roller compresses it. A typical home owner driveway is about an inch and a half thick after rolling. Start with two inches of asphalt on the driveway. The driver will be able to spread the asphalt but does no hand work. Once the asphalt is spread, he’s done. The work will be fast and furious until all the asphalt is raked level and shaped.
The roller should make each pass overlap half way onto the last lap it made. That keeps any bumps and ridges out of the finished top. Broom off any spillage from sidewalks or public roadways. Once cool, asphalt is very difficult to remove. Garage doors or landscaping stones for instance all need to be cleaned. Place any excess in a little piles on a piece of cardboard and it will be cake to clean up later.
In many cases, blacktop and concrete are the two most frequently used paving for driveways. When first laid both look nice and professional. After a couple of years, though, the two also have the inclination to split. So that you can set the material into position, both also typically call for you to employ a professional.