9.22.2010

Jackhammer + Driveway = Success?

As you've seen from many of our outdoor project posts, our yard is consumed with our absurdly long driveway. It's an asphalt nightmare with room for five cars and has weird yellow paint lines, which we assume were to show a previous owner where to park, but you can't see when you're IN a car and parking it. Useless? Yes. Ugly? Totally. I've nagged asked S if we could rip up the top half of the driveway since day one. And now that the new shed is half on and half off the driveway the whole area looks even more ridiculous.

Last week I must have expressed a particularly convincing exasperated, "it haaaas to go" when S asked me what was topping the to-do list because when S got home from work on Friday he stopped by his parents' house to borrow a saw to cut the asphalt and a pickax. He chopped up a corner of the top of the driveway and found that the asphalt was only about an inch deep. Easy peasey.

Saturday morning S started at the driveway with the pickax while I was still asleep. He woke me up by calling me on the phone from outside to tell me that we had a brick driveway under the asphalt. How cool! "Maybe we'll build a patio at the top of the driveway instead of growing a lawn," we thought.
I used tailor's chalk to draw a straight line using a 4x4x8 as my edge where I wanted the driveway to end and our lawn or patio to begin.
At 7 on the dot S took out the saw with a masonry blade (it took 5 blades total) and cut the asphalt along my mark. Then while he continued with the pickax I measured and drew a line to keep a path along the side of the house so we could still easily wheel our trash and recycling cans behind the house and to keep any water runoff away from the foundation. After an hour S had made this much progress with the pickax:
And declared that he was going out to rent a jackhammer. You know how projects have a way of getting out of hand really quickly? We didn't know it yet, but this is where it happened for us. What was a borrow-some-tools and give it some good old manual labor project was about to cost us $60. $60 well spent dollars, because in another hour this is how much progress we made:
I carried armful after armful of asphalt and concrete chunk to a pile at the top of the driveway as S manned the beast.

We discovered that the entire driveway is brick and concrete and was covered with asphalt. Such a shame because I'm sure the brick looked amazing when it was in good repair. More importantly, we discovered that the asphalt was only an inch thick in one tiny area, which happens to be the area S checked before the project began. We found six inch thick pavement covered a large portion of the area, which is just about the same time we realized our project was totally out of hand and way off budget. We were going to have a mountain of asphalt to dispose of. Plus, the fill we had was definitely not going to fill the gaping hole we dug ourselves into.

Knowing that we might be able to reuse or sell them to recoup some costs, we rescued as many bricks as possible (about 300) and threw the rest in the growing discard pile.
I had a moment of sweet victory (ok another moment since this whole project really is my victory) when I convinced S to rip up the asphalt walkway running across our front yard (ugly and useless, my favorite combo). I cinched the deal when I pointed out that we had jackhammer already, had nearly an hour left before our four hour rental period was up, and that we'd have to spend another $60 if we decided to rip it up later.
 Score one for F.

Saturday night we pulled out our laptops and S searched for topsoil delivery while I searched for someone to take away our three to four cubic yards of asphalt: tons of asphalt. On one had we had a super successful day and were well on our way to making the yard look a lot better, but on the other had we were facing the reality that we were going to be shelling out more cash than we had planned. So was it a success or a failure?

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