What Causes Asphalt Heaving Underneath Residential Driveways In Cortlandt Manor, New York



What Is It?

Frost heaving is a very common winter problem that is currently widespread throughout Westchester/Putnam Counties. It occurs when the freezing and thawing effects of frost result in the formation of ice pockets underneath the asphalt in the sub-base. As the ice pockets grow, they start to push the asphalt up, which causes heaving and cracking in the asphalt. Over time asphalt damaged by heaving will crack in a pattern that is referred to as “Alligator Cracking”, cracking that resembles the hide of an alligator, interconnected or interlaced.  Driveways that suffer from heaving and aren’t properly maintained will continue to deteriorate with each upcoming winter. As these cracks proliferate, they will allow water to enter under the asphalt, thus ruining a smoothly paved driveway. 

Other Related Issues

 For many homeowners, water will enter underneath their driveways anywhere the asphalt meets another surface and forms a joint. A joint is a space between two layers of asphalt. Joints may appear small at first, but they can eventually become large enough to allow enough water to slip underneath and cause problems. Asphalt joints will commonly form in certain locations. The most common place to look for them is where the asphalt meets another surface, such as concrete. Garage floors are often the root cause for heaving in residential driveways since over time the asphalt settles and shifts slightly away from the concrete floor forming a gap. Driveways that meet concrete sidewalks are also prone to heaving for the same reason. Many homeowners have Belgian Blocks or stone pavers lining the outside of their driveways which can contribute to this problem. The curb is another place where joints typically form because water frequently flows towards the curb depending on the grade of the driveway. Persistent running water and ice over time will cause erosion and will open joints against the curb of the driveway.

Fixing the Problem

The severity of the cracking/upheaval caused by heaving will dictate how the problem should be fixed. Small spots with minimal cracks can be fixed by saw cutting around the cracked area and laying down an asphalt patch. However extensive cracking and/or upheaval throughout the entire driveway needs more extensive evaluation, to determine if there are underlying drainage issues or sub-base repairs that need to be addressed.




Winter Maintenance And Care For Your Stone Pavers In Somers, New York

Stone Pavers can add a splash of rusticity to the exterior of your home. They come in a wide variety of  designs that will suit any home’s look and style. They are also remarkably durable, can withstand extreme weather conditions, are resistant to cracking/physical damage from falling/moving objects, and most are fairly stain resistant to spills. However, like asphalt driveways, if they’re not given the proper cleaning and seasonal maintenance they require, you will start to notice physical changes in their appearance over time. Here are a few simple steps you can take in order to properly care for your stone pavers and keep them looking new for years to come.

Winter Maintenance

Stone pavers can withstand freezing cold, snow, ice, and sleet here in Somers, New York during the cold winters. Winter maintenance for stone pavers is as simple as following these steps.

  • De-icing Products: Using the proper de-icer on stone pavers is critical and it must be applied properly to effectively melt ice and snow.
  • Sodium Chloride (NaCl): Sodium chloride is commonly known as “rock salt” and will melt away ice that freezes on your pavers. It is best used in cold temperatures as low as 20 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Calcium Chloride (CaCl2): Calcium chloride is a great alternative to rock and is more effective in colder temperatures that are below 20 degrees Fahrenheit.

While most stone pavers are resistant to physical wear from de-icers, they require cleaning.

  • Apply de-icing products in a minimal amount to melt ice and snow.
  • Leftover de-icing chemicals should be swept and removed from the stone pavers after the ice and snow have melted.
  • Avoid using de-icers that are not recommended for stone pavers such as magnesium-based products.
  • Washing stone pavers after the winter season, with a simple soap and water solution, is highly recommended. You can use a power washer to effectively remove any leftover de-icing chemicals.

Snow Removal

When clearing away snow, a plastic shovel with a plastic or rubber blade protector is ideal for small walkways and patios. For larger driveways, snowplows should have rubber blade protectors to avoid scratching the pavers.




Consider A Belgian Block Apron For Your Home’s Driveway In Yorktown, New York

What Is An Apron?

The Apron of your driveway is where the driveway meets the street pavement. There are several ways that you can transform that plain patch of asphalt by removing the section of driveway that meets the street curb with a more modern, classic look. Aprons are a driveway feature often installed to provide additional support for the driveway surface while making it more aesthetically pleasing. In Westchester County, driveways can be problematic in areas with heavy precipitation. As a result, they may get slippery or have puddles of water start to pool on them. Driveway aprons are meant to protect driveways from extreme weather conditions and help them last longer by preventing water damage.

Belgian Block Aprons

Belgian blocks are a popular go-to for homeowners here in Westchester County. They’re commonly installed in the place of curbs along driveways, streets, and paths. Many residential homeowners in Yorktown have Belgian-block aprons. These aprons add more than style; they also provide a visual transition from the blacktop of the residential streets to the homeowner’s driveway.


Why you should choose Belgian Block?


Driveways aprons constructed with Belgian blocks are very sturdy and weather resistant. They do not crack like asphalt or concrete, are stain-resistant, and are not worn down over time by rain, ice, or snow.

Curb Appeal

Providing a classic, rustic look for your driveway apron is easily achieved with Belgian Blocks. They come in a variety of colors from whites, greys, browns, and even reds and will compliment any other mason designs that may be on your property. In addition, the patterns and designs that can be achieved by setting them are endless which can complement your style of living and make your driveway stand out. Two common designs here in Yorktown are 90-degree Herringbone and Running Bond.


          90-Degree Herringbone                                         Running Bond


Easy to Replace

Cracking and potholes can be ongoing problems for older driveways, especially where the apron of the driveway meets the street. Luckily maintaining a Belgian Block apron is simpler, easier, and more cost-efficient long term. If one stone gets chipped, damaged, cracked, or discolored you can easily remove and replace it without touching the other stones.

Fall Road Paving In Somers, New York

Fall Paving

Northern Construction resurfaced several main roads in Somers New York.






Resurfacing A Bus Transportation Lot At John Jay High School In Katonah, New York.

Northern Construction was hired to pave the lower transportation bus lot at John Jay High School in Cross River New York.


Spring Maintenance For Your Driveway In Westchester County, New York.

Spring is the time of new beginnings, and homeowners in the northeast will soon begin the process of spring cleaning and getting their homes ready for warm weather. Spring is here and as the weather warms up, you’ll begin noticing the damages left behind on your asphalt driveway from the relentless cold. Spring is the perfect time to refurbish your driveway, whether you decide to have it seal coated or just want to fill in any cracks that may have formed from ice. Here are some ways you can get your driveway looking its best just in time for the warm weather.



  • Clean The Driveway- Debris like dead leaves and sticks commonly find their way into our driveways at the end of Fall before the arrival of snow and ice
  • Power Washing– A good power washer will help to remove embedded salt, dirt, silt, and other deicing chemicals from your driveway
  • Removing Weeds-Weed encroachment is a common occurrence in driveways with lots of cracks and potholes. Remove all weeds first before applying crack filler
  • Applying Crackfiller-You can fix smaller cracks by filling them with liquid crack filler. However, in the case of larger cracks, you can use a cold patch to fill potholes, but a cold patch shouldn’t be a permanent solution to fix potholes. Large potholes can expand rapidly, especially with the arrival of heavy rain in the spring, so consider asking for help from a local contractor. The Northern construction team will provide you the best advice for filling potholes based on the pre-existing condition of your driveway.
  • Seal Coating– Seal coating your driveway is an excellent way to extend the life of asphalt and maintain its black, smooth, and shining appearance. Seal coating sealers prevent oxidation of the asphalt surface by forming a defensive outer skin and averting the penetration of water, salt, and other de-icers. Sealers act as a protective shield on the asphalt to guard the driveway against the deteriorating effects of oil, gasoline, and various other harsh chemicals substances.

Get Your Driveway Sealcoated This Spring!

Spring is considered the best time of the year to get your driveway seal coated for many reasons. 

  • Durability & Elasticity– Having your driveway seal coated in the spring will allow the sealer to bond with the strongest durability and elasticity to the pavement. Spring is considered the best season since the warming weather brings mild temperatures in the high fifties and low sixties which are ideal temperatures to apply asphalt sealers.
  • Curb Appeal– After the snow melts it will reveal the damages left behind from ice and salt. Now It’s time to show your asphalt pavement some attention and give it the shining new look it once had. A freshly sealed driveway or parking lot will make your home or building’s curb appeal stand out like never before.

How To Boost Your Home’s Curb Appeal In Westchester, New York

Things To Consider Before Selling Your Home

So you’re ready to sell your home. Most homeowners want to get the most money for what their home is worth, and there are many factors that contribute to your home’s market value. One of those factors is curb appeal. Now you may be asking yourself what exactly is curb appeal? Curb appeal is a term used to describe the general attractiveness of a home’s exterior from a prospective buyer. The Northern Construction team is here to inform you of different ways you can increase your home’s curb appeal.


Installing Unilock Or Concrete Pavers

Pavers add a classy, rustic look to your home and can boost the value of your property significantly. Most pavers are utilized for the creation of walkways, patios, and sometimes even driveways. Northern Construction has over 25 years of experience installing Unilock, stone, and concrete pavers and can assist you in deciding where your pavers can be installed outside your home to maximize your property’s curb appeal.

Consider Installing Bluestone

Bluestone is a highly desirable choice by many homeowners in Westchester County. It’s readily available, durable, attractive, and ideal for all kinds of uses including patios, pool decks, stone steps, or entryways. Its natural earth-tone colors are gracious and complement almost any exterior landscape design. Its rough surface also means that it rarely gets slick or slippery even when covered in snow.

Resurfacing Your Driveway

A new driveway is the first thing a prospective buyer will notice outside of your home and can make a huge difference in boosting curb appeal. Before you consider having your driveway resurfaced, choose a reputable contractor to visit your home and give you a free estimate. Northern Construction has been proudly servicing homeowners in Westchester and Putnam Valley for over 25 years and with our expertise, we will give you a fair price based on your driveway’s current condition.



Why You Should Never Apply Rock Salt to Stone Pavers In Bedford, New York.

With the upcoming winter arriving shortly, homeowners in Westchester County are preparing to stock up on rock salt and de-icers. Unfortunately, many homeowners are unaware of the damages that salt and de-icers can cause to interlocking pavers. The Northern Construction team is here to inform you about the damages de-icers can cause to your stone patios and walkways.


Flaking occurs when salt damages masonry surfaces causing them to scale and flake.


Salt crystals left on a concrete surface will slowly dissolve the surface leaving a pockmark. If there is an interlocking paver patio or walkway on your property salt will cause damage because pavers are pressed concrete products.

Color Bleaching-

Rock salt and certain de-icers will cause discoloration to surfaces. As a result, the surfaces may look like they were bleached. This is a notorious occurrence when salt is left to sit natural stone products such as bluestone. This bleaching effect can result in small discolored spots or even discolor an entire stone.


What De-Icers are Safe?

Here are some great alternatives to consider to keep your pavers safe.

Calcium Chloride-

One of the benefits of calcium chloride is it has a freezing temperature of -25°, which makes it an excellent choice for those looking to melt ice quickly. It works exceptionally well for people who live in freezing climates during the winter.

Magnesium Chloride

Magnesium chlorides freezing temperature is that of -13°, which makes it one of the better alternatives to handle ice in the coldest temperatures. Because it releases 40% less chloride into the environment, it is known to be environmentally safe for plants and animals. It’s great for homeowners with pets and it also leaves very minimal residue and doesn’t track as easily as rock salt.


How To Prevent Puddles From Forming In Your driveway In Mt. Kisco, New York.

Water Pooling In Your Driveway?

This can happen for a number of reasons, and unfortunately one of the common causes is from the asphalt not being pitched properly. When there’s a low spot in your driveway, water will always travel to that low spot before it can pour off the surface of the pavement. Enough rainfall can cause pools of water to occur, and in the colder months, those pools of water will freeze turning into ice. Ice expands and causes these sunken low spots to enlarge and create more problems over time.

Is there a Solution?

Yes, there are several ways to fix these issues! low spots can be fixed by having them professionally filled. If there is a spot that is too large to be filled, another alternative is to add a catch basin drain to collect and reroute water. Catch basins are very ideal for large irregularly shaped driveways where water may flow in multiple directions to different low points.

Why Choose Northern Construction? 

 The Northern Construction team specializes in driveway drainage installation and repair. If you call us today we will give you an estimate from one of our staff members who will provide you with the answers to any of your problems. With our expertise, we will gladly provide you the best service and pricing suitable for your needs.



What Is Asphalt?

What Is Asphalt?

Asphalt is known as bitumen. It’s a sticky, black viscous liquid or semi-solid form of petroleum and its primary use today is for road construction. Its function is to serve as a glue or binder mixed with aggregate particles to create asphaltic concrete. There are natural asphalt deposits that do occur in certain locations around the world, but most of the asphalt used today for paving comes from petroleum crude oil.

Is Blacktop And Asphalt The Same?

The materials used to make asphalt and blacktop are the same. Both are made from bitumen and crushed stone. The main difference between the two results in how those ingredients are combined to produce the final product. Asphalt is mixed in a drum to hold a temperature of at least 250 degrees. At this temperature, asphalt turns malleable which allows it to pour out of a shoot from a truck with efficiency. It can then be laid down with ease. Additionally, the high temperature ensures the asphalt will come out strong enough to handle cars driving over it. Blacktop has a different ratio of crushed stone and bitumen. For blacktop, more crushed aggregate stone is added to the mix. The crushed stone what is gives a paved road a shiny appearance on the surface when it reflects light. Blacktop is also heated at a higher temperature, usually 300 degrees or higher.