Ask the Carpenter: When is the best time to repave your driveway?

Ask the Expert
. Adobe Stock

Q. When is the best time of year to repave a driveway? We have a 100-foot-long one.


A. I would avoid supercold temperatures.

“The main concern as to when to pave a driveway is temperature, according to the National Asphalt Paving Association. “Asphalt must be placed and compacted while it is hot. Lift thickness and air and surface temperatures play significant roles in how fast the mix cools and therefore the time a contractor has to complete the work. Because seasonal temperatures vary throughout the US, average air temperatures serve as a better guide for paving than a particular range of months.

“If you are having a 1½-inch lift placed, the air and surface temperatures should be above 70 degrees Fahrenheit. For a 2-inch lift, there is a little more leeway, but the air and surface temperature should be above 40 degrees.’’ Book now to ensure your spot.


Q. We live in a condo and have pumps for heating and cooling. I’ve heard conflicting information about having our ducts cleaned. A number of condos have sold very recently, and the home inspections have not mentioned having the ducts cleaned and/or serviced. I would appreciate your thoughts on duct cleaning and how to determine whether we need to do this maintenance. Our heat pumps are serviced twice a year.


A. During your next service, have the technician look inside the return duct and the floor registers to determine whether they need to be cleaned. In my experience, the homes where people smoke or have a lot of animals have dirty ductwork.

Dear Rob

From tobypeltz: You may wish to advise the reader who has flies in his or her three-season porch (“Ask the Carpenter: Bored of the flies, reader battles porch pests,’’ Jan. 6) to determine whether cluster flies are nesting in the soil underneath. Although not much of a problem here in Belmont, they can be a nuisance in more rural areas, such as the Berkshires, where my girlfriend has a home. Come spring, the flies swarm out of the ground during the day and cover the sunny south side in such numbers that the house can look almost black at times. This lasts for several weeks. Invariably, we also find the flies in the house, where we have to vacuum the windows and use flytraps of various kinds.

From Rob: Toby, thanks for the tip. I’ll put a bug in the ear of my editor to publish this.

Rob Robillard is a general contractor, carpenter, editor of, and principal of a carpentry and renovation business. Send your questions to or tweet them to @robertrobillard. Subscribe to our free real estate newsletter at