DIY Home Improvement Forum banner

Removing asphalt, adding sod, building a deck - What order?

513 Views 9 Replies 7 Participants Last post by  carpdad
I have an asphalt driveway in my backyard that leads to a garage under the house, which will not be used for a car ever. I am planning on removing the asphalt, having some grading down, sod laid and a deck built. I'm trying to determine the best order to do these things. One order suggested is to rip up asphalt and leave the 3/4 clean rock because I am on a pretty steep slope. Build the deck and then come back and remove rocks, add doil, grade, lay sod. The reasoning primarily being that deck building will tear up yard. I get that, though materials could be kept in my garage which the deck is being built over. I don't really want a muddy, rocky backyard for the summer. If machines will be needed to be used for removing rocks, bringing in 20 yards of soil and grading, it doesn't seem like tearing up the asphalt first is really necessary.

1 - 10 of 10 Posts
it doesn't seem like tearing up the asphalt first is really necessary.
Ayuh,..... Lawns don't grow well over old asphalt,.....

Thin soil, 'n water evaporates, leavin' brown lawns,.....
Remove asphalt below the deck by hand put in your new footing and curb, build your deck.

The deck is for the upstairs?
that leads to a garage under the house

So your house is at grade and the garage is like a basement?

A lot depends on the regarding you are planning to do and how high the deck is off the ground.

Is the deck is 18" off the regraded ground, you can't build the deck then crawl back in there to remove the asphalt later, and I doubt the grass would survive under the deck anyways. So basically the garage would be blocked off with the deck? So if you open your garage doors, will be be stepping down to the deck or stepping up to the deck?
Depends on the contractor you hire. A strictly deck builder probably doesn't have a skid steer handy or want to rent one, or dump the asphalt, but ask. It will be easier to remove the asphalt under the deck to work on footings. They might want to keep the drive for access if they are also the ones removing it. If you hire a paver/concrete guy just for the driveway, then remove all the driveway first. You wanted to reuse the gravel for under the deck, so make a staging area for when you get to it. You will have lots more gravel removed than you need, so figure out how much for them to leave you based on your deck size. Also consider who is doing the regrading and underground piping. Your yard will be a war zone at some stage in the process, your kids will have to live with it.

Also depends on when you do the deck. If later, just do your grading/piping and sod the large area untouched by the deck. Seed near it and the path nearer the house and put sod in those spots after they are done.
See less See more
Seems a waste to remove any asphalt that will be covered by a deck.

I built my deck and carport on-grade with pier/deck blocks. Haven't had any issues.
So i should have posted a picture with this post on the first go as it would have answered mnay of these questions. I attached a couple now and here is the link to my first question regarding this project, The one of the deck is missing the one wall of the house, which is just a limitation of the software.

The deck will be between 62" and 100" off the ground. It will tie in to the existing stairs so at that level. The asphalt under the deck moves a lot of water toward the house so it's not optimal to keep it there. My first post is about leveling that area, though I've had a hard time figuring out if I can do that and still afford the other work.

Bondo, I will remove asphalt, first just meant before or after deck.

3onthetree, I don't think I'll be able to get the same contractor for all parts. There are some contractors I've found that do it all, but I would have had to book them months ago. Saving the 3/4 clean stone is something I had planned to do, but as fill for the area under the deck. However, this piece of the project is making things very complicated and every contractor I have out to look says something different. I agree that it will be easier to remove asphalt for footings, but I already used my circular saw to cut out a 12"x"12 section, which was dusty and loud but only took a few minutes.

I feel like a consensus might be that it could be done either way, especially since deck builders don't use heavy machinery and I have places to keep the building material and not on the grass.


See less See more
Removing that much asphalt, 3/4" gravel, and regrading by hand is a little masochistic. Wouldn't want someone driving their bobcat under my new deck, so if I could get a paving/concrete guy to do it I wouldn't want to pay him twice, so I'd have him remove it all at once.

New stair will block the basement window(s)?
  • Like
Reactions: 1
750 of the 900 square feet of the driveway will not be under the deck and would be removed with machines as well as some mini front loader or excavator for bringing in the soil and leveling. That picture doesn't include quite a bit of driveway. But still, I think having machine's back there after the deck is up is still risky even if they are just next to it.

The stairs will block the basement window on the left only as the last 3 feet are required for the landing. If I don't put in the stairs, the deck would block them, unless I make the deck much smaller(12x18) by not going over that existing patio and then wouldn't really need another set of stairs.

Last contractor said to pull up asphalt, leave the rocks to prevent erosion, build the deck, remove the rock, add soil and sod. This would still have machines in the yard after the deck was up. His main point was that building the deck would damage the new sod. That would leave me with a ripped up backyard during much of the summer, in the middle of a pandemic, an unhappy son and an extremely angry wife. Not even the last one is worth the price of the sod!

If I'm not willing to live with a torn up backyard all summer, it seems to boil down to risking the new sod from the building of the deck or risking the new deck from the machines removing asphalt, rocks and bringing in soil. Put that way, the sod loses pretty easily.
See less See more
I think leaving some asphalt under the new deck is better for getting water away from the house. Add a hump so water is directed away from streaming toward the garage door. Then cut the asphalt and add maybe wide 2 steps of concrete where the gate is now. Lowers the grade of the back yard and supports the new stairs. Fence there so cars don't accidentally drive over.
Remove all asphalt and base, rebuild with dirt (final layer does not have to be all top soil, just able to support life - you can fertilize later), and plenty of hay during work. When deck is finished and landscaping done, regrade (rolling the dirt for enough firm support) and seed or sod. Deck work should not go through all of the summer but you don't want the carpenters leaving a trail over a nice new lawn.

Because of the grade, plenty of lighting should help in evenings for actually walking around. Plan for underground conduits. New lights don't have to have expensive new circuit or controls. Just outside outlet from existing outlet inside and you can plug in when needed or plug with a switch.

Also if possible, concrete stairs hugging the stone patio so shoveling the snow for some access to backyard in winters.

Ask about what kind of dirt mix would support foot traffic and lawn, this forum has plant section.
See less See more
1 - 10 of 10 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.