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My partner and I are about to hire a contractor to pour new asphalt on our driveway and parking lot. My question has to do with edging. I have read up on Permalock which is an aluminum edging that requires 10" spikes nailed into compacted ground. It will be more expensive and we'd have to wait for it to arrive from out of state to our home. I was wondering if I could use 2x4 or 2x6 pressure treated lumber instead. I know it won't last as long as aluminum but will it at least give me ten years or so? Or is this just a bad idea?

I have a neighbor who installed landscape pressure treated timbers along the edge of his paved (brick pavers) driveway. His are holding up very well. I was wondering if I could do the same with an asphalt driveway.

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  • Wood rots and is slippery when wet. – Steve Wellens May 18 '20 at 13:21
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    What's the purpose of this edging? Aesthetics? Containment? The vast majority of such paving has no edging other than gravel or sod. – isherwood May 18 '20 at 13:40
  • Is it truly black asphalt (usually applied hot and compressed/rolled) or concrete? The "pouring" word is throwing me for a loop. It's not uncommon in my part of the world to not edge black asphalt, but to just allow grass, landscaping etc. abut the edge of the rolled asphalt. – BrownRedHawk May 18 '20 at 15:11
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Unless your neighbor pulls up his timbers to check their condition, it's impossible to say if they're truly holding up well; wood in the ground will rot from the bottom up, so the top can look great but underneath could be a soggy mess.

That said, ground contact-rated, pressure-treated lumber (typically pine here) should last 10 years without issue, especially if you wait long enough to use it that you water seal it or stain with a moisture-sealing stain. Alternatively, you could pay more (3x or more) for a wood that is naturally moisture-resistant like cedar or redwood.

However, while I'm not very familiar with the behavior of asphalt, I do know it will flex a lot more than brick pavers, so the wood lining your driveway may well crack over time due to that.

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If you use metal edging, be aware that it can cut dog's feet (and presumably also cause injury to children or anyone who steps on it or falls on it). One thing is that over time the stakes can work up above the edging. The sharp corners of the stakes are very dangerous. Google "injuries from metal landscape edging", e.g., safer edging

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  • Thanks for that tip. The metal edging I was thinking of using is called Permaloc and is designed to be used with asphalt. From what I can see the edge isn't very sharp. And once the asphalt is pressed into place the height of the asphalt is the same as the edging. Also, the spikes for this type of edging will be under the asphalt when all is completed. – Adrien May 18 '20 at 20:24
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Make sure that the lumber is treated for "ground contact" (or "soil contact") and it should be fine. There are different qualities of "pressure treated" and some of the lower end treatments are not very effective on wood buried in the dirt. Others are quite suitable for building wooden foundations with. You want the latter sort (unsurprisingly, it will not be the cheapest to purchase.)

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