Aug 22, 2023
Quick Primer on the Starter Plate and Fluff
Not all members of the paving crew are at the same experience level. During this week’s toolbox talk, introduce the new guys (or everyone) to the starter plate and why you need to know your fluff factor before you use it.
The starter plate does more than support the screed; it sets the height of your mat with fluff factor figured in. We’ve learned how to figure the fluff factor in these tips before, but I’ll put that equation at the bottom of this for folks who have joined us more recently.
The starter plate is, simply, a piece of metal that you place on the surface to be paved. The paver operator backs the tractor toward the plate(s); the screed operator lowers the screed to rest on the metal plate(s). This is the height from which you “start” paving.
If you don’t have starter plates, you’ll spend time building a starter pad—or starting point—with asphalt mix, shovels, rakes, lutes, and elbow grease. I’ll provide a link to an article that discusses how to “take off with stability” below.
To calculate the fluff factor, and assuming you’re paving with a smooth screed, add a quarter of an inch height for each inch of finished compacted mat.
2-inch compacted lift = 2.5 inches placed
1-inch compacted lift = 1.25 inches placed
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