asphalt repair

Repair or Replace? How to Save the Most on Damaged Asphalt

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Just like an old car, sometimes it makes sense to replace an asphalt pavement entirely rather than repair it. And just like your old beater, evaluating your asphalt pavement and calculating whether the cost of repair or replacement gives you the most value can be tricky.

Whether a large project, like a parking lot repaving, or something as small as a single driveway, every home or business owner will have to make this decision at some point.

High quality pavement does more than elevate the visual appeal of your property. It can also provide extensive benefits related to safety, cost efficiency, and overall functionality. When properly maintained and regularly examined for wear and tear or potential repairs, it can also remain environmentally friendly and energy efficient even after significant use.

Over time however, property owners and managers will recognize the need to upgrade the surface to maintain safety and function. A full replacement is one option, while a simple reclamation procedure could be another option. While it’s always a good idea to first consult with a grading & excavation contractor, below is some basic information about each alternative to help you identify which option will best suit your needs as we want to give you a few tips to help you evaluate your damaged pavement and determine whether repair or complete replacement is necessary.

How Bad is the Damage?

The most critical factor in your decision is the actual extent of the damage. Sometimes this can be difficult to determine if you aren’t a pavement expert.

As a general rule of thumb, if over 30% of the pavement’s surface is damaged, a complete replacement will be necessary. While repairing the widespread cracking and potholes will be cheaper than constructing a new pavement, a brand new structure will give you a much longer service life that will ultimately give you a better return on your investment.

But evaluating the damage on the surface isn’t always enough to make the right call. For this reason, we recommend getting a thorough evaluation by a paving contractor. An expert can evaluate the extent of the damage to both on and below the surface layer and help you make an informed decision.

How Old is the Pavement?

Another factor is the pavement’s age. Every day, little stresses take their toll on your pavement. Exposure to the sun, rainfall, traffic, and oil and gasoline slowly damage the surface and subsurface layers over time. The older your pavement is, the more likely it is that you’ll need a complete replacement.

Paying for extensive repair work on a driveway or parking lot that’s over 20 years old might extend the pavement’s service life by a few years at best. A complete replacement, though more expensive, can give you another 20 years or more out of your asphalt.

Resurfacing – The Middle Ground

Home and business owners in need of pavement restoration have another option. Resurfacing involves removing only the top layer of the asphalt, making any necessary repairs to the sub base, and applying a new 1”-2’’ layer to the surface.

This option is best for pavements which have significant surface deterioration with a relatively stable foundation. It is considerably less expensive than a complete replacement and will add more life to your structure than extensive crack filling or patching. 

Replacement: Facts and Advantages

The process of replacing the entire surface of your pavement is extensive and should be properly anticipated. In preparation for the process, it is wise to consider traffic flow and redirection, availability of time for the project, and professional assistance for the completion of a high-quality job. Full-depth removal involves the exclusion of the original surface layer as well as foundational layers of dirt and stone. After a thorough grinding and evening procedure, new dirt will be placed before the fresh asphalt is poured.

The advantages of a full-depth pavement replacement include:

  • Correction of subgrade and foundational issues
  • Presence of a reliable and structurally sound surface
  • Peace of mind in the durability and safety of your asphalt
  • Convenient for surfaces with multiple grades (sidewalks, gutters, buildings, etc.)

Reclamation: Facts and Advantages

Reclamation is a cost and time-efficient option that enables continued use of the area throughout the process. Specialized machinery is used to strategically grind and mix the existing particles of foundational stone with asphalt. The discarded material is then smoothed over and regraded to meet the dimensions of the area. It is an excellent option to consider when an upgrade is necessary, but full replacement is excessive and unwarranted.

Reclamation boasts many advantages including:

  • Cost-efficiency
  • The ability to recycle existing asphalt into a whole new surface
  • Reduced need for manpower and heavy machinery
  • Decreased time to complete the project

Which Option Should You Choose?

Determining which method to use during the upgrade process is dependent on several factors including:

  • Whether or not there are limitations to grade adjustments
  • Where the project is taking place
  • Traffic flow
  • Soil and foundation suitability and strength
  • The amount of time to project completion

As soon as you have identified the need to upgrade the pavement of your property, it is time to contact your local experts for help with replacement or reclamation. MD Paving Pros‘ experienced professionals have the tools and knowledge to completely renovate your asphalt in a way that is cost-efficient, safe and timely.

Still Not Sure? Contact a Pro.

Most paving contractors are more than happy to provide your property with a free evaluation. If you’re ever unsure about the best course of action, give your local paving company a call and get an expert opinion. This evaluation will usually come with no obligation to purchase any services, and you can even get second opinions from other local companies.

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Dan Kirksey
Dan Kirksey

Dan is an asphalt paving contractor and has been helping business owners and homeowners with their asphalt and concrete projects throughout Maryland for over a decade.

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