Near the end of every year, many people start to reflect on the projects they completed during that year, the unexpected expenses they faced, and the work they will need to have done in the following year. If you foresee asphalt repairs in the near future, you might be wondering how to plan a realistic budget for them. Here is what you need to know.
The best way to start planning for upcoming asphalt maintenance or repairs is to take a critical look at your current surface. Whether you have a single driveway or several parking lots, the analysis process is the same.
- Cracks: Look for any signs of cracking asphalt. If you see small cracks developing, go ahead and fill them in with a sealing compound, available at any hardware store, before they get worse. Any cracks that are larger than ¼ inch should be professionally repaired and filled as soon as possible. Otherwise, water will penetrate to the lower levels of the asphalt and cause more severe damage.
- Faded Asphalt: If the surface is starting to fade, it might be time to consider sealcoating. This process covers the asphalt with a protective sealant that locks out moisture. It should be done approximately 6 months after initial installation, and then every 2 to 3 years after that.
- Spreading cracks: If cracks are starting to spread, that is an imminent warning sign that parts of your asphalt are at risk for failure. Plan to have the surface professionally assessed, and possibly resurfaced, as soon as possible.
- Potholes: Potholes are not just an annoyance. They can actually damage cars and injure pedestrians. Potholes should be filled during the warmer months if possible, but can be patched temporarily even in the middle of winter.
- Staining: If your asphalt is stained from leaking fluids, debris, or even fallen leaves, it is best to clean it as soon as you can. Some materials, such as oil and gas, can slowly penetrate the asphalt over time. Pressure wash it periodically, or hire someone to clean it for you.
Planning Your Asphalt Repair Budget
Exact budgeting depends on the results of your assessment. If you found signs that you might need major or moderate repairs, contact an experienced asphalt contractor as soon as possible for an estimate. Although the potential repair bill might seem high, remember that well cared for asphalt can last for 20 or more years. Unless your asphalt is in terrible condition or at the end of its useful life, it is almost always more cost effective to repair or resurface it and get several more years of use than to let it crumble away and replace it.
If your asphalt is in good shape, then your top priority is preventive maintenance. Staying on top of sealcoating, cleaning, crack sealing, and minor repairs is the key to extending the life of your asphalt.
General Asphalt Preventive Maintenance Tips
Understanding the general time frame for ongoing maintenance and repairs can help you create a realistic long-term budget. Plan for a major restoration of heavily used areas every 10 years, and minor to moderate repairs such as crack sealing or sealcoating every 2 to 3 years.
If you own a large asphalt parking lot, you might want to do major restorations section by section, spread over 1 to 2 years. This minimizes inconvenience to customers, tenants, and staff while helping you to spread out a large repair bill over time. You should also have well-traveled sections inspected annually, as commercial and industrial lots tend to take hard wear.
Call in the Professionals
Only an experienced contractor will have the knowledge and skills to fully assess your asphalt and create a detailed short-term and long-term plan. Choose a reputable, highly rated contractor who is willing to spend some time discussing your individual budget and planning needs.
Based in Abbotsford, Topwest Asphalt also serves Langley, Chilliwack, Mission, and Maple Ridge. Are you ready to start your next asphalt project with a team you can count on to do the job right, on time, and on budget? We invite you to call Topwest Asphalt today at 1-800-ASPHALT to discuss your project and schedule an estimate. We look forward to working with you!