Asphalt driveways are relatively easy and inexpensive to repair, when compared to other common driveway surfaces. However, repairs do not always make the most sense. The age of your driveway, the extent of needed repairs, and your goals for the driveway will help you decide which option is best for you. Here is what you need to know about patching, replacing and resurfacing your asphalt driveway.
Driveway Repair Options
Patching: The Cheapest Option
Patching is by far the easiest and least expensive solution. Small cracks, divots, and holes are the best candidates for asphalt patching. If the damage is less than one-quarter inch wide, it is likely that you need nothing more than a basic liquid crack filling compound.
Bigger cracks and holes generally represent more extensive damage beneath the surface. Fortunately, most badly cracked asphalt driveways can still be saved. Surface patching is a great choice for asphalt that is moderately damaged but has not totally failed. A few inches are milled off the top layers of the damaged spot, and the hole is cleaned. Then new asphalt is poured, compacted, and leveled off.
If the damage is more severe, dig out patching is an excellent option. The entire section of failed asphalt is removed, and a brand new section is installed from the ground up. This is a long-lasting, but complex repair.
Resurfacing Asphalt Driveways: The Middle Ground
Of course, patching is not always the best choice. If you have a few severe cracks and holes, or several moderate ones, it is not necessarily cost-effective or practical to patch them all. In addition, patching restores structural strength, but will never look as neat and clean as a newly resurfaced driveway. If curb appeal is important, such as when you are trying to sell your home, resurfacing may be the best aesthetic choice.
Asphalt Resurfacing Cost
Resurfacing involves completely removing and replacing the top layers of asphalt. Any necessary patching is done before the final top layer of asphalt is poured, providing structural rehabilitation and the “new driveway” look at a fraction of the cost of complete replacement.
Replace Asphalt Driveway: Starting Over
Although resurfacing can fix many badly damaged asphalt driveways, it is not a cure all. Some driveways have extensive damage that extends to the driveway’s foundation. Dig out patching can fix relatively small failed areas, but is not practical for bigger or multiple problems.
In addition, the older your driveway is, the more likely it is to need replacement. Driveways are exposed to massive forces every day, and over time, the stresses eventually take their toll. Repairing or resurfacing an asphalt driveway that is more than 20 or so years old will provide, at best, a temporary fix. It is likely that new problems will develop soon after the repairs are completed, leaving you in a seemingly endless cycle of damage and repairs.
Replacing the driveway is like turning back time. Although the upfront cost is higher than that of patching or resurfacing, it is a long-term investment. With early detection and repair of any cracks or divots that develop, your new driveway could be virtually trouble-free for another 20 or more years.
Timing Driveway Repairs: Weather Considerations
Timing your repairs, resurfacing, or replacement is very important. It is not practical or advisable to undertake extensive asphalt work during the colder months. This is because hot asphalt is affected by the temperatures of both the ambient air and the ground surface. It needs to remain hot enough to be workable for long enough to complete the project, and then gradually cool and cure. This is simply impossible during cold weather.
If you need an emergency winter repair, cold patch products are available. A cold patch will not correct underlying damage, but it will prevent the damage from worsening. Depending on the extent of the needed repair, you might be advised to replace the cold patch with a hot patch when the weather warms up.
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!