What is the most cost-effective resurfacing solution after repairing cracks, potholes and depressions in asphalt driveways and parking lots
By Jeff Lax
When it comes to old, worn asphalt driveways and parking lots, commercial real estate owners, property managers, and even owners of single-family homes struggle with the same questions: Do we repave or sealcoat after making repairs to cracks, potholes, and depressions? What is the most cost-effective and durable solution?
The industry has debated this issue for decades, and what has been learned is that each option has lasting, dramatic effects and that they actually complement one another. That’s the information pavement maintenance contractors need to convey to their clients who are trying to decide which pavement maintenance option best suits their needs and property.
Sealcoating is one of the most important steps to protecting an owner’s investment in an asphalt driveway or parking lot. Sealers consist of emulsions that combine asphalt or refined coal tar with clays, mineral fillers, and water. Once applied, the water evaporates and the emulsion hardens to form a protective coating. It also becomes a beautiful black surface that adds curb appeal, giving a single-family home, multi-family residence, or commercial or industrial property a polished look. Industry experts agree that driveways or parking lots lacking the sealer can generally last only five to six years before the beginning stages of breakdown.
Initial sealing should occur six to 12 months after the asphalt surface is laid to allow the pavement to “cure” so oils can escape and the surface becomes ready for sealer. The initial sealer application forms a barrier to prevent water penetration and to inhibit deterioration of the asphalt binder by oxidation and over-drying.
As unprotected pavement ages, the asphalt binder hardens, losing flexibility and becoming increasingly brittle. Ultraviolet rays from the sun break down the carbon bonds in asphalt, further weakening the pavement. Also, daily and seasonal cycles of heating and cooling cause the pavement to expand and contract. These stresses eventually exceed the pavement’s ability to flex, and cracks form. If water seeps into the cracks and freezes, the cracks expand, allowing more water to penetrate, making the cracks wider and deeper. This cycle leads to accelerated deterioration of the parking lot surface. Early sealcoating can prevent all these preliminary dangers to the life of the asphalt.
Sealer is typically the most cost-effective solution and should be reapplied every two to three years as preventative maintenance. In fact, several government and Asphalt Institute studies have shown that neglected asphalt pavement can cost up to five times as much to repair as asphalt that has had a regular maintenance program, including sealcoating.
Pavement maintenance begins by filling cracks, patching deteriorated areas, and cleaning (and possibly priming) oil-saturated spots on the pavement surface. The asphalt also must be cleaned of dirt and debris before sealer can be applied.
While some homeowners sealcoat their driveways themselves, professional contractors not only apply a high-quality sealer material but also have professional equipment such as crack cleaners and power blowers that often enable them to perform a longer-lasting, high-quality job. Plus, professional contractors can handle other pavement repairs that a homeowner won’t be aware of, so property managers at any level will be best served by hiring a pavement maintenance professional to handle their pavement.
Repaving is the only decision for driveways or parking lots that have severe deterioration, deep wide cracks, subsided depressions and numerous potholes.
An asphalt overlay consists of a compacted layer of one-and-a-half to two inches of hot mix asphalt being placed over the existing asphalt, essentially giving the driveway a new surface. Just as with sealcoating, the first task is repair of existing pavement. Areas, where the pavement surface has slumped, indicate failure of the stone foundation supporting the pavement. These areas require digging out existing asphalt, and repair and compaction of the stone base with new material before patching with asphalt mix to prevent trouble spots from returning after repaving. Then an overlay is placed over the old surface. No sealcoating should be added for six months to a year, just as with any newly constructed pavement.
And while an asphalt overlay can begin to deteriorate within five to six years without maintenance, it could last up to 25 years with regular upkeep. The upside to installing an overlay is the pavement has a renewed wearing course, providing a pliable, flexible surface. Also after the overlay, the maintenance program can start over, leading to a virtually brand new drive or lot. However, extreme weather, heavy loads, and shortcuts during construction could lead to premature wear and failure. The downside of repaving is that it is expensive (typically thousands of dollars more than sealing). Plus, if the original asphalt isn’t properly cleaned and prepared, cracks and uneven sections may return, as well as other problems that may not have previously existed such as delamination of the overlay because of poor adhesion to the old pavement.
What’s Better for your customer?
The amount and regularity of repaving will differ from climate to climate, and even when asphalt is maintained properly an asphalt overlay will be needed every 20 to 25 years.
Regardless of whether you repave or repair, sealcoating is one of the most important aspects of any pavement maintenance effort as it protects asphalt from weathering and degradation and extends pavement life. Without sealer, the asphalt could require an overlay in as little as five to six years, costing thousands of dollars. When comparing costs, industry experts believe the best investment a homeowner or commercial property owner can make is a well-tailored maintenance program that includes regular sealcoating.
In business today it's important to be professional. This includes the upkeep of property maintenance inside and outside of the business. Parking lot line painting is one of the most important aspects of external property maintenance and this article explains three excellent reasons why.
The parking lot of a business acts as a welcome mat for customers and can often act as a first impression to new clients. If the parking lot pavement markings are worn and barely visible it may give the impression to some clients that the owners are irresponsible or that they don't care about the way their property looks. Parking lots simply look better with a fresh coat of high grade traffic paint on the stall lines, handicap symbols, arrows, speed bumps and any other pavement markings the lot might have. When line painting is done it allows that mat to say "welcome" again.
2) Parking Organization
If there is no visible lines to indicate parking spaces in a parking lot, people will park anywhere and everywhere they can fit their vehicle. This is not good since it increases the chance of people getting boxed in and unable to get out of the lot. When parked vehicles are in disarray it can also increase the chance of dings and scratches to vehicles if navigation around the lot is tight and difficult. Parking stalls and drive lanes have regulated sizes for these reasons and a nicely painted lot keeps the parked traffic organized and moving vehicles can be driven through the area safely and easily.
3) Space Maximization
I can't count the number of times I've seen 20 vehicles in a "full" parking lot that could easily fit 24 or 25 automobiles if it had been given the correct line painting job done. It doesn't seem like much but let's say it's a restaurant that averages $50.00 per bill. That adds up to about $200.00 - $250.00 in revenue. This to me would be the most frustrating parking problem for the business owner since most of the time if people can't park at the establishment, they don't shop there either. Painting proper stall lines allows optimal space maximization that fits as many vehicles as the parking lot can safely manage.
These are three basic problems that can be easily avoided if the correct pavement markings are applied to the lot. As long as parking lot line painting is done by professionals it can be one of the quickest and effective aspects of external property maintenance.
There are many contributing factors that make asphalt a great material to use when paving a parking lot or an asphalt driveway. It is a relatively inexpensive material when compared to other material such as concrete or concrete paving blocks. Asphalt is a very durable product that stands up well to basic wear and tear of vehicle and foot traffic. Another great reason to use asphalt for your paving needs is that asphalt is a green product that is recycled more often than any other paving product.
Here are a few tips that will help you if you already have an asphalt driveway or parking lot surface that is in need of repairs. Although asphalt will need maintenance from time to time, it will only help in keeping future repair cost down to a minimum. If you are trying to do your own maintenance repairs, you will want to complete the repairs properly in order to get the maximum life out of your pavement. If you are hiring a contractor to handle the repairs for you, a little education on what to look for will help you choose the right contractor and also help you know what to look for once they're on the job.
Asphalt maintenance should be done periodically as needed. Sealcoating is one way to protect against water undermining the asphalt and reaching the base material beneath the asphalt. Ultraviolet rays can break down the binder material in asphalt allowing it to become brittle and fall apart. Sealcoating will give your asphalt surface protection against the ultraviolet rays. Sealcoating should be mixed to the proper specifications and should not be diluted to in order to stretch out the product. This will not give the asphalt the same protection. The first coat can be sprayed on to ensure the material gets into the smaller cracks to seal off and stop any future water penetration.
If you have areas in your asphalt pavement that have potholes or noticeably large alligator cracks you may need to remove these areas in order to repair them correctly. The first step in this process is to cut out the affected area with a saw. Next, you will need to remove any excess materials from the affected area. Once the area is cleaned of any debris, apply a tach coat to make the new hot asphalt adhere to the cut-out area. Then apply the new asphalt, and always make sure to compact the newly installed asphalt.
Driveway sealing is an easy and cost-effective way to protect and prolong the life of your driveway. Asphalt surfaces are particularly susceptible to wear and tear, both from weather and from automobile traffic, and the grade of asphalt commonly used on driveways is even more so. Driveway sealing at regular intervals gives your driveway the added protection it needs to last longer and resist deterioration.
Needs Regular Upkeep
If you’re not sure on this point, consider the constant upkeep the asphalt roads in your community need in order to stay in good shape. Add to that the fact that the asphalt used on roads is generally a higher grade and made to withstand a higher level of abuse than the asphalt typically used in driveway applications, and you can see why it’s important to keep up on regular maintenance, including asphalt sealing, in order to fend off major projects such as repaving a crumbling asphalt surface.
Sealing your driveway has many benefits when it comes to preserving your concrete driveway. First and foremost, a properly applied driveway sealer repels water, perhaps the single most harmful agent when it comes to deteriorating asphalt surfaces. Concrete has a natural tendency to crack if water is allowed to permeate it, and this tendency is only increased by the weight of cars regularly driving over it. Once those cracks appear, water further damages it, especially in cold climates where it expands and contracts with freezing temperatures.
Other enemies of your driveway include sunlight and oxygen, both of which hasten corrosion. By regularly applying a quality driveway sealer to your concrete you can prevent water, sunlight, and air from permeating your asphalt and prevent these problems. As an added benefit, driveway sealing also repels oil spills and leaks and makes it much easier for you to sweep and clean your driveway surface.
When to Apply
As a general rule, you should seal your driveway every 1 to 3 years. More specifically, if you can see the color of the individual stones that make up your asphalt surface, you know it’s time to seal it up. A few rules apply before you seal, however. For starters, never seal a new asphalt driveway. Asphalt needs a minimum of six months for the oils in it to evaporate. The less oil, the harder the driveway, which is the goal. If you apply driveway sealer before your asphalt has time to cure, it won’t achieve the necessary hardness and all your work will be for naught. Other things to consider are the outside temperature, which must be fifty degrees or higher for the sealer to adhere properly, and the weather. Ideally, you want your sealer to be on your driveway for at least 48 hours before any rain comes down on it.
Talk to a Professional
Driveway sealing is an important aspect of asphalt driveway maintenance, however, it’s not the only thing you need to keep up on. If your driveway has pre-existing cracks, potholes or other signs of wear, it’s vital that you fix those problems before you apply a sealant. That being the case, your best bet is to contact a professional that won’t only apply your sealant, but who will also evaluate your driveway for other maintenance needs that need to be addressed before you perform this necessary task.
Creating a driveway on your property is important to help you protect your lawns. However, when creating driveways or pathways, it is imperative that you make use of durable materials like asphalt.
As of now, asphalt driveways and pathways are very popular. However, there are cases when homeowners may notice unsightly issues. Thus, landscaping experts recommend homeowners to opt for asphalt sealcoating. With this solution, homeowners can obtain wonderful features that can benefit them. Below are some of the following.
To prevent small cracks
One of the reasons why landscaping experts recommend asphalt sealcoating is to prevent small cracks. Cracks on asphalt are caused by numerous factors. These include moisture, ground movements and erosion, excessive weight as well as improper installation. Fortunately, cracks can be eliminated by using sealcoating. This solution can also hide patches and rough areas. To reduce damages caused by chemicals
The next reason why landscaping experts recommend asphalt sealcoating is to reduce damages caused by chemicals. This is possible since asphalt sealcoating fills surface voids, which reduces exposure to oxygen and UV rays and reduces the depth to which oil or gas can penetrate the asphalt. Other than that, sealcoating can also prevent oxidation and erosion of the top layer and replaces fine particles lost from the asphalt surface due to oxidation on older pavements. And, it also resists gas, diesel fuel, oil, salt and chemical penetration which will break down the bond between the aggregate and the liquid asphalt.
To eliminate water damage
Using asphalt sealcoating can also help homeowners eliminate water damage. Water can easily damage asphalt since it enters the asphalt. Because of this, moisture can be formed which can affect the quality and reliability of asphalt. By using sealcoating, you can prevent water from entering the asphalt since it can protect the surface properly. To improve aesthetics
With the use of sealcoating homeowners can also improve the aesthetics of their asphalt. Due to aging, the color of the asphalt fades. However, sealcoating can protect its color since this solution is dark and black colored when applied. To reduce maintenance costs
Finally, landscaping experts can also reduce their maintenance costs when using sealcoating. When it comes to repairs, asphalt repairs can be expensive since you need to hire specialists in order to properly remove cracks and other asphalt issues. On the other hand, sealcoating can easily leave a smooth, clean surface ideal for sweeping, which lowers cleaning costs and for a driveway and gives your entrance a fresh and new look.
These are only some of the benefits that homeowners can obtain when investing in sealcoating solutions from reliable landscaping experts.
Asphalt or Concrete? This is a segment that was aired on the HomeWoRx television show with Gary Sullivan on network TV in Cincinnati, Ohio. Hear the pros and cons of installing an asphalt or concrete driveway.
Vaca Vet Striping has got you covered. We have over 30 years experience doing business as ACE Paving Company, with a General Engineering Class A Contractor’s License #389714. We strive to provide quality work and great service at an affordable cost. Vaca Vet Striping service area is Solano, Napa, Yolo, and Sacramento counties.