One of the most common questions that I'm asked is, “Will I see the repairs when they're done?” My answer is always the same - yes. It's impossible to match old asphalt using new asphalt, even with infrared repairs. How well a repair blends with the surrounding asphalt depends on one main factor, how many times the surrounding asphalt has been sealed. Each time you sealcoat your asphalt, the voids between the aggregate get filled in a little more. The more times a driveway has been sealed, the less texture it has, leaving little chance it will match up with new asphalt that has more texture. Just imagine your old driveway next to a new driveway, that's the difference you will see.
A follow up question I hear a lot is, “Won't it blend in after I sealcoat?” It will blend better with a sealcoat (same color), but the textures will still be different and the repairs will be visible. Asphalt surfaces that have only been sealed a few times can eventually blend in pretty well with a few sealcoats, over a few years. If a new driveway is what you're looking for, you’ll need a paving company that can give you a new driveway. Infrared repairs are a nice option if a large portion of your asphalt is in good shape and you can accept that the repairs will not be invisible.
Do you own a commercial property with an asphalt parking lot or a private residence with an asphalt driveway? If you do own or manage some type of asphalt pavement you will need to take proper care of the surface. In the long run, it will save you time and money. While taking proper care of the pavement does have some cost associated with it, it is not near the cost of having to later fix any damage that has already occurred to the asphalt. If you notice that you already have potholes or large cracks starting to appear, it is in your best interest to address the issues as soon as possible.
The first step in maintaining an asphalt pavement is crack sealing, crack sealing prevents water from entering the pavements sub-base through cracks in the asphalt surface. If these cracks are left untreated they will eventually turn into potholes and destroy the asphalt surface and the base beneath the asphalt. Once you allow this to happen there is no maintaining the asphalt, you are now looking at having to replace the pavement. It is important to clean the cracks thoroughly before filling them. You will need to clean out any and all debris. This will help ensure the material adheres to the surface correctly. Once all of the cracks are completely cleaned and filled with the asphalt fill material, water will no longer be able to enter beneath the pavement down to the sub-base material. By using this technique you have increased the lifespan of your asphalt pavement in the most beneficial and cost-effective way.
Sealcoating your parking lot is definitely a great way to protect your asphalt surface as well. Sealcoating your asphalt will help protect against the suns ultraviolet rays and also keep any water from entering small cracks in the pavement. The asphalt sealcoating material needs to be mixed to the manufactures specifications. The sealcoat material needs to be applied in two coats. The first coat of sealer should be applied with a squeegee to push the sealer into the cracks of the pavement. The next coat may be applied using a spray technique. The spray of the sealcoat ensures a uniform coat over the entire asphalt surface. Be sure to allow the proper drying time of the sealcoat before using the asphalt pavement. Sealcoating of the asphalt surface should be done as necessary to help ensure the lifespan of your asphalt surface.
Nothing lasts forever, and asphalt is no exception. There comes a time with every parking lot where you need to ask whether it’s time to repair it, or replace it altogether.
A properly paved asphalt lot can last 20 – 30 years, but the lifespan and condition of any lot depend on many factors. Let’s take a look at the various kinds of damage and repairs, and when you should replace a lot entirely.
The Types of Asphalt Damage
Cracking can take many forms, including shrinkage, widening, edge cracks, slippage, alligator cracks, and reflection. Cracks are caused by many different factors, such as water penetration, oxidation from the sun, freezing, and thawing, and poor initial construction. Even the most minor cracks should be sealed as soon as possible, as small cracks can grow into bigger problems. Water or other debris can settle inside, causing the crack to grow, softening the base, and further threatening the integrity of the pavement. Larger cracks may be a warning sign of deeper issues.
Rutting is when the pavement shows depressions, or grooves, from wear and tear caused by wheel loads. Ruts can be dangerous, leading to vehicles hydroplaning (from ponded water) that can result in loss of driver control. They can also be a result of deeper sub-soil or design problems, and lead to further deterioration. Ruts less than ⅓ inch deep can generally be left as is, but deeper ruts should be leveled and resurfaced.
When It’s Time To Repair
Crack sealing is exactly what it sounds like – filling small cracks to prevent further damage. Cracks that are straight or less than a quarter-inch wide can easily be repaired with a liquid filler. Before sealcoating or resurfacing, all cracks and existing damage must be repaired, so crack sealing is the first step towards further repair and necessary ongoing maintenance responsibility. A yearly schedule of crack sealing is best to prolong the life of your lot.
After you’ve filled any cracks, you can apply a layer of sealcoating. Sealant keeps the lot looking new and prevents corrosion from a variety of elements, including water, oxidation, UV rays, and oil and gas spills. The ideal time to seal asphalt pavement is when deterioration is first discovered. A new asphalt lot should not be sealed until it is at least 6 months old, and should be resealed every 2 – 4 years, depending on weather and amount of traffic.
Resurfacing (aka overlaying)
Resurfacing, also known as overlaying, adds a new layer of asphalt, generally 1.5 – 2 inches in depth, on top of the older one. If done right, a new layer of asphalt can add 8 – 15 years to your current lot and costs less than a full replacement. All cracks and damage to the old layer need to be repaired before resurfacing, as un-repaired cracks will undermine the new layer. Resurfacing in cold weather can lead to premature deterioration, so the rule of thumb is to pave when temperatures are 50° F and above. Just because a lot is showing serious wear and tear and cracking, that doesn’t mean it needs to be replaced. Resurfacing is a great option to improve the condition of your lot without spending a lot of money.
Mill and Resurface
Resurfacing sometimes is not an option due to existing drainage patterns. When this is an issue milling and resurfacing may be a viable choice. Milling the surface involves the removal of the top layer of asphalt (usually 1” to 1.5”). Once the asphalt is removed, it is then replaced with a new layer of asphalt. Though this is one of the more expensive repairs, the quality of the final product and the service life can rival that of a new parking lot.
When It’s Time to Replace
Sometimes, a parking lot is beyond the point where even resurfacing will help. The answer to whether you should repair or replace essentially comes down to the condition of the lot’s base. Resurfacing is only as good as the surface it is layered on top of. If your parking lot is failing due to an underlying design, structural, sub-soil, or construction issue, none of the resurfacing options listed above will solve the problem in the long term. Though the parking lot will initially look better, the “repair” will be short-lived.
If a parking lot is approaching 20 years of age, or if 25-35% of the total surface area is in need of removal due to significant damage, it is generally more economical and effective to completely reconstruct the parking lot. With proper maintenance, your new lot can last another 20 – 30 years.
Proper evaluation and recommendations are critical to avoid any financial missteps in getting your parking lot back on-line.
With warm weather, comes maintenance and repairs to parking lots and driveways. Sealcoating your parking lot or driveway is an easy way to extend the life of asphalt and improve the curb appeal of your property - saving you money in the long run. If sealcoating is avoided, a crack can start forming in the asphalt, which then leads to potholes.
Some benefits of sealcoating asphalt include:
Reduces long term repair costs
Accelerates melting of snow and ice on the pavement surface
Protects your pavement from oxidation, oil and chemical spills
Protects against water penetration, rain, frost and snow damage
Enhances the appearance of your building and landscape
Prolongs pavement life, safeguarding your investment
Asphalt sealing is an important part of maintaining a driveway or parking lot made of this material. It should be performed every two to three years to protect the pavement from developing damage that could shorten its life span. If you miss this maintenance, you could develop one or more of the issues below.
What Can Happen When You Skip Asphalt Sealing
1. Freeze-Thaw Expansion & Fracturing
The winter can be absolutely brutal on asphalt, particularly due to the freeze-thaw cycle. This occurs when water seeps down into the pavement, freezes, and expands — resulting in cracks. As the water thaws, it will then creep even deeper into the material, repeating this process and leading to numerous fractures. Asphalt sealing prevents this by covering any small cracks in the material and keeping water out year-round.
2. Sun Drying
asphalt sealing cookeville tnWhen the sun’s harmful ultraviolet rays beat down on asphalt, they damage it in a way similar to how they affect your skin. The chemical bonds in the pavement begin to deteriorate, leading to cracks and other damage on the surface. Asphalt sealing prevents this by covering the blacktop in anti-oxidation additives and other aggregates that act as a barrier.
3. Surface Softening
Since asphalt pavement is predominantly used by vehicles, it will most likely experience some auto fluid spills. When oil, gas, and similar liquids fall onto the surface, they will be absorbed by the asphalt and cause it to soften. While these spills can be easily cleaned up in most cases, overtime they can result in cracks or a deterioration of the aggregates comprising the blacktop.
Vaca Vet Striping has 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.