Top Asphalt: Is It Time To Do Asphalt Driveway Repair Or Replace?

Should you top asphalt on your blacktop parking lot or driveway with a fresh coat of paving, or repair it? This is the big money question and we have the answer

Judson Burdon
Posted by Judson Burdon on July 27

Should you top asphalt on your blacktop parking lot or driveway with a fresh coat of paving, or repair it? This is the big money question that people want to know the answer to. And not by asking someone who stands to make a lot of money by saying it is time for a repave! So how can you tell with your own two eyes? Look at the damage, step-by-step, like this:

Potholes are the number one reason people tend to think it’s time to repave or replace, and this simply is not the case. If there is still a good solid base (foundation), this type of damage is easy to repair with a cold asphalt patch. Now if your parking area is more potholes than paving, or if the foundation is in bad shape all over, then it is time to repave.

Depressions and ruts in the blacktop are another big reason people feel the need to replace. You can top asphalt with that same asphalt patch to fill those ruts and depressions. You simply apply the patch and tamp it down. Use a piece of plywood, bottom side lightly oiled, and drive over it. No fancy tamping machinery required. On the other hand, if the dips and valleys are crumbling dry asphalt, and the gravel base is spilling out, then it is certainly time for repaving.

Cracks are never a good thing to see in your blacktop, but again, they are simple to repair. Here you can fill with crack filler rather than going through the expense to top asphalt. Just be sure they are only cracks. If all of the asphalt is crumbling and breaking up, no amount of crack repair is going to work.


Other Key Things To Keep In Mind

  • How Old Is Your Blacktop? Asphalt has a limited lifespan, even with the best of maintenance. 30 years is a ripe old age, if it’s been properly looked after. At this age you can certainly expect to have to top asphalt with a fresh paving.
  • How Much Has It Narrowed? The edges, especially if they are not framed in concrete, are where the worst crumbling occurs. You may not notice from one year to the next, but how much narrower is your blacktop from its original layout? Here again, you may be looking at a replacement of the whole thing.
  • What’s The Estimate? Get an idea of how much it will cost to repair compared to replacement. Be sure to look at how much you can save by doing the repair work yourself. Don’t forget to factor in the cost of any equipment you’ll need to buy or rent.

Repaving or replacing blacktop is a tough choice when you don’t know where to start, and now you do! Examine the potholes, ruts, and cracks to see if they’re easily fixed, or the damage is simply too extensive. Consider the age: is it near the end of its lifespan anyway? How much have you lost on the edges? Finally, look at the actual costs and time involved before you make a final choice as to whether or not to top asphalt.

Topics: Asphalt Maintenance

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