If you have an older asphalt driveway on your property that needs a great deal of work, then you may be deciding on whether you should invest in a resurfacing or replacement. While resurfacing is much cheaper than a full replacement, there are a number of situations where replacement is a much better choice. Keep reading to learn about when a full replacement is ideal.
When The Subbase Is Unstable
Asphalt driveway installation takes a great deal of work, especially when the pavement is initially secured. The process typically starts with excavation, soil inspection, the addition of filler material, and the spreading of a gravel. All of these things are done to create a stable subbase underneath the asphalt. If contractors skipped a few of the preparation steps during the installation or if the subbase has become unstable, then new pavement should be placed with special attention paid to excavation and subbase replacement.
There are several signs that the subbase is unstable underneath your driveway. The settling of the asphalt across the entire surface of the driveway is one sign. So is the heaving of one or several sections of the asphalt and the formation of large sinkholes or potholes. Extensive cracking across the surface with formation that are both deep and wide are a sign that the base of the driveway is not holding up the asphalt properly.
When your paving contractor goes to excavate your driveway, you should make sure that a full subbase evaluation is completed. While previous contractor issues are common when it comes to a failing subbase, this is not the only reason why it may fail in the first place. The presence of organic compounds in the soil that have decomposed over time can create an issue and so can the poor drainage of water away from the driveway. Also, poor compaction of the soil and leaving weak soil content underneath the asphalt can contribute to issues.
When Asphalt Surfaces Have Thinned
Asphalt surfaces can vary a great deal based on the contractor and your specific needs. If a contractor decides to secure over six inches or more of aggregate material, then the asphalt on top may only be about three inches tall. The pavement may also may be a bit thicker at four to six inches with a much thinner aggregate base.
If you have a fairly thin asphalt layer across your driveway, then a full replacement is ideal to encourage stability. This is also true if a thicker asphalt layer has thinned out significantly. You can typically tell if this is the case by looking at the edges of the asphalt. If the driveway seems to sit even with the lawn or dips down below it, then it has likely thinned out.
If you do not want to spring for the high cost of a complete asphalt replacement, then you do have another option to strengthen the driveway. You can have the driveway resurfaced with commercial asphalt instead of residential materials. Commercial asphalt is more coarse and contains more solid material than residential asphalt mix. This creates a surface that is stronger, more stable, and more durable than the smooth residential asphalt.
While commercial asphalt can work well over a thinner driveway, you should know that the material may not be as aesthetically pleasing due to its rough texture. However, it can sustain heavier loads than other types of asphalt mixes, so this is ideal if you have an RV or commercial vehicle that you need to park in your driveway.
If you want to know about all of your repaving and asphalt replacement options, then speak with an asphalt paving specialist.