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, lending 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.