When you install an asphalt surface, you can take comfort in knowing that the surface should last you for many years to come. Asphalt is popular in large part because of its durability (along with its ability to be repaired), meaning you should be able to expect to get around 20 years out of your pavement without much trouble at all. However, all surfaces need to be replaced at some point, and that is true of asphalt as well. When the time does come to handle an asphalt replacement project, you need to plan that project properly in order to arrive at a successful conclusion.
Assessing the Situation
Before you get started with the job of replacing a piece of asphalt, the first thing you need to do is assess the condition of the pavement as it sits today. What is wrong with the surface that has you thinking about replacing it entirely? Are there cracks running throughout the pavement, or have potholes developed in various places? If you are thinking about replacing a driveway in front of your home, for instance, pot holes and sink holes can become a major problem when trying to safely park your cars.
It is important to understand that there are less-drastic – and less expensive – options than replacing the entire piece of asphalt. For small damage, it may be possible to repair the pavement. Asphalt repairs are generally quite affordable, and they can be just the right pick when only small sections of the surface are having trouble. Or, if you have more advanced problems, it may be possible to resurface the asphalt. This process involves removing the top layer of your pavement and replacing it with fresh asphalt. A nice balance between simple repairs and complete replacement, resurfacing is often going to be the right pick.
Ultimately, the base of the pavement is going to be the determining factor in whether or not you should replace the entire slab. If there are serious problems with the base of the asphalt – often the case when sinkholes develop, your best bet may be to go ahead with the complete replacement. Age should be taken into account on this point as well. If you know that the surface is at least 20 years old, attempting repairs may be a process that just continues with no end in sight. Rather than consistently spending money on repairs, taking the jump to a full replacement will likely be the best option for your wallet.
Doing the Job
Once it has been decided that asphalt replacement is the right option, the first task is obviously to remove the old surface. In a small residential project, removal of old asphalt is something that may be able to be handled on a DIY basis. That is not the case for a commercial job, of course, such as an old parking lot. When a large surface needs to be removed and replaced, it will be the job of an asphalt contractor to take out the old surface before preparing for the new.
It is important to remember that the reason for replacement likely has more to do with the base than the top layer of asphalt – so work may need to be done on the ground to prepare for the new pavement installation. The actual laying of the asphalt itself is a relatively quick process for an experienced contractor, so it is the prep of the site that will account for most of the time spent on this job. One the asphalt is laid, it can usually be driven on within about 24 hours, depending on weather conditions and other factors.
While asphalt is a relatively low-maintenance pavement option, it is not entirely maintenance free. If you are going to get the best possible lifespan from your new asphalt pavement, you should follow along with some basic maintenance steps. For one thing, the asphalt should be sealed within six months of installation, and then it should be sealed again every couple of years after that. Also, cracks should be sealed quickly should they develop, and any low areas should be patched as well. Taking care of your asphalt pavement in these basic ways will improve its performance over the long run.
As you might expect, an experienced asphalt company will not only be able to offer removal and installation services for a replacement project, but also ongoing maintenance after the fact. It would be a mistake to spend a considerable sum of money on asphalt installation only to neglect maintenance and wind up needing another big asphalt job sometime in the near future. Care for your asphalt pavement is easy when you work with the right team, so there is no excuse to fall behind on this point.
You already know that you are going to need to call in professional help to have the asphalt laid if you decide to go ahead with replacement, but how can you know if you really are at that point? The best option is to have a professional contractor review the state of your current pavement. Sure, you can probably make an educated guess on whether or not replacement is needed, but you don’t have the same experience or in-depth knowledge as someone who works in the industry. Trust the eye of a trained professional to make sure that you are going in the right direction with your asphalt project.
While asphalt replacement is usually considered as the last option for fixing up a driveway or parking lot, it doesn’t need to be seen as a bad thing. Once a piece of pavement is replaced, it will look and perform great for many years to come, while only requiring minor maintenance. An old piece of pavement can quickly become a headache that demands regular attention, so looking out at your new asphalt slab is likely to give you peace of mind as you check this point off of your to-do list.