When Sealcoating Just Won't Do: How To Tell If It's Time To Repave
One of the advantages of having asphalt on your property, such as a driveway or parking lot, is that you can prolong the life of the asphalt by sealcoating it every couple of years. Sealcoating is simple and doesn't take long; after about 24 hours, the asphalt surface is usable again. However, sometimes the asphalt is too far gone or has something else going on that makes sealcoating inadvisable. In those circumstances, repaving with new asphalt is necessary.
Too Much Surface Damage
Any damage in the existing asphalt needs to be fixed before the surface can be sealcoated. However, if there is too much damage -- not just your average cracks from settling, but potholes, alligator cracks, and more -- then you need to have the surface repaved. Sealcoating needs a stable surface, and something that's crumbling is not stable at all. And if part of the surface is crumbling and the other part is stable, you'd still need to repave the part that was severely damaged.
When the Base Needs Work
Sometimes the surface of the asphalt looks okay, but the base underneath has been damaged. Erosion from heavy rains is a common cause, as is shifting soil that is either inherently unsteady (which means the asphalt was not installed properly) or that was subject to an earthquake. If the base is damaged, then you have to repave. All of the asphalt needs to be removed, the base repaired, and then the surface repaved with new asphalt. Sealcoating alone will be pointless in this situation, although you should certainly get the new asphalt sealed when it is in place.
There Has Been Any Remodeling
Maybe the original driveway looks fine and still has a stable base, but if you've done any remodeling and are extending the driveway, for example, you may want to just repave the whole thing. You could add new asphalt to the new section and sealcoat the rest, but that could leave a seam showing if the sealcoating isn't done correctly. If your asphalt surface is already old, repaving the whole thing could be a better choice.
You can have a couple of asphalt paving companies come out and look at the surface you need to have redone. They can let you know if paving is the right step. Remember that even after total repaving, you should have the surface sealed to keep water out and to protect the asphalt from additional damage like potholes.
For more information, contact a paving company or visit websites like http://www.phend-brown.com.