Asphalt Repair: Resurface or Replace?

January 28, 2019
Asphalt is a common and popular material used in the construction of driveways, roads, and parking lots. It’s made from an aggregate and a binding agent that is long-wearing and incredibly durable. It can withstand most elements and temperatures which is why it’s used frequently in both commercial and residential properties in Tennessee. However, it’s not indestructible. Over time, blemishes can materialize that threaten the life-span and functionality. Properly caring for it will make it last longer and reduce the chances of it damaging a vehicle.


Cars are a pretty significant investment. Most Americans rely on them to get to and from work. If it breaks down, it could become problematic. Repairing your asphalt will prevent damages to your car that could render it unusable. Cracks and potholes can damage your vehicle, here’s how:


Potholes are detrimental to tires. Potholes have hard edges from the asphalt crumbling or caving. These sharp edges are hard on the tires. As the tire hits the ridge, the air within will shift. If compressed it can pop the tire very much like popping a balloon. Cracks and potholes can also separate the tread making it unsafe during harsh weather conditions.


Potholes that are deep enough can bend the wheels. We’ve already talked about the edges around the hole popping your tire, but the issue can extend to the wheel as well. If you hit it at a high enough speed or just the correct angle, the wheel can bend out of shape. Wheels need to be perfectly circular, or you’ll put pressure on the axel, cause vibration, and reduce the miles per gallon.


Common causes of blemishes to the surface include weather and weight. Tennessee is fortunate enough to have all four seasons. That means driveways, parking lots, and roads are exposed to both high and low temperatures throughout the year. These conditions make the building material expand and contract. As it moves, the binding can weaken. The implementation of asphalt is to make it easier for driving. The constant weight and friction from cars will allow for cracks, potholes, and other issues to occur. The most common causes include:
  • Heavy snow, plowing, and deicing roads in winter
  • High heat from the summer sun
  • Cracks that haven’t been repaired
  • Pooling water
  • Humidity




There are a couple of ways you can fix issues to a black top. It can be repaired or replaced. Repairs don’t tackle the entire scope of the project. They focus more on specific areas that will affect the integrity if they aren’t fixed. Replacement is a much larger production that includes the drilling, leveling and laying of new asphalt. Which one you will need depends on the extent of the damage.


Let’s take a quick look at the different kinds of repairs that are available and when they are best implemented.


Patching asphalt is a targeted solution that covers a wide area. When cracks start to appear on the surface and spread across the material patching is a great solution. It can also help with small divots. Small cracks and divots are minor damages, but if they aren’t rectified, they can become larger problems.


Cracks may look trivial to you, but they can be life-threatening to black tops. If they spread out or down, there are chances for water to penetrate the substrate and cause larger problems. Cracks less than a quarter-inch wide aren’t causing substantial problems but should be repaired with crack filler.


Asphalt, like most building materials, is durable but not indestructible. Years in the elements will eventually wear it down. Cracks that are larger than a quarter inch are illustrations of bigger construction issues. If your blacktop is 20 to 25 years old, it’s probably time to replace the whole thing. Replacing can work better than a resurfacing. Resurfacing is a fresh coat on top of the original asphalt. There is a possibility this could save you some money up front but not long term. The location and frequency of use will help you determine which one is better. However, if your blacktop is showing extreme signs of wear and tear, there is a possibility of subsurface problems. Laying a fresh coat on top of damaged subsurface will continue to be problematic.


Keeping up with the maintenance of pavement is crucial to ensure yourself, or other drivers aren’t causing unnecessary damage to their cars. Repairing or replacing can help. Repairs are easily identifiable, but replacement can be harder to spot. A trusted contractor can help. At Roadbuilders, we have the experience and expertise to help you find a maintenance plan that maintains the integrity. CONTACT US TODAY TO GET A QUOTE

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