What’s the Difference Between an Asphalt Overlay and Asphalt Resurfacing?

August 3, 2020

Eventually, your asphalt will need a little help to restore its original fresh, crack-free, jet-black look. Time, weather and wear and tear all conspire to wear asphalt down. However, asphalt overlays and resurfacing are two ways to renew your pavement. Here are answers to two common asphalt paving FAQs in Nashville, TN.

What is an asphalt overlay?

An asphalt overlay is simply the term for the top layer of asphalt pavement. Asphalt is made of crushed rock, gravel, sand and bitumen to hold it together, and it is installed in various layers to achieve strength, durability and flexibility—even when the weather is less than ideal, or when heavy traffic is a factor.

The overlay is usually made from a hot asphalt mix, which is smoothed over the other layers and gives your parking lot, road or driveway a fresh and smooth look.

When you surface your asphalt, having appropriate drainage is crucial. Your overlay may require you to have the sides milled, to sit even with the concrete—otherwise, you could have drainage problems or tripping hazards to deal with, defeating the purpose of redoing your pavement. The slope should be 1 percent, or one inch of decline for every 10 feet of pavement.

What is asphalt resurfacing?

Asphalt resurfacing is adding a fresh layer of asphalt to your existing pavement. As long as your pavement’s base and sub base are in good condition, you can use resurfacing to refresh the look and integrity of your asphalt. If you’re unsure how the base is holding up, your asphalt contractors can perform a core test to determine suitability for resurfacing.

You can expect a resurfacing to last eight to 15 years on average, depending on weather, traffic and other wear and tear. If you completely reconstruct your pavement, it should last about 15 to 20 years.

How to keep your pavement in great shape

If you’ve opted for an overlay or resurfacing, make sure you take care of your asphalt so it stays looking fresh and smooth for a longer time. First, adhere to the setting and curing times as recommended—you usually will need to keep traffic off the surface for 24 hours or more. You should also ensure that people don’t set heavy objects on the pavement, like trailer hitches, chairs and other objects that might dent your pavement. If you must put these on your asphalt, lay a piece of plywood down to distribute the weight more evenly and prevent holes.

If (or when) you notice damage to your pavement, like cracks, potholes and more, make sure you get them repaired as soon as possible. The faster you repair damage, the less likely water will intrude and cause further problems.

Finally, consider sealcoating your asphalt for extra protection. You can usually do this about six months to a year after laying the asphalt, once it has fully cured.

For answers to more of your asphalt paving FAQs in Nashville, TN, get in touch with the team at RoadBuilders today.

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