If your asphalt driveway starts to look rough, then some repair works could do the trick. The question is whether you can just resurface the driveway or whether you need to rip out everything and redone it from scratch. Maintenance should be a good medicine, but unfortunately, it is not foolproof. Asphalt driveway won’t stay black and smooth forever. You can take steps to protect and seal your driveway. However, it will be exposed to grease, gas, oil, salt, UV light and heat. If you have a big SUV, the driveway will need to withstand the weight. Eventually, small cracks will develop and water will find its way. The problem will become worse and the rate of degradation will increase.
Asphalt is brittle and hard, so you should expect that asphalt driveway will start to crack. Hairline cracks could appear first and some of them will become an inch wide. If you wait until winter, the freeze and thaw cycles will be quite damaging to your driveway. Even if weather in your area is generally warm, water penetration can still be quite damaging. If cracks become serious enough, pavement will deteriorate and even the base layers will be exposed. Deciding whether you need to resurface or rebuilt the asphalt driveway, will depend on the base layers condition. If cracks have covered about 75 percent of the driveway, it may be too far gone to repair. It means that a complete overhaul will be needed.
In some cases, the driveway keeps deteriorating prematurely, even if you have resurfaced it a few times. It means that there could be a problem with the base layers or foundation. In this situation, it could be a good idea to make an entirely new driveway. If there are visible mounds or depressions on your asphalt driveway, they could also indicate structural problems, which will require you to rebuild everything. If the driveway is properly built, it may last for more than 25 years with proper maintenances, regardless of the heavy loads and extreme weather conditions. For this reason, you should make sure that you work with reputable contractors, because resurfacing or rebuilding asphalt driveway isn’t a DIY project.
When you work with a reputable contractor, they will carefully calculate the materials. There will be much less excess materials, the moment the project is completed. You should use common sense if you want to avoid working with con artists. Make sure that the contractor is licensed, insured, bonded and registered. Check the trade associations in your area related to asphalt, such as NPCA and NAPA in the United States. When hiring a contractor for installing new asphalt driveway, make sure that you have a good list of references. Specify the number of layers that you need for the driveway. Consult the contractor about the best composition of driveway that you should get. As an example, the base and sub-base layers can be about 12 inches thick in total, while the actual asphalt layer can be about 4 inches thick.