A common question many ask in relation to their asphalt driveway is whether they need to have it seal coated or repaved. But the question should really be whether the pavement is repaved or resurfaced. According to the experts at Dallas-based Parking Lot Pros, asphalt seal coating should only be carried out on undamaged driveways. It is important to know the difference between the three.
What is Seal Coating?
Asphalt seal coating does not repair damage to a driveway. It is a preventative measure that will protect driveways from the damage that is commonly caused by weather conditions such as snow, rain, and sunlight. It also prevents liquids like water, oil, and other chemicals from seeping into the driveway and causing damage.
It is recommended that seal coating be applied to asphalt around 6-12 months after it has been first laid as this gives the asphalt time to cure and fully settle. After that, it should be reapplied every two to three years. If you do not apply the first coat of asphalt seal coating in the recommended time frame, you might find that the driveway becomes damaged with cracks (and even potholes). Seal coating your driveway at this point is not recommended. You need to repair the damage before thinking about applying the seal coat. At this point, you need to decide if the driveway should be resurfaced or repaved.
What is Resurfacing?
Resurfacing an asphalt driveway is one way of repairing surface damage. Also known as an overlay, resurfacing is more of a short-term fix for damaged driveways. If the base layer of the driveway is structurally sound and it is just the top layer that is damaged, then a resurface can be a cost-effective way of bringing the driveway back to life. If you choose to have the driveway resurfaced, a contractor will remove the top layer and replace it with a new one. It should then be seal coated to keep it in good condition over a number of years.
What is Repaving?
Sometimes, the base layer and foundation of the driveway is in a bad state and if this is the case, the only option is to have the entire driveway repaved. In fact, the damage to the surface of the driveway may have been caused by the condition of the foundations. Because repaving requires the entire driveway to be removed (including the foundations), this is the most expensive option. However, when the base layer is not strong, there is simply no point in resurfacing as it will not fix the problem.
The Bottom Line
Some people get confused about which pavement services they need when they notice damage such as cracks or potholes in their driveway. There are some who think that all they need to do when they spot cracks in the driveway is to have it seal coated and that’s that, but while this may be okay for tiny cracks, larger ones need to be repaired before any coating is applied.
Damage to a driveway can be caused by exposure to certain weather conditions, particularly strong sunlight, heavy rain, and snow, but it can also be the result of issues with the foundations. If the soil underneath the driveway was not compacted properly at construction or it has shifted in the meantime, it can affect the integrity of the entire driveway.
If the damage is minor and is only affecting the top surface of the driveway, it can be resurfaced, but if the damage is more severe and is at foundation level then the entire driveway may need to be repaved.