Driveways or parking areas are initially a costly investment, but they do not last forever. A quality paving project should last a property owner up to 20 years. However, break down of the materials does occur due to weather and wear and tear from heavy vehicles driving across it. Which can leave you wondering should I patch or repave my driveway?
Essentially water seeps into areas of your pavement and the recurring freezing and thawing coupled with constant weight cause the components that make up the pavement to break down. These distress’ can show up via cracks in the surface of the pavement, divots, crumbling of the material, holes, or alligatoring (the appearance of cracks like the skin of an alligator). Although in the immediate future it may be cost-effective to ignore issues, it is important to address them as soon as you can to maintain your paving.
If cracks in the surface are only ¼” deep or wide those can be fixed relatively easily with a liquid sealer. Any other crack that is wider or deeper could be indicative of a more complicated issue.
Small holes or divots can be fixed using a patch material that can be packed down with weight, and optimally with heat, to the correct height of the driveway. One way in which to apply weight is to place plywood over the hole and leave a vehicle parked over the spot for a day or two. Although patching will not be aesthetically pleasing.
Nevertheless, these are temporary solutions that will extend the life of your driveway for two to three years but water will eventually creep back in and begin the process again.
The most important thing to consider when making a decision to patch or repave your driveway is the age of the project. As stated above pavement is only expected to last 20 years. If your driveway is approaching this age or past it, the better choice would be to go ahead and consider repaving the entire thing. Once your pavement has reached its age limit patching is no longer a cost-effective technique and is no longer worth it.
The initial sign of needing to repave your driveway is alligator cracking. This form of cracking is an indicator that the supportive base of the pavement is failing. At this point, you should contact a reputable professional to inspect the damage and offer advice.
Repaving your driveway is also an excellent choice if you have your home on the market to be sold because it will give a visual lift to your property. The condition of your driveway will affect the overall value of your home.
Another middle option for property owners would be to have the pavement resurfaced through milling or an overlay. Professional companies do have the capability to remove the top layer of your asphalt, leaving the sub-base intact, and redo the top layer. However, this is only a viable option if the sub-base is not moving due to water and is still solid. This is a cost-effective solution but should only be discussed with an experienced contractor.
Extending the life of your driveway has a few options but eventually, it will need to be replaced. Patching and sealing will save money in the short run of things and extend the life of your pavement for a few years but will not keep water out forever. Of course, the weather and environment of your property play a major role in the life of your materials. However, if you begin to see alligator cracking or the age of your drive has reached its lifespan it is imperative to contact a professional. If in doubt do not hesitate to contact us for a consultation at any time!