Introduction to Resurfacing Asphalt Driveways
Asphalt driveways are the most preferred type of driveways. This is due the strength and durability that asphalt provides to the driveway. However, over a period of time, the continuous heating and cooling, and the water accumulating over the driveway ends up in loosening the material and may form cracks and start loosening out the gravels and dust. This not only weakens the driveway but also reduces the overall aesthetic beauty and first impression of your house.
Hence it becomes essential to remedy these problems sooner. If the problems appearing are just the cracks formation, then a simpler treatment of the driveway can be done by sealing the driveway.
However if the problem is a bit more deeper and threatens the structural integrity of the driveway then a little more than sealing the driveway is required. We need to go for completely resurfacing the asphalt driveway. This does not mean a complete rebuilding, but more like renewing and refreshing the look of it.
If you find that the base of your driveway is still strong and sound, then there is no requirement for completely removing the old driveway and replacing it. It would unnecessarily add to a substantial amount of cost. This cost can be avoided and still make your driveway as good as new by resurfacing it.
Procedure of Resurfacing the Driveway
As you may already read above, this type of driveways gets damaged with time. That being said, it is advisable to resurface an asphalt driveway every 2 or 3 of years.
The actual procedure of resurfacing is not very difficult. If you have the time and you are passionate about doing it yourself, you can save a lot of money not using professional services.
The process of resurfacing the driveway has been mentioned below.
- In the asphalt driveway resurfacing process, a new layer of asphalt i.e. bitumen is overlaid on the preexisting driveway. However before the overlaying work is done, there are a few necessary treatment.
- Initially the grade of the driveway is checked to ensure that the water drainage on the sides and along the length is adequately provided. As accumulation of water would harm the surface over a period of time, this is considered to be an important factor.
- Then the cracks formed on the surface of the driveway are sealed. As any cracks on the surface will eventually resurface on the overlaid layer and damage it.
- Many contractors avoid the previous step sometimes as the overlaid layer hides the cracks for the time being.
- After the cracks are sealed, the entire asphalt driveway is cleaned of all the dust and other particles thoroughly. Once all the foreign particles are cleared off, we proceed to the next step which is quite important and needs to be done carefully.
- A tack coat is provided to help the proper bonding between the pre existing and the new layer of asphalt.
- Upon this layer is another layer of asphalt provided to first level the surface and then to provide the require gradient to help in proper drainage. Then we proceed to the most important and final step of the entire process.
- Now a new layer of asphalt is overlaid on the driveway. Usually this layer is made 2 inches in thickness. This completes the final step. Then the layer is made even and compacted with the help of a roller. And hence your driveway has been completely resurfaced.
Considering Some Additional Precautions
When all the steps are done properly and the process is finished, the resulting product will be of an excellent quality only if there are a certain precautions and cares taken while construction.
The strength and durability of the finished product will be depending on the following things:
- Grade: If the grade of the driveway is ignored then it may end up resulting in a very shorter lifespan due to poor drainage. The ultimate practical grade varies between 8 and 14 percent for low-volume and five percent for high-volume driveways.
- Cracks Sealing: Although the cracks on the old driveway surface won’t be visible on the new asphalt surface, they will affect it. They may even reappear on the new surface over a span of time.
- Quality of material used: The bitumen used in asphalt driveway resurfacing will influence the strength. It is better to use a good quality material to make a driveway that is durable and stronger.
- Time given for Compaction and Curing: After laying the material the surface should be given sufficient curing and enough time before being put to use for compaction and proper binding. This will give a more uniform surface with a smoother finish.
The resurfacing of the asphalt driveway is a very cost effective method. Reinstallation of the entire driveway would cost a lot more and also require more time and resources. Hence when going to repair the driveway, it is always wise to first check the extent of damage you need to repair so that the asphalt driveway resurfacing can be considered as a viable option.