Wouldn’t it be great if driveways and parking lots (like diamonds) were forever? You would only have to install that driveway or parking lot once. After that, you would never have to worry about it again. Your pavement would look and function like new, year after year, with virtually no maintenance requirements. Sounds nice, doesn’t it?
Unfortunately though, we live in the real world. Although asphalt and concrete pavement can last a very long time when installed by a qualified pro, things will eventually start to go south. Time and age will creep in, leading to cracks and holes that continue to grow larger. If you live in a state with cold winters and hot summers, your pavement will be even more susceptible. This is due to the expansion and contraction of the pavement as the temperatures swings back and forth.
No matter where you live, or how big/small your paved surface may be, you’ll eventually be faced with a decision. Repair your existing pavement, or tear it up and start fresh? Obviously you don’t want to spend any more than you have to—but you also don’t want a temporary solution that’s going to break down in a short period of time. Laying down a completely new surface may seem excessive, but will “repairs” really do the job?
The answer: It depends entirely on the extent of the damage, the age of the pavement, and the quality of the original installation. But if you’re even contemplating a totally new asphalt or concrete installation, the damage to your existing pavement must be significant. For a few cracks or trouble spots, minor repairs would be the only thing on your mind.
In order to make an effective decision, let’s break down the advantages and disadvantages of each approach.
Putting in a brand new pavement
The obvious advantage here is that your pavement will be totally fresh and new. The appearance will be impeccable, and any structural or design problems that may have existed with the previous installation will be corrected. You’ll have a new surface that looks great and works better than the old one.
The disadvantage is the cost. Since a new surface cannot simply be laid over the old one, you’ll need to a contractor who is experienced in asphalt and concrete milling. This makes the process more stressful, intrusive, and costly—but in some cases, it’s still worth it.
Repairing the existing pavement
Repairs can involve several techniques—including patching, milling, and the application of fresh sealant. If your pavement has trouble spots, but overall is in good condition, this is a more cost-effective approach. It can restore most of the functionality to your pavement at a fraction of the cost.
Appearance is one of the biggest drawbacks. Patched asphalt or concrete is almost always noticeable. In terms of functionality, it depends on how skilled and experienced your contractor is. Less skilled companies often create new problems with things like slope and consistency when doing repairs.
What’s the right decision for your home or business?
It can be difficult to know whether your old pavement is worth trying to salvage, or if it makes more sense to simply get rid of the old pavement and start fresh. Budget is obviously a big factor here. Consulting an honest, reputable asphalt and concrete specialist is a good way to get a clearer perspective on what makes more sense for your pavement.