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What Is an Asphalt Overlay and Why Is It Important?

What Is an Asphalt Overlay and Why Is It Important?

An asphalt overlay is a layer of new asphalt applied over the existing base layer of asphalt on a driveway, parking lot or road. These new layers are generally about 1.5- to 3-inches thick, depending on the demands on the asphalt and the depth of surface asphalt removed. An asphalt overlay should not be considered an adequate alternative to repaving in every case, but it is a way to significantly extend the useful life of your paved surfaces if the base of your pavement is still in good shape.

When Is an Asphalt Overlay Appropriate?

There are several signs that indicate it’s time for some type of reparative action, whether it’s an asphalt overlay, repaving or just patching. Some of these signs include:

  • Cracks
  • Uneven pavement surface
  • Potholes

Promptly having cracks and potholes filled and sealed will extend the life of your driveway or parking lot and prevent those issues from worsening due to weather, heavy use and the passage of time.

Fixing defects and damages is also important from a liability standpoint. Potholes are tripping hazards and can damage vehicles. No business wants to see their customers or employees get hurt or damage their property during their visit.

The restorative solution you choose should be based on the age of the asphalt pavement and the severity of the issues affecting your asphalt driveway, parking lot or road.

If a commercial parking lot was repaved within the past five or 10 years, complete asphalt repaving is likely excessive. However, if potholes and cracks are causing frequent problems, basic patching may not be enough to address the underlying problems.

A less disruptive and more affordable solution is an asphalt overlay. An overlay is going to provide smoother, more consistent results than just sealing cracks and filling in potholes. An asphalt overlay will result in a more aesthetically even and attractive appearance and fix underlying issues.

Cost of Repaving Verse Asphalt Overlay

The ultimate cost of an asphalt paving job depends on many different factors, so we don’t want to give you unrealistic expectations by providing a specific estimate here. An onsite assessment is always necessary to provide an accurate asphalt paving quote.

However, in most cases the cost of an asphalt overlay will likely be about 60 percent – or a little over half – of the cost of complete repaving. The cost will depend on how much surface asphalt will need to be removed, the size of the area that needs to be overlayed and other property features that may impact the length and complexity of the job.

From a visual standpoint, repaving and an asphalt overlay will end up looking pretty similar. From a cost perspective, an asphalt overlay will almost always be the more attractive option, unless it’s simply not a viable long-term solution.

Installing an asphalt overlay on top of a compromised base won’t fix the underlying problems of the original pavement and is essentially throwing good money after bad. In that situation, you’re better off spending the 40 percent more to repave an asphalt parking lot, driveway or road.

The Asphalt Overlay Process

How does an asphalt overlay differ from complete asphalt repaving? The main differences have to do with the amount of old asphalt removed and the depth of asphalt that is reapplied. The asphalt overlay process usually entails:

  1. Removing the surface layer of asphalt. We use asphalt milling machines to grind down between 1 to 3 inches of the top layer of asphalt, depending on the depth of cracks, raveling or other damages that need to be removed. The milled asphalt will be carted off your property to be recycled.
  2. Trouble areas can be repaired once the base layer of asphalt is exposed. Special attention can be paid to spots where rutting, sinking or potholes have formed. Lakeridge Paving utilizes a number of restorative methods to fix and reinforce the base asphalt.
  3. A new surface layer of asphalt will then be applied to the restored base. The surface layer depth can be adjusted based on need, but it is usually of similar thickness to the surface that was removed during milling.

During repaving the entirety of the old asphalt should be removed, the underlying soil should be graded and sloped for optimal water drainage and a new subbase and base should be installed.

Find Out if an Asphalt Overlay Is Right for Your Needs

An onsite assessment is always necessary to provide an informed recommendation regarding the best approach to address the damages or problems affecting your asphalt parking lot, driveway or road. After getting up close and personal with your asphalt, a Lakeridge Paving expert can let you know which option is going to be best for your situation. Call the Lakeridge Paving asphalt contractor nearest you for an assessment and quote:

  • Covington: 253-631-8290
  • Bellevue: 425-453-0073
  • Tacoma: 253-535-6305
  • Toll Free: 888-403-8290