New pavement owners often do not understand the importance of asphalt maintenance, which is why they end up with badly damaged and deteriorated surfaces. After a specific amount of damage, many of the easy repair options fly out the window, leaving you with little choice. At this point, you can either invest in asphalt removal or an asphalt overlay.
First things first! You need to understand that the mentioned options are vague. Asphalt removal here means full removal and replacement or repaving. While asphalt overlays here mean asphalt milling and overlay. No matter what you call these processes, their goal is the same – removal of damaged asphalt and replacement for a stronger, sturdier, and lasting pavement.
Knowing whether your pavement needs an asphalt overlay or asphalt removal depends on a few factors. Have a look below.
Extent of Damage
The most significant factor that determines whether your pavement needs removal or overlays is the extent of the damage.
If your pavement’s foundation is compromised, you are left with no option other than full removal and replacement. However, if only a few top layers are damaged, you can use a milling machine to remove the top of the pavement to a depth where all damaged material is removed. After asphalt milling, a new layer of asphalt is paved over the surface to reach the correct height. You can apply an overlay only if the foundation (sub-base or base) is strong enough to support the weight; also, milling helps achieve an even surface to which the overlay can easily bond.
Whether you have alligator cracking, potholes, or other kind of pavement distress, the structural integrity of the base can only help you decide the solution. Unless you are facing early pavement failure, the sub base is the last area to get damaged.
Age of the Pavement
Another factor that can help you decide which method would be better for you is the age of your pavement. Keep a close eye on the pavement timeline to anticipate the kind of issues your pavement might face based on the stage it is in in its service life. Near the end of your pavement’s service life, when everything is in a state of deterioration, an overlay will only be able to buy you a few extra years as it is just a matter of time before the base and sub-base give way.
Aside from your pavement timeline, it is also imperative to keep a close eye on your maintenance calendar and know when was the last time you received a particular paving service. For example, suppose you have in the recent past gotten an overlay performed but are again in need of swift and strict action. In this case, it could be an indication of a more significant underlying issue, so consider your choice carefully!
Some of you might be wondering why the budget is not mentioned in the above list. The reason is because, while it can impact the likelihood of the project occurring, the budget cannot determine which solution is best for your pavement. Only the above methods can be used to determine that.