How to Resurface an Asphalt Driveway: A Step-by-step Guide for Beginners
Asphalt driveways are an economical, low-maintenance surface that can last for decades in the right conditions. They’re also a common sight throughout homeowners and businesses alike. The problem with asphalt is that it only lasts so long before it begins to show its age. If you have an asphalt driveway, you might be wondering if there’s anything you can do to extend its lifespan or make it look newer once again.
The good news is that resurfacing your asphalt driveway is one of the best ways to extend its life and give it a brand new look. If you have some questions about the process, rest assured that this blog has everything you need to know about resurfacing your own asphalt driveway! Read through our guide below for expert insight on everything from why your asphalt needs help to choosing the right type of surface for your home.
Why is my asphalt driveway in need of resurfacing?
Asphalt is a very versatile material that can be used in a variety of applications. It’s also a very inexpensive material, since it can be purchased at a low cost in large quantities. This contributes to its common use in a variety of areas where a low cost is of great importance, like driveways. While asphalt is a relatively durable material, it is not indestructible. Over time, the sun and weather will take their toll and begin to deteriorate the surface. These are the signs that you need to have your asphalt resurfaced.
Some of the things that can go wrong with your asphalt include extreme cracking, potholes, and a faded/stained appearance:
- Cracks in asphalt can be very unsightly and are an indication that the surface has begun to break down.
- Potholes are another common issue that happens when the surface has completely broken down and the asphalt is no longer holding the ground together.
- A faded/stained driveway is often a sign that the surface has weathered to the point where it can’t be repaired.
How to spot the signs of asphalt deterioration.
As we mentioned above, there are a few key signs that your asphalt driveway needs some help. Cracking is the most obvious sign of asphalt deterioration. A crack-free driveway is a sign of a well-maintained surface, while a cracked driveway is likely in need of repair. Patching is one of the more common ways that asphalt companies will attempt to fix cracks, but it’s not a permanent solution.
- Over time, cracks will begin to reappear as the asphalt beneath them continues to deteriorate. This can happen gradually or quickly, depending on the cause. Another common sign of asphalt deterioration is potholes.
- Potholes are holes that form where the asphalt has broken down so badly that the underlying dirt is exposed. Potholes can also form when there is a misalignment in the pattern of the asphalt.
- Finally, a faded/stained driveway is one of the signs that your asphalt has weathered and is in need of repair. Over time, asphalt will begin to oxidize and turn a dark color. This is more prominent in areas that are exposed to high levels of UV light.
What’s included in an asphalt driveway resurfacing?
When you have your asphalt resurfaced, the asphalt contractor will scrape the old surface off and lay down a new layer of asphalt. In a lot of cases, the contractor will also be responsible for applying a sealant to the new surface to help extend its life. Depending on the state of your driveway, the resurfacing process can be done with a single pass or multiple passes.
The number of passes required to complete the job will depend on the condition of your driveway. A single-pass resurfacing will scrape off the old asphalt and then lay down a new layer. A two-pass resurfacing will scrape off the old asphalt and then sand the surface before laying down a new layer of asphalt. A two-pass resurfacing can help to smooth out minor imperfections in the surface and make your driveway easier to walk on.
DIY asphalt resurfacing.
If hiring a contractor isn’t in the budget or the immediate future for your driveway, you do have another option: You can resurface your driveway DIY with liquid rubber. Here are a few things you’ll want to know about this process in advance.
- You will want to wait until the warmer season to resurface your driveway with Liquid Rubber.
- You will need cold asphalt and some elbow grease to patch any existing potholes in your driveway before you seal it with liquid rubber. It may be beneficial to consider using a contractor for the cold asphalt patching.
- The driveway will need to be thoroughly cleaned with a pressure washer before you seal it.
- You will want to allow at least 24-36 hours after pressure washing your driveway to pass before you seal it.
- You should consider using muriatic acid solution to wash the driveway for an additional pass before sealing it for the best results.
- Make sure to identify and seal any cracks using driveway caulking, and allow ample drying/curing time before resealing your driveway with liquid rubber.
- Tools you will want to have on hand include: a squeegee or broom, bucket, rags, and some older clothing that you won’t mind getting stained.
- Make sure to place the buckets of sealant at ideal locations so you can keep moving along as you seal your driveway.
- Pour the sealant onto the driveway slowly, and use even strokes to provide a thick coat to each section. Allow at least a 4 hour window of drying time in between coats.
- Give the sealant at least 48 hours or longer to fully dry and cure before you park your cars on the driveway or walk on it again.
Resurface Options for Asphalt Driveways
There are a few different types of surfaces you can choose for your asphalt driveway, including:
- Liquid Rubber – Resurfacing your driveway with liquid rubber can be done DIY and is a very cost effective option that looks great and can add 5-10 years to the life of your driveway.
- Concrete – This is typically only used in high-traffic areas like roads. While it is more durable than asphalt, it’s also significantly more expensive.
- Asphalt – This is the most common surface type for driveways and is very affordable. Asphalt can be resurfaced multiple times before it has to be replaced.
- Bituminous – This is also asphalt, but it’s a higher grade. It is more durable and requires less maintenance than standard asphalt.
- Sealing – Sometimes the existing asphalt on your driveway is still in good enough condition to be preserved. In this case, you can go with a sealing resurfacing that will make the surface easier to clean and protect it from wear.
Decide on your surface type before moving forward
As we mentioned, there are a few different types of resurfacing options for asphalt, and each has its own benefits. The resurfacing contractor will be able to walk you through your options and help you make the best decision for your driveway. With all of the factors in play, it’s important to do your research and find the right resurfacing contractor for your needs. You can start by searching for asphalt contractors in your area.
You can also request quotes from multiple contractors and compare their services to find the best contractor for your needs and budget. Before signing a contract with a resurfacing contractor, make sure to get a detailed breakdown of everything that will be included in the work. This will help you out in the long run if there are any unexpected issues with the work.
When it comes to the lifespan of asphalt, it’s hard to beat. However, this doesn’t mean that it can’t be even better! Resurfacing an asphalt driveway is a great way to make it look brand new again and extend its lifespan by many years. You may also want to consider doing this because you may be moving soon, or you plan to sell your house. Resurfacing is a quick and cost-effective way to spruce up your home’s curb appeal before putting it on the market. Cheers to your new driveway!