asphalt driveway in the winter

3 Times When You Should Resurface Your Asphalt Driveway (And 3 Times When You Shouldn’t)

If you’re here, you probably already know that resurfacing your asphalt driveway is one of the best and most cost effective ways of protecting your driveway investment. And it is an investment: driveways are expensive, inching up towards the $10,000 mark brand new, but they greatly impact a house’s curb appeal. So much so, in fact, that a prospective buyer might pass up on a house solely because it has a shoddy driveway.

Given the high cost of outright replacing your driveway, resurfacing it (when you tear down the first few inches of asphalt and pour new stuff over it) becomes a more and more appealing option. But before you pull the trigger on a driveway resurface, you should know when the conditions are right (and when they aren’t) to get the service done.

When You Should

When You Know Your Driveway has a Solid Base

Asphalt is only as strong as the subgrade beneath it. Since asphalt itself is supple (a quality that makes it perfect for parked and moving cars alike), it requires a sturdy underground base to keep its shape. Without that base, asphalt would sink and deform extremely quickly.

If you know your driveway has a solid base, you’re good to go ahead with resurfacing. But how can you tell? We’ll get into that a little later.

When You Want to Give Your Driveway a Facelift

In addition to strengthening your driveway, resurfacing will give your driveway a brand-new look without the price of a full-blown driveway replacement. The black part of asphalt gets worn down over time by the sun’s UV rays, and there is no way to reverse the effect. Your only chances of a pitch-black driveway come from resurfacing or resealing your driveway (two things we’ve written about before).

When You Want to Have Better Winters

The past two winters in Cincinnati have been terrible. But if you had a new driveway installed in the past few years, these winters were likely a little easier on you than other people. That’s because asphalt is the best material around when it comes to snow.

Asphalt’s deep black color attracts heat and helps to melt the snow off your driveway more quickly. But that’s not the only thing it’s good for.

Asphalt is also incredibly porous. That means when the snow on your driveway does melt, a lot of it melts and drains through the asphalt, meaning your driveway melts and drains snow more efficiently than your neighbors.

When You Shouldn’t

When Your Driveway Has Potholes

If you’ve ever driven on a pothole-covered road regularly (and Cincinnati has enough of those), you probably know what we’re about to say. You’ve probably noticed that it doesn’t take potholes long to reform after they’ve been patched. That’s because a pothole forms when the subgrade beneath a patch of asphalt erodes away. Without a sturdy base, the flexible asphalt quickly collapses on itself, forming a pothole.

If your driveway has potholes, they won’t go away for long if all you do is fill the holes. Unfortunately, the only way to get rid of potholes for good is to dig up the driveway and start from scratch.

When Your Driveway has Alligator/Spider Cracks

Alligator cracks, cracks in the pattern of the scales on an alligator’s back (though some see it as a spiderweb), also indicate structural failure of your driveway’s subgrade. Just like with potholes, if you see these cracks, you shouldn’t cover them up because they’ll just show right back up again.

When Rain is in the Forecast

You can repave asphalt when it’s raining, the effects just won’t be pretty. When it rains, the wetness will cause the oils in asphalt to separate from the rest of the mixture and weaken the whole thing. This can lead to oily runoff and craters. In fact, you have to wait for the ground to completely dry before you should even attempt anything with your driveway.

Interested in Repaving? Call JK Pavement

Whether you need repaving or a brand-new driveway, JK Pavement is Cincinnati’s top choice for driveway work. Check out our testimonials to see what others have said about us or give us a call today for a free estimate.