Asphalt Resurfacing vs Sealcoating: What’s the Difference?

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Whether you realize it or not, you probably use asphalt every day. It’s everywhere, from our roads to our roofs to our driveways.

Its smart black look and affordable value make it a go-to choice for anywhere we can place it. Plus, unlike concrete, asphalt can be repaired, placing it even higher in the value scale.

However, there are two methods of asphalt repair and these are asphalt resurfacing and asphalt sealcoating. As you can imagine, these two methods are misunderstood, and many people aren’t sure which method to opt for when they need repair.

The main difference is that one option is a complete repair, and the other is simple routine maintenance. If you need an asphalt repair but you’re confused with which option to go for, we’re here to help. Here’s asphalt resurfacing vs sealcoating.

What Is Asphalt Resurfacing?

As it sounds, asphalt resurfacing involves adding a brand new asphalt surface, otherwise known as an overlay, straight over an existing asphalt pavement. While sealcoating is a preventative and protective process, resurfacing is a bigger treatment when asphalt paving requires a complete re-do.

However, instead of a complete resurfacing treatment, there are other options. For example, areas of the pavement or driveway can be replaced, and cracks or potholes can be mended.

But if your asphalt paving features large valleys or holes that fill with water when it rains or huge areas of connected cracks that are decaying away, a general resurfacing treatment may be crucial.

For a successful result, there are a few steps in the process to follow. First, the old asphalt pavement must be cleaned, patched, and mended. And any low sections must either be ground down or filled up.

Once that’s done a fresh layer of asphalt, along with a few other applications to assist with durability and adhesion, is placed over the top of the old pavement. You’ll have a fresh new asphalt pavement surface that utilizes the previous payment for stability and strength.

You should always look around to make sure you have the right pavers as well. When looking for one of the largest catalog of pavers online, always ensure you speak with the company who will be installing the asphalt and/or pavers for you so that they ensure you order everything correctly.

When Should I Resurface?

Asphalt resurfacing is the predominant reason why you should have your driveway carefully installed in the first place. If your driveway’s base was installed professionally, you should never need to reconstruct your driveway with a new layer of asphalt.

However, if it wasn’t installed perfectly, you should get your asphalt pavement resurfaced every 15 years on average.

If there are some cracks in your asphalt driveway, don’t worry too much as these are inevitable. However, some may suggest a flaw in the gravel layer of your driveway.

These cracks include alligator cracks in a form that resemble the scales of an alligator and edge cracks which are cracks that feature along the sides of the driveway. If you spot these cracks, unfortunately, it means the issue lies with your driveway and no amount of resurfacing can amend them.

If you don’t spot such cracks after around 15 years, it means luckily you can opt for the relatively affordable option of resurfacing. If you do notice alligator or edge cracks, it means you’ll need to invest in a complete rebuild of your driveway. While you can risk resurfacing a driveway with these problem cracks, unfortunately, they’ll crop up again in a few years.

What Is Sealcoating?

Next, let’s learn about asphalt sealcoating. Sealcoating is purchased as a liquid that is spread over asphalt, setting into a thin layer. It offers your asphalt pavement and attractive rich black finish, and a strong layer of robust protection.

A quality layer of sealcoating offers your pavement defense against plenty of elements. These include corrosive chemicals, moisture, and UV light. By keeping your sealcoating fresh, you can ensure your asphalt pavement remains in good condition and stands the test of time.

It’s important to note that sealcoating doesn’t repair potholes or big cracks, so any damage in your driveway must be fixed before sealcoating.

When Should I Reseal?

The first layer of sealcoating is usually processed soon after the initial asphalt pavement is placed down. This is usually within the first few months, but after the pavement has completely cured. After this, you should reseal your asphalt pavement between every two to five years.

After several years, asphalt paving will start to show noticeable cracks. These may fill with water when it rains and destroys the driveway if it isn’t tended to.

While this may seem like a big range of time, the frequency of resealing depends on how much wear and tear the pavement experiences over the years, and the condition in which it’s kept in.

Thankfully driveway resealing is relatively inexpensive. Yet regular resealing adds around ten years to a pavement’s life, so it’s worth doing.

While it’s possible to reseal a driveway on your own, it’s recommended to use a professional to do it. Not only will they complete the job more efficiently, but the resealers used are of professional quality as opposed to the ones found in home improvement stores.

Asphalt Resurfacing or Resealing?

Having a tidy, efficient, and attractive driveway is an essential part of the look and function of your property. If you know your driveway paving requires some assistance and repairs, now you should know whether it’s asphalt resurfacing or resealing you need.

If you’re still not sure, we’re here to help. To learn whether resurfacing or resealing is right for your home, get in contact and we can talk you through the best solutions available for your needs.

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