They are often a good solution for an ailing roadway, but not always.
All roadways, parking lots, and other paved surfaces have a certain lifespan. After that time, they require maintenance in order to look and function properly. Asphalt overlays are one useful option for maintaining paved surfaces like roads and parking lots, and we use them quite often at Tucker Paving, but they are not always the best solution. Explore the ins and outs of asphalt overlays to help you to judge if one is the best option for the maintenance of your paved surfaces or not.
What Exactly Is an Asphalt Overlay?
An asphalt overlay is a layer of asphalt added over an existing paved surface to improve the look and function of the pavement. A conventional asphalt overlay is more than 1.5 inches thick, and a thin asphalt overlay, sometimes referred to as a “thin lift,” is less than 1.5 inches thick.
An asphalt overlay offers many benefits when added to upgrade a paved surface. Advantages of asphalt overlays include:
- Costs less when compared with other maintenance options
- Seals shallow cracks
- Adds strength to the existing pavement
- Restores slope
- Improves pavement smoothness
Using Asphalt Overlays
Overlays are often a good option, but the pavement must be in relatively good condition. Asphalt overlays cannot compensate for problems with the existing pavement’s structure, moisture problems, or other deformations. Asphalt overlays can be used for maintenance and improvement if:
- A paved surface has only minor surface cracking
- Skid resistance needs to be restored
- Wheel paths should be leveled
- Water intrusion is minor
However, asphalt overlays should not be used in a number of situations. Instances when asphalt overlays should not be used include:
- They would create a drainage or clearance issue.
- The pavement has full-depth cracks and/or block cracking.
- The pavement has deformations that need to be addressed, like ruts in wheel paths
- There are problems with the base of the pavement
- There are moisture problems that are more than minor
In many instances, repairs can be made to address the major underlying issues with a pavement surface, and then an asphalt overlay can be used to address minor surface issues and give the pavement a necessary upgrade.