Can My Broken Pavement Be Fixed?

It would be nice if a driveway or parking was something we could install once and never have to think about it again. It would be there was long as you need it, looking and functioning like it did the day it was installed. There would be no cracks, no potholes, and virtually no maintenance requirements. There would be no need to worry about repairs or milling or replacement pavement.

But that’s just not how pavement performs in the real world. It’s true that pavement, when installed by a real professional, should last one or two decades without much intervention. There may be a few cracks to patch, and if the pavement is asphalt, periodic sealcoating will be necessary for maintenance purposes.

Even when pavement is expertly installed, however, things often can happen over time. This is especially true in areas with harsh temperature swings, sweltering summers and freezing winters. The expansion and contraction of the pavement is one of the factors that can lead to problems over time.

Everyone who owns a home or business will, at one point or another, have to decide whether to make repairs to an aging pavement installation or whether to remove the old material and make a brand new installation.

There are a number of factors that go into this decision, not the least of which is budget. Very few people plan for pavement-related expenses, and when pavement does require work, people are often forced to adjust their finances in some way. At the same time, spending more for a more comprehensive “fix” is sometimes the better approach. It’s often tempting to “limp along” with piecemeal repairs instead of kicking in that extra sum of cash that’s going to keep the problem at bay for years to come.

In terms of whether it makes more sense to repair an existing surface or “start over,” the condition of the pavement is obviously the most important determining factor. If there seem to be more “trouble spots” than not, and if the cracks and potholes are significant throughout the pavement, creating a repair strategy might not be the most productive path forward. The appearance of the repaired surface might be very disappointing for property owners and business owners who take pride in presentation. Also, the integrity of the repairs will only hold up for so long.

Mill and replace the pavement

If you go this route, you should end up with a completely new surface, right down the base and sub-base layers. Hopefully, you’ll get a truly skilled expert to do this for you, using the best tools and mixtures available. The result is a brand new driveway or parking lot, the design of which should definitely address underlying asphalt issues where possible.

The drawback here is cost. On average, installing a brand new driveway will cost significantly more than repairing an old one — especially when milling is involved.

Fix the pavement you already have

If you decide on repairs, there are a number of possible methods used. Your specialist will use asphalt/concrete milling, patching, filling and sealing to address problems throughout the pavement. Under the right circumstances, the results here can be very good — and the cost is lower.

One of the biggest “cons” here is how the pavement often looks. The more repairs are done, the more “patchy” the surface appears to be. It’s also worth mentioning that if you hire an experienced company, you could up with other functional problems, such as an incorrect slope or other inconsistencies.

How do I make the right call?

The best place to start is by contacting a couple of reputable pavement specialists in your area and bringing them to your site for a visual inspection. You should feel comfortable discussion different options, and you shouldn’t feel pressured. Check online review scores and talk to friends to find reputable companies who aren’t pushy or impatient — your investment is worth it!