Cracked Asphalt Driveway: Repair or Replace?

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  • Transcript

    LESLIE: Geri in North Carolina needs some help with a cracked asphalt driveway. What is going on?

    GERI: Well, I lived in the home I’m currently in for 23 years. And it had just a little pebble driveway when I moved in. About 20 years ago, I had an asphalt driveway put in. And over the years, I’ve done some of the maintenance stuff you’re supposed to have done, like slurry-seal things.

    TOM: Right.

    GERI: But probably I let too much time elapse between that a couple of times. And now, I’ve been told by a professional that it’s probably not fixable but I’ll get another few years out of it. But I’ll have to replace it with something. So, my question is: what’s the best, most cost-effective but attractive thing to put in place of an asphalt driveway?

    TOM: Right. So, the reason that you want to replace the asphalt driveway, is it cracked?

    GERI: It’s got lots of tiny cracks but they’re going to get bigger. And it’s probably going to start crumbling apart in the next few years.

    TOM: OK. Is it sunken in in any places or is it just the surface wear and tear and the cracking?

    GERI: It’s not sunken in, no.

    TOM: Alright. Well, look, if it’s not sunken in, that means they must have done a really good job when they put it down in the first place, because you have no displacement of the driveway base itself.

    GERI: OK.

    TOM: And if you were to tear that up and start from scratch, it’s going to be a pretty expensive project.

    GERI: OK.

    TOM: The least expensive way to repair cracked asphalt driveway would be to add another layer of asphalt on top of it. Now, I’m not talking about just sealing the driveway but actually putting a thin layer over what you have right now.

    GERI: OK.

    TOM: And that’s going to look like a new driveway. And because the base is solid and it’s not moving – you know, sometimes we get these calls and it’s sunken, it’s twisted, it’s broken, it’s – because it all settled out. But if it’s relatively solid and all you’re talking about is just the degradation of the surface, another layer of asphalt on top of that might be the hot ticket to repair cracked asphalt driveway. It’ll be the least expensive way to go and you’ll have what looks like a brand-new driveway in an afternoon, essentially.

    GERI: Well, that sounds awesome because I was thinking I would have to be the one to tear it apart and get rid of it first and then have somebody else come out.

    TOM: Yeah. No, we can think of other projects for you to do that same weekend if you like. But this one you don’t have to do.

    GERI: OK. Alright. Well, that’s great. I will look into having that quoted and …

    TOM: Alright. Good. And remember, when you talk to these contractors, a lot of them will try to talk you into a bigger project than you need. But if it’s structurally sound, I think that’s really all you do need to do.

    GERI: OK. Alright. Well, thanks so much.

    TOM: Good luck.

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