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  1. #11
    Join Date
    May 2011
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    Northern Virginia
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    Default Re: Repaving Asphalt Driveway vs. Just Filling Cracks

    Quote Originally Posted by barbarabar View Post
    Hi Brookworld, We, too, have driveway problems and are about 1 hr. north of you. The driveway was repaved at some point- a new layer of asphalt atop the original which makes a 1 1/2 in lip up from the garage to the driveway. The driveway has cracks and two spots where the asphalt is coming off in chunks- one where it meets the street (started when they repaved the street and did a terrible job connecting to our driveway.) and another where no chunks have come off but you can see chunks forming. The asphalt underneath seems cracked but intact. Finding a reputable contractor is one issue, but do you think we need to have the top layer taken off and redone? How did you reach your decision? Barbara
    Hi Barbara: I'm sorry to hear about the chunk problems; quite frankly, I didn't think "repaving" would be a solution unless the problem is diagnosed or addessed. In some sense, repaving is like adding wall paper over old paper and not dealing with the underlying problem.

    I can't say I'm anywhere an expert, but here are my thoughts.
    (1) Digging up and re-preparing the foundation and then pouring new asphalt would give you a new driveway -- I've done only 1 driveway, and it was $10,000 to do pavers (about 900 sqft, about $10-11 per sf), replacing concrete. This was the brand new driveway and should last 50 years in California.
    Our Canadian buddy (Nestor) in this posting spent $20,000 for 4,000 sf of asphalt parking ($5 per sqft), and it seems he knows enough to be sure all the rights things were done -- again, a new asphalt parking area that should last 50 years.
    Thus, you have a price range for ripping off the asphalt, re-preparing the foundation, and adding a new surface: asphalt, concrete or paver. For me, 2,000 sqft @ $10/sqft would be an poor investment.
    (2) For me, that leaves the choice of repairing the cracks and resealing. I intend to repair the cracks myself (about $75 forcold patch, crack filler and driveway washer). I've never done this aso it will be a new adventure in No. VA summer weather of humidity & sun. Resealing is $300, but they will be using a standard sealer.
    (3) I also receive a quote to just repave (adding 2 inches of alphalt) for $4,300 (2,000 sqft) -- it looked good until I realized I don't want a built-up driveway with another 2 inches on top. The quote including shaving off the sides (before adding a top layer) to prevent a buildup. Your driveway wasn't shaved in areas where a lip was formed
    (4) For you, the chunks would be disconcerning because it looks like something else is happening. I wonder whether the 2nd layer of asphalt was poorly done, and the chunks are forming (cure worse than the disease) because the the asphalt didn't attached properly, whatever.

    Basically, the whole issue is to stop water from getting into and under the asphalt that would undermine the asphalt. Your weather is like mine, and in the winter, the freezing & thawing of water in & under the aspahlt will cause it to crack. So, I would patch and fill the holes, and then seal it to keep out water. The sun will breakdown the sealer in several years (some synthetic sealers claim 7-8 years). The sealer will also make, I hope, the cracks blend in with the driveway. Any lumps and dips will show, but the color should be uniform. The internet says to use primer (a white liquid) to cover oils that didn't wash off to keep them from spotting the sealer. This can be done for $hundreds rather than $2,000 for repaving (assume $2sf), or $10,000 (assume $10 sf) for a rip-out & new surface.

    There may be something even more in the middle, like "shaving" off all the old asphalt and laying new. I've not asked about this or considered it

    If you decide to rip out, I would go for pavers -- in the DC area, there are additional issues like weed growing between pavers. They will probably need to be sealed and compacted every so often (some pavers may lift even if they are interlocking).
    Last edited by Brookworld; 07-19-2011 at 05:13 PM.

  2. #12
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
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    208

    Default Re: Repaving Asphalt Driveway vs. Just Filling Cracks

    People should be aware that as long as they live in a climate where the ground freezes in winter, then there really isn't any kind of paving that will withstand frost heave, and if an ice lens forms under your driveway, it won't matter one bit whether it's paved with asphalt, interlocking pavers or concrete... that driveway is going for a ride and is gonna end up damaged, no two ways about it.

    Frost heave is caused by ice lenses forming in the ground. They call them ice lenses simply because of their shape; similar to that of a magnifying glass (although I don't see any reason why they'd be generally round or any other shape for that matter).

    When an ice lens forms, it starts of as nothing more than ground water rising at some localized spot in the winter. That ground water then freezes to the bottom of the frost layer, and as it does so it expands as it forms ice, thereby raising the overburden a small fraction of an inch. However, the process of water rising from below and freezing, thereby raising the overburden above it can continue all winter, resulting in "frost heave" of anything from a fraction of an inch to a few inches or more. That frost heave is the result of the way ice lenses form; by freezing of water to the underside of the frost layer, and the subsequent expansion of that water as it freezes.

    Ice lenses are fairly localized, but it they lift a driveway 2 inches upward, then that driveway is gonna be damaged regardless of how it's been paved.

    This link talks about ice lens formation in the arctic tundra, but you don't have to be that far north to have frost heave. Frost heave can happen anywhere the ground freezes in winter.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ice_lens

    I was concerned someone out there might be thinking: "Well, if I spend $12,000 on an interlocking paving stone driveway, it'll be somehow inherently less susceptible to damage." I'm certainly no paving expert, but if you live where the ground freezes in winter, then you're susceptible to frost heave, and frost heave will lift any driveway, thereby causing damage to it.
    Last edited by Nestor; 07-19-2011 at 11:28 PM.

  3. #13
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    SoCal
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    5,084

    Default Re: Repaving Asphalt Driveway vs. Just Filling Cracks

    Nestor,

    These are interesting facts about ice lenses. I never knew about them, living in places where the lowest possible temps are around 40F.

    But here is a question: If every driveway is going to break up, why do they even bother with driveways - asphalt, pavers or concrete? why not use gravel?

    I wouldn't like to have a gravel driveway, but at least it won't crack.

  4. #14
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Northern Virginia
    Posts
    99

    Default Re: Repaving Asphalt Driveway vs. Just Filling Cracks

    Quote Originally Posted by Nestor View Post
    People should be aware that as long as they live in a climate where the ground freezes in winter, then there really isn't any kind of paving that will withstand frost heave, and if an ice lens forms under your driveway, it won't matter one bit whether it's paved with asphalt, interlocking pavers or concrete... that driveway is going for a ride and is gonna end up damaged, no two ways about it.

    I was concerned someone out there might be thinking: "Well, if I spend $12,000 on an interlocking paving stone driveway, it'll be somehow inherently less susceptible to damage." I'm certainly no paving expert, but if you live where the ground freezes in winter, then you're susceptible to frost heave, and frost heave will lift any driveway, thereby causing damage to it.
    Gravel is too country and uncivilized . . . although with my sloping driveway (drops 1 story to the basement level) and NoVA weather, it would be a great nature beater.

    Nestor, I'm not an expert in anything, but based on my intuition, I would say, if cost was no object, that pavers are not only better looking than asphalt, but seems more resilent (also more resilent than concrete, which is standard for my former No. California home). The pavers are already "broken" based on their brick-like size. I would expect that the heaving caused by frost can be "fixed" by compacting whenever the pavers slip above the level line. In this respect then, pavers are not maintenance free, and they are often sealed to keep a gloss look.

    I have seen pavers crack (like bricks), or maybe what I saw were really ground bricks (mortared) that cracked, and I do wonder whether they they can be removed and replaced -- my doubts come from the fact that the pavers are squeezed or interlocked by adhesive-like sand that bonds them, I've never had to replace a paver in the short 5 years I had a new driveway.

    My bad experience with a company called Pacific Interlock Pavers was that a white powdery substance leeched out -- it looked like New York City sidewalks after salting and melted snow. It was horrible for 2 years and sorry looking after that, and the manufacturer refused to acknowledge it was materials defect. Otherwise, I very much like the paver material, and when baked properly, you won't be tracking in tar marks from asphalt or seeing ugly looking cracked concrete.
    The other matter was that the foundation needed to be prepared in a way to stop plant growth underneath. However, in NoVA, I've discovered that weed can grow in ANY condition.

    Nestor, while I can't argue how long term pavers may last, it's my choice material for driveway, patio or any surface, but it costs, I think, in the same price range of concrete. It's only on the East Coast that I've seen asphalt for driveays as a common material.

  5. #15
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Posts
    208

    Default Re: Repaving Asphalt Driveway vs. Just Filling Cracks

    DJ1: Yep, a gravel driveway is about the only driveway that won't be damaged by frost heave.

    Brookworld: I don't think there's a good, better and best driveway material. Paving stone driveways look nice, but all driveways kinda look like crap if there's a big oil stain right under where the family car's engine would be. I posted about frost heave because with so many purchases the conservative thinking is that if one spends more they'll get a more bullet-proof product. I wanted people to know that asphalt, concrete and paving stone driveways could all be damaged by frost heave, and to know that going in so that if they spend the extra money on paving stones, they know they're doing it just for the looks, and not anything else.

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