Asphalt Damage: Repair, Reseal, Replace, Or Resurface

Asphalt restoration can be a costly and time-consuming process. Knowing when to repair, resurface, or completely replace asphalt is key to saving time and money.

When your asphalt is damaged, you should do something about it. Damaged asphalt will only get worse. Once cracks, rutting, and holes appear, it’s easier for water to get in. Water is the main culprit of asphalt damage, causing destruction beneath the surface as it expands and contracts as the temperature changes. So, which solution is right for you and your blacktop? In order to help you better decide how to treat your asphalt paving, we have broken down the common ways it can be repaired, replaced, resurfaced, and resealed.


Resealing is also known as Sealcoating. This is a very useful technique for improving your paving’s longevity. It is done by applying a thin layer or layers of asphalt to the surface of existing blacktop. These special layers, also called sealant, do exactly what they sound like. They fill existing cracks and make your asphalt more resistant to the elements. Regardless of where you live, you should have your asphalt resealed at least every 3-5 years. If you live somewhere with extreme weather conditions, including a freeze-thaw cycle, then it may be necessary to do more often.


This process is a little more in-depth than resealing. During resurfacing, the top few inches of your pavement is removed. Then, a completely new layer is applied to the top. This basically creates a new top layer of your asphalt. Resurfacing can only be done if your asphalt was installed correctly to begin with though. If the substrate/foundation is off, severely damaged, or incorrectly set, resurfacing won’t work.


Resurfacing and resealing are forms of repair, in fact, just about every method listed in this article is a type of asphalt repair. However, repairs can go deeper than the first few inches. There are numerous ways to repair, each being effective at differing depths. Some methods can be done by a single worker with hand tools. Some repair techniques involve patching individual cracks and potholes, and some even involves adding new material under the surface, like reinforcing fabric. If your repairs are more than crack/pothole filling, then you should probably get a paving contractor to do the work for you. Deep repairs require specialized tools, knowledge, and experience.


This is the nuclear option. Asphalt replacement is simply the total removal of existing asphalt followed by laying new paving. You will definitely want to hire a paving contractor if the asphalt to be replaced is in a place of business and/or covers a wide area. There is some overlap with repair here, as your damaged asphalt may be excavated, re-pulverized, and laid with new binder as new asphalt.

When is each one right for you?

Now that you know the difference between the various types of asphalt renovation, you need to know what is right for your paving.

When to seal coat and not to seal coat

  • Seal coating should be done soon after installing new asphalt.
  • Seal coating should be repeated every 3-5 years.

Seal coating won’t help you if:

  • Seal coating should only be done on asphalt whose surface isn’t extremely damaged. Wide/deep cracks, large potholes, and an uneven surface indicate a seal coat will just cover up your existing problems without treating them.
  • If the asphalt is 15-20 years old, seal coating may not help. At that age, especially if improperly maintained, the asphalt should be replaced.

When resurfacing is right for you

Resurfacing will help if the following conditions are met:

  • The foundation/base was built right the first time. If your base was correctly installed when the asphalt was first laid, you might not have to place at all. A resurface every 5-10 years depending on use and weather conditions can be sufficient.
  • Under 30% of the asphalt needs repairs. If you look at your driveway and see that less than one third is damaged, resurfacing can probably handle your problems.
  • Cracks are shallow and narrow (less than a few inches deep, and less than one quarter of an inch wide).

When replacement or repair is the right choice

As replacement/repair are very similar, we decided to group them together. To clarify, we are talking about replacing the asphalt to a serious depth, not just the first few inches or less. Our reasoning is that a huge portion of the asphalt is removed, and then replaced with new/recycled aggregate. This could be full-depth repair or complete replacement.

  • More than 30% of the asphalt needs repair. If you can tell that over one third of your blacktop needs fixing, then it may be more efficient to simply replace it rather than fixing each pothole/crack.
  • The foundation is not good. Whether the foundation was installed incorrectly, or weather/climate changes have made it unstable, if the base is bad, it’s time to repair or replace.
  • Is the asphalt over 20 years old? If so, a replacement may be easier than dealing with all the problems on and lurking beneath its surface.
  • Cracks are over one quarter inch wide and several inches deep. When your cracks are larger, it’s a sign of trouble below. A full-depth replacement or repair will get right to the root of the issue.

Call us today to renovate your asphalt

If you aren’t sure which paving repair solution is right for you, then you can rely on us. Reliable Paving is a Texas-based paving contractor with over 35 years of experience. Our team of 200-plus can handle big jobs, small jobs, and anything in-between. Whether your asphalt needs a simple resurface or a full-depth repair, we can help. Contact us today so we can take a look and find out what’s best for you.