Thin asphalt overlays are defined as asphalt mixes that do not exceed 1.5 inches of thickness. This thin asphalt overlay acts as seal and protection of asphalt layers that can provide immediate and economical solutions to pavements that are still in good condition but needs repair. This can be applied as a thin layer on top of an existing pavement or as part of a mill-and-fill strategy. This may not make your pavement stronger in terms of structure, but it can improve driving conditions and address functional problems. But, this does not only provide a functional benefit but also helps extend the life of a pavement.
Thin overlays are also known as “think lifts” as they provide a thin “lift” to the current pavement. Thin lifts are the best solution to roads that are still in good structural condition but needs resurfacing because of cracking, rutting, aging, raveling, minor disintegration, and oxidation. However, this is not the best solutions for roadways that need major reconstruction and rehabilitation.
The application and use of thin overlays have become popular as they can improve driving conditions, maintain surface geometrics, reduce pavement distresses, reduce noise, cost-effective, and provide lasting service. A study conducted by NAPA (National Asphalt Pavement Association) determined that asphalt surfaces last 10 years longer when thin lifts are applied to the base of the layer. Also, concrete pavements last five years longer when covered with a thin asphalt layer. Other benefits of thin lifts are as follows:
- It lowers the life-cycle costs of asphalt pavements and concrete pavements. It also reduces initial costs.
- It is durable that it can handle heavy pressure and traffic. This can be applied to high-traffic areas.
- It is smooth and has a sealed surface.
- It can restore the ability of a pavement to resist skidding.
- No noticeable loose stones or binder runoff.
- It helps minimize dust.
- It does not need to cure, thus preventing traffic delays.
- It is recyclable.
- It can be used in stage construction.
- It does not require a lot of maintenance.
If your pavement needs minor repair due to cracking and other minor problems on asphalt surfaces, you don’t need to call on the professional to have it fully reconstructed. Instead, you can opt for a more affordable, cost-effective choice. That is having think overlays on top of your still working pavement. Your pavement does not need full reconstruction to look new. It just needs a thin lift to achieve the same results as when you first drove over your pavement the first time it was constructed.