Thin Asphalt Overlay And Its Benefits

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.

The Applications

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 Benefits

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.

DIY Guide: How To Repair Alligator Cracks

There are different types of pavement problems that you may encounter in this lifetime. You will see some pavements with pot holes, sink holes, spiderweb cracks, and others. One of the most common types of asphalt problem is alligator cracking. You will know your pavement has alligator cracking if you see cracks that are similar to that on the back of a gator. Some would describe it as looking like spider web cracks. If your pavement is showing this type of problem, you should not freak out. Besides calling for professional help to resolve this issue, you can take the DIY route and fix the problem yourself.

The Materials

You will need three ingredients for this process. You will need an alligator asphalt patch, an asphalt sealcoat sealer, and an asphalt squeegee. If an asphalt squeegee is not available, you can always use an asphalt brush. Once you have filled the patches with an alligator patch, you will need to seal it for added protection.

  • Alligator Patch. This is very similar to cold pour crack fillers that you can buy at DIY stores. The difference is that this material has more solid ingredients that get harder when it dries comparing to cold pour crack fillers. This makes this type of patch filler suitable for alligator cracks. You can easily find alligator asphalt patch at DIY stores or lumber stores.
  • Asphalt Squeegees. Squeegees can be used for different purposes, and one of its uses is for patching alligator cracks. This can also be used for applying a sealcoat over your asphalt pavement. When you go to the store to buy one, you will find different varieties of this product. The size of an asphalt squeegee starts from 24 inches. For faster work, you may need something that is bigger than two feet. But, if you are on a tight budget, you can use the smallest asphalt squeegee as it will do the same job as the bigger ones.
  • Asphalt Sealcoat Sealer. This can be bought at different hardware stores. There are different types of driveway sealer that you can choose from. You can either use a coal tar emulsion sealer, asphalt emulsion, oil-based sealer, fast-dry sealer, or acrylic sealer. No matter what sealer you use, you just have to make sure that you’ve done your research and have determined which one best suits your needs.

How Much Alligator Patch Do You Need?

To make sure that you are buying enough or more than enough alligator patch, make sure that you did some serious measurements before you hit the store. You should not need more than one 5-gallon of alligator patch where one gallon can cover a 20 square feet of alligator cracking. Again, it is important to take measurements before you hit the store so you can properly estimate the amount of alligator patch that you need to cover every crack that you have on your pavement.


You just need to follow four simple steps to patch alligator cracks on your pavement.

  1. In the middle of the repair area, you can pour a general amount of alligator patch to cover the entire area.
  2. Use the squeegee to spread the patch leaving a layer of an eighth of an inch or a fourth of an inch of alligator patch.
  3. You can pour more alligator patch when you need to.
  4. To balance the entire area, you can spread more alligator patch outside the repair area thinning it out to the areas where there are no cracks to achieve a natural look.

When this is done, you just have to wait until the patch is dry. This can take several hours depending on how thick and deep the patch is. You will know when the patch is dry if it is already hard.

A Buying Guide: Which Asphalt Seal Coater Is Best For You

Giving your asphalt driveway a coating every three years will not only make it last longer, but will also make it look better. A seal coat can help protect your asphalt driveway against the sun, moisture, rain, oil, gasoline, and other materials that can potentially harm and shorten the life-span of your asphalt driveway.

DIY (do-it-yourself) products and materials that you can buy in the supermarkets and handyman stores to fill cracks and seal asphalt driveways are often not as good as the ones used by professional contractors. But, there are products that you can use to achieve the same results as when professional contractors do it. You just have to know which materials to use. Doing so will help you save up to 65% of professional fees.

The options that you can choose from when you visit your local store may be limited. You just have to make the best out of the products that you can buy. When you are out shopping for the best asphalt sealer for you and your asphalt, here are the things that you should consider:

Should You Buy Coal Tar or Asphalt Based Sealers?

Asphalt sealers that you can find in retail stores are often water-based emulsions which can contain water, latex, polymer, clay fillers, additives, asphalt, or coal tar. Asphalt-based sealers are quite popular because it is friendly to the environment. Significant changes and improvement have been made to asphalt-based sealers to make it more durable, more resistant to gas, oil, and ultraviolet rays. But, coal tar is still the best choice when it comes to sealing asphalt driveways. Coal tar sealers are more resistant to oil, gasoline, moisture, and UV rays. The use of coal tar has proven to improve the longevity of asphalt driveways. The only drawback of using this kind of sealer is that it emits high levels of VOC (volatile organic compounds) which can make the air smell foul and is potentially harmful to the environment.


Judging the quality of coal tar and asphalt-based sealers according to their formulation would be difficult as this information is proprietary. You will not be able to get this information on the label. Thus, making it difficult to determine which one is better in terms of formulation. However, the rule-of-the-thumb says that products that are better in quality come with a long warranty. The longer the warranty a sealer comes with, the better. This way, you and your investment are protected. When buying a sealer, make sure that you check the warranty before paying for it. This will easily be seen on the label.

Coverage And Cost

Asphalt based sealers are a little bit expensive because it emits lesser VOC levels and the process and technology added to improve its performance. Thin coal tar that can cover about 400 square feet usually costs up to $8 per 5-gallon of sealer. Don’t expect this kind of sealer to last for more than one season. Plain sealers, which is a level higher than the previous sealer, costs up to $11. This type of sealers is unsanded which has a more solid texture. This can cover up to 350 square feet of asphalt. The same goes to sealers in the upper end. The heavy-duty sealers can cost up to $20 per 5-gallon of sealer. And depending on the condition of the asphalt driveway, it can cover up to 350 square feet of asphalt.

Buying a sealer really depends on your needs and how exposed your asphalt is to foot and vehicle traffic. For asphalt pavements that do not go through a lot of foot traffic, a low-end sealer can be used. For places that go through a lot of foot and vehicle traffic, it is recommended to use heavy-duty sealers.

Why Sealcoating Asphalt Pavements Is A Must

Business owners face the same struggles and decisions that need to be made. Which investment to invest to? Which investment to let go? What costs to cut? What strategy to focus to? However, your business is not only about what you can do inside the confines of your office. Your business extends to what is outside of your business. It extends up to your parking lot.

If you have allotted a space for every vehicle that your employees own, then having a parking lot that is in superb condition is a must. Ask yourself whether your parking lot is in good condition or not. Will it last for another year or two? If not, have you considered applying a seal coater over it? Doing so would save you and your company more expenses of reconstructing your parking lot.

The decision of having your asphalt seal coated only takes understanding your asphalt needs. Asphalt is made of gravel, sand, stones, combined with cement to keep everything together. As time goes by, these materials break because they are continuously exposed to sun, rain, gas, oil, and other organic or inorganic materials that can damage each material, and thus shorten its lifespan. As it loses its traction, flexibility, and pliability, it will not be able to withstand heavy loads and heavy traffic. To lessen the effects of organic and inorganic materials to asphalt, sealing it must be done.

The Benefits

Sealing your asphalt with a seal coat will give you several benefits. The most obvious benefit that you can enjoy with a seal coated asphalt is that it will make your asphalt look better. In addition, a seal coat can also help prolong its longevity as it helps protect the asphalt layer against any destructive agent that can damage and make it prone to breakage. Besides from enjoying the two benefits mentioned, here are the other things you can enjoy when you seal coat your driveway or parking lot:

  • You and your customer will enjoy better traction when you drive or walk over your parking lot.
  • It will help traffic lines become more visible as an asphalt sealer can make your asphalt look darker.
  • Applying a seal coat on your driveway will make your curb look better.
  • A seal coat can also decrease the damage that organic or inorganic compounds on the asphalt.
  • A sealed asphalt driveway seals away moisture and water, which helps prolong the life and bond of each material.
  • It impedes oxidation, which is the primary agent of asphalt hardening that results to breakage.
  • It protects your investment.

As you can see, you will benefit more with sealcoating your asphalt driveway and parking lot. Having it done is a matter of deciding whether you want it or not.

Asphalt Paving: The Different Colors Of Asphalt

It is commonplace to see asphalt paving in different suburban areas like the streets, driveways, bike trails, highways, and car parks. The reason behind this is that asphalt is made of durable materials and is made to last. It is also resistant to different weather conditions, that is why asphalt is used in road construction, car parks, and private paths. In comparison to concrete, asphalt is a more economical choice. It is cost-effective and is not easily damaged. It is also easy to maintain and repair. However, if your asphalt driveway is poorly maintained, then don’t be surprised if it needs to be removed or replaced years after. Doing so does not require a lot of time and hassle, though. In addition, you can use a recycled asphalt to resurface your driveway.

A traditional asphalt driveway will come in colors black or gray. However, with the advent of technology, it is now possible to find asphalt layers in different colors. This will give you the chance to be playful on your asphalt in terms of appearance and look. You will also have a chance to give your driveway a livelier look as opposed to the plain colors of asphalt. The good news is, your existing asphalt driveway can also be colored according to your choosing and can also be fashioned in different patterns.


Your Color Options

Asphalt can also be stamped, just like concrete surfaces. This means that it can also be fashioned in different colors and designed. Though asphalt is made of sand, rocks, and bitumen, which usually produce the darker shade of color, asphalt surfaces can be in different colors using different types of machine.

The different asphalt colors are as follows:

  • Chocolate Brown
  • Sandy Sand
  • Red Rose
  • Pure White
  • Slate Green
  • Pale Terracotta
  • Brown Brick
  • Smokey Grey


When Choosing The Color

When choosing the type of color for your asphalt, it is essential that you also consider the color of your home. You don’t want an asphalt that is too bright or too dark for your home. Make sure that it still compliments the entire atmosphere of your house. In addition, you should also consider your plants around your house, the type of community you are situated, and the existing color of your pathways or walkways. The most important thing to remember is that everything should complement each other to provide a harmonious environment for you and for your neighbors.

Other contractors may offer you more color varieties to choose from. The important thing is that you now know that your asphalt can go beyond its black and gray color. Giving your driveway and curb a different look is only a matter of choosing the right color for your driveway. For DIY-ers, you can also make your own asphalt color sealer.

How To Proactively Care For Your Driveway

Having a driveway constructed is not as easy as buying new clothes from the store. It is an investment to your home. And just like other types of investment, it is a must that you protect it. With this in mind, there are different things that you can do so you can proactively care for your driveway. Here are some of them:

  • The things you need to avoid doing on a newly paved driveway:

Newly paved asphalt driveways can feel and be soft during warm weathers, especially in the summer season. With this in mind, you should avoid parking your car on the same spot over and over again. This will prevent any depression to occur. Also, you should avoid placing heavy objects or planters on your driveway. If you want to park your boat or trailer on it, make sure that you protect your driveway by placing a piece of plywood over it. This will help manage the weight of your trailer or boat. You also need to avoid making a turn before your car is moving.

  • When should you seal your driveway?

Two years after you have installed your new asphalt driveway should be the best time to have it sealed. But, you may hear other contractors or owners that it is okay to have it sealed three months after construction. This is because a new asphalt driveway needs 60 to 90 days to fully cure. When a sealant is applied before the asphalt has cured, the sealant will not bond and adhere because the oil in the asphalt will find its way up to the surface. It is always best to wait for the asphalt to fully cure before sealing is done.

  • How often should you seal your driveway?

Sometimes, families with many cars feel like adding a second coat of sealant on the driveway is best because it goes through a high car traffic over time. However, applying too much sealant on the driveway could result to spider cracking. The reason for this is because the sealant itself is hard. It is not as bendable as the asphalt layer that it is protecting. This means that too much application or a thick layer of sealant will result to cracking. It is best to wait for the sealant to wear before reapplying another layer. This means waiting two to three years. But, this also varies on the use and condition of the driveway. Generally speaking, if you see loose stones in the asphalt binder, then it is time to re-apply a sealant.

  • Always keep an eye for cracks. It cannot be avoided that your driveway will age and will show visible cracks over time. When you see one, it is recommended that you address the issue before it grows into a much bigger damage. An untreated crack will allow moisture to go into the asphalt layer, which, in turn, will lead to asphalt deterioration and failure. Depending on the type of damage you see, you can either call a contractor for a patch repair, infrared repair, pot hole repair, or a cold patch repair. For small cracks, you can repair them yourselves with the use of a filler.

In the medical field, they have a saying that goes “prevention is better than cure”. This philosophy can also be applied to your driveway. Thus, it is always better to be proactive in caring for your asphalt before you find yourself spending more money for its repair.

DIY Asphalt Sealcoating

Sealcoating your driveway is one of the most essential steps in prolonging its life. It can protect your driveway from harmful agents that can make it lose its waterproofing ability and adhesive ability. If you have not sealed your driveway yet, then you should. You can either consult a professional and have this done, or you can do it yourself. If you have decided to seal your driveway the DIY way, here are the steps that you should follow.

Step 1: Planning

Plan your sealing properly. This means that you have to determine the length and width of your driveway as this will determine the amount of sealant that you will use. A five-gallon sealant will be able to cover a 400 to 500 square feet driveway. Also, make sure that you have all the essential ingredients and tools to prepare and seal your driveway such as a sealer brush and safety glasses. You will also need an old set of clothing, old sneakers, rags, spray bottle, paint roller, push broom, leaf blower, weed trimmer, long stem paint stirring paddle, and oil spot primer.

Step 2: Clean and Prepare Your Driveway

On the day that you are going to seal your driveway, make sure that the temperature during the day is not below 18°C (65°F) and not below 10°C (50°F) at night. Anything below the said temperatures will not help cure the sealant properly. When you have determined the right temperatures, then you can start preparing the driveway by trimming away any grass or weed along the edges. Also, make sure that debris and dirt are removed from the surface. You can use a powered blower and a broom to do this.

To remove dust on the surface, you can pressure wash the surface. This will help remove dusts, debris, and grasses that have fallen between the cracks. Once this is done, you can then re-blow your driveway with the power blower that you have. You have to remember that the sealant will bond better if your driveway is super clean.

Step 3: Sealing Cracks and Holes

You can do this by using an asphalt patch or an acrylic sealant. Or if you can get hold of a hot rubberized crack sealant that professional pavers use, then you should use it to fill the cracks and holes that are present on your driveway. This hot sealant is better when it comes to repairing small cracks and holes. Remove any excess sealant on the driveway as soon as it has cooled down. Also, make sure that the oil primer you used with the sealant is dry before you start sealcoating your driveway.

Step 4: Sealcoating

Before you pour the sealer unto your driveway, make sure that it is thoroughly mixed. Use the stirring tool that comes with it. If it doesn’t have a stirring tool, you can use any object (stick or wood) to stir it well. Make sure that no sand stays at the bottom of the bucket and see to it that everything is suspended. Once this is done, you can pour the sealant on the driveway. You can start spreading small amounts of sealant. This will make sure the sealant will not dry out on you before you are able to spread and smooth everything out. Work your way across the driveway by using the sealer brush and spreading the sealant in straight or perpendicular lines. Make sure the lines overlap each other by an inch or so. Try to make the lines as even as possible as it will be evident when the sealant is completely dry.

Sealcoating a driveway may be a taxing job to do. But, you will be satisfied once everything is done. You will also give your driveway a better chance of surviving that long. If you are not so keen with the DIY way, you can always consult the professionals so you can have expert help on your side.

Concrete VS Asphalt – Their Pros and Cons

asphalt-or-concrete-drivewayDeciding on which materials to use on the driveway is a big decision that many homeowners have to make, whether to use concrete or asphalt. There are other material options for the driveway, but asphalt and concrete are the most common. Whichever you choose between the two, there will always be pros and cons.

There are considerations that you have to take into account when it comes to choosing between concrete and asphalt. These are climate factors, appearance, cost and also maintenance. Your budget is a major factor in your decision. Asphalt is cheaper and affordable to install as it leaves a smooth surface that is easy to repair. Asphalt is a popular choice for homeowners especially those with kids and adults who love to play basketball in the driveway. On the other hand, concrete is more expensive. If it cracks, the cracks will stand out and can cause major damage.

Even if concrete is a longer lasting option as it can go up to 30 years, asphalt costs are considerably less and gives a greater value for your money. Concrete has reduced needs for maintenance and repair compared to asphalt. Concrete driveways have attractive surface and showcase fine edges that look great on your property.

Asphalt expands with the changing temperatures. This factor enables it to maintain its integrity through summer, storms and snow removal is easier. Concrete driveways will eventually crack even in the warmer climates and it may suffer damage if you use a wrong de-icing product. When you decide which materials to use on your driveways, you need to consider the climate of the place you live in.

Asphalt overall shelf life is lower than concrete and it is difficult to get the same quality of clean, precise edges. When plants grow they can easily break asphalt driveways and without proper repair and maintenance they can deteriorate quickly. But they can be re-layered and does not need to be replaced. Concrete driveways can also have cracks and you cannot add a topcoat to existing concrete.

Both concrete and asphalt can be tinted and made to look very pleasing.

Concrete vs asphalt debate continues and homeowners and professionals have their own opinions on which material is the best to use. In most cases, the choice depends on personal preference. Most homeowners weigh the upfront cost which asphalt wins. On the other hand long lasting life, concrete wins out. So the homeowners just have to decide based on these factors.