Call it pavement, blacktop or (correctly) asphalt concrete; it is all a mix of bituminous pitch to which solid mineral aggregates have been added and, generally, in everyday speech, we refer to it as asphalt (unless at an airport where we mistakenly use the word “tarmac” which was an older concept for surfacing areas carrying traffic). We lay down asphalt surfaces for many different activities; but, the most obvious one is on our roads and highways. Additionally, parking areas, residential driveways and even things like sports courts are often covered with layers of asphalt cement.
Obviously the amount and type of traffic passing over an asphalted area will have an effect on the useful life of that surface but, other aspects like the subsoil on which it is laid and extremes of weather conditions between winter and summer will also have an effect on the surface’s integrity. Cracking leading to eventual potholing is the most common effect. A good, regularly applied program of asphalt maintenance will extend the life of a surface and (where practical) asphalt surface coatings can further extend life if applied while the surface is new and undamaged. Minor degradation can sometimes be successfully filled and sealed but, it is almost a predetermined fact of life that complete asphalt resurfacing will be required at some time or another (be it in Richmond VA or some other location).
Dig It All Up & Start Over; Or Put A New Surface On Top Of The Old?
Many of us have no doubt been frustrated by long stretches of road closure where they are literally scraping off the asphalt prior to laying a brand new surface. This is long winded, expensive and requires a lot of onsite equipment. Good preventative maintenance might have avoided such a drastic repair (or at least delayed the need for it for quite some time).
When we consider smaller areas like house driveways, sports courts and smaller parking lots; it is usually feasible to consider applying a “repair” surface directly on top of the older degraded asphalt. Asphalt is very recyclable and it is even possible to dig out old asphalt; heat it up on site (to soften it) and relay it back into or onto the surface being repaired.
Any requirement for asphalt resurfacing in the Richmond VA area starts with a thorough site inspection to discover the causes and extent of all problems.