Driveway Repair: Should You Resurface or Replace?

driveway repair

It’s cracked, it’s got weeds growing through it, and it’s dragging down the overall aesthetic of your property. It’s obvious: your asphalt driveway is in need of repair. 

The only question you have now is: should you have it resurfaced or should you have it replaced entirely? Both methods of repair have their upsides, but their downsides as well. 

Below, we’re going to get into those upsides and downsides, helping you to discover which method of driveway repair is more appropriate for your situation. Let’s begin! 

Pros of Driveway Resurfacing

When it’s possible, driveway resurfacing has a number of benefits. The most prominent of these benefits include the following. 

It’s Cost-effective

The fact of the matter is that driveway resurfacing is substantially more affordable than a full driveway replacement. Generally, you can resurface a driveway for between $1 and $3 per square foot. 

Installing a new driveway, on the other hand, costs anywhere from $3 to $5 per square foot. And this doesn’t even count the removal cost, which usually tacks on an additional $1,000 to $2,000. 

If you’re looking for the most cost-effective repair, resurfacing is the way to go. Be sure, however, that your driveway is still in good enough shape for resurfacing to be effective. A driveway that’s over 20 years old likely won’t benefit much from resurfacing. 

It’s Quick 

When compared to driveway replacement, driveway resurfacing is much quicker to carry out. This is because it involves only two steps: 1. Remove the top layer of the existing driveway, and 2. Add a new top layer. 

Replacing a driveway entirely, on the other hand, involves tearing it completely apart, and then systematically setting forth to install a new one. There are several layers which will need to be installed, all of which take considerable time to set. It’s usually a multiple-day process. 

Cons of Driveway Resurfacing

Driveway resurfacing isn’t without its negatives. The most glaring of these negatives will be discussed below. 

Doesn’t Help With Substantial Damage

While driveway resurfacing can be hugely beneficial in the repair of minor damage, it’s effectively useless in the repair of major damage. This is because a surface-level repair has no effect on the insidious structural damage which takes place over years of consistent abuse. 

Resurfacing your driveway will allow you to mask structural damage for a few years, but will ultimately come back to haunt you. Why? Because, while it will mask the poor aesthetic of the damage beneath, it won’t actually cure the problem.

Deterioration will continue and will eventually become so substantial that it can’t be ignored. At this point, the only viable solution will be to replace the driveway entirely. 

Can Cost You More in the Long Run 

As was noted above, driveway resurfacing is not effective in the repair of substantial structural damage. So, by attempting to repair such damage with resurfacing, you are essentially throwing money away. You might get a year or two extra by resurfacing your driveway, but will likely have to have it replaced entirely after that year or two is over.

What does this mean? It means that you paid for both a resurfacing and a replacement instead of just paying for a replacement. In other words, despite trying to save money, you actually ended up spending more money in the long run. 

Pros of Driveway Replacement 

In some cases, when compared to driveway resurfacing, driveway replacement can be quite beneficial. Its benefits include the following. 

Long-term Solution 

The biggest advantage of replacing your driveway as opposed to resurfacing it is that replacing it provides a long-term solution. Driveways are designed to last for between 15 and 20 years. So, unless something goes terribly awry, a new driveway will allow you to forget about driveway repair for the foreseeable future. 

In contrast, resurfacing is a temporary solution. It’s best performed on driveways which are under the age of 15, as they likely haven’t suffered severe structural damage.

Enhances Aesthetic Value of Property 

Another positive of full driveway replacement is that it enhances the aesthetic of the property. While a resurfacing will provide an aesthetic enhancement as well, it will pale in comparison to the one provided by a brand new driveway. 

This is hugely important if you’re getting ready to sell your house. Buyers are going to want to see a fresh, intact driveway. After all, they don’t want to pay for repairs either.  

Cons of Driveway Replacement

As you might expect, driveway replacement has a variety of downsides. Those downsides will be discussed at length below. 

It’s Expensive 

The simple fact of the matter is that driveway replacement is expensive. In most cases, it will as much as double the cost of driveway repair. For this reason, it requires a great deal of consideration. 

If your driveway is 15 years old or beyond, the most cost-effective option would probably be to have it replaced. If it’s under this age, replacing your driveway is likely an unnecessary expense. In these cases, resurfacing would suffice. 

It’s Time-consuming

Driveway resurfacing is a fairly quick process. The top level of asphalt is removed and then replaced with a fresh layer. In most cases, this can be completed in a single day. 

Driveway replacement is the exact opposite. Not only does replacement require the tearing down of the existing driveway, but the tedious setting of the new driveway. This takes a minimum of two days, and — depending on the size of the driveway — can actually last as long as a week.  

In Need of Driveway Repair in Fairfax, Virginia?

Are you ready to resurface or replace your driveway? In need of driveway repair in Fairfax, Virginia? We here at Fairfax Paving Pros are the people to see. 

With a team of experienced and dedicated contractors on our side, we provide nothing but the best of service to our customers. 

Contact us today to discuss your driveway needs! 

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