After years of use your asphalt driveway might be looking like it’s on its last legs. So what now? Replacement? Maybe, but there is another option: asphalt driveway resurfacing. This time on the Sunrise Asphalt blog we’re looking at just that! If you’ve ever wondered what goes into a resurfacing, the benefits of it or when a replacement is in order then read on, we have the answers!

What Is Asphalt Driveway Resurfacing

Asphalt driveway resurfacing is a process by which older pavement can be restored without total replacement. Another phrase for it, and one we use more here at Sunrise, is an asphalt overlay.

An asphalt overlay is the way we resurface older pavements. Rather than tearing up the old asphalt structure and fully rebuilding and repaving, we save what is still working and build atop it. So long as the damage to the asphalt is superficial then resurfacing is possible. This will save money, time, and materials. It’s a win/win/win. 

Before the surface is resurfaced, it’s critical to repair any cracks, divots, dents, or potholes in the surface. These repairs that run deeper into the asphalt won’t be fixed by resurfacing, and the new layer of asphalt will need a structurally sound foundation, so repair those first!

When is Resurfacing an Option?

Resurfacing is a potential solution so long as the following is true:

  • Less than 25% to 30% of asphalt pavement needs repairs
  • Foundation is structurally sound
  • Asphalt pavement is less than 20 years old 
  • Cracks are smaller than a quarter-inch wide
  • Cracks are shallow (not several inches deep)

If any of those are not the case, your asphalt is going to need more heavy repairs first or a total replacement. If someone was to resurface the asphalt with deep cracks or a flimsy foundation it wouldn’t take long at all for that damage to work it’s way to the new surface causing cracks and potholes.


The Resurfacing Process


First, before anything else can happen, an assessment of the asphalt is needed. As we’ve said, not all asphalt is suitable for an overlay, especially those that have deeper damage. In our case we’ll inspect the asphalt looking for large potholes, deep ruts, or root damage. We’ll also look at other factors that might determine if the surface isn’t ready for a new overlay such as if it isn’t draining water correctly.

After inspection it’s time to get milling!



Milling is when we remove the topmost layer of the asphalt, the portion that has the superficial damage. Removing the old damaged layer is crucial to creating a sturdy new surface. Trying to apply an overlay over the top of a damaged layer will keep the new asphalt from bonding correctly, and create an uneven surface. Now we can’t be having that! So milling is the first real step needed. We take off the top 1-3” of material, depending on the damage.

Don’t worry, this old asphalt won’t go to waste! If you read our blog last time you know what happens to asphalt millings. The milled material can be taken to an asphalt recycling plant to be repurposed and used in the future. Now that the surface has been removed, it’s time to take a closer look at that base.


Repair the Base

After removing the top layer, the base may need some repairs! In instances where the rutting or potholes have begun to form the base can be rebuilt to create a better surface. The foundation may also need new aggregate or working to make it structurally sound again. So long as the base is sound we can move on to the next step.


Applying the Overlay

Now that the top layer has been removed and the  base has been repaired it’s time to lay a fresh layer of asphalt. The process is no different from standard asphalt paving, though the layer thickness may vary based on how much asphalt had to be milled to begin with.

Getting your driveway resurfaced might be just what the doctor ordered! It strengthens the surface, making for a smoother ride and protecting the underside of your vehicles, as well extends the lifespan of your asphalt driveway for years to come. Speak with an asphalt professional to know if this is the right course of action for you!

In the Tucson area and need asphalt driveway resurfacing? Look no further than Sunrise Asphalt! Use this form  for a free estimate today! We’ve been paving the way for over 40 years – decades of experience, quality and craftsmanship go into every job!


Get Your Free Asphalt Resurfacing Estimate Today!