Over the centuries, asphalt has been used for a wide variety of purposes. It has been used to line public reservoirs, caulk wooden ships, and prevent toxic materials from leaching into the soil or water table. In North America, asphalt is the most popular choice for paving parking lots, urban and suburban streets, running tracks, residential driveways, walking trails, bike paths, highways, and virtually every other type of pavement imaginable. When correctly installed and maintained, an asphalt pavement can have a long life with minimal problems.
Whether the pavement is a parking lot, residential driveway, or street, it will not last forever. Time, weather, and use can leave behind cracks, stains, polished aggregates, and other forms of damage. When an aging pavement becomes a patchwork of old repairs, loses its curb appeal, or becomes a less-safe environment, many people conclude that the only solution is a total reconstruction. However, an asphalt overlay is frequently a viable solution.
Sooner or later, every asphalt pavement will need some type of repair. A properly engineered, well-built pavement may not need anything more than sealcoating and other routine maintenance for five years or more. Once it does start to develop cracks or other surface breaks, however, it is imperative that they be repaired quickly. Minor damage will not stay minor for long. As the damage grows, it becomes more difficult and costlier to repair it. If your asphalt pavement needs more than a few simple crack repairs, you may need one or more of the following: a surface patch, a partial-depth patch, a full-depth patch, or an asphalt overlay.
Asphalt contractors can employ a variety of techniques and machines when installing, repairing, or maintaining a pavement. You are probably familiar with some of them. Perhaps you have witnessed a rolling machine in operation during a road construction project, seen the evidence of a crack repair in your local store’s parking lot, or heard about the benefits of asphalt sealcoating. However, many people are far less familiar with an extremely useful and versatile technique known as asphalt milling.
Although the Romans are famous for building an extensive network of roads to connect their massive empire, civilizations began engineering roads thousands of years earlier. To date, the oldest road discovered was built in England about 6,000 years ago. By today’s standards, early roads were quite primitive. Construction materials included logs, crushed rock, bricks, gravel, and stone pavers. These materials were not suitable for pavement markings, nor were markings particularly necessary. There were some instances of center lines that consisted of pavers or bricks that differed in color from the rest of the roadway, but the history of true pavement markings is less than 200 years long.