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Understanding Microsurfacing's Role in Pavement Maintenance

A few posts ago, we debunked the following myth: when a parking lot or other asphalt-paved surface has deteriorated — but not to the point of replacement — only an overlay using asphalt can remedy the problem. While an overlay usually offers the longest lifecycle improvement, there are other options available to add life back to the existing surface. One of these maintenance options is microsurfacing.

Understanding Microsurfacing's Role in Pavement Maintenance

Solving the Problem

Microsurfacing is the process of applying a new wearing surface to slow the deterioration of an existing asphalt pavement structure. Like its parent product, slurry seal, microsurfacing is a cold-mix paving treatment. However, it differs from slurry in that it has a higher polymer and asphalt residual content, better quality aggregates, and fast-setting chemicals, which allow the surface to take traffic, under most conditions, within 1 hour (slurry can take as long as 48 hours in colder temperatures). Typically placed between 3/8 – 3/4 of an inch, microsurfacing can improve the life span of an existing surface by 7 – 10 years, depending on the condition of the pavement it is placed on.

Where to Use

Microsurfacing is used to correct a broad range of problems on public streets, highways, and airfields. It is also a viable resurfacing option for many parking lots and residential roads including:
  1. Roads and parking lots with very few islands where the equipment has room to stop and start without crossing over the previously applied materials. (Examples: HOAs, private subdivisions, warehouses, industrial properties, private commercial lots, and shopping malls.)
  2. Parking lots with heavy stress loads due to bus, garbage truck, and stop-and-go semi traffic.

Due to its rapid setup time, microsurfacing is not recommended for parking lots where a high volume of handwork is required. This includes properties with covered parking awnings, tight radius turns, and those just too small to support the size of the equipment.

Don't Forget the "Micro" Scope

Microsurfacing typically does not provide as smooth a finish as asphalt overlay. However, it does create a new wearing surface that is durable and skid resistant in a thinner application, and it costs much less. Microsurfacing is a practical tool in your pavement maintenance arsenal. Remembering this tool when the time comes to resurface your asphalt will go a long way in helping you to make better-informed decisions — and provide you with a better welcome mat to your property.

Contact ACE to see which resurfacing option is right for your property.

ACE Asphalt is a full service asphalt maintenance, repair, and paving company with offices in Phoenix, Tucson, and Flagstaff, Arizona, Las Vegas, Nevada, Albuquerque, New Mexico, and Dallas,Texas. Ace serves the parking lot repair, maintenance, and paving needs of property managers, building owners, and contractors.

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