Asphalt Milling vs. Asphalt Resurfacing: What’s the Difference?


Asphalt Milling vs. Asphalt Resurfacing: What’s the Difference?

Whether you’ve heard of both, one or neither, they’re essential asphalt processes for different reasons. Wondering which one your asphalt road, parking lot or driveway could benefit from most? We have the breakdown you need below.

What is Asphalt Milling?

Asphalt milling involves removing a specific amount/depth of existing asphalt in a designated area. It can either be fully done (i.e., down to the base) or only to a partial depth, based on the goals of the project. Additionally, the process of perimeter/edge milling can smoothen the transition between new asphalt surfaces and existing ones (this is often done in asphalt resurfacing).

Why Would You Want To Mill Asphalt?

Milling asphalt helps fix areas with surface distress like cracks and potholes or prepares areas for new layers of asphalt (i.e., resurfacing). It’s a sustainable, cost-friendly process that’s quick and effective, with minimal disruptions to the larger pavement area compared to doing a comprehensive replacement.

The Asphalt Milling Process

  1. Asphalt milling machines grind the asphalt to the necessary depth. At Raleigh Paving, we use a fleet of Wirtgen milling machines, along with Caterpillar skid steers with milling heads to do this. If it’s the right solution for the project, we can even attempt to pulverize the area into the asphalt base to increase its thickness and eliminate the extra costs of having to remove any material. 
  2. Any removed asphalt goes in a truck to be recycled and reused in new asphalt.
  3. The surface area is cleaned up for any remaining dust or loose materials.
  4. New asphalt is applied.

What is Asphalt Resurfacing?

Asphalt resurfacing is the process of putting a new layer of pavement directly on the existing one. It’s a comprehensive approach, affecting the entirety of the pavement, and actually involves asphalt milling as part of it. That said, it’s also one of the most economical and common ways we recommend to extend the life of pavement. 

Why Would You Want Asphalt Resurfacing?

Resurfacing asphalt delivers a new look for the full area of pavement while also greatly enhancing its life expectancy. As part of the process, common surface issues you’re experiencing, like cracks, can be fixed all at once. The restored surface will have greater integrity, all without having to be replaced completely. 

The Asphalt Resurfacing Process

  1. Existing issues are repaired and—if needed—-localized structurally weak areas are replaced. This ensures the upcoming resurfacing is effective.
  2. Milling machines are used along the perimeter to create seamless transitions between where the new/heightened asphalt layer meets other areas (e.g., sidewalks, curb edges, etc.).
  3. After cleaning away any debris, a track coat is adhered to the existing asphalt surface. This helps ensure the new asphalt layer sticks.
  4. The new asphalt layer is installed and compacted using state-of-the-art equipment.

Benefits of Both Services

While different, both of these practices have their place. At Raleigh Paving, we always make sure to tackle repairs that need to happen as part of your process and never cut corners. This ensures the following long-term benefits and peace of mind: 

  • Strengthened, longer-lasting pavement 
  • Improved pavement safety and looks
  • Greater ride and walking quality 
  • Reduced maintenance needs

Raleigh Paving Can Pair You With the Perfect Asphalt Service

If you’re still unsure whether your asphalt pavement needs milling, resurfacing or something else entirely, our experts can guide you to an answer. With nearly 100 years of experience to our name, we can carry out a complimentary review of your pavement and explain what your best option is. Get started by requesting your free consultation or calling us at (919) 859-3626.

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