Recycled asphalt driveways are an inexpensive option for a driveway. But, with my almost 30 years of experience in the driveway business, I can tell you, you probably don’t want recycled asphalt for your driveway. For a few good reasons.
Recycled asphalt hardens over time… but not the way you think!
Recycled asphalt can harden over time, which some might assume is a benefit… but is not!
In a perfect world, if recycled asphalt were to harden evenly, recycled asphalt would be an excellent option and everyone would be using it. But unfortunately it doesn’t and it creates a plethora of problems.
Potholes can form that are virtually impossible to fix. You fill them with new recycled asphalt and they just come right back. You fill them with rocks, and they come right back. You fill them with concrete or hot asphalt and they form around it. Their a headache. Imagine having a pothole in your driveway that never, ever goes away… regardless of what you do to try and get rid of it.
Recycled asphalt, because it IS recycled, can have many types of foreign materials in it. Rubber, paint and oil just to name a few. These foreign materials are sticky and can stick to our shoes, car tires and bicycle tires and track into the car, garage and all over the carpet in the house. Particularly on a hot summer day. Try cleaning tar off of your carpets! No thanks!
Future Financial Burden
Because recycled asphalt does in fact harden over time, if you’re considering having a concrete or new hot asphalt driveway installed sometime in the future, that hardened recycled asphalt MUST be removed prior to installing the new driveway just as if you already had an existing driveway, which increases the cost of that new driveway.
Unfortunately, it will not break up and crush into a gravely substance again if the contractor tries to regrade it. As it’s graded it will only break up in chunks and cannot be graded properly. As a result, this requires it to be hauled away and disposed of which increases the costs for the new professionally installed hot asphalt or concrete driveway.
Paving Over Recycled Asphalt
Some contractors will tell you that it’s a great base to pave on., which is true if it is freshly installed. But If it has been installed and has gotten hard and a contractor just paves over the top of it, all of the cracks in the hardened recycled asphalt will reflect up through the new asphalt. Don’t let anyone tell you any different and talk you into paving over it. It’s not the right way to install a new asphalt driveway and it id flat out lie.
There is a chemical called Reclamite® Asphalt Rejuvenator that can be applied to recycled asphalt that can make it hard again. However, there are 2 problems with this in my opinion.
1) The hardened recycled asphalt is very wavy and inconsistent and doesn’t look good.
2) The cost to apply this chemical once done is almost the same and in some cases more expensive than brand new hot asphalt.
Summary: Is a recycled asphalt driveway really a good option?
Not in my opinion. As a matter of fact, there are also many scams unethical contractors pull with recycled asphalt driveways. Learn about Recycled Asphalt Scams and avoid getting ripped off.