Temporary patch on blacktop would only delay repaving

Q. Our 18-year-old blacktop church parking lot has been recoated and sealed a couple of times, the last being five or six years ago. Now, cracks in the paving are up to an inch in width. Three bids, all around $10,000, are in hand, each adding 2 inches of blacktop overlay. We do not have that kind of money just now. Could we stall the repaving work without making it cost more later? Walt Kuhl Cincinnati

A. Short of again patching and sealing the old paving, we know of no shortcut to an overlay of the entire area. Temporary patching now will only defer the inevitable. After all, the paving has done yeoman service for 18 years in a climate where freeze-thaw cycles are the rule.

To do nothing now to the cracks would, in my opinion, certainly add extra cost when the called-for overlay is installed. Cracks allow the moisture to get under the paving, which, in turn, further damages the blacktop.

Asphaltic paving should be regularly maintained and sealed to fill cracks and minimize wear. When you can afford the inevitable blacktop overlay, you can extend the life of the paving by carefully following the standard maintenance procedures.

Considering inflation along with certain added costs if resurfacing is delayed, you might consider borrowing the $10,000 and putting up with the high interest rate. It could be cheaper in the long run.

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