Can you put asphalt over chip seal?

Can You Put Asphalt Over Chip Seal?

When it comes to driveway or road maintenance, upgrading from chip seal to asphalt can be a practical decision. Asphalt offers a smoother, more durable surface, but many homeowners and property managers wonder if it’s possible to lay asphalt directly over an existing chip seal. In this post, we’ll explore whether you can put asphalt over chip seal and the considerations involved in this process.

Understanding Chip Seal and Asphalt

Chip Seal is a paving technique that involves applying a layer of liquid asphalt followed by a layer of aggregate (small stones). It’s a cost-effective method often used for rural roads and driveways.

Asphalt, also known as blacktop, is a mixture of asphalt (a sticky, black, and highly viscous liquid or semi-solid form of petroleum) and aggregate (stone, sand, or gravel). It provides a smoother and more durable surface compared to chip seal.

Feasibility of Laying Asphalt Over Chip Seal

Yes, You Can: It is possible to lay asphalt over an existing chip seal surface. This process is often undertaken to upgrade the surface quality and durability of a driveway or road.

Key Steps in the Process

  1. Surface Preparation: Proper preparation of the existing chip seal surface is crucial. This includes cleaning, repairing any damage, and ensuring a level base.
  2. Tack Coat Application: A tack coat (a thin layer of asphalt emulsion) is applied to the chip seal surface. This helps create a strong bond between the old surface and the new asphalt layer.
  3. Asphalt Layer Application: Hot mix asphalt is then laid over the tack coat. This layer is compacted to create a smooth, durable surface.

Benefits of Asphalt Over Chip Seal

Enhanced Durability: Asphalt is more durable than chip seal and can withstand heavier traffic and more extreme weather conditions.

Smoother Surface: Asphalt provides a smoother driving surface, improving the comfort and safety of the roadway or driveway.

Reduced Maintenance: Asphalt requires less frequent maintenance compared to chip seal, making it a more cost-effective option in the long run.

Considerations Before Laying Asphalt Over Chip Seal

While it is feasible to lay asphalt over chip seal, there are several important considerations to ensure the success of the project.

Condition of the Existing Chip Seal

Surface Integrity: The condition of the existing chip seal surface is critical. Any significant cracks, potholes, or areas of deterioration must be repaired before the asphalt is applied. A compromised base can lead to issues with the new asphalt layer.

Proper Adhesion

Tack Coat Application: Applying a tack coat is essential to ensure proper adhesion between the chip seal and the new asphalt layer. Skipping this step can result in delamination, where the asphalt layer separates from the chip seal, leading to premature failure.

Thickness of the Asphalt Layer

Sufficient Thickness: The new asphalt layer should be thick enough to provide adequate durability and support. A standard residential driveway typically requires an asphalt layer of about 2 to 3 inches.

Professional Installation

Experienced Contractors: Hiring experienced paving contractors is crucial for a successful overlay. Professional contractors have the expertise to properly prepare the surface, apply the tack coat, and lay the asphalt layer to ensure longevity and performance.


Putting asphalt over an existing chip seal surface is a viable option for upgrading your driveway or road. This process can enhance durability, provide a smoother surface, and reduce maintenance needs. However, it requires careful preparation, including repairing any existing damage and applying a tack coat to ensure proper adhesion. By considering the condition of the existing chip seal and ensuring proper installation techniques, you can achieve a durable and long-lasting asphalt surface that meets your needs. If you’re considering this upgrade, consulting with professional paving contractors can help ensure a successful outcome.