What to Know About Full-Depth Reclamation

You may have already known that asphalt is the most recycled material in the US, but did you know that 400 million tons of asphalt are replaced in the country every year? While asphalt pavement is already a sustainable choice, a process called full-depth reclamation can provide even more benefits.

A Departure From Traditional Methods

For minor, common asphalt damage like cracking, potholes, or even regular resurfacing, only the top few layers need to be addressed during a repair. Considered a “perpetual pavement,” well-designed and installed asphalt doesn’t ever need to be entirely replaced and shouldn’t wear out. When cracks or damage occur, maintenance includes simply removing and replacing the top layer. That material is recycled or reused without reaching the base layer that stabilizes the top surface.

Suppose asphalt pavement needs to be replaced entirely, likely due to major structural issues or road construction. In that case, it’s generally removed from the site after being torn up and stored for future projects. This is still a sustainable strategy, but it does create quite a big carbon footprint during the transportation of old material and installation of new material. It’s also a project that needs to be completed to create more structural integrity at the foundation of the paved asphalt surface.

What Is Full-Depth Reclamation?

Full-depth reclamation (FDR) is the process of pulverizing up to 20 inches of asphalt layers in situ. FDR is often used for asphalt pavement beyond traditional repair and shows signs of deep cracks and rutting due to loss or lack of base layer integrity. Stabilization is then implemented to create a stronger base surface, and a thinner top layer of asphalt is then installed.

There is a long list of benefits for choosing this approach:

  • Cost-efficient: On average, FDR is 20-30% less expensive than traditional asphalt pavement removal and replacement methods. 
  • Time savings: Because FDR happens on-site, it takes about one-third of the time and requires fewer processes than traditional removal.
  • Less impact: For municipal asphalt projects. FDR can offer a diminished effect on the community with less disruption to daily life.
  • Builds strength: FDR gives asphalt pavement flexibility and strength in areas prone to increased damage.
  • Less waste: Everything that’s recycled during FDR goes right back into the finished asphalt paving project, leaving virtually no waste.

Working With the Professionals

It takes experienced asphalt professionals to complete FDR successfully, especially for municipal projects. From the early planning stages to completion, asphalt paving projects take a lot of work to get done right. The provider you choose needs to have more than just asphalt, equipment, and labor. They should also have well-maintained equipment (plus spare machines) and well-trained, safety-conscious work crews.

As professional commercial asphalt contractors, our project execution and finished work are superior to the market’s discount asphalt competitors. When choosing the right asphalt company, looking beyond just the price is important. If a price is too low, there is usually a good reason. Hiring a discount provider willing to cut corners to get to the lowest bid is a recipe for disaster – especially when it comes to a complex project like full-depth reclamation.

At Leritz Busy Bee, we can help our customers by managing the entire project. If the job involves milling in the beginning or stripes at the end, we work with our most trusted subcontractors to get each task done right and on time. Having one source for multiple services can be one way to save without sacrificing quality. We have the project management and paving experience necessary to complete large, multifaceted jobs easily.

If you’ve begun to notice increased wear and tear on your asphalt, get in touch with our team about full depth reclamation!