Crack Retardant Geotextile Paving Fabric

This information bulletin is designed to give an overview and cost benefits of strengthening your asphalt overlay with a geotextile paving fabric.  Geotextile paving fabrics have predominantly been used in the past mostly on government and airport paving projects.  In the last decade, their acceptance and usage have been incorporated into commercial paving projects. 

Benefits Of Using A Geotextile Paving Fabric Reinforced Overlay:

  •  Strengthens the overlay and adds the structural equivalent of an additional 1” – 1.5” of asphalt
  •  Absorbs the movement of the underlayment to prevent “reflective” cracking.  Reflective cracking is when an asphalt overlay is installed over a parking lot / roadway that have alligator cracks and random cracking in the underlying pavement.  Most contractors will try to convince you that by installing a thick enough overlay; that the cracks will not resurface.  THIS IS FALSE.  Cracks will reflect back up into the overlay at a rate of arpox. 1” per year.  If you install a 2” compacted overlay over badly alligator cracked pavement, theoretically, with-in 2 years the same cracks will reflect up into the overlay. 

  •  Waterproofs the overlay and prevent water from coming through the new overlay from hydrostatic pressure from underground.  If your parking lot has an underground water problem, it is best repaired by installing an under drain to carry the water to a storm drain.  However, if budgets are tight, a paving fabric will help to prevent the water from coming back up to the surfac

The Cost Savings Of Using A Geotextile Paving Fabric:
(100,000 sq ft 2” asphalt overlay)

Not Using A Paving Fabric:

Cost To Install Asphalt Overlay               –  $110,000.00
Service Life Before Cracks Resurface And Require Costly
Cut Out Patching Or Crack Sealing: 2 Years

Amortized Cost Per Year Of Service Life Per Square Foot       –  $0.50 sq ft
The above cost does not take into account the cost of saw cut and removal of the failed areas or crack sealing.  In short, within 2 years of installing your asphalt overlay that you have just invested $110,000.00 into, the parking lot 2 years later has all the same cracks and damage that it had prior to installing the overlay with the only exception being that the parking lot will be “smooth” for the time being.

Using A Paving Fabric:

Cost To Install Asphalt Overlay               – $110,000.00
Cost To Install Paving Fabric                 – $18,000.00
By installing the paving fabric, you will prevent reflective cracking for 15 years. 

Amortized Cost Per Year Of Service Life Per Square Foot       – $0.12 sq ft
The above cost does not take into account the paving fabric may actually last 20 – 25 years before reflective cracking occurs.  In the event that it does, your cost per square foot falls to pennies per year. 

How It Is Installed:
The pavement is first cleaned with power blowers or a street sweeper.  Second, asphalt cement is sprayed onto the surface with a distributor truck at 400 degrees Farenheight.  The paving fabric is then applied to the fresh asphalt cement with a tractor that has a specialized applicator attachment to broom the fabric into the asphalt cement and reduce large wrinkles. 

Why Have I Never Heard Of Paving Fabric Before?  My Current Paving Vendor Never Has Specified Using It On Any Of My Other Jobs:

Most paving contractors have never engaged in continuing education engineering classes or read industry specific technical bulletins.  Our company is “light years” ahead of the competition when it comes to advancement in today’s best paving technologies. Many paving contractors will never recommend this type of “advanced” paving concept due to the fact that they are not educated enough in our field or are scared to go against the grain and recommend something that will put their bid 10 – 20% higher than the competition.  Most are not forward thinking enough to be able to inform their clients on the “benefits” of a fabric reinforced pavement overlay.  The sad truth is that most contractors are not concerned with building long lasting relationships that are based on trust and integrity; they are only concerned about money.  Unfortunately for the customer who looks to what they perceive as an industry expert to guide them in the proper direction, the “typical” paving contractor will knowingly sell them an overlay that they themselves know will fail with-in 2 years.  This bulletin has been designed for that reason, to help educate our clients on the benefits and cost savings of a properly installed asphalt overlay.

What would happen if I choose not to incorporate paving fabric into my paving program?
In short, your parking lot would resemble the one from above.  As you can see from the picture, the current asphalt overlay which was placed over alligator cracked paved has “Failed” and the crack pattern has reflected up to the top and disintegrated the overlay.

In “Dollars & Sense” it just does not pay to try to save money on the front end of the project by skipping the single most important factor which will strengthen and extend the life of your overlay 10 – 15 years. 

For more information on asphalt resurfacing and using reinforcing fabric, please visit our web site at: www.fixasphalt.com and click on “Pavement Resurfacing” in the left menu.

This information bulletin was written by:

Steven Brahney
Brahney Pavement Solutions

“We are committed to “EDUCATING” our customers on the true economics of pavement and preventative maintenance”