Understanding Asphalt Demolition and Excavation

Asphalt demolition

Asphalt demolition and excavation are two different processes often confused with one another. They are widely used in commercial asphalt and paving services. While both involve the removal of asphalt from a surface, they have distinct approaches and purposes. Below are the key differences between asphalt demolition and excavation:


Asphalt demolition involves breaking down and removing asphalt from a surface using specialized equipment and machinery. It is commonly used when the existing asphalt is damaged beyond repair, and the surface must be removed and replaced.

In contrast, excavation involves removing soil or ground to create a level and stable surface for asphalt installation. It is often used when the existing surface is unstable and possibly pumping or requires grading before installing new asphalt.


The main difference between asphalt demolition and excavation lies in their purpose. Asphalt demolition helps remove existing asphalt surfaces that are damaged beyond repair to install new ones. In comparison, excavation helps prepare the surface for new asphalt installation by removing soil and leveling and stabilizing the ground.

Equipment Used

Asphalt demolition is a complex task involving breaking the existing asphalt into small pieces and removing them. The process requires heavy machinery and specialized equipment like milling machines, excavators, backhoes, and jackhammers. As for excavation, you need pieces of machinery like graders, bulldozers, and excavators to remove soil and create a level surface.

Steps Involved

Demolition is among the first steps in construction projects in places with asphalt surfaces or structures. These surfaces or structures need removal to give room for new installations. The steps your paving contractor follows during asphalt demolition include:

  • Inspecting the damaged asphalt surfaces to detect any safety hazards like trip hazards or any other unsafe obstacles or materials
  • Getting a permit, if required by the city we are working in, especially if you’re dealing with larger commercial properties built with asphalt
  • Identifying current services in use, like water, electricity, sewerage, or gas lines
  • Using heavy machinery and trucks to break down and remove the damaged asphalt surfaces

Besides removing soil, rocks, and other materials from a construction site, excavation includes trenching and tunneling. It allows you to prepare a surface for installing drainage and utility lines, including new asphalt. Here are the steps involved in excavation:

  • Find and remove potential obstacles in the selected area for excavation
  • Clear any vegetation from the site
  • Lay the excavation lines and determine the excavation’s depth
  • Excavate the site either mechanically or manually, depending on the project’s scope
  • Remove excess soil or filling and level the surface for new asphalt installation


Asphalt demolition involves removing the entire depth of the existing asphalt surface, usually in the 3” to 4” range. As for excavation, you only remove a portion of the soil or ground to create a level and stable surface.


Asphalt demolition involves breaking down, removing, and disposing of old asphalt, usually to one of our asphalt plants which will then recycle it in the new asphalt we will be installing or a landfill. On the other hand, excavation involves removing soil and other materials to ready the ground for new asphalt installation.


The cost of each process varies greatly depending on the extent of work required. Asphalt demolition tends to be pricier than excavation, as removing and disposing of the existing asphalt requires heavy machinery. While excavation may be less expensive, it still attracts high costs if you need extensive grading to level the surface.

Hire a Professional Paving Contractor Today

Asphalt demolition and excavation often go hand in hand but are different. With asphalt demolition, you remove existing asphalt surfaces using heavy machinery. You may need to excavate and level the ground for new asphalt installation. Once you understand the differences between asphalt demolition and excavation, choosing the best paving contractor for your needs becomes easier.

At Preferred Paving Co., we are the go-to choice for reliable, premium asphalt paving services in Orange County and neighboring areas. All of our proposals come with a detailed repair/site plan showing you the exact dimensions and location of the areas we are proposing to repair. We are well-known as a full-service asphalt company, having been in the business since 1986.

Our qualified professionals have vast experience and are committed to surpassing your needs the first time. Contact us at 714-632-1414 to learn more about our services, and let us help meet your paving needs today.

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