Full-Depth Reclamation: Best Practices You Should Know About 

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Full-depth reclamation is a popular and cost-effective method of repairing and rehabilitating pavements that have reached the end of their service life. This process involves pulverizing the old pavement, mixing it with a stabilizing agent, and compacting it to create a new, strong, and durable base layer. Full-depth reclamation can be done on both asphalt and concrete pavements. It is known for its numerous benefits, including reduced construction time, cost savings, and environmental impact. However, certain best practices must be followed to get the best results.

This blog post will discuss the best practices of full-depth reclamation that can help ensure a successful project outcome:

1. Conduct a Thorough Site Investigation

Before starting any full-depth reclamation project, a thorough site investigation must be conducted. This investigation should include a visual inspection of the pavement and tests to determine its structural integrity and composition. Site investigation can also help identify underground utilities or obstructions affecting the project's progress.

2. Choose the Right Stabilizing Agent

The choice of stabilizing agent is critical to the success of the full-depth reclamation process. The most commonly used stabilizing agents are Portland cement, lime, and asphalt emulsion. Each agent has unique characteristics and is suitable for different types of pavements.

Portland cement is best for pavements with high traffic volumes and heavy loads. At the same time, lime is ideal for pavements with low to moderate traffic volumes. Asphalt emulsion is suitable for both asphalt and concrete pavements. It can be used in combination with Portland cement and lime.

The choice of stabilizing agent should be based on the pavement's condition, expected traffic volumes, and the project's budget.

3. Use a High-Quality Mixing Machine

The success of full-depth reclamation largely depends on the quality of the mixing machine used. A high-quality mixing machine should be capable of producing a uniform mixture of the old pavement and the stabilizing agent.

The mixing machine should also be able to control the amount of stabilizing agent added to the pavement. Properly mixing the stabilizing agent and the pavement is critical to achieving the desired strength and durability of the new base layer.

4. Control the Moisture Content

The moisture content of the pavement must be controlled during the full-depth reclamation process. The pavement should be moist enough to facilitate mixing but not too wet to cause excessive dust and mud.

The moisture content can be controlled by adding water to the pavement before mixing or using a water truck during mixing. The proper moisture content is critical to achieving the desired compaction and strength of the new base layer.

5. Achieve Proper Compaction

Proper compaction is essential to achieving the desired strength and durability of the new base layer. The pavement should be compacted to the appropriate density to ensure that it can withstand the expected traffic loads.

The compaction process should be done in stages, starting from the edges of the pavement and working toward the center. The thickness of the new base layer should also be considered when determining the appropriate compaction method.

6. Conduct Quality Control Tests

Quality control tests should be conducted throughout the full-depth reclamation process to ensure the pavement meets the desired specifications. These tests can include density tests, moisture content tests, and strength tests.

The results of these tests help identify any issues with the pavement and allow for corrective action to be taken before the project is completed.


Full-depth reclamation is an effective method of repairing and rehabilitating pavements that have reached the end of their service life. Following the best practices shared here ensures the project is completed successfully and the new base layer meets the desired specifications.

Conducting a thorough site investigation, choosing the right stabilizing agent, using a high-quality mixing machine, controlling the moisture content, achieving proper compaction, and conducting quality control tests are all critical to achieving a successful full-depth reclamation project.

Terra-Firma Stabilization & Reclamation offers an array of services, including full-depth reclamation in Chattanooga. Contact us today for more information on our services!