As your parking lot ages, you may find you have cracks, potholes, drainage issues, faded coloring or stains, faded lines and markings, sinking-in, and crumbling edges. And you may have guessed that these issues are more serious than preventative maintenance can help. You may be wondering if you will have to do a costly replacement or if there is an alternative. In this post, we’ll answer common questions we get about asphalt parking lot resurfacing.

Is parking lot resurfacing the same as replacing it?

When replacing a parking lot, a contractor will completely remove the old lot entirely. They will then lay down a drainage layer of compacted gravel, followed by a layer of compacted asphalt as a base. Finally, they will install the surface layer of asphalt. This replacement method, when done correctly, ensures that your asphalt parking lot has a solid base and will last as long as possible. Although replacement can cost around a third more than resurfacing, business owners who replace their parking lots can be assured of quality and longevity. However, if the foundation is intact, asphalt parking lot resurfacing is a cost effective alternative.

What are the top indicators that I should resurface and not replace my asphalt parking lot? 

  • Resurfacing is generally done on parking lots less than 20 years old
  • Resurface if less than 25 to 35 percent of your lot needs repaired
  • Resurface if the foundation is intact
  • Resurface if the cracks are ¼ inch wide or less deep

Is asphalt resurfacing the same as sealcoating?

Resurfacing is not sealcoating. Sealcoating is applying a protective sealer over asphalt pavement as regular, preventative maintenance. Resurfacing is a repair made by installing asphalt over an existing parking lot. While this type of repair doesn’t last as long as a complete replacement, it will still extend the life of your pavement at a fraction of the cost.

When should I resurface over my existing asphalt parking lot?

A new asphalt surface can be installed over an existing asphalt parking lot. Because both layers are asphalt, they should heave together well to form a new parking lot. This method is less expensive than replacement and could offer some initial savings. However, before resurfacing, it is important to consider the faults of the existing parking lot. Why is the existing lot failing? Is the base layer sound, or is it compromised? If the current lot is experiencing serious problems, those problems will only be masked by a resurfacing job and will emerge again later. It is important to take care of serious structural problems before installing new asphalt to avoid serious problems in the future. That said, if the base of your existing asphalt lot is sound, it does make sense to mill and resurface the top layer of asphalt as a cost-saving measure.

Can you resurface with asphalt over existing concrete?

New asphalt can be installed over an existing concrete lot. However, in resurfacing a concrete lot, business owners run the risk that the concrete will shift under the surface over time, cracking and damaging the asphalt. Because of this, it is important to evaluate the integrity of the concrete before resurfacing. If the concrete is level with close joints, it shouldn’t cause problems for many years. In that case, resurfacing with asphalt may be an appealing, cost-saving option. However, if the concrete lot is experiencing serious problems, those problems won’t vanish simply by resurfacing, and future repair costs will wipe out any initial savings.

How long will a resurfaced asphalt parking lot last?

In general, asphalt parking lot resurfacing lasts between eight and 15 years, but it depends on many factors, including weather, how many heavy trucks use the pavement in question, and the thickness of the new asphalt layer, and more. For the longest life possible, make sure you get routine maintenance such as sealcoating, crack repair, and pothole filling services.

Why are the estimates different among contractors? 

Most likely, the contractors are not bidding apples to apples. When asking for estimates, make sure they all get the same work specifications. Educate yourself about the process, or ask for help comparing bids, so you can make the most informed decision possible about your needs. Check out our resources page for lots of tips and tricks.

With any asphalt installation, whether resurfacing or replacing, the quality of the preparation and work is crucial to the integrity and longevity of the lot. It is critical that you work with professionals you trust, who can deliver the best quality in the best time with the best service. Contact the DC team today.