Sealcoat, Resurface, or Replace: A Parking Lot Guide
Parking lots do not last forever. But just because your parking lot is showing some signs of age does not necessarily mean it needs to be replaced just yet. There are two other maintenance processes paving companies can do: sealcoating and resurfacing. Here are some key ways to tell whether your parking lot needs to be sealcoated, resurfaced, or fully replaced.
Parking lots really should be sealcoated every year or two after they are installed. Sealcoating is a thin layer of moisture-resistant, petroleum-based products put down over the lot. The sealcoating will prevent water from seeping in and damaging the deeper layers of the asphalt. If your parking lot is looking dull gray in color and has some shallow surface cracks, it probably just needs to be sealcoated, not resurfaced or replaced.
Resurfacing is a more extensive process than sealcoating. The top layer of the pavement will be stripped away, and a new layer of asphalt will be put in place. The base, however, is left alone.
Signs that your parking lot needs to be resurfaced include multiple deep cracks, some small to medium potholes or areas of heavy wear, and a crumbly quality of the asphalt in general. Resurfacing is a lot of work, so plan on the project taking a week or two, at least. There will be a lot of old asphalt hauled away in dumpsters. The new parking lot, however, should be smooth and enjoyable to drive on.
When the damage to a parking lot is so extensive that it has begun to affect the base layer, then the paving company will likely recommend fully replacing the lot. This is the case when you have lots of deep potholes, sunken areas, and extensive cracks.
The paving company will start by stripping everything away. They may even re-level the soil beneath the lot and install some new drains. Then, they will lay down the new pavement on top of the re-leveled surface.
If you take good care of your lot, having it sealcoated periodically and resurfaced when the need arises, then you should not need to have it fully replaced for many years. If you're not sure what level of work your parking lot requires, have a parking lot paving contractor come take a look. They can do some basic tests to assess the condition of the lot and give you an estimate for the work.