A pitted asphalt parking lot full of cracks and holes will significantly reduce the curb appeal of your business. It can also present a danger to pedestrians and even motorists when the holes become large enough. When your asphalt parking lot needs to be renovated, you can either resurface your existing parking lot or replace your parking lot entirely. When you resurface your parking lot, a paving contractor places a new layer of asphalt over your existing parking lot. This creates an even, unbroken appearance with no cracks or holes.
Resurfacing is a much less expensive option than replacing your parking lot, but there's one major drawback. The new layer of asphalt doesn't fix any structural problems with the existing layer. Extensive damage to the existing parking lot can render it unsuitable for resurfacing. Here's how to tell if resurfacing is the right option for you.
Existing Drainage Issues
If you have water pooling on your asphalt parking lot, you will inevitably experience damage to the sub-base. While asphalt is water-resistant, it requires good drainage. Pooling water will quickly damage asphalt.
Resurfacing will not fix your issues with water pooling in the valleys of your parking lot – if you elevate the whole Grand Canyon by two inches, it's still the Grand Canyon. The new layer will still continue to experience water damage.
It's a better idea to correct the poor drainage on your property and then have an experienced contractor replace the whole parking lot with the correct slope.
The Presence of Alligator Cracks and the Condition of Your Sub-Base
Areas with numerous small crisscrossing cracks, known as alligator cracks, in your parking lot are a bad sign for the condition of your asphalt. Not only are they nearly impossible to patch and fill, but they signify that the sub-base underneath your asphalt is shifting.
When the sub-base shifts, the asphalt layer on top moves along with it, causing numerous small cracks and breaks. The primary culprit of sub-base shift is excess water leaking underneath the asphalt, which causes the sub-base to erode.
If your asphalt parking lot has many alligator cracks, it's a good sign that your parking lot is not a good candidate for resurfacing due to the unstable sub-base. The new layer of asphalt is still subject to the shifting sub-base, and alligator cracks will quickly form on its surface as well. To fix the sub-base, you will have to remove and replace the entire asphalt parking lot.
The Age of Your Parking Lot
There's just no way around the fact that asphalt degrades over time due to vehicle load and the effects of sunlight. Old asphalt becomes brittle and easily cracks and crumbles. Even if the sub-base is in good condition, putting a new layer of asphalt over a parking lot that's 15 to 20 years old won't extend its lifespan for another 15.
When the layer underneath begins to crumble, pesky alligator cracks will form in the new layer. When your parking lot is at the end of its normal lifespan, it's time to replace it.
If you have any doubt about whether or not asphalt resurfacing is right for your parking lot, call an experienced asphalt paving service such as Phend & Brown. A professional will take a core sample of your parking lot and assess the condition of your sub-base. This will give you a definitive answer about the health of your parking lot and the viability of resurfacing versus replacement.