When To Completely Repave & When To Seal Coat Your Parking Lot

When To Completely Repave & When To Seal Coat Your Parking Lot

When managing a parking lot, the decision between complete repaving and applying a seal coating is crucial for both maintaining the functionality and appearance of the space and ensuring financial resources are used wisely. This blog post will delve into the key indicators that help property owners and managers decide whether to opt for complete repaving or just a seal coating.

Understanding the Basics

Asphalt Repaving: This is a comprehensive process that involves removing the existing pavement layer and replacing it with a new one. Repaving is often necessary when the parking lot shows significant signs of deterioration that cannot be effectively addressed with simpler repair methods.

Seal Coating: This process involves applying a protective layer over the existing asphalt pavement. Seal coating helps to protect the asphalt from the elements, including water penetration, oils, and UV damage, and can extend the life of your parking lot. It also provides a refreshed look, enhancing the property’s appearance.

When to Consider Complete Asphalt Repaving

  1. Severe Cracking: If your parking lot is riddled with large cracks or areas where the asphalt has fragmented into loose pieces, it may be beyond the help of crack filling and sealing. These cracks, especially if they form interconnected networks (alligator cracking), suggest foundational issues that require more than a surface treatment.
  2. Potholes: The presence of multiple, deep potholes is a sign that the underlying base of the parking lot has been compromised. This is something us people in Minnesota will generally see come springtime every year. Potholes are not only a driving hazard but also allow water to seep beneath the surface, potentially causing further damage. Filling in potholes is a temporary fix; substantial pothole problems often necessitate repaving.
  3. Drainage Issues: If water pools in certain areas of the parking lot after rain, instead of draining away, it indicates that the lot’s surface is no longer properly leveled. Poor drainage can lead to water damage and exacerbate cracking and potholing. Repaving allows for the correction of these slope and drainage issues.
  4. Age: Asphalt parking lots typically have a lifespan of around 20-30 years, depending on maintenance and usage. If your lot is nearing or has surpassed this age range and shows extensive wear and tear, repaving might be the most cost-effective long-term solution.

When Seal Coating Might Be Sufficient

  1. Minor Surface Damage: For lots with minimal cracking and no significant structural issues, seal coating can fill small cracks, restore the surface’s appearance, and offer protection against weather and chemical spills.
  2. Preventative Maintenance: Regularly scheduled seal coating (every 2-3 years, depending on traffic and climate conditions) can significantly extend the life of your asphalt parking lot by providing ongoing protection against wear and tear.
  3. Cost-Effectiveness: If budget constraints are a concern and the parking lot is structurally sound, seal coating provides an economical way to maintain the lot’s condition and appearance without the higher cost of complete repaving.
  4. Aesthetic Refresh: When the primary goal is to enhance the lot’s appearance, seal coating offers an efficient solution. It gives the asphalt a new, dark finish that can improve the overall look of your property.

Making the Decision

The choice between repaving and seal coating should be based on a thorough assessment of your parking lot’s current condition, considering both immediate needs and long-term plans for the property. Consulting with a professional asphalt contractor can provide valuable insights. These experts can evaluate the extent of damage, if any, and recommend the most appropriate, cost-effective solution tailored to your specific situation.

In conclusion, while seal coating is an excellent maintenance measure for extending the life of your parking lot and enhancing its appearance, significant structural issues require the more extensive intervention of repaving. By understanding the signs of when each process is warranted, property owners and managers can ensure their parking lots remain safe, functional, and visually appealing for years to come.

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