Like other commercial assets, an asphalt parking lot also has a life cycle. Asphalt is touted as a highly durable material, and rightly so. With a preventative maintenance plan in place, property managers can extend the life of their asphalt parking lots up to 20 – 30 years.
In today’s blog, we describe the typical life cycle of an asphalt parking lot and what you can do to preserve your pavement assets at each successive stage.
Stage 1 – Years 1 To 5
Newly-installed parking lots are fresh and durable. You may see small cracks or slight discoloration from daily traffic or the sun, but the parking lot will be in excellent condition.
Things to watch out for:
- Rough driving
- Parking in the same spot for a long time
- Gasoline, oil, and other spillages
You should call your asphalt paving contractor within the first year of your pavement’s installation for parking lot sealcoating and restriping. Continue these maintenance procedures every 3-5 years, depending on the surface condition.
Stage 2 – Years 5 To 10
As the parking lot crosses the 5-year mark, you will notice the asphalt emulsion fading, exposing the aggregate material. At this stage, minor repairs like asphalt patching may be required. These procedures are less invasive and help extend the pavement’s lifespan.
Things to look out for:
- Water damage
Along with sealcoating and line striping, asphalt contractors also perform crack sealing and patch repairs at Stage 2 of a parking lot’s life cycle.
Stage 3 – Years 10 To 15
Your parking lot will continue to be functional at this stage, but it will require extensive repairs in addition to routine asphalt maintenance. The gap between the aggregate may enlarge by this point, and merely sealing the surface won’t do.
Things to look out for:
- Fading surface
- Larger cracks
- Extensive potholes
- Pooling water
Depending on the condition of the pavement, your contractor may recommend an overlay or resurfacing. Both these procedures involve adding a fresh layer of paving on top of the existing surface, provided the foundational layers are still intact.
Stage 4 – Years 15 To 25+
This is the final stage of your parking lot’s life cycle, and the pavement will become weak and brittle with constant traffic and weathering throughout the years. Extensive repairs will become more frequent.
At this stage, it makes economic sense to remove and replace the pavement altogether than trying to prolong its lifecycle with repairs.
This is an overview of how an asphalt parking lot deteriorates over time. This information will definitely help you as you plan a new parking lot installation in 2021. As a parking lot manager, you should partner with your contractor and develop a preventative maintenance plan to preserve your pavement assets for as long as possible.