If your asphalt parking lot is looking a little worn, you may be worried that you will need to invest big in a total removal and replacement. The good news is that there is another option: asphalt overlay. Instead of tearing out the old lot, it simply becomes the base for a fresh asphalt layer. The following can help you determine if this is a good choice for your parking lot.
Is the paving generally intact?
It isn't cost-effective to put in major repairs before an overlay. Further, the repairs may not be as durable as intact asphalt, which can shorten the lifespan of the new overlay. A few small cracks or minor potholes that don't reach into the base material of the lot are not usually a problem. Extensive or deep cracking and potholes are problematic, though, which means removal and replacement is the better option.
Can drainage be maintained with an overlay?
An overlay builds up the surface of the parking lot, elevating it a couple of inches higher than it was previously. Generally, if this is the first overlay, it won't be a problem. The main concern is that proper pitch can't be maintained to route water towards integrated stormwater drains, particularly any placed mid-lot, without forming an overly large depression that can pose a hazard to vehicles. This might not be a concern if all of the drains are along the perimeter of the lot where they won't interfere with traffic.
Will there be pitch issues where the paving meets the entrances?
A similar problem to the drain issue is matching the surface leveling where the lot meets the entrance and surrounding road. A small upward slope into a parking lot is normal and expected since most are designed this way for drainage. The problem is if the pitch into the lot becomes too great, causing cars to scuff the bumper and front of the car against the pavement as they turn into your parking lot.
Are there any signs of base problems?
Issues with the base beneath your existing lot won't be fixed simply because you covered the lot in an overlay of fresh asphalt. Sunken areas will continue to sink, and deep, widening cracks will continue to grow, even if you have them patched before the overlay installation. This is because the problems aren't with the asphalt but with a shifting or weak base. If you have base problems, then removal of the lot and rebuilding of the base will be necessary.
Contact a commercial paving company in your area to learn more.