Two words come to mind when describing asphalt: durable and cost-effective. With proper maintenance, asphalt looks pretty nice, too. However, if your parking lot or roadway shows signs of aging, you may be unsure whether to resurface or replace the pavement. Learn the difference between these two options and how to choose which one is best.

What is Asphalt Resurfacing?

Resurfacing a parking lot involves applying a new layer of asphalt, called an overlay, directly over the existing pavement. You know it’s time to resurface your parking lot when the asphalt becomes severely faded or the surface is covered in patches and sealed cracks from previous repair work.

Before resurfacing begins, the pavement needs a little preparation. First, workers fill potholes, seal cracks, and level off high or low areas. Once these repairs are made, the workers lay a geotextile material over the pavement to provide a water-resistant skin. Finally, workers apply an asphalt overlay on top of the fabric. Allow at least 24 hours for the resurfaced pavement to dry. You’ll love how the deep, dark finish makes your parking lot look brand new!

How Long Does an Asphalt Overlay Last?

Resurfacing extends the life of your pavement by several years because it stops developing problems from becoming any worse. In general, asphalt overlays last eight to 15 years. To help yours last as long as possible, be sure to invest in preventative asphalt maintenance, including crack repair, pothole filling, and seal coating.

What Does Asphalt Replacement Entail?

Replacing or repaving an asphalt surface is the most in-depth repair you can make. Therefore, it’s reserved for pavement with extensive damage. The process involves tearing out the old installation completely, all the way down to the dirt. If you have environmental concerns about this, rest assured that the asphalt is hauled away, ground up, and reused on another project.

With the pavement gone and the road base exposed, workers can regrade and compact the soil to prevent future sinking or settling. Next, the workers layer new asphalt onto the smooth, prepared road base. The job may incorporate the same water-resistant membrane used in asphalt overlays to further protect your road and extend its lifespan.

How Long Does Parking Lot Asphalt Last?

Once your newly installed asphalt road is in place, you can expect it to last 20 to 30 years. The exact lifespan depends on several factors, such as road usage, heavy vehicle traffic, wear and tear, and exposure to the elements.

As with overlays, the key to making new parking lot asphalt last as long as possible is to keep up with maintenance. This means addressing small issues as they arise so they don’t escalate into major problems that require extensive repairs.

How to Choose Between Asphalt Resurfacing vs. Replacement

Asphalt resurfacing may be feasible if:

  • Less than 25% of the pavement needs repair.
  • The road base is strong and intact.
  • The asphalt is less than 20 years old.
  • Any surface cracks are less than one-quarter-inch wide and don’t go more than a few inches deep.

You probably need complete asphalt replacement if:

  • More than 25% of the pavement is damaged.
  • There’s extensive alligator cracking, a sign that the road base has failed.
  • The pavement is over 20 to 30 years old.
  • Cracks are over one-quarter-inch wide and go several inches deep.

Extend the Life of Your Asphalt with Seal Coating

A technique called seal coating can delay the need for asphalt resurfacing and replacement. This cost-effective solution revitalizes the top layer of asphalt, renewing its defenses against UV light, moisture, and corrosive chemical spills. Applying a protective seal coat every couple of years can help prevent extensive cracking, potholes, and other degradation from prematurely aging your pavement. Plus, the cost is mere pennies per square foot compared to dollars or more per square foot for resurfacing and replacement.

Contact Cactus Asphalt Today

If you’re still debating between asphalt resurfacing vs. replacement, get in touch with Cactus Asphalt. We’ll assess the condition of your pavement and recommend a custom solution for you. We offer all kinds of pavement maintenance and repair work, so let us know how we can assist with your upcoming asphalt project. For an asphalt resurfacing or replacement estimate in Phoenix, please call us at (623) 552-7854 or contact us online.