Asphalt or concrete, parking lots are durable pieces of construction. If properly installed and maintained, they can provide value for decades. In fact, the biggest maintenance-related problem for many property owners is remembering that maintenance is necessary to keep a parking lot in good condition.
Eventually, that maintenance will include repaving the lot. For asphalt, repaving may mean overlaying, which involves milling out the failed pavement and replacing it with a fresh surface layer. It may also mean replacing the asphalt down to full depth. For concrete, repaving may include removing any failed pieces of pavement down to full depth and installing new concrete.
In both cases, repaving is an investment, but one that offers several benefits to property owners. As such, it is recommended when the parking lot has aged past a certain point.
How Often Should a Parking Lot Be Repaved in Houston?
The answer depends on a few factors, including:
- Concrete or asphalt? – Between these two proven pavement materials, concrete is more durable. While an asphalt parking lot may need repaving every 15-20 years, concrete can generally make it to 30 years before significant repairs or replacement are required.
- Has the parking lot been maintained well? – Concrete is a fairly low maintenance material, but it does need to be regularly swept and occasionally power washed. In addition to regular cleaning, asphalt should be sealcoated every two or so years. Crack and pothole repairs must also be promptly scheduled for asphalt pavement. If the parking lot has been protected in this way, it will last many years longer.
- Are there any signs of imminent failure? – Ultimately, a visual inspection of the lot will be necessary before a final decision can be made on repaving. Severe cracking, potholes and depressions are all signs to look for, and signs that property owners can spot during a quick check. If these signs are present, a Houston pavement contractor can provide an expert opinion and verify if any pavement problems are enough to warrant repaving.
In general, property owners should start considering repaving once the parking lot hits the 20-year mark, and very likely by the 30-year mark. Resurfacing – like asphalt overlaying – is usually done every 8-10 years and can extend the pavement’s life by decades more.
If your parking lot is in repaving territory, here are four reasons why it is time to make the investment:
1) Repaving Improves Drainage and Protects the Pavement’s Base
Nothing ruins a parking lot faster than poor drainage. When water seeps into surface defects like cracks and potholes, it reaches the pavement’s deeper layers and greatly accelerates deterioration. Moisture chemically attacks asphalt binders and eats it from the inside out. If unchecked, moisture intrusion will cause the asphalt’s subsurface layers to subside and expose the pavement to worsening damage.
Concrete withstands moisture better, but water can still cause erosion and other mechanical wear problems. If moisture freezes inside the concrete, ice can create serious internal pressures that result in widespread damage or heaving.
Repaving the parking lot can restore its surface, removing any flaws that could permit water intrusion. A high-quality pavement surface will also prevent water from collecting and standing by efficiently channeling it into drainage structures.
2) Repaving Removes Surface Flaws That Can Cause Damage or Injury
A deteriorating parking lot is a liability, as it is more likely to cause damage to vehicles and injury to pedestrians (or motorists). In fact, if someone’s vehicle is damaged or if someone suffers an injury, and they can point to the parking lot’s condition as a contributing factor, your business may be held liable for any damages.
However, there is more at stake than liability exposure. If someone is badly hurt while on your property, it could have long-lasting consequences for your brand. The risk is not worth it, especially considering this – according to the National Safety Council, about 20 percent of all vehicle accidents occur in parking lots.
Repaving the parking lot removes major surface defects that may contribute to accidents.
3) Repaving Supports Better Driver Performance and Lot Accessibility
Your parking lot may not be in bad enough shape to constitute an accident risk, but it may be just worn enough to affect vehicle performance. Loss of surface aggregate, spalling, warping, shallow potholes and extensive cracking (think alligator cracking) can slow vehicles down and force motorists to dodge damaged areas. Wear due to traffic and weather will also cause the lot’s striping to fade, including traffic flow arrows, parking space marks, and handicap spots. This can make it difficult for motorists to efficiently move through a parking lot, increasing the risk of accidents on the property.
Following repaving, the parking lot will be striped with a fresh set of markings, so your lot will facilitate optimal traffic flow and better safety.
4) Repaving Enhances the Parking Lot’s Appearance and the Property’s Value
You may not think of your parking lot as an important property value factor, but it, along with your buildings, are the first things your visitors will see. When assessing property value, curb appeal is baked in, whether consciously or not. Repaving your parking lot certainly will not hurt that curb appeal, and it is more likely to provide a major boost.
Better curb appeal may improve property value, but it is not the only reason to boost curb appeal. For example, fresh asphalt in front of an apartment community makes the apartments appear newer as well. This can be a selling point to potential tenants. The same concept holds true for commercial centers – repaving makes the parking lot appear new and helps draw in additional customer traffic.
Reputable Houston contractors will not recommend a repaving job just for cosmetic reasons, but if your parking lot is reaching the end of its useful life, improving curb appeal may be enough to seal the decision.
The Parking Lot Provides the First Impression of a Property
Parking lots are sturdy pieces of construction that can last for many decades if maintenance is prioritized. However, all good things come to an end at some point, and pavement is no exception. After decades of withstanding vehicle traffic, temperature swings, downpours, oil leaks and other everyday sources of wear, repaving will eventually be required.
If it has been more than 5-10 years since your parking lot was given expert attention, consider scheduling a consultation with a trusted Houston pavement company. A Houston pavement contractor can provide insight into your parking lot’s condition and determine whether repaving is the right call. If it is, investing in a repaving project can provide benefits that pay off for years after the project is finished.