The Lifecycle of an Asphalt Parking Lot: When It's Time for Removal

deep cracks in asphalt parking lot

Updated November 15, 2023

Asphalt parking lots are ubiquitous features of urban landscapes, providing essential infrastructure for businesses, institutions, and residential areas. Over time, however, these surfaces undergo wear and tear due to a combination of natural elements, heavy traffic, and environmental factors.

Understanding the lifecycle of an asphalt parking lot is crucial for property owners and managers to make informed decisions about maintenance, repairs, and ultimately, when it's time for removal.

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Stages of Asphalt Parking Lots

Stage 1: Construction and Installation

The lifecycle of an asphalt parking lot begins with its initial construction and installation. This phase involves site preparation, grading, and the application of multiple layers of asphalt, typically consisting of a base layer and a top layer. Proper construction practices and the use of quality materials during this phase contribute significantly to the longevity of the parking lot.

Step 2: Routine Maintenance

Once the asphalt parking lot is in use, routine maintenance becomes a key factor in extending its lifespan. Regular inspections, crack sealing, and sealcoating help protect the surface from water infiltration, UV rays, and the damaging effects of freeze-thaw cycles. Maintenance activities also include striping for traffic management and the overall aesthetics of the parking lot.

Step 3: Signs of Deterioration

Despite routine maintenance, signs of deterioration will inevitably appear as the parking lot ages. Common issues include cracks, potholes, and fading of the surface. These signs are indicative of the asphalt's response to environmental stressors and the accumulated impact of traffic loads.

Step 4: Repairs and Resurfacing

Addressing early signs of deterioration through prompt repairs is crucial to prolong the life of the parking lot. Small cracks can be sealed, and potholes can be patched. In some cases, resurfacing, which involves applying a new layer of asphalt over the existing one, may be a viable option to address more extensive damage.

Step 5: Long-Term Maintenance Challenges

As the asphalt parking lot ages, long-term maintenance challenges may arise. These challenges often result from the cumulative effects of weathering, traffic loads, and the natural aging of asphalt. The cost and frequency of maintenance can increase, and the effectiveness of repairs may diminish over time.

Step 6: Assessing the Economic Viability

Property owners and managers must continually assess the economic viability of maintaining an aging asphalt parking lot. Factors such as the frequency and cost of repairs, the impact on business operations, and the overall aesthetics of the property play a role in this assessment. At a certain point, the costs associated with ongoing maintenance may outweigh the benefits.

Step 7: End-of-Life Considerations

When routine maintenance and repairs are no longer sufficient to address the parking lot's deteriorating condition, property owners may face the decision of removal. End-of-life considerations involve evaluating the feasibility of complete removal and replacement versus other alternatives. Factors such as environmental impact, cost, and the potential for future issues with the underlying substrate must be carefully weighed.

Step 8: Environmentally Responsible Removal

The removal of an asphalt parking lot requires careful consideration of environmental impact. Recycling or repurposing the removed asphalt can contribute to sustainability goals. Additionally, property owners should adhere to local regulations regarding disposal and recycling of construction materials.

How to Know When It's Time for Removal

damaged asphalt parking lot

If your asphalt has any of the following symptoms, it's time to remove and replace it:

  • Cracks that are more than two inches deep or two inches wide
  • Frost heave that has pushed up on the asphalt and caused it to become uneven
  • The asphalt is settled and sunken in
  • Potholes

If your asphalt parking lot only has a few chips, scratches, or minor cracks, it likely doesn’t need to be replaced yet. Minor asphalt damages can be repaired for a minimal amount of money and effort, so do your best to be proactive in the maintenance and upkeep of your parking lot.

Learn more: The Complete Guide to Asphalt Removal

Find a Qualified Local Asphalt Removal Company

One of the first things to assess when searching for an asphalt parking lot removal contractor is their experience and expertise. How long have they been in business, and how many similar projects have they completed successfully? An experienced contractor is more likely to have encountered the various challenges associated with this project and can navigate them effectively.

A contractor's reputation is another valuable indicator of their reliability and quality of work. Look for online reviews, testimonials, and ask for references from previous clients. When finding an asphalt parking lot removal company with Hometown, you can trust that our reviews are verified from real customers. Knowing the reviews you're reading are real will increase your confidence and make it easier to be sure you're hiring the best company for the job.

You should also ensure that the contractor you hire holds the necessary licenses and permits required for your location. Ask for proof of insurance, including liability and workers' compensation coverage. This protects you from potential liability in case of accidents or damage during the project. If a company or professional is unwilling to provide you this type of documentation, take it as a red flag and consider hiring someone else.

A reputable contractor should also provide a written estimate that outlines the various steps of the project and what's involved, including breaking up the parking lot, debris removal, disposal, and any additional services you require and their fees. If a contractor isn't willing to provide a line item estimate or anything beyond vague or verbal estimates, we advise against moving forward with that contractor.

Make sure you understand the payment terms and schedule before work begins as well. We recommend against hiring contractors who request full payment upfront. A reasonable deposit followed by progress payments is a standard practice and what we recommend.

Hometown makes it easy to find the right company to assist with your asphalt parking lot removal. Request free quotes today to get started!

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