How Long Do Asphalt Parking Lots Last?

An asphalt parking lot that is properly maintained can last 20 to 30 years. Find out how to get the most mileage out of your asphalt parking lot so it can last for decades to come.

Sealcoating Your Asphalt Parking Lot

Water is the number one enemy of your asphalt parking lot. Rain, snow, and humidity can degrade your asphalt and seriously shorten its shelf life.

Sealcoating is the process of applying a protective coating to your asphalt parking lot to protect against water, oil, and UV damage. Sealcoating can add years (or even decades) to the life of your asphalt.

Plus, it adds an aesthetically pleasing uniform black color to your asphalt parking lot.

The best time to seal your asphalt is early in its life. But you don’t want to seal a brand-new parking lot, which can contain too much surface oil and prevent sealers from properly bonding.

The ideal time to seal your asphalt is when it is 6-months old. Sealcoating can be repeated every 2 to 5 years.

Maintaining Your Asphalt Parking Lot

After you've sealed and protected your parking lot, be sure to regularly maintain it in order to extend its life.

  • Look for standing water and address it immediately
  • Fill cracks
  • Patch potholes

Over time, water, sun, and oil can degrade the quality of your parking lot. Even if you've protected it, there’s still a possibility the surface will develop cracks, potholes, and other damage over time.

Patch paving can help repair small areas of damage in your parking lot before they worsen and require major repairs. Patch paving works by removing a damaged portion of the parking lot and replacing it with new asphalt.

When Maintenance Isn’t Enough

If you've purchased an existing asphalt lot that needs more than some patching and sealing to get into tip-top shape, you may need an overlay or replacement for your parking lot.

Depending on the damage to your existing lot, your may need to do one of the following:

An overlay removes and replaces the top layer of your asphalt parking lot. It is a cost-effective alternative to replacing a parking lot that has not been adequately maintained.

However, if the base layers have been damaged as well, a full- or partial-depth asphalt removal may be necessary.

Why Do You Need to Maintain and Repair Your Parking Lot?

The biggest reason to properly maintain and repair your asphalt parking lot is to avoid liability issues arising from cracks, potholes, and other damage. A pothole poses a personal injury risk from people walking through your parking lot, not to mention the risk of causing property damage to vehicles.

Aesthetics and overall perceived value of your parking lot is another important reason to properly maintain your lot. If your parking lot is covered in cracks and potholes and water damage is eroding the top and base layers away, your lot will not look as valuable as one that has been properly maintained, protected, and repaired. This can have an impact if you're trying to sell the lot. If the lot is part of your commercial business, it can also take away from the perceived value of your goods or services.

Take Care of Your Asphalt and It Will Last Decades

Asphalt can last for 20 years or longer if you take care of it. But neglect your asphalt parking lot, and you'll find its life is half that estimate.

By staying on top of sealcoating and patch paving small repairs, you can likely avoid more costly repairs or overlays—and not even think about removal and replacement -- for decades to come.

JV Lucas Paving has been installing, maintaining, and repairing asphalt parking lots in the California Bay Area for decades. Get a free consultation on your next asphalt project from the Bay Area asphalt pros.