When does my parking lot need repair?

several cars filling a parking lot

Keeping Your Parking Lot in Shape

Have you noticed over the 10 years or so, strip shopping centers are coming back after 30 years or so of shopping malls? This transition is wonderful for most shop owners because it gives their business a place to actually stand out. With that in mind, they don’t want to be in a strip shopping center that needs parking lot repair

While they may not own the entire strip center and parking lot, repairs neglected and worn-down buildings will reflect on their business. It is important for an owner of the property where businesses are renting building space, even doctors and clinics, to have the buildings and parking lot maintained and in good condition. 

What is parking lot maintenance?

As a property owner of a strip center or any structure that has a parking lot, including multi-story buildings, apartments, and more, parking lot maintenance is important. You’re happy, your tenants are happy, and their customers are happy when you don’t have problems with the parking lot. Repairs, maintenance, and upkeep are key things with the parking lot that your tenants and their customers utilize. 

The cost to maintain a parking lot is the cost of having rental property and consists of various parking lot repairs. It also includes treatments that will extend the parking lot’s life. Ninety percent of all parking lots in this country are asphalt. This material, while popular for parking lots, is susceptible to damage and the weather. 

Damaged asphalt parking lot repairs will keep the parking lot safe and visually appealing, all a part of routine parking lot maintenance. Think of it as preserving your property investment and ensuring your tenants, their customers, and personnel, vendors, and visitors are safe when on your property. Parking lot maintenance should include:

  • Clean and sweep: Keep debris picked up and keep the parking lots swept on a regular basis will serve two purposes: Keep the property looking good and help you find small issues where parking lot repairs are needed before bigger problems are created.
  • Asphalt Sealing: Asphalt should be coated with a sealant every 2 to 3 years to preserve the pavement’s resilience and prevent weathering.
  • Striping: Parking lot marks should be repainted every 1 to 2 years to keep them visible.
  • Fill cracks: Parking lot cracks and potholes allow debris to accumulate and water to puddle then penetrate the surface asphalt layer. Once water has penetrated, more damage will follow. Water is the enemy of asphalt parking lots. 
  • Overlay asphalt: Stripping the top layer off the parking lot and having a new asphalt layer installed extends the life of the pavement, giving the parking lot a fresh, new, and updated appearance.
  • Repaving: After a parking lot starts crumbling, the best parking lot repair is to have it repaved and possibly reconstructed. This can usually be completed within one day and once it is done it will last up to 10 or 20 years. 

How do you repair an asphalt parking lot?

There are various reasons why asphalt parking lot repairs are needed. Poor maintenance is usually the first reason, followed by the original layer being too thin, poor drainage, and combined with accumulated wear-and-tear. Parking lots take a beating! Eventually, all of these causes combined can contribute to parking lot repairs being needed. 

Some of the common parking lot repairs include the following: 


Parking lot pothole repairs are often necessary for those bowl-shaped, often deep holes, which are the result of localized pavement break-up caused by continued deterioration. This includes alligator cracking, segregation, and failures of joints or patches within the parking lot.

To permanently repair potholes, start by clearing and removing the material in and around the pothole, including any of the failed subgrade. Clear and remove past the visible damage to ensure the solid material stays in place. Clean this area into a rectangular shape with square edges.

Tack the bottom and the vertical edges and fill the hole with a dense-graded hot mix asphalt or a cold patching mix. If the hole is deeper than 6 inches, you’ll need to apply this in 2 layers with each layer thoroughly compacted. To prevent future potholes or lengthen the time you’ll need to do this again, considering having drainage installed. 

Deteriorating Joints

When the joints are poorly constructed, the pavement life is reduced. Joint failure begins when contaminants along with air and water make their way into the joints. When any distress is discovered early on, you can apply a seal for a parking lot repair of the flaw and stop any possible deterioration. 

However, if these flaws aren’t addressed, potholes will form, which are more costly and time-consuming to repair. It is common for commercial pavements to suffer structural failures from load-related deterioration, causing alligator cracking, aka, fatigue cracking. 

These cracks are visible on the surface as interconnected, small blocks that resemble alligator skin and occur when there are constant and repeated traffic loads over a weak subgrade. Along with a thin layer of the original application, it can all contribute to the destruction of an asphalt parking lot, repairs can be ongoing if not done correctly. When the base fails, the best parking lot repair is to remove the failed asphalt and stabilize the underlying material, then replaced the pavement.


Parking lot repairs are needed when there is raveling and rutting. You can tell when a parking lot has had this happen in the past by signage “No Trucks Allowed”. Raveling is when aggregate particles of the surface disappear and the asphalt binder hardens, losing its grip on the stone. A poor mixing quality of the asphalt can cause raveling too. 

Rutting of asphalt pavement is typically from heavy vehicles causing wheel-tracks. The lateral movement or consolidation of the pavement layers will become rutted down to the subgrade. This is predominant when the original layers aren’t thick and compacted with asphalt and a stone base, or a weak mix of asphalt along with moisture infiltration. 

This parking lot repair requires that any of the exhibiting stretch marks and damages be removed. Clean and dry the existing pavement before applying a tack coat that will glue the new & old material together. Then install new compacted layers.

How much does it cost to repair a parking lot?

The cost of the total parking lot repair job will depend on the size of the parking lot, how much damage, and how extensive the damage is. The average cost of asphalt parking lot repair can start around $1,000 and up to $4,000. Pothole repairs can cost up to $4 per square foot and small crack repairs up to $3 per linear foot.

How do you resurface an asphalt parking lot?

To the unknowing, it can be confusing the terms used in asphalt parking lot repair and care. There are three primary types of treatment, each having a distinct purpose: 

  • Resurfacing

Resurfacing is when a new asphalt layer is installed over the old one. 

  • Replacing 

Replacing an asphalt parking lot is when the complete surface is destroyed and removed to the dirt the new asphalt material is installed. 

  • Resealing

To reseal a parking lot, the process is done to repair cracks and small holes then a protective coating is installed over the asphalt. This should be done as part of parking lot maintenance on a routine schedule.   

empty parking lot against a city skyline at night

Topping Things Off

As any business or property owner should know, the question “Is parking lot repair taxable?”, and the answer is yes. Real property services like parking lot repair or maintenance are taxable services. Also taxable are any real property services like installation, unless the item is going to become a part of the real property, then the services rendered are considered a capital improvement. 

So your parking lot needs repairs? Finding parking lot repair companies is easy with an internet search of “parking lot repairs” or asking other property owners with parking lots. You can also reach out to us if you are in the area to get the help you need.