When you have a new asphalt road or parking lot installed, you can expect it to have a lifespan of 15-25 years. There is a pretty big difference between 15 and 25 years as far as the value of your investment, so what can you do to extend the life of your asphalt? One important step is asphalt preventative maintenance. Once your asphalt has been installed, you should have it sealed after 6-12 months. Then, you should have it resealed about every 2 years to reduce oxidation of the surface. You should regularly evaluate it for cracks and potholes and get it repaired as needed to reduce the amount of water that seeps into its structure and base.
No matter how well you care for your asphalt, you will eventually need road resurfacing. During resurfacing, a new layer of asphalt will be overlaid on your existing road or parking lot. This new layer will be 1.5 to 2 inches thick. Road resurfacing is needed when the asphalt base (called the subgrade) is still stable and sound but the surface is oxidized. Road resurfacing can give your asphalt 8-15 years of use with proper maintenance and can be cheaper than road reconstruction.
Once your road has degraded too far, road resurfacing may not be a good option. If your road or parking lot has a lot of alligator cracks and the subgrade is not stable, it is time to think about reconstruction. This is basically rebuilding the road from the ground up. It is much more expensive and time consuming than road resurfacing.