When to Mill and Overlay a Parking Lot

If you own or manage a parking lot or other parking structure – it’s up to you to maintain it. A good parking lot is free of giant cracks, is well marked, and gives the lot’s visitors a smooth, drivable surface. Unfortunately, even if you do your best to maintain your asphalt parking lot it will eventually wear out and need to be repaired or replaced.

When it’s time to resurface or repave your lot, property managers have a few options but mill and overlay is one of the most cost-effective ways to revamp your asphalt. Let’s learn when to mill and overlay a parking lot including what a mill and overlay is and why mill and overlay is one of the smartest repaving options.

When to Mill and Overlay a Parking Lot

What is a Mill and Overlay?

The mill and overlay consist of milling one to two inches of previous asphalt and overlaying fresh asphalt on top of the milled surface.

Milling a Parking Lot

Milling is achieved through mechanical means, namely an asphalt milling machine. Asphalt milling machines are designed to grind up one to two inches of old asphalt to prep the surface for an overlay. Milling machines vary from smaller machines meant for personal driveways to large-scale milling monsters that can chew up a 10-acre parking lot in no time.

Overlaying a Parking Lot

Overlaying is the process of coating the lot in a fresh layer of hot asphalt. A milled surface makes for an excellent base surface to keep your new asphalt looking great for years.

When to Mill and Overlay

When your lot has reached the end of its serviceable life, it’s time for a mill and overlay. If your lot is showing any of the following signs it’s time to talk to a professional about mill and overlay:

  • Faded, gray surface

  • Riddled with potholes and gouges

  • Numerous and large cracks

  • Drainage issues

  • Missing pieces of asphalt

  • Numerous ‘spiderweb’ formations

Why Not Just Overlay?

There’s a lot more work and equipment involved in a mill and overlay compared to a direct overlay, so why wouldn’t you simply pour fresh asphalt over your old? For many reasons:

  • Building Code and Curbs – Curbs aren’t only there for decoration, they help partition the sidewalk from lot, help direct rain runoff, and must meet certain heights to match local building code. If you overlay over your existing lot, you decrease curb height which could cause code issues in your lot.

  • Disrupting the Flow – If your lot was poured correctly it’s designed to move storm water and other debris away from main areas into runoff areas. If you overlay your parking lot without milling, you can disrupt the natural draining process of your lot and no lot visitor likes to navigate floods and puddles.

  • Bad Base – You can only see the top layer of asphalt, but all the other hidden layers protect the asphalt’s integrity. If these hidden layers are old and filled with cracks, they won’t serve as a particularly good base. Milling provides an even, prepared base for fresh asphalt to live on. Without a solid base your new asphalt is likely to suffer from surface cracks and premature aging.

  • ADA Compliance – The American with Disabilities Act (ADA) dictates curb heights, ramp heights, and other factors that are calculated and followed during the initial asphalt installation. An overlay can compromise ADA access and could result in a fine and poor access for any differently abled customers.

Benefits of Mill and Overlay for Property Owners

  • Affordable – Mill and overlay is much more affordable than a total replacement with a serviceable life almost as close. If the base of your asphalt is in good condition, you only need an affordable mill and overlay.

  • Practical – While a mill and overlay won’t provide the same warranty as a brand-new lot, it cost much less than pulling up the entire lot and starting from scratch. Most lot owners only need to do a full replacement if there are severe drainage issues or if the base has become compromised.

  • Longevity – A mill and overlay will last much longer than an overlay alone. You can expect a mill and overlay lot to last anywhere from 10 to 15 years with regular maintenance.

  • Convenient – Bulldozing out fresh dirt, carefully designing and shaping a lot, and pouring all new materials is a labor and time drain – but a mill and overlay is much quicker. Most mill and overlay companies can have your lot milled, overlaid, and ready for traffic in as little as 1-2 days.

  • Looks Great – Your asphalt parking lot is the first impression of your property. With a mill and overlay your lot’s visitors can enjoy a beautiful new blacktop.

Hiring a Mill and Overlay Contractor Today

Don’t wait while your parking lot ages into crumbles or damages someone’s vehicle, schedule a contractor to look at your lot today. Colorado Pavement Solutions can examine your lot and give you a quote free of charge. With a fresh mill and overlay you’ll have a beautiful parking lot that looks great and takes care of all visitors.

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