Resurfacing Concrete Parking Lot

Ideally, when you use concrete as the paving material for your parking lot, you expect it to be robust and durable. Your home’s concrete parking lot would last for a lifetime. However, it may start to look bad for all that wear after periods of exposure to vehicle traffic and the elements, shortening its longevity and leading to hideous cracking, settlement, de-coloration, or scaling.

The first and most critical step is to find out what caused the damage before beginning the project of resurfacing a concrete parking lot and then decide the best repair method to fix the problem.

What are the typical causes of concrete parking lot distress or damages?

Causes of distress or degradation in a parking lot include but are not limited to, the following:

  • A wrongly compacted subgrade
  • Using an inadequate concrete mix
  • Exposure to extreme weather conditions
  • Bad placement processes

The key reason many homeowners and business owners use concrete for their parking lot is that it is recognized for its resilience, flexibility, and durability, in addition to being economical. You can customize concrete to obtain the appearance you want and still count on that look to last for years.

Instead of just excavating the concrete and beginning over, you can always save some money by resurfacing your parking lot; so far, the concrete is sound structural.

An old concrete parking lot with faded arrow guide

What is a concrete parking lot resurfacing, and is it good for your next repair project?

Resurfacing, also referred to as overlaying, is the substitution of the top layer of concrete with a new one on top of the existing one, normally 1.5-2 inches in diameter. It’s suitable for every house, as it helps prolong the life of your parking lot for yet another 8 to 15 years if done correctly.

You likely wind up with a jet-black, sparkling parking lot, and your wallet is still left untouched. If your parking lot has wider holes or cracks in a tiny area, you might be able to repair it yourself. 

Suppose you are not sure of your parking lot’s structural strength. In that case, you can get an expert concrete contractor near you to determine your concrete condition and make recommendations on whether resurfacing your concrete parking lot or installing a new one would be perfect at that point in time.

Pros and cons of resurfacing a concrete parking lot vs. replacing it

If your parking lot has stayed for a long time, you could find signs of aging on it, including cracks and potholes. When your parking lot is in poor shape, you might be asking if you should do some moderate resurfacing or have the whole lot replaced. The fact is, everything depends on how serious the damage is, the material (concrete or asphalt), the time of year, and the budget. 

If your home or business’s parking lot displays aging signs, do not immediately presume that your only choice is concrete removal. For a justifiable reason, resurfacing is rapidly creeping into the mainstream. 

There is no point in paying for a completely new parking lot when you can resurface it for a lower price. In some instances, concrete resurfacing could be the optimal solution over concrete replacement. 

There are many reasons why resurfacing your concrete parking lot is a perfect alternative to fully replacing it. If you are considering concrete resurfacing vs. replacement for your parking lot, below are some of the advantages and drawbacks that will help you make an informed decision:

A restaurant with asphalt parking lot


The advantage of parking lot resurfacing include:

It requires lower cost, minimal time, and effort.

Tiny cracks and depressions will not grow into more decay that will require more money to fix if resurfacing is performed at the correct time. One of the key factors motivating resurfacing concrete rather than repairing it is the financial benefit. This means that resurfacing a concrete parking lot would help to save both money and time. Resurfacing your home’s concrete surface is far more economical than replacing the whole thing.

Furthermore, fewer materials, workforce, and machinery are required for concrete resurfacing, leading to lower upfront costs. Although this is undoubtedly appealing to homeowners wanting to save money, it is essential for property owners, including apartment complexes, because concrete surfaces in apartments can grow wear and tear quite easily as they are exposed to the movement of many individuals.

It extends the parking lot’s life.

Resurfacing is integral to the practice of maintaining every parking lot. Ideally, concrete parking lots are projected to last around 30 years; however, adequate resurfacing would lead to its prolonged working life. If you ignore resurfacing your parking lot as it cracks, it will lead to more deterioration.

It restores your concrete surface.

A commonly held belief is that concrete resurfacing would not make the parking area look good as fresh concrete would be, and residents will not notice the difference. In truth, if you resurface your concrete parking lot, it would look as good and fresh as a replaced concrete surface. In a real sense, resurfacing your concrete parking lot is a perfect time to add a decorative touch that will make it sparkle like a brand new one.

Don’t let anyone fool you by claiming that resurfacing your concrete parking lot will not make it look great except if it is replaced; the truth is that by resurfacing your concrete, you are indeed bringing new life into it. The improvement will be visible for years to come.

It can be performed without inconveniences.

If you are an apartment complex owner, you will find it a big deal to replace your concrete surfaces because it will require inconveniencing your tenants. When replacing concrete, you would need to dismantle it first, which can take up to two days, meaning you may have to ask your tenant to park somewhere for the night or restrict their movement to a specific space for a significant period.

The process of resurfacing concrete is much accelerated, as you do not have to take out the entire concrete nor pour a huge volume of fresh material that would then require curing. And by resurfacing, you are more conscientious to your tenants.


Irrespective of the many benefits of concrete resurfacing, there are, however, a few drawbacks as well, including:

  • It can not address cracked crumbling concrete
  • It can only be performed on Plain Concrete Surfaces

It can not address cracked crumbling concrete.

If your parking lot is concrete, you will need to patch and fill the cracks before resurfacing. Resurfacing is not recommended if the concrete surface starts to crumble. The surface may not support the new concrete’s weight, which may trigger even further crumbling. 

It can only be performed on Plain Concrete Surfaces.

The other drawback of resurfacing concrete parking lots is that it can normally be performed only on bare concrete surfaces. If the concrete surface has been epoxy-sealed, colored, engraved, stained with acid, or stamped, concrete resurfacing will not stick correctly to the existing surface.

A concrete parking lot with numbers guide

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When is it time to resurface your concrete parking lot?

Concrete parking lots are standard in different neighborhoods because they provide unsurpassed durability. While it’s built to last, some factors, such as elements and heavy foot traffic, could still trigger it to wear-and-tear. Once you observe crumbling edges, cracks, sunken places, or dull colors on your parking lot, it asks for resurfacing.

If your parking lot begins to experience more than just a few cracks or holes, or the cracks and gaps are broader, then the time for resurfacing has fully come for it. Furthermore, if you consider patching but fear that soon, more tiny holes or cracks will develop, you will gain more by resurfacing it.

Resurfacing is better suited for patching up small holes and shallow cracks. It can be a more cost-effective alternative if you want to introduce a new layer of texture to your parking lot’s surfaces, making it an excellent option for restoring a parking lot’s shine and look.

How are concrete parking lots resurfaced? 

If you are considering resurfacing a concrete parking lot for your next project and you are contemplating between using concrete or asphalt, keep reading to learn how straightforward it can be to offer your parking lot a new life:

Resurfacing with concrete

Six steps are involved in concrete resurfacing:

  • STEP 1: Clean your concrete parking lot and patch as needed.

Prime the existing concrete surface for the renewing layer to stick to it properly. Start by removing soil, flaking concrete, and oil. After cleaning the parking lot, check it for deeply worn away areas or large cracks, making sure to fix any with patching material. 

Finally, water the parking lot down to the point of saturation, then remove standing water using a broom.

Use a 1/2 -drill, 5-gallon bucket, and paddle mixer to mix the resurfacing compound. Note that you can not use concrete barrel-type mixers and hand mixing for this application.

  • STEP 3: Measure and pour 3-1/2 quarts of cool/clean water into a 5-gallon bucket. Pour the concrete resurfacer into the mixing water and mix extensively for about five minutes until a pourable lump-free consistency is accomplished. If the mixture is too thick, add water infrequently to achieve syrup consistency; if the mixture is too thin, you can add more powder to it.
  • STEP 4: Pour the resurfacing material onto the concrete parking lot in one-foot broad strips, and use a long-handled squeegee to scrape the substance into the concrete surface.
  • STEP 5: Spread the resurfacing compound back and forth uniformly on the slab and use a concrete broom to add a non-slip polish after around five minutes.
  • STEP 6: Moist cure at temperatures above 90° with a fine water mist for 24 to 48 hours. After about 6 hours of curing, it can withstand foot traffic while supporting vehicle traffic after about 24 hours.
A workers resurfacing the concrete parking lot with asphalt

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Resurfacing concrete parking lot with asphalt

Below are the six steps involved in asphalt resurfacing:

  • STEP 1: Prepare the surface

Before starting the concrete resurfacing project, you need to clean the parking lot, ensuring it is blank. Ensure you demolish or replace any concrete speed bumps and address every other structure that may stand as an obstacle.

  • STEP 2: Asphalt milling

Remove the asphalt’s top layer surface to generate space for fresh material. In some cases, this step is also done before the actual parking lot resurfacing. This step can take up to a day; hence, you need to inform everyone using the parking lots and prohibit parking until the project is completed.

  • STEP 3: Fix any pavement issue

Once you remove the asphalt’s top layer, you may have to fix the underneath pavement or perform additional milling to level out any rough areas, making the surface uniform. You may apply crack filler to address any tiny repairs. Furthermore, use a trowel to fill and smooth out small cracks.

  • STEP 4: Asphalt resurfacing

This step requires using a squeegee, leaf blower, and heavy machinery and is done in multiple layers. The first added layer is adhesive, and it is termed the tack coat. The tack coat is aiding the asphalt binding to the underneath layer. Next, use a roller truck and paver to lay a layer of asphalt. 

  • STEP 5: Curing

The concrete parking lot resurfacing  project needs to cure properly for some time before you go on to the next step. This will offer a shiny and new look to the top layer of your new asphalt surface.

To protect the surface from the elements, you may need to apply a seal coat at this point to preserve your investment. After applying the seal coat, allow it to dry. You can now repaint your parking lots with lines for traffic patterns, parking spaces, etc.

The cost of resurfacing a concrete parking lot

Several factors can affect the cost of resurfacing your parking lot. Among all, location is always the main factor. For instance, materials used by contracting companies and labor costs vary per location. Also, the type of soil in an area can impact the price. 

With that said, the estimated cost of resurfacing with concrete is $400 for a 100 square feet surface; less costly and more expensive projects can run as low as $300 and $500, respectively. The price may vary between $3 and $5 per square foot.

While the cost of resurfacing with asphalt can range between $1,800 and $4,200, or $3,000 on average. This rate is split into $3 to $7 per square foot for the standard 600 square feet area.

A comparison of asphalt and concrete parking lot

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Difference between concrete resurfacing and concrete replacement

If you are considering resurfacing a concrete parking lot or replacing it for your next repair project, it is good to know the difference to make the right decision.

Concrete Resurfacing:

  • It includes applying a thin mortar overlay over the old concrete slab
  • It helps restore the surface; however, large cracks, significant breakage, or pitting are not fixed
  • It can be finished in a few hours,
  • Usually, half the cost of replacing concrete 
  • Offer additional layer, reducing wear and tear

Concrete Replacement:

  • Removing and replacing damaged slabs with new ones
  • offer a more permanent solution for high-traffic surfaces
  • The project can run for two days
  • Cost more than resurfacing
  • Eliminates the possibility of regular concrete repair


If your parking lot is due for repair, it would be best for you to evaluate the pros and cons of resurfacing and replacement before deciding which one to opt for. For the best recommendation, you can call in a concrete paving contractor to find the cause of the deterioration in order to decide whether concrete replacement or resurfacing would be a better choice for your property.