There are plenty of reasons to keep your parking areas well-maintained. First, you don’t want anyone’s car damaged if they use your lot. And second, the parking lot is often the first part of the business that a client experiences. A well-maintained parking lot reinforces the ideas of professionalism and quality. And third, well-kept asphalt degrades far slower and requires less expensive repair.
The level of use your lot receives complicates the maintenance of your asphalt. Places like grocery stores and restaurants have it easier, because they can do maintenance during closing hours. However, the case is not the same for airports, hospitals, and places that are used constantly—every day of the year.
The Basics of Parking Lot Maintenance
Immediately after building your parking lot, start a maintenance routine
Keeping your lot maintained helps it in many ways. It saves money by being safer. A safe lot won’t have liability issues of customers injuring themselves or damaging their vehicles. It improves customer opinion of your business; a degraded and poorly maintained lot will give customers a negative impression before they even enter the building. And finally, a well-maintained lot won’t get seriously damaged as quickly, so you won’t have to fork over more money for serious repairs later on.
When your asphalt is installed, have it sealcoated 3-6 months later. A good plan for future parking lot maintenance is crack-filling and sealcoating every 3-5 years. You will want the lot treated more often depending on usage and weather conditions in your area.
Here is a good routine maintenance plan from Washington State University.
Practice frequent visual inspections
An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Set up a routine schedule for taking a look at your parking lot. Small problems like cracks, oil/gasoline stains, and standing water can be identified early that way. Cracks can be filled, chemicals removed, and drains cleaned in order to prevent much bigger future problems.
Keep it clean
Dirt and debris can cause few serious problems. They can damage cars and then asphalt when cars drive over them. Debris and garbage can be dangerous to people using the parking lot—broken glass, rusty metal, etc. can severely injure people. Dirt and debris can also block drains, causing damage and water build-up.
Remove oil and gasoline immediately
These chemicals cause serious damage, so the sooner you deal with them, the better. Solvents like gasoline break down the binder that glues the asphalt together. The binder is the most expensive part of asphalt, and the hardest to repair. If you keep it in good condition, your pavement will last much longer.
Simply put: small cracks can lead to big ones. If you deal with the small cracks immediately, you solve two problems. Sealing small cracks prevents them from radiating out and creating more cracks (and, eventually, potholes). Sealing the small cracks also prevents water from getting in them and turning them into big cracks.
Clean out drains
Cleaning the drains around your parking lot helps get water out of there. Water is the main force of degradation and erosion in parking lots, and in nature. Even if you don’t live in a place with freezing temperatures, water can cause serious damage. Small amounts of water get into cracks, and then expands when the temperature drops. In a place that freezes, this can cause huge cracks to form overnight. In arid climates, where the temperature changes a lot according to time of day, this causes a huge amount of wear and tear on your lot.
Reroute traffic after maintenance
In order to ensure that your repairs can set, make sure to block of the area that was just worked on. This can be as easy as setting up some orange cones, or even blocking off a whole section of a parking lot.
If you want an in-depth manual for parking lot maintenance, look here.
How to Perform Maintenance on Parking Lots that are Used Heavily
The rules change quite a bit when your lot needs to be used 24/7/365. However, a few guidelines can significantly help you maintain a constantly used parking lot.
Routine visual inspections are more important
Because you won’t be able to shut the whole lot down, inspection is of utmost importance. Having one or several people inspect the lot doesn’t cut down on parking space or business, and it helps find problems faster.
Fix small problems first
Fixing small cracks, cleaning, and removing gas/oil drippings goes a long way to preventing expensive and time-consuming repairs. A simple filling and sealing of a small crack means you don’t have to do a deep pavement repair. Smaller repairs can take days and hours, while larger repairs will take days and/or months. Fixing the surface is far easier than the foundation. Cleaning junk off a blacktop’s surface is easier than pulling it out of drains.
Build more space than you need
When you first build your lot, make sure to build more parking space than you think you will need. You build more space so that you can alternate which spaces are used according to repairs and maintenance. If you have twice as much parking space as your business can accommodate, you can shut down half of your lot for repairs and still do 100% business. Having more space to work with also makes it easier to do routine work like cleaning and inspection.
Routine is important
Sticking with a maintenance routine is key. On top of reacting to damage as it appears, regular maintenance will help prevent non-visible damage. Things like sealcoating and cleaning help increase the pavement’s lifespan and prevents deeper damage later on.
Ready to Start Working on your Parking Lot?
Get in touch with Reliable Paving. Reliable paving is the Texas paving contractor that provides high-quality, professional service at affordable prices. Our services include asphalt paving, maintenance, repairs, striping, sealcoating, and much more. Whether you want your customers to have a good impression of your business from the moment they park, or you just want to repair your parking lot, Reliable Paving is the option for you.