Inspecting Your Parking Lot After Severe Weather

Severe weather is a fact of life. It happens all over the United States and pretty much everywhere else in the world. Some states get hurricanes, others get tornadoes, some get scorching heat, while others severe cold….some states get just about all of those things. Severe weather isn’t going away either, as our planet’s climate fluctuates, severe weather is on the upswing in most places as well. It seems every year, there is a new severe weather phenomenon. Polar vortexes over Canada and the Northern US, the Derecho that hit the Midwest last year (a kind of inland hurricane), and larger, more frequent wildfires in the West are all facts of life.

Anyone in the construction field needs to know how to deal with these things. Some contractors are making more resilient buildings. New construction methods are popping up that are resistant to extreme heat, cold, wind, and flooding. But what about paving contractors? What can we do to adapt to severe weather? Fortunately, there are plenty of ways to make asphalt paving tougher against the forces of nature. One of the best ways is frequent maintenance. Part of good, regular maintenance is parking lot inspection. Read on for our guide to parking lot inspection for the after effects of severe weather.

Severe storms

Inspecting your lot after heavy rain and wind is important. Removing debris and looking for areas where water gets in makes the lot safer and more inviting. After any severe storm you will want to do a full lot inspection.

Clear debris

Obviously removing foreign objects from your lot is important; it clears up space for commuters, helps make the area safer for cars and pedestrians, and makes your business look cleaner and more professional.

  • Clear out branches, sticks, and leaves on the pavement.
  • Get rid of standing water.
  • Be sure to clear out your drains so that future rain will be able to make it to the sewers and out of your lot.
  • Look for other hazards like fallen power poles, signs, and building parts that may have been knocked into your lot. Have a plan to safely removing them (often paving contractors or construction contractors can do this).

Look for other possible future damage points

  • Is there a dead tree with big branches that tend to break off and fall in your parking lot in heavy wind? It may be necessary to remove that tree altogether.
  • Look for areas where water has pooled. These areas will frequently be where water gets the chance to get into paving and cause further damage.
  • Examine cracks and potholes. These are the main areas of water ingress. Other fluids can also enter by these means.

Extreme cold

Cold is a major reason for asphalt damage, because water inside or under the asphalt expands when it gets colder, and it expands more when it freezes. Not only can ice do damage to your lot, it creates a huge safety hazard. Icy driving paths and walkways are a major threat in cold temperatures.

Check for/remove ice and snow

You may have noticed a theme: water on a parking lot is bad. This is true whether the water is in liquid or solid form.

  • Clear snow off of your lot immediately. It poses a hazard for various reasons. It makes it harder to see markings, it is slippery, and it can cover even more slippery ice. Finally, snow will eventually melt….and that meltwater will make its way into your paving and cause damage. Snow may also cover other debris which can injure people and damage cars.
  • Check for ice and remove it. You can do so by applying salt or other mixtures that will mix with water and lower its freezing temperature. Ice is a hazard for the same reason snow is, but it is worse. It’s harder to get traction, and it is harder to spot.
  • As always, look for cracks/potholes that may have been covered by the ice and snow. Without treatment, these will only get worse.

Look for large uneven parts of the paving

Unevenness that appears in the winter is known as frost heave, which occurs when water is in your lot and goes through the freeze-thaw cycle. It causes chunks of asphalt or concrete to lift and break. It can also be caused by tree roots, but if you notice it after freezing, then you have frost heave.

Extreme heat

Heat causes expansion in paving. This leads to cracks. These cracks may start out small, but untreated, they will get larger over time and eventually become unsightly and dangerous.

  • Look for worn/faded striping. UV rays can damage painting and even melt it away. This makes your lot harder to navigate and more dangerous. Bright and clear paint also makes your lot more attractive and professional looking. This can also be a sign of oxidation- when UV rays make the entire structure weaker over time.
  • Small networks of cracks/uneven surfaces. A lot may not change temperature at the same rate, causing one area to expand while another may not. This can exacerbate cracking and potholing.
  • Tracking is when little bits of the asphalt aggregate become loose from the lot. They will stick to tires and shoes. Tracking happens when extreme heat melts the binder enough that parts of the asphalt become loose.

How to handle damage after extreme weather

If you have noticed any of the above-mentioned problems in your parking lot, then you are in the right place. Shoot us a message at Reliable Paving, we will be happy to fix damage and clear debris, any time of year. Regardless of the weather conditions, holes and cracks should be addressed immediately. Fortunately our services include:

  • Re-striping/painting.
  • Asphalt repair and pothole filling.
  • Laying new asphalt.
  • Full-depth repair.
  • We also use both hot and cold mix, so we can pave regardless of the time of year.

Keep you parking lot safe and looking good year round with Reliable Paving.