As the manager or owner of a commercial property in the Midwest, you have the responsibility to address the various preventative maintenance issues that ensure the property’s overall curb appeal and safety. Your parking lot is an area that gets continuous use by employees, vendors, and customers. Combined with the harsh elements, this can lead to wear and tear on the surfaces.
Without preventative maintenance, the wear and tear on your parking lot’s asphalt will produce an unsightly and uncomfortable mess for everyone who has to use the space. This can impact your company’s reputation. It can also create a safety hazard, which could lead to costly insurance claims if people are hurt, and the property gets damaged.
Short of replacing your parking lot every few years, there are several steps you can take to preventatively maintain this area, keeping it safe and in pristine condition. Here is what you need to know about your parking lot’s materials and some tips for preventative parking lot maintenance.
Parking Lot Materials and How Long They Last
About 90 percent of commercial parking lots are made using asphalt. Your asphalt parking lot is made from primarily two materials:
- Aggregates — This is crushed gravel, sand, and stone, which are the “hard” elements that make asphalt durable enough for vehicles to park and drive on.
- Bitumen — This is the dark-colored or black viscous material that binds the aggregates together. It is a petroleum byproduct used in commercial asphalt applications.
In general, an asphalt parking lot will last 20 years or more. Areas that are exposed to extreme temperatures and chemicals or get increased traffic can break down more rapidly. You can ensure that your parking lot stays in top shape and has a long useful life with regular maintenance.
Tips for Preventative Parking Lot Maintenance
Your parking lot is a visitor’s first impression of your business. It’s also where employees park, so it must be attractive and safe. Parking lots aren’t cheap to replace. If you want your parking lot to reach its maximum serviceable life, here are some tips for preventative parking lot maintenance you can add to your annual strategic plan.
1. Perform Routine Visual Inspections
You should walk your parking lot at least once per month to perform a thorough visual inspection. Record any problem areas, such as cracks in the asphalt. Eventually, those areas will break down the surface and make it brittle. If you aren’t sure what to look for in an inspection, you can have a professional provide this service.
2. Do Clean Sweeps
Regular cleaning of your parking lot’s surface can help retain its value. You can hire a professional to perform this service or have your staff do it on a schedule. The clean sweeps should include the removal of debris and leaves that make your premises look bad, create a safety hazard, and compromise the integrity of the surfaces.
3. Ensure Proper Drainage
The drainage system around your parking lot is essential because standing water on your lot can lead to lasting damage like potholes and cracks. Ensure you install and maintain a drainage system to avoid costly parking repairs and replacement in the future.
4. Fill Any Cracks
Cracks in your parking lot are going to appear at some point. Whether big or small, you should address them immediately because they mean that water is entering the surface and will compromise the underlying materials. Fill and seal the cracks quickly before they turn into a larger issue.
5. Repair Potholes
Potholes in asphalt form due to the contraction and expansion of underground water. If you don’t fill potholes quickly, they could spread and impact the surrounding area. As soon as you notice a pothole, you should contact an asphalt repair company to fix it immediately.
6. Consider Sealcoating
When the pavement begins to crack or crumble, it’s important to have it professionally sealcoated. In fact, this is a service you should have performed just a few months after the initial installation. One of the best things about sealcoating is that it will protect the surface from cracks, oxidation, and oil spills while also restoring the look of the lot.
7. Remove Oil and Gas Drippings
Materials that leak from vehicles parked on your lot can lead to substantial permanent damage. The chemicals in oil and gas can eat away at the materials that bond asphalt or concrete together, leading to deterioration. Remove these substances when you notice them.
8. Maintain Landscaping
Keeping and maintaining landscaping around your parking lot is vital to extending its lifespan. Installing curbing and islands throughout and around the surfaces can prevent the spread of dirt from causing erosion problems in the parking lot. Also, think about the type of trees that surround your parking lot. While large trees can provide shade for vehicles, their roots might grow outward and push through the asphalt, causing damage.
9. Restrict Access to Heavy Vehicles
If you want your parking lot to last a long time, you should think about restricting access to heavy vehicles. If they must drive on the surface, allow them to enter the parking lot for only a short period. You can also ask your employees to rotate their parking spots because they are likely to have vehicles that weigh differently.
10. Reroute Traffic
Another way to maintain the surface of your parking lot and extend its life is to reroute the traffic occasionally. You can redesign the traffic flow every few years and re-orient your traffic lanes and parking spaces. This should coincide with having your lines repainted. Rerouting will reduce the stress on heavily trafficked areas of your lot.
Get Help Proactively Maintaining Your Parking Lot
If you’re ready to protect your investment and reduce the risk of hazards, McConnell & Associates can help. MAC is a Midwest regional authority for asphalt maintenance and repair, patching, sealcoating, crack filling, concrete sealing and repair, and more.
At the first signs of wear or deterioration, give MAC a call. Our regular monitoring and pavement maintenance programs can help prevent costly repairs in the future. Contact us today for a free evaluation and to learn more about our services.