Preparing Your Parking Lot for Winter
Winter is the hardest season for your asphalt parking lot. As the temperature bounces above and below freezing, new cracks begin to appear. Meanwhile, existing cracks get bigger as water freezes, expands and then melts. That same water can work it’s way below the asphalt and undermine the integrity of your parking lot’s subsurface.
Snow and ice melting chemicals can accelerate some of this wear, along with the blades of the snowplows that hit cracks or potholes as they clear your lot. Standing water can freeze and amplify the damage. And the combination of all these factors with regular traffic can cause potholes.
The result? A parking lot whose cracked and uneven surface and standing ice not only look uninviting and are hard on vehicles, but can actually be hazardous for your employees or customers. So here are a few tips to guard against winter wear.
As we mentioned, cracks are your parking lot’s worst enemy in the winter, giving water more opportunities to get in, freeze and do damage. If your lot only has the normal minor cracks that occur naturally as asphalt ages and degrades, sealcoating may do the trick.
Sealcoating creates a layer of protection on top of your asphalt that blocks water, oils and UV damage from the sun. Applied correctly, it results in a slip resistant surface with an appealing deep black finish. Regular sealcoating can more than double the life of your asphalt.
For sealcoating to be most effective, it should be applied when the weather is dry and temperatures are at least 50 degrees and rising for at least 24 hours. Once applied, it should cure for 24 hours before allowing vehicles back on your lot.
Potholes will only get bigger in the winter months. One approach to minimize this is to invest in cold-mix asphalt to repair those potholes so they don’t create a trip-and-fall hazard, create wear and tear on vehicles or cause additional structural damage to your parking lot’s surface through the winter.
While most asphalts mixes require relatively warm temperatures to set correctly, you may not have the luxury of waiting until summer, especially if your lot has large fissures or significant potholes. As the name suggests, cold-mix asphalt doesn’t require heating to become flexible, so it can be used in cold weather to repair cracks and potholes immediately and keep them from getting bigger.
Get Rid of Snow
It sounds simple: just hire someone to plow your lot when snow arrives. And you should have snow removed as soon as possible, before it can do any damage. But all snowplow drivers are not created equal. An inexperienced or careless driver can scrape the surface of your lot, making existing cracks and potholes larger and creating new ones.
Choose a professional snow removal company that knows to set the plow blade high enough to avoid damaging the surface of your lot. You might want to set up markers along curbs and islands so that your snow plow driver can see them even with significant snowfall.
Keeping your parking lot clear of ice protects your employees, your customers — and your parking lot. So it makes sense to choose the right chemicals for the job, and to stock up before snow hits.
Remember that the same chemicals that melt ice can damage asphalt, not to mention landscaping. An asphalt repair specialist can suggest the best ice-melt treatment for your lot. In general, avoid those that contain ammonium, which is known to break down asphalt. Ice melts composed primarily of calcium are just as effective, and are much better for your parking lot.
Your parking lot’s drainage system is designed to make sure that water doesn’t pool on the surface of your asphalt. Since snow can melt and refreeze during the winter, be sure your drainage system is in good shape and ready to handle runoff.
Standing ice is not only a danger to your employees and customers, it’s constantly degrading the asphalt surface beneath. That same ice can also enlarge cracks and potholes, eventually allowing water to reach the subsurface of your lot where it can cause real damage. Ensuring that your drains are clear and working can help you avoid the kinds of costly problems standing ice can create.
Sadly, some people will treat your parking lot like a trash receptacle. This is always an unsightly nuisance, but in the winter, it can become more. Parking lot debris that gets concealed by snow can be pushed along by a snow plow and ground into the surface of your asphalt. Even in cold weather, it pays to keep your parking lot free of trash and debris.
Contact Libs Paving Company
At Libs Paving, we not only provide Southern Indiana and the Metro Louisville areas with first class asphalt paving services, but we produce our own asphalt and are asphalt suppliers too. At Asphalt Supply Company (ASCO), the sister company to Libs Paving, we can control exactly what goes into our materials and what stays out. Make Sure You Know What Asphalt Is Being Used on Your Property! If you are interested in learning more about asphalt or would like to set up an FREE initial consultation, reach out to the experts at Libs Paving Company today!