5 Tips for a Better Asphalt Parking Lot

Your parking lot is an extension of your business, so investing in regular asphalt lot care is also an investment in your company’s success. Plan for regular maintenance so you can keep your lot in great condition. Here are five tips to maintain your parking lot.

1. Sealcoat Regularly
Normal use combined with weathering puts the stress on an asphalt parking lot. A regular sealcoating schedule that includes minor crack filling can help mitigate problems. A sealcoat consists of emulsifiers, tar, and other additives. A fresh coat re-blackens the asphalt and camouflages any minor repairs. Even more importantly, it creates a seal against weathering, stains, and damage.
The initial sealcoat is typically applied within 6 to 12 months of the lot’s installation. Future applications should occur every two to three years or as recommended by your asphalt professional. If you wait too long between sealcoat applications, major damage can occur. Major damage can’t be repaired by sealcoating; you will either need to resurface the lot or have it entirely repaved.

2. Repair Minor Damage
Catching minor damage early can prevent big problems later. Most potholes begin as tiny little cracks or divots in the asphalt. Chances are your lot will experience at least some of this minor damage, no matter how careful you are to keep up with sealcoating and routine maintenance.
Plan to have cracks filled at least once a year or more often if you notice damage occurring. Spring is a good time for crack filling since winter is the prime time for damage and pothole formation. Your asphalt company can patch small cracks or fill in larger cracks or developing potholes.

3. Monitor Your Landscaping
Your landscaping could cause problems with your parking lot. Large trees growing in lot islands or along the verge of the lot are a common issue. As the tree roots spread, they can lift asphalt in the lot. The installation of root barriers around the trees or opting for shrubs with less extensive root systems both provide options to avoid the problem.
Another issue is with falling leaves and other plant debris. Piles of leaves trap moisture against the asphalt, which can freeze and expand in winter. If the water gets into small pores in the asphalt, the expansion can result in cracks and pothole formation. Keep debris off the lot to prevent the issue.

4. Set a Cleaning Schedule
There are many reasons to clean your lot, but oil drips are a major reason to set a cleaning schedule. The problem with oil leaks are twofold: oil itself can erode the asphalt, and many cleaning solvents will also damage asphalt.
You have little to no control over whether visitors to your parking lot have oil or fluid leaks, so it’s better to simply assume that leaks will be an issue in the parking lot. A regular cleaning schedule with a service that uses the proper detergents for oil and fluid removal solves the problem.
How often you clean the lot must be determined on an individual basis. If your lot isn’t prone to heavy use or heavy staining, you may be able to clean it as little as twice annually. On the other hand, if your lot is heavily used or if you notice lots of staining, then monthly cleaning may be a better solution.

5. Maintain Lines and Signage
Lines and signage may not extend the life of your parking lot, but they will improve the lot’s appearance and make it safer for your employees and customers. How often you have your lot striped depends on how quickly the lines fade due to weathering and lot use.
For many lots, the best time to have the lot lines and signs repainted is following the sealcoat application every two or three years. If your lines fade quickly, though, you may want to consider re-striping every spring after having winter damage repaired.