Asphalt parking lots are often ignored, but they require as much care and attention as other hard surfaces. Although they don’t need a lot of maintenance, some basic steps can be taken to keep your parking lot in good shape.
Owners should know they have little control over parking lot use. Parking and parking garage owners are not required to maintain their parking lots even though they are usually obligated to make them accessible to disabled people.
These tips are for owners and those who maintain their parking lots. Although not all tips apply to every type of asphalt, these tips will help you with most situations.
1. Regularly check your parking lot for safety concerns and correct any problems you find, so they do not become serious later. Examples would be broken boards in the walkways, signs out of place, spot locations used by car thieves, ruts in the footpath, etc. The first step in any problem-repair process is often to find the problem.
2. Check for a good blend of sand and gravel. The percentage of sand in the gravel should not exceed 60%. Therefore, no more than 10% of a parking lot’s soil can be made of material other than a crushed stone without making it too slippery. The gravel should be large enough not to get into vehicles’ brakes and interfere with their function.
3. Avoid over-compacting or compacting too much. This will cause cracks; worse yet, the asphalt surface may crack on sunny days, and you may find that water will seep through where it shouldn’t. This often grows into a major problem.
4. Check the condition of the asphalt. Is it dry and hard? Is it sticky or loose? On other parking surfaces, these conditions would be fine, but not on the asphalt, where they can lead to problems later. It is recommended that owners start the winter season by doing pre-winter preventative maintenance, which should include some de-icer or sprinkler system or use sand in the walkways so that when snow falls on them, it will not melt too fast and cause drainage problems.
5. Be sure to use good quality asphalt, which should be designed for parking lots. Having the right mix of materials will make your life easier in the long run and can prevent costly repairs if you don’t do it right now. Top surface treatments usually wear out faster than under-surface treatments, so be ready to repair them when they wear out.
6. Regularly have grass areas chemically treated to prevent weeds from growing and to help keep the grass healthy. Many feel that an asphalted area looks better without grass or uncontrolled growth of vegetation. Of course, this is a matter of personal taste, but weeds are not good for any parking lot.
7. Keep an eye out for moss and other vegetation that can grow on patches of infield soil between driveways, ramps, and sometimes in isolated parking spaces. It may be necessary to treat this vegetation with a small amount of herbicide that is professionally recommended for use on large areas such as driveways and roads.
Take care of any problems or potential problems with the regular and careful maintenance of your asphalt parking lot. This will keep the problems from becoming major and keep your investment in good shape.