What are some useful winter parking lot maintenance tips?
The winter weather can be very harsh on asphalt parking lots and concrete pavement. Severe weather and temperature changes can quickly damage pavement, often necessitating expensive surface repairs.
A few timely winter parking lot maintenance steps can minimize or even prevent some of the damage.
Begin with an Inspection
You should inspect the parking lot well in advance to catch any issues early. This way, you can prevent small issues from becoming major problems.
More importantly, if you find any issues, like cracks and potholes, address them immediately – no matter the severity. Don’t ignore repairs just because it’s a hairline crack. Those small cracks grow in size very quickly during the cold weather. Moreover, all cracks can allow water to seep into the subbase of asphalt. Water is arguably the biggest challenge in parking lot maintenance. It causes cracks to grow, potholes to develop, and may even necessitate complete pavement replacement.
The best time for winter parking lot inspection is early autumn. Don’t wait until it’s late in November to carry out the inspection, as this leaves you with virtually no time to make the necessary repairs. You want to make most repairs during the warm weather when asphalt and concrete surfaces cure faster.
4 Other Winter Parking Lot Maintenance Tips
Even after making the necessary repairs, the cold weather may still spring a few surprises. Consider the following winter parking lot maintenance tips:
The type of patch will depend on the size and severity of the damage and even your location. If the lot is located in an area with mild winter weather, you can use hot-mix asphalt. In this case, quickly remove the damaged pavement (if it’s significant damage) and replace it. However, in areas with colder winter weather, temporary treatment with cold patch would suffice. The good news about cold patch is that it’s a pliable material that can be placed loosely in a pothole irrespective of prevailing temperatures.
Infrared technology is another popular asphalt repair technology in winter. The damaged asphalt is heated to 325 degrees for 5-10 minutes and raked to remove failed aggregate. Then, it’s sprayed with a rejuvenator to replace oils previously lost to oxidation. The material is then placed in potholes and compacted using vibratory plates. Although it’s also a semi-permanent solution, infrared treatment can last the entire winter season, effectively preventing damages from spreading. However, the area must be reevaluated in spring to determine whether a more permanent solution is necessary.
The extreme cold of the winter weather causes pavements to contract, often resulting in cracks. It can also widen existing cracks. Do not let your asphalt and concrete pavement cracks grow beyond one inch. Indeed, the best time to seal cracks is when they’re around ¼-inch wide. As soon as you notice any gaps on the surface, erect signage or a barricade around the affected area to avert safety incidents. Then, call the asphalt repair technician to diagnose the issue and apply a sealant as necessary.
Sealcoating for Winter Parking Lot Maintenance
Finally, you should also consider applying a new sealcoat during winter to prevent further asphalt damage and keep the parking lot shiny despite the cold weather. However, this should only be considered if the weather permits. Local temperatures must be at least 55 degrees during and for eight or more hours after the new seal coat is applied. Where it’s done successfully, the fresh seal coat can be instrumental in preventing pavement oxidation (fading). It also slows down water penetration and makes snow removal easier.
Contact ACPLM for More Winter Parking Lot Maintenance Tips
ACPLM is the preferred concrete and asphalt paving contractor in Florida. We specialize in parking lot striping, parking lot signage, and general concrete and asphalt repair. Contact us today for parking lot maintenance in Tampa and to schedule a no-cost consultation.