As a property owner or manager, maintaining a safe and well-maintained parking lot is crucial for the overall safety and convenience of your customers, visitors, and employees. Over time, parking lots can deteriorate due to heavy usage, weather elements, and general wear and tear. Identifying the telltale signs that indicate your parking lot needs repair or replacement can save you from potential accidents, liabilities, and costly damages down the road.
Signs your Parking Lot Needs Repair
It’s very easy to neglect parking lot maintenance until things go out of control. But it’s important to take proactive station to avoid much more harmful consequences in the future. Let’s take a look at some of the signs your parking lot needs replacement or repair.
Cracking is one of the most common issues to occur in the parking lot. Cracks may seem minor at first. However, the condition of your parking lot can deteriorate very easily with cracks. Some of the common types of cracks include:
- Block: Rectangular cracks that result in roughness and water seepage.
- Alligator: Interconnected cracks caused due to repeated traffic loading.
- Traverse: Formed in the direction of the traffic flow, these are longitudinal cracks.
- Raveling: Caused due to the disintegration between the asphalt binder and aggregate particles on the surface, it results in roughness and skid resistance problems.
- Rutting: Recognized as a slighted depression across the wheel paths.
The problem with cracks is that they can spread and multiply easily, resulting in more cracks. This can affect the overall outlook of the parking lot and result in an uneven surface, eventually making the driving path dangerous.
Experts in the field, like MD Paving Pros, suggest a crack-sealing method in which a hot sealant is applied to the working cracks to prevent water intrusion. The rubberized properties of the crack sealants help seal the crack without affecting the pavement’s movement.
The edges of the parking lot’s surface start to disintegrate because of poor installation practices, such as spreading the asphalt too thinly near the edges. An asphalt layer thinner than three inches or thicker than the eight inches granular fill layer beneath it can cause the edges to crack when the car drives over the pathway.
Sinking is also a potential problem that occurs when the base below the asphalt surface begins to erode. This can happen for various reasons, such as the water seeping and collecting in the parking lot when the weather is rough.
Accordingly, every parking lot needs to have gutters to ensure the water doesn’t collect in the parking lot, and these problems can be avoided.
Extensive rainfall or snowmelt can cause pooling and improper drainage in a parking lot. This condition demands urgent replacement, including installing functional catch basins and proper leveling. This is imperative to prevent water from collecting on the surface and the asphalt from worsening.
Wavy, Uneven Surface
An even surface of the parking lot indicates that either the base is weak or the pathway cannot handle the pressure from heavy-duty vehicles. It is always best to get an expert opinion on why the surface has started to look wavy.
Sometimes the asphalt pavement needs to be leveled in only affected areas. But in some cases, the base and the asphalt will also have to be completely replaced. Therefore, you must consult a professional if you find the parking lot wavy-looking.
Stains on the Pathway
It is also possible for industrial solvents and other chemicals to seep through the asphalt layers in the parking lot, eventually eroding the binding agents. This can be problematic in the long run because it can cause other issues, such as potholes. Seepage of oil, gas, and other pollutants is also concerning. In the winter, the freezing and expansion of these pollutants can cause even further damage. Accordingly, it is recommended to go for seal coating at least once every two years.
Loss of Original Color
The appearance of any parking lot will deteriorate eventually and won’t last forever. Over time, the pavement’s deep black color and silvery hue will fade away due to exposure to various environmental pollutants and sunshine. While this might only seem to be a cosmetic problem, combined with other issues, it can prove to be problematic. Hence, seal coating the parking lot is recommended at least every three years to maintain its overall look.
Potholes are among the most common signs that the parking lot needs repair. A pothole occurs when a crack has formed and has not been repaired yet. Leaving the crack unrepaired can cause it to expand and contract below the surface, eventually leading to material breakdown. The potholes can expand and deepen if left unrepaired over a long period, and the weather conditions are harsh.
Eventually, depending on the vehicle and its speed, a pothole can cause flat tires and subsequent damage to the car. In fact, attempts to avoid the pothole in the way can also result in accidental car collisions. Pedestrians can also find the potholes disturbing on their pathway.
The Concrete is very Old
A typical concrete base lasts anywhere from 15 to 20 years. So if your parking lot is over 20 years old, you must replace the concrete base. Leaving it unreplaced can cause all the problems above, making the parking lot extremely dangerous for vehicles and drivers.
It is always better to be cautious from the start instead of leaving the maintenance for the end when all the problems have piled up together.
Parking lots need regular maintenance and repair to avoid any hassle to the cars and drivers. The signs mentioned above can indicate when your parking lot urgently requires replacement or repair. So make sure to take proactive action when you notice that the parking lot might be deteriorating or it can result in further problems.