Winter Checklist

If you’re a commercial property owner or site manager, you’re probably getting your parking lot’s ready for winter. This could mean taking care of any potholes before they get larger or repaving an area that is currently holding water and could be unsafe for people to be walking on.

  •  Start with a site walk / visual assessment

Proper maintenance for your parking lot starts with visual assessment. Visual assessment of your blacktop should be routine with any other exterior inspections such as lighting, roofing, sidewalks, etc. Inspecting your parking lot four times a year, particularly during fall and spring, will ensure that you are able to repair minor potholes and other issues before they become larger problems. Even a small, damaged area that’s left unrepaired can become a big financial headache, so carefully inspect your parking lot every 3 to 4 months.

  • Repairing cracks

Cracks in your blacktop parking lots are not only unsightly, but they could also become dangerous. Depending on the damage, cracks can weaken your parking lot’s structural integrity, leading to further deterioration of your asphalt and potential accidents or injuries from formed potholes.

You’ll want to address cracks while they are still at hairline thickness. These can be easily repaired with a crack fill sealant. Your visual assessment should make note of damaged areas along your parking stalls and drive lanes. More impactful cracks, wider than ⅛ inch, will require a more labor-intensive effort. Large cracks will need to be cleaned out before they are filled and sealed.

  • Sealcoating your driveway

Sealcoating is an important process in maintaining the visual appearance of your asphalt.

As parking lots in seasonal temperatures can be subject to rain, snow, freeze and thaw cycles, and the blazing heat from the sun, sealcoating serves to slow down the deterioration process of your blacktop. This ensures your asphalt lasts a long-life cycle. At the minimum, sealcoating should be done every two to three years. If your parking lot experiences extreme stress such as heavy usage from high traffic or severe weather, you may be inclined to sealcoat your lot more frequently.

If you’ve just installed a new asphalt parking lot on your property, you should allow your driveway to completely cure before sealcoating it. Delaware Valley Paving recommends waiting six months.

  • Preventative maintenance

Changes in seasons can influence your blacktop. Whether it’s during summer months or the middle of the winter, understanding how your blacktop is affected by temperature and climate can direct your preventative maintenance plan to protect your investment.

The Delaware Valley Paving preventative maintenance plan starts with regular cleaning. Every two months, have your lot professionally swept and vacuumed to clean away surface debris (rocks, debris, garbage, etc.) damage your asphalt. This is also a good time to visually inspect the parking lot.

When possible, avoid using salt or other chemical-based de-icing agents as their highly corrosive nature can further damage your asphalt. Instead of rock salt, consider potassium chloride, a safe de-icing agent for your asphalt.

  • Eliminate standing water

Water and Asphalt are not friends.
Standing water is the residual effect of rainfall and snow. As one of the biggest offenders to the proper maintenance of your parking lot, standing water can be harmful to its lifespan.

Standing water, if left untouched, can quickly form cracks and potholes, greatly increasing the chance of further financial expenditure down the road.

Proper drainage is vital to the health of your parking lot. As part of the installation process, making sure there is positive drainage to the closest inlets will ensure your blacktop has a long lifespan.

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