Asphalt pavement is one of the most durable and resilient materials currently used in modern construction. It’s easy to place, maintain and recycle when its service lifespan has expired, helping to reduce manufacturing costs and greenhouse gas emissions associated with asphalt paving production. Asphalt surfaces are also very flexible relative to other paving materials, which is just one reason why asphalt parking lots have become so popular. But, like any other construction material, asphalt and concrete paving don’t last forever. A well-placed asphalt surface can last 10-20 years or more with proper pavement maintenance. As we move into the wetter, colder months, you’ll want to be on the lookout for these 7 signs your parking lot needs repair.
1. Look for cracking and crumbling edges.
You’re most likely to see these signs of asphalt deterioration around joints in the parking lot paving and the curb and gutter areas of industrial parking lots and asphalt driveways, although they can occur anywhere. When this happens, it could indicate that people are driving too close to the edge, the asphalt is not properly supported at the edges or the asphalt is beginning to age out of effective service. If not sealed or repaired, the cracks can spread throughout the entire surface. Crack sealing early can help extend the life and performance of the asphalt surfaces.
2. Potholes and sunken areas
These commonly occur when water seeps into cracks in the parking lot’s surface. Over time, the water undermines the subbase, causing the paving in that area to sag and crack. One key symptom of an incipient pothole is the presence of pooling water on the surface. If you notice this, a spot asphalt repair can help prevent larger and more costly problems later.
Alligator cracking, named for its distinctive appearance, is a sign of too much stress on the asphalt. If your asphalt surfaces look like the skin of an alligator, it can indicate the subbase was improperly prepared by the original paving contractor and/or the pavement is routinely subjected to heavier traffic than it was designed to withstand, such as parking large trucks on a residential driveway. When you see this, you need parking lot and driveway repair or replacement right away.
The binding agents in asphalt which give it its flexibility and strength don’t last forever. In fact, from the moment asphalt is laid, the sun, wind, water, weather, and oil and chemical leaks from vehicles begin to eat away at them. This is why asphalt’s color fades from black to gray and the aggregate begins to peek out of the surface. Depending on the size of the area and whether other signs of damage are present, asphalt seal coat, asphalt milling, and parking lot resurfacing may all need to be considered.
5. Improper drainage
Evidence of improper drainage can be an early sign asphalt repairs are needed. If water can’t drain off your parking lot or driveway it can damage the asphalt surfacing and cause larger problems later. Blocked storm drain inlets can lead to damage as well, so it’s important to inspect them regularly and make sure the runoff from your lot or driveway can go to where it’s intended.
Proper parking stall and line marking make your property look better and more user-friendly. It’s also a requirement of the Americans with Disabilities Act. In addition to directing traffic, striping often works as a sort of visual canary for indicating potential issues which might otherwise go unnoticed. If your parking lot’s striping is looking worn, difficult to read, or hard to understand, you need to take a closer look at the entire area for other potential issues.
If you can’t remember the last time you had any repairs or maintenance on your driveway or parking lot, it’s probably time. For best results, your asphalt surfaces should be seal coated at least every 4-5 years to help keep them looking their best and preventing chemicals, motor oil, and water from infiltrating the surface. If there are no major issues with the asphalt surfaces, minor crack sealing and spot repairs can also be made before sealing the surface again. It’s also a good opportunity to update your parking layout and striping to comply with ADA guidelines if they don’t already!
Keeping your asphalt paved surfaces in good repair isn’t just about making your property look and perform its best. Driveway or parking lot problems could also present ADA compliance issues with hefty associated fines and even open your company to workers’ compensation claims or civil lawsuits arising from injuries and vehicular damage. By making timely preventative asphalt repairs you can save time, money, and worry while presenting a more professional face for your business. At Calvac Paving, we know you have a choice of commercial asphalt and concrete paving contractors in the Bay Area, which is why we’re committed to delivering the finest in asphalt repair and driveway and parking lot construction. For your next parking lot repairs or to learn more about how Calvac can help you get the maximum life from your asphalt paving, click here to contact us.