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6 Activities That Are Damaging Your Parking Lot

Key Takeaways:

  1. Local paving contractors are ideal for pavement maintenance plans because they are very familiar with the project requirements and can anticipate the causes of parking lot damage.
  2. The environment plays a significant part in parking lot deterioration. Still, human factors like poor asphalt installation & compaction, coupled with skipped maintenance/repairs, are also to blame.
  3. Human activities like vehicle oil drips, trashing, and excessive use of deicers on unsealed pavement can also lead to asphalt deterioration.
  4. Regular pavement inspections help to identify potential maintenance & repair needs before they become too costly.
  5. It’s in the best interests of a parking lot manager to ensure that all needed repairs are done on time.
  6. Atkins Paving is operational in Charlotte, NC, for the very reason of delivering exceptional paving & maintenance solutions. Get your free quote today!

The best thing about enlisting the services of a local paving contractor is not only the show of support for local businesses. It is also in the best interest of a parking lot manager’s budget. How so?

Local contractors are familiar with paving conditions, material behavior, climate & weather, costs & overheads, and local codes & compliances. They can help land the best asphalt paving projects that fit snugly into your budget. But there is another far better benefit – they know their pavement failures at a glance & can rectify them much better than an outsider.

That brings us to the part where identifying parking lot damage is crucial to the ROI of your business and, in turn, impacts your ability to focus on repairs promptly.

Atkins Paving will look at a few activities & causes that directly impact the health of your parking lot and then your maintenance budget. Let’s see what you’ve missed in your fall maintenance plan so that you can fix it this spring!

Parking Lot Damage – Causes & Activities

1. Poor Foundation

If you want your asphalt parking lot to last for many years, you need to start with a gravel foundation that can’t be damaged easily and is free of weak spots. Anything from a substandard gravel base to poor compaction could cause the entire asphalt pavement to degrade prematurely.

Suppose you see extensive cracking, depressions, and dips in your parking lot. In that case, it’s probably due to the compression of asphalt from heavy vehicles such as trucks and SUVs. Not only does this damage your property and the vehicles on it, but it could also present a severe liability issue for you as the owner. You should have a local paving contractor inspect the parking lot damage & schedule for repairs ASAP!

2. Inadequate Pavement Maintenance

As a parking lot manager, you must allocate funds for pavement repair each year. Unfortunately, some managers end up with some amateur contractor that pockets the cash & does a poor job of crack fill/seal or patching repairs. These ‘band-aid’ fixes cover structural defects in the pavement that can worsen over time.

The lesson here is to research how various pavement failures are repaired and how asphalt maintenance is carried out – then oversee the repair/maintenance process. You will never fall victim to inadequate or sub-par maintenance again, and your parking lot visitations will increase!

Also, read: Parking Lot Striping: How Often Should It Be Redone?

3. Oil Drips & Fuel Spills

That is one careless activity on behalf of vehicle owners who decide to use the parking lot as their open-air garage. It could be for a quick fluid top-up or to drain the oily contents of their engine on the pavement. Yes, business visitors can be strange, but they are still king.

And even if it’s not deliberate, there still are oil drips at retail loading docks or in the parking stalls because it happens and results in parking lot damage. If it is a residential lot, the oil drips can begin to dissolve away the binder in the asphalt and cause it to ravel, eventually becoming a pothole in the process.

Fuel is volatile, but it is still a petroleum product and thus has the same effect on the deterioration of asphalt pavement. It eats away seal coats & then the asphalt; the weather & moisture does the rest.

4. Chemical Deicers

Even though North Carolina experiences little to no snow, Charlotte usually gets around 3-4 inches. That is still enough to warrant deicers because no one wants to skid on black ice on their morning grocery run.

Granted, that is an activity geared toward road safety. But the salts dissolve in the snow and melt into the brine, which can seep into unsealed pavement, damaging the parking lot. It would be better to only use deicers on pavement that has been sealed over the past year. One can instead use sand or magnesium chloride to melt the snow.

However, only apply the deicer in areas that are in heavy use. If your pavement is sealed, you can use rock salt to deice, as the seal protects against parking lot damage.

5. Poor Trash Disposal

Trash can consist of many things and is not always confined to the garbage disposal area. It can be cigarette butts, soda spills, shattered glass, rotting food, mulch, spilled detergents, oils, banana peels, and human urine. They can not only spoil the aesthetics of any parking lot, but they can also become a concoction for damage to the asphalt if not cleaned up.

For example, urine stains the asphalt and can speed up asphalt deterioration faster than water intrusion because of its acidic & ammonia content. But we have the rains to bless for that as they can clean up that mess!

However, you need to ensure your parking lot’s surface is street swept by a local paving contractor regularly to keep dirt & trash off of it.

6. Heavy Vehicle Loading

You can find parking lots at many establishments, and you will find them frequented by particular vehicles. Highway diners, retail stores, hotels, residential areas, HOAs, commercial strips, industrial plots, etc., are all diverse establishments with pavement built to their vehicle loading specifications.

You will seldom find a transport truck on the 5th floor of a hotel parking lot or frequent a residential road. Heavy vehicles are best running on highways in high volumes. If heavy vehicles are allowed to park in retail or residential parking lots, the amount of rutting would significantly damage the parking lot.

Even the loading docks at retail stores & supermarkets are paved with industrial-strength pavement to accommodate heavy vehicles. So, in retrospect, utilize appropriate traffic control methods & barriers to deter heavy vehicles from entering parking lots that are not designed to bear their loads.

Is Your Parking Lot Damage Getting Out of Hand? We Can Help!

Atkins Paving is a proud local paving contractor who is an active community member. Our team is well-versed in how to deal with a range of environmental & human-induced asphalt pavement failures.

If you missed out on your fall maintenance plan, get in touch with us now for an even better plan to get your lots in order by spring. Feel free to collect a zero-cost quote on our services and start budgeting for spring repairs!