Your parking lot is an important part of your business. Not only does it give your customers and employees a place to park, but it also plays a role in conveying your business's image. Keep your parking lot in great shape, and your business will appear conscientious. Due to the wet, cold weather, winter is a season in which parking lot maintenance is especially important. Follow these tips, and your parking lot will continue to look and perform well throughout the chilly months.
Have little cracks filled before the snow flies.
Cracks that are small now will be a lot larger by the time spring rolls around. Water will seep into them, freeze, expand, and cause the cracks to expand, too. It will be easier to fill the cracks now when they are small, and the results will be more attractive, too.
You can repair truly small cracks (the width of your pinkie or so) on your own if you prefer. Purchase asphalt sealant caulk at a local hardware store. After brushing any debris out of the crack, apply the sealer according to the instructions on the package. Let it cure for the recommended period of time (usually about 24 hours) before allowing anyone to park in the area. Larger cracks and potholes should be sealed by a professional as the process is more complex.
Ensure that your sealcoating is up to date.
New cracks are also likely to form during the winter, thanks to the expansion and contraction that happens as the temperature changes. Sealcoating, which involves applying a special, rubbery substance to the top of the asphalt, helps it resist cracking. It will also help keep any de-icing products that you use from coming into contact with the actual asphalt, which can extend the life of your asphalt and keep it looking dark black.
If it has been more than 2-3 years since your parking lot was last sealed, then it's probably time to have this maintenance done. Act quickly -- your contractor won't be able to seal the lot once the snow flies and, if you don't get the chance to have it sealed before then, you can expect your lot to suffer a lot of damage by springtime. The sealcoating will take a day or two to cure, so plan ahead and schedule the application for a day when your business is closed.
Choose your de-icing products wisely.
Standard rock salt, though inexpensive, is not the best choice for your parking lot. It can cause the asphalt to break down and develop cracks. Look instead for a de-icing agent that specifically states on the label that it is safe for use on asphalt. Often, these come in a liquid form and can be sprayed onto your parking lot -- they will keep working for days.
If you hire a plowing service to keep your parking lot clear of snow in the winter, ask what type of de-icing agents they use to verify that they are safe for asphalt.
Keep some safety cones on hand.
Even if you seal your parking lot, fill in cracks, and use safe de-icing agents, there's a chance your parking lot may still develop some cracks and little holes. Keep some safety cones on hand so that if these do develop you can put a cone near them to prevent customers from driving over them and making them worse. Ensure that the cones you choose have heavy bottoms so that they stay in place through the wind and snow.
To learn more about parking lot maintenance in the winter time, talk to a paving contractor in your area. Companies like Hals Construction may be able to provide you with the information that you need.