The fall is the perfect time to winterize your parking lot and make sure it’s ready for the weather to come. Winter can be especially menacing for parking lots and pavement that hasn’t been sufficiently prepared. Rain and low temperatures can wreak havoc on surfaces and turn small problems into big ones. Follow these 4 steps to prevent potential hazards in the first place:


1. Do a routine walkthrough of your paved areas.
Parking lots should be checked quarterly for possible problems. Start by looking for areas of standing water. Water can break down the asphalt binder and leak into the subgrade, eroding it over time. This is also an indication that the pavement or subgrade may be failing, because modern grading techniques are designed to establish a grade that flushes water away from the parking area and toward designated drainage points.

Next, check for oil or other chemicals that leak directly onto the pavement. Just like water, some chemicals associated with vehicles can cause binder breakdown and lead to subsurface problems. Cleaning up oil and other chemical spills as quickly as possible can help prevent this and keep your asphalt in better condition. Fix any cracks, divots or uneven areas. Small cracks and divots are often the first visible sign of possible asphalt breakdown, and it’s more cost efficient and less intrusive to fix them when they’re small by seal coating or spot patching than it is to do a complete tearout and reinstall of the paving. Finally, check on old, dull or worn striping and pavement-level signage such as fire lane indicators and other information. They may be harder to see and read during winter months.


2. Clear debris from drainage channels and curbs.
It doesn’t matter how good the drainage plan for your lot is if water has nowhere to go. Make sure the drainage channels, storm sewers and other inlets to the runoff system near your property are clear of leaves, branches, garbage and other obstructions. This will help the water flow better and make it less likely to pool up on your property.


3. Limit or restrict heavy-vehicle traffic as much as possible.
Large trucks such as semis, garbage trucks and other heavy vehicles can place a lot of stress on asphalt. By itself this shouldn’t be a problem, but when the base course and subgrade are compromised by water or plant intrusion, it could speed up the breakdown process for your asphalt. If at all possible, try to limit or restrict the traffic pattern for such vehicles within your lot to minimize the time they spend on your pavement.


4. Make sure it’s sealed.
Even if your parking area is free from cracks and other problems, it is a good idea to have it seal coated every 4 to 5 years at the minimum. This is because seal coating helps rejuvenate the asphalt binder at the surface, adding an extra layer of protection against winter, traffic, water and spills. It will help make your parking lot and driveways look newer, especially when you redo the striping at the same time. This simple step will make your property more attractive and safer to navigate.


Take steps now to review your parking lot needs with Curcio Enterprises. We offer a full array of services, from striping to custom signage and layouts, to help cities and businesses provide the public with convenient parking options. Contact us today to discuss how Curcio can fight congestion through parking!