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.