When spring comes in New England preventative maintenance of your parking lot should begin. You need to get out and walk around your parking lot. In New England to see if your pavement survived the winter these are things to look for and to do:
- In the spring, clean your parking lot and keep doing it on a regular basis. Dirt and debris may have an effect on the drainage of your parking lot. Oil spills should be cleaned immediately. These spills will damage your asphalt surface if not cleaned up.
- Repair broken berm & curbing. Curbing is actually there for a purpose in place. To keep the landscaping in place and keeps it from washing out into the parking lot during storms and heavy rains. Curbing also helps to keep vehicles from driving off the edge of the pavement. Vehicles driving off the edge will damage landscaping & lead to the edge of your pavement breaking up & deteriorating.
- Immediately repair any potholes. Potholes are not only a huge liability issue but if not repaired will lead to more subbase & pavement failure. Potholes with a combination of water & traffic will lead to large problems in the subbase and the area around the hole. This will eventually making the hole & damaged asphalt around it, larger depending on the severity of the area you have, there are some options: For Example;
- A temporary repair or not severe hole- cold patch or filling the hole with hot asphalt will last for a while.
- A Few year repair- Infrared & patch the pothole & damaged asphalt around it. If the subbase is not poor it will hold up for a few years.
- A Long term solution- Excavate the damaged asphalt area. Repair & compact the base, then repave and seal the paving joint.
- Check Catch Basins & Manholes
- Make sure they are clean and in working order. There are Companies that specifically clean out catch basins at a relatively inexpensive price. Water just sitting in basins leads to problems.
- Any hole you see next to castings is a sign there may be something wrong with the structure itself. The casting needs to be opened up and checked. It may just need the hole repaired. Catch basins & manholes are typically built of brick or barrel blocks. A hole next to the casting many times means there is a problem and some of the bricks or block need to be replaced or reset in concrete. There may be a hole in the brick or block or they may be caving in. It is very important to get these repairs done quickly. If not repaired catch basins & manhole repairs can become very costly and can become dangerous to drive or walk over. They can collapse and cause serious injuries.
- After the frost is off the ground make sure the castings are flush with the pavement. This ensures plows won’t damage them over the next winter. Resetting or just patching around a manhole or catch basin can save major damage in the next winter. If not severe and the casting needs to be reset, it can be done with a mastic or a simple asphalt patch.
- Cracks- If cracks have developed in the pavement make sure to seal cracks closed with a hot pour crack sealant designed for the climate you live in, the type of crack it is, and the traffic flow over the crack. This is the most importance preventative maintenance step to prolong the life of your parking lot. Water is the enemy, and when it enters the subbase by way of cracks it inevitably will lead to more cracking, subbase failure, potholes and alligatored areas. Eventually even complete pavement failure, the lot then will need to be pulverized and repaved.
- When alligatored areas are present- These areas look like an alligators back and have many cracks throughout the pavement close together. They also look like a road map. In the early stages an alligatored area can be repaired with crack sealants or a mastic patch. When the damage becomes too severe and these are no longer feasible options. The asphalt needs to be patched to correct the situation. The area should then be excavated, the base repaired and then repaved to ensure the longevity of the pavement. Badly alligatored areas will eventually lead to potholes and dangerous areas within the lot. They may develop in the winter when there is not many good options available to fix them right away. It is better to repair them before the next winter.
- Striping- Check the Stop bars, arrows, hashed areas, words, fire lanes and parking stall markings. If these areas are worn, the driving and parking within that area may become dangerous. Your lot has been designed for a certain traffic flow, these markings that are to ensure that traffic flows properly.
- Unraveling & graying out- If you notice the asphalt is going from jet black to gray in color or the surface of the asphalt is unraveling you may want to consider sealcoating it to protect your large investment in asphalt you have.
In the spring after the New England winters you should have your parking lot swept. Then take a walk around and see what needs to be done for liability reasons. Find what needs to be done to also extend the life of your asphalt and get the most from your investment.
Before spring maintenance is done
After spring cleaing of salt, sand, cracksealing, sealcoating and fresh line striping.