How to Prepare Your Asphalt for Winter Weather

Preparing your asphalt parking lot or commercial driveway for the winter weather is your best bet for ensuring that it’ll maintain its structural integrity and strong maintenance all throughout the season. Over time, your asphalt parking lot will inevitably incur a few damages here and there. This is usually caused by regular usage and normal wear and tear. For that reason, it needs regular maintenance, especially before the winter season officially begins and it’s covered in snow and ice. Neglecting to prepare your asphalt pavement for the winter season could actually lead to potentially costly damages or even injuries in the future. Protect your asphalt. Protect your investment.

Here are a few important steps you should take to prepare your asphalt pavement for the winter season.

Repair Cracks and Potholes

You might think that a few minor cracks on your asphalt parking lot are perfectly harmless and for the most part, you’re right. Small cracks are harmless—at first. If left alone for too long however, even the tiniest hairline cracks can start to cause potentially expensive and unnecessary problems for you. Once they start to fill up with water, dirt, dust, and other debris, which is unavoidable in an outdoor space, then the real problems begin. All of those elements combined with regular vehicular usage and fluctuating temperatures that cause expansion and constriction in your asphalt pavement, small cracks will inevitably continue to grow until they become full-fledged potholes.

Potholes are extremely destructive to the structural integrity of your asphalt parking lot and the more they’re ignored, the worse the problem becomes for you as a property owner. Aside from the unsightliness and potential to damage vehicles, they’re also a major safety issue for pretty much anyone who uses your parking lot. As the property owner, you’re liable to take all necessary and available methods to establish and maintain a completely safe and sound environment for all motorists and pedestrians on your property. If someone suffers an injury or accident due to your negligence to maintain your property even in the most inclement weather conditions, then they could sue you for damages in a personal injury claim. Avoiding all of that unnecessary stress is easy. All you have to do is maintain your property and repair all damages as soon as you notice them.

Remove All Debris

All professional asphalt paving contractors advise property owners to regularly clean up their commercial parking lots and driveways. There are a few simple reasons for this. First, it just makes your property look a lot cleaner and more professional, which is great for boosting your business and attracting more customers. Second, debris that’s left on your parking lot will eventually become buried under massive heaps of snow and ice during the winter months. A lot of it isn’t biodegradable, which means it’ll just become matted from the cold and wet climate. When that happens, the debris—which includes organic and inorganic materials like leaves, sticks, tree branches, and litter—will just stick to your asphalt parking lot, making it harder to dispose of later.

Debris that’s stuck to your asphalt will eventually cause the binding agent in the aggregate to break down and this can severely disintegrate the structural integrity of the asphalt over time. Once the binding agent has been weakened and the debris penetrates the surface of the asphalt, it’s like opening the floodgates for more debris buildup and water to make its way in. The best way to avoid this problem is to simply sweep up your asphalt parking lot from time to time. If the property is too big for you to do it on your own, then you should consider hiring a professional cleaning crew or asphalt contractor in your area to do it for you.

Make Sure You Have All the Asphalt Maintenance Necessities

Part of preparing your asphalt pavement for winter entails guaranteeing that you have all of the tools and materials you need to maintain your parking lot. Start by taking a detailed inventory of your winter asphalt maintenance items including shovels, salt, and de-icing agents to avoid making duplicate purchases.

Avoid purchasing metal snow removal devices with sharp edges as these will damage your asphalt parking lot or make existing damages worse. Metal shovels with sharp edges can actually scratch the surface of your asphalt parking lot and cause already loose pieces of asphalt to break off, which is why many asphalt contractors usually advise against using them.

Identify Problem Areas Throughout Your Parking Lot

Problem areas include anywhere where the asphalt is cracked, crumbling, depressed, or has pooling/standing water. All of these damages are indicators of negligence, poor construction, or weakened structural integrity from below the surface of your asphalt parking lot.

Pay close attention to areas with pooling or standing water as these can lead to a host of potentially expensive future repairs for you if ignored for too long. As more and more water pools in the same spot over time, the weight of the liquid combined with that of the vehicles constantly driving over it will continue to depress the asphalt downward. Small cracks will start to form and eventually the water and debris will begin to enter through the surface of the asphalt causing internal damage.

Another problem with pooling or standing water in the winter is that it will eventually freeze and turn into ice, which poses a lot of safety hazards for your parking lot. Standing or pooling water is also a sign that your catch basin might not be working properly, so make sure you have that checked out as well.

Sealcoat Your Commercial Asphalt Parking Lot

Once all of the necessary repairs are complete, it’s time to sealcoat your asphalt parking lot. Make sure to do this when there’s no snow or ice on the ground to maximize its performance and guarantee that it properly binds to the pavement. For maximum efficacy, sealcoating should be performed at least once every 2-3 years by a professional local asphalt contactor.

Sure-Seal Pavement Maintenance Inc. is the go-to asphalt installation, repair, and maintenance company across Toronto and the GTA. For over 20 years, we’ve been providing top-notch asphalt maintenance services with a comprehensive seven-year warranty to reassure all our clients that our asphalt pavement will last for many years to come. Contact us today to learn more about our services or to book an onsite consultation.