When proper parking lot maintenance is ignored, many safety hazards and costly repairs can start to add up. Parking lot asphalt is damaged by the weather, wear-and-tear, the sun, oil and gas, water damage, and more. In other words, parking lot repairs are inevitable. Ignoring maintenance can lead to even more extensive damage, which can require much more costly repairs to fix. As well, you may be liable for injuries or vehicle damage sustained from problems with your parking lot.
12 Tips for Parking Lot Maintenance and Safety
Many business owners tend to underestimate just how big of an overall and initial impression the appearance of their parking lot can make on potential customers. The way your parking lot looks says a lot about your business, and if you properly maintain your parking lot, it looks fresh and clean and it does not present any safety hazards to your customers. Here are some essential parking lot maintenance tips.
Inspect Your Parking Lot Regularly
Your parking lot may look fine, but damage can sneak up unexpectedly and end up requiring costly repairs. Check your parking lot on a regular basis and keep an eye out for cracks, small holes, pooling water, or faded markings. These could all lead to greater damage if not fixed.
Clean Your Parking Lot
Not only can garbage be a possible liability issue, but it will prevent you from noticing cracks or other damage. Keep your parking lot clear of all trash, litter, dirt, and debris. Debris can also cause water and salt to become trapped on your lot, which will lead to further damage.
Repair Concrete and Asphalt
A small crack in asphalt can eventually lead to larger problems, like potholes or uneven ground. Fix cracks when they are smaller and both easier and cheaper to repair. Crack sealing, which is when a liquid is used to fill cracks, will prevent water from getting into the asphalt and degrading it; water penetration is one of the top causes of parking lot damage.
Clean Your Catch Basin
Your parking lot should have a catch basin, which helps drain water. Catch basins can become clogged with leaves, dirt, and debris, rendering them useless. A clogged catch basin will not only lead to water pooling up on your lot, but the catch basin itself can become damaged. Clean your catch basin and avoid costlier repairs.
Use Line Markings and Signage
If you do not properly direct cars and traffic in your lot, injuries will occur. You should have signs and painted markings which designate parking spots, show the correct flow of traffic, and guide drivers through your lot. This will prevent injuries which you could be liable for.
Sealer is a protective measure that should be used on your lot’s asphalt or concrete. Sealers should be applied every two to three years. They prevent oil, salt, and weather conditions from damaging your lot, which in turn allows water penetration. Using a sealer should be a standard part of your parking lot maintenance.
Use Yellow Safety Coatings
Yellow safety coatings have two purposes when used on fixtures. Not only do they protect against damage from water, salt, and physical force, but they also improve visibility for people using your parking lot. Yellow is visible, particularly in darker light, and it conveys “safety” or “caution.” Using these coatings can help people navigate your parking lot effectively without damaging their cars or someone else’s.
Prevent and Clean Up Oil Stains
Oil stains are unsightly and detrimental to your asphalt. Unfortunately, they are also inevitable because you cannot control the maintenance level of the vehicles that make their way onto your parking lot. What you can control is your regular parking lot maintenance routine and, as part of that routine, it is important that you sealcoat your parking lot to protect it against permanent oil stains. Even if the parking lot is sealcoated on a regular basis, however, you still need to remove any oil stains as soon as possible; the longer you wait, the harder they will be to clean. A mixture of baking soda and some cola (yes, the soft drink) should do the trick.
Restripe Your Parking Lot
After a fresh sealcoat, the next best thing for your parking lot is to reinstate its original curb appeal. You can accomplish this by restriping your parking lot, which also reinforces parking lot safety in the process. This new, unsullied look will make it easier for your customers and patrons to maneuver around your parking lot and will increase visibility at night due to the yellow paint.
Prevent Storm Water Run-Off
According to most asphalt parking lot maintenance guidelines, from time to time it is necessary to do a sweep of your parking lot to get rid of any excess debris such as leaves, small rocks, broken glass, litter, and other types of waste that could get caught in your drainage system. Keeping your parking lot clean will help to prevent your drainage system from getting clogged, which will, in turn, prevent any water run-off or surface flooding from occurring if a serious storm takes place. This will prevent the excess water from eventually eroding through your asphalt and causing water damage and cracks.
Rock Salt and Sand
In the winter, rock salt and sand are your best defence against ice formation, snow, and unsafe driving conditions. While you are not liable for what happens on the road, you are liable for what happens in your parking lot, which means it is your responsibility to put parking lot safety procedures into practice. The rock salt will make it easier for you to shovel or plough large amounts of snow because it will prevent the snow from sticking to the asphalt and the sand will create strong toehold to prevent cars and pedestrians from slipping on your property.
Rotate Parking Areas
When parking spots are used repeatedly day in and day out, they tend to degrade over time and lose their initial stamina. This can cause dips in the asphalt, which can lead to sinkholes. To prevent this from happening, you should try alternating parking spots from time to time. If this happens, you should hire a qualified company that provides complete parking lot maintenance services to fix the problem for you.
Sure-Seal Pavement Maintenance Inc. has over 20 years of experience in asphalt paving and repairs. We offer an industry-leading seven-year structural warranty and we stand behind the quality and durability of our services, ensuring that they will last. For a free consultation, please call our toll-free number 1-888-728-3636 or if you’re in Toronto, you can call (416) 410-3705.