Pavement Damage Signs Condominium Owners Need to Look For

This past winter took a heavy toll on the parking lots of many condominium properties in the Greater Toronto Area, notes Sure-Seal Pavement Maintenance Inc., the GTA’s leading provider of pavement maintenance services for retail, corporate office, condo, and industrial properties.

Condo property managers and owners have doubtlessly noticed damage to their parking lots following the extreme cold, ice, and snow that gripped the GTA this winter. Condo owners have reported potholes, linear cracks, alligator cracking, and line markings being worn down by frequent plowing following the almost consecutive and relentless snowstorms the GTA experienced.

Spotting this damage can be easy if it’s obvious, but damage caused by the elements can be hard to spot with the untrained eye. You won’t realize it occurred until it becomes visible and leads to costly repairs for your parking lot.

There are ways you can spot damage to your condominium’s parking lot by using tips from experts in pavement repair. Heading out into your parking lot every spring is recommended so damage can be caught and repaired early. Spring also tends to be a busy time for asphalt pavement repair contractors, so the sooner you can book, the better.

Potholes are the bane of any driver, regardless of whether they’re driving on the road or in a parking lot. They are fairly easy to spot as well, usually springing up in the middle of the drive lanes. Potholes are also the type of pavement damage that most typically occurs in the spring; water from melting ice and snow, “April showers,” and moisture in the underlying gravel base causes a soupy, unstable mush that is unable to provide a stable base for the pavement and traffic. Numerous cycles of freezing and thawing cause severe heaving, typically seen at any point of water infiltration and near catch basins. Add heavy traffic to the mix and you have the birth of a pothole.

Potholes typically aren’t more than three to five inches deep, but they can grow to several feet in diameter, causing injury to pedestrians and damage to car tires, undersides, and axles; repairs for which you, as a property owner, are responsible. Potholes are an immediate safety concern and should be treated as such; immediate repair is recommended and can be completed year-round with various pavement repair products, both hot and cold applied.

Alligator cracking, or fatigue cracking, gets its name from its resemblance to the skin of an alligator. Typically caused by heavy traffic, alligator cracking is often a warning sign of potholes forming; potholes can often be found at the center of alligator cracks. If you notice alligator cracking on your pavement, have it repaired immediately to prevent potholes from forming.

Linear cracking can occur at the cold seams of asphalt where passes of asphalt meet. The resulting blending of the hot and cold asphalt leaves a weak point in the asphalt mat, making it susceptible to linear cracking. Linear cracks, if left unrepaired, progress into larger pavement failures.

Choosing the right type of repair for each pavement issue is extremely important. Pavement cracks that are suitable for rout and seal crack sealing repair need to be identified, and routing and thorough cleaning of the cracks is vitally important for a lasting repair job. The rout, usually 3/4″ to one inch wide and 1/2″–3/4″ deep, provides a reservoir of stretchable, rubberized compound that will flex and move with the movement of the pavement during the winter months and prevent any water infiltration all year long. Water is the enemy; water under the pavement from any source, including potholes, cracks, broken sprinkler lines, a lack of underground weeper drainage, and even simply overwatering the landscape, can contribute to severe and costly pavement failures.

With cost-effective and life-extending planned pavement maintenance, including rout and seal of cracks, small cut and patch repairs, milling and resurfacing, and sand slurry sealcoating, the expected life of your pavement can be extended, even when the first signs of failure begin to appear.

The old medical saying about how “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” also applies to pavement repair. Consulting with a pavement management professional who has the ability to facilitate all of the different maintenance options will lead to a more comprehensive, informed approach to extending the useable life of one of your most expensive and most frequently used assets: your asphalt parking lots and driveways.

Keep a close eye out for signs of wear and tear during the spring, summer, and fall. If any of the types of damage outlined in this article appear, call in a pavement repair contractor to repair the damage before it gets worse. Your board of directors, your owners, and your budget will thank you

Lance Bradshaw is the President and CEO of Sure-Seal Pavement Maintenance Inc., a leading provider of pavement maintenance services based in Toronto, servicing the GTA and the surrounding regions. He has over 25 years of experience is a member of ACMO and IFMA and is currently on the Contractor Advisory Board for GemSeal Pavement Products. He can be reached at 1-888-PAVEMENT (1-888-728-3636) or at lance@suresealpavement.com.