Asphalt is everywhere. We walk on it nearly every time we leave our homes and we drive on it nearly every time we drive through a parking lot. The reason asphalt is so common and so popular is because it works. It’s strong enough to sustain the foot and vehicle traffic along with the cold and hot weather of various climates. And while the durability of asphalt allows it to be used in so many different situations, it’s still important to practice proper pavement or parking lot maintenance if you hope to be able to use it year after year.
In order to get the best out of asphalt in your parking lot or on your pavement, there are some basic tips that need to be followed. On average, a solid asphalt surface can last up to 20 years before it needs to be repaired. But if the maintenance is poor, chances are you’ll be spending a lot more money repairing the asphalt surface on a regular basis.
Asphalt is one of the most cost-effective and easily maintainable parking lot aggregates on the market. However, it still requires proper maintenance from time to time to ensure that you are getting the best possible performance out of your pavement. It is a give-and-take relationship that requires regular debris removal, proper drainage, pavement sealing, re-striping, plant growth removal, oil spill clean-ups, and crack repairs. These are just a few ways to make sure your asphalt driveway lasts longer.
Keep the Surface Clean
This seems like such an insignificant piece of advice. But what’s important to keep in mind is the daily mess that asphalt surfaces have to endure. Parking lots in particular deal with oil spills, or gas emissions and other types of grease. Those chemicals are harmful to asphalt surfaces and diminish its lifespan. Combine that with the weather—rain, snow, and extreme heat are all elements that have a major impact on asphalt surfaces.
Water in particular can be extremely damaging and cause cracks in the surface. That’s why it’s not only important, but also necessary to remove any heavy buildup of water caused by snow or rain from the asphalt surface. Excess water being absorbed into the surface is what leads to the cracking.
Keep Clear Immediately After Laying Asphalt
This is a crucial tip that needs to be followed. As strong as asphalt can be, when it’s initially laid, the structure is easily susceptible to being deformed by any object that touches its surface. You need to give freshly laid asphalt a minimum of two to three days to harden into the right texture that is suitable to handle any kind of traffic, be it foot or vehicular.
On top of this, asphalt is very hot when it is first laid down. It can be dangerous for anyone to walk on its surface so it is advisable to keep people away for the time suggested. Placing objects on the surface before it has enough time to harden can result in an uneven asphalt surface. It also means that foot marks or tire tracks will permanently be forged in the asphalt.
Instal Proper Drainage
Right after debris removal, the next important tip on how to make your pavement last longer involves installing a proper drainage system to remove excess water and waste. When it snows or rains, the water has to go somewhere. Otherwise, the longer it stays on your asphalt paving surface, the more likely it is to damage your pavement. Water can easily seep into small cracks and cause internal damage such as erosion, which will, in turn, cause more dangerous cracks on the surface of your asphalt. This will result in costlier damages in the future, so it is wiser to take care of this issue sooner rather than later.
Every two to four years, it is important to sealcoat the pavement on your driveway. This provides a protective layer against debris and it keeps the pavement looking clean and fresh a lot longer.
After sealcoating, re-striping is the next step. Re-striping is one of the best ways to keep your parking lot organized and free of incidents. It makes it easier for customers and pedestrians to be able to navigate your parking lot.
Plant Growth Removal
On the surface they might seem harmless, but plants growing out of cracks in your asphalt surface can be detrimental to the well-being of your pavement. You should remove any plants you see growing on your asphalt by pulling them out by the root because below ground, their roots could be spreading out and causing further structural damage to your pavement. Removing debris from the get-go is a good preventative measure.
Clean Oil Spills
Oil spills are inevitable on an asphalt pavement, and there is nothing that can be done to prevent them from happening because you cannot control who uses your parking lot or how well they take care of their vehicle. Despite this, it is still your responsible to clean up unsightly and potentially detrimental oil spills before they seep below the surface of your asphalt and cause irreparable damage.
Always keep an eye out for small or large cracks and make sure to fill them right away. Even tiny cracks can easily increase in size, especially in high-traffic areas because of overuse, exposure to the elements, and plant growth. The best way to avoid permanent damage is to fix cracks as soon as you notice them.
If you’re working with a pavement company in Toronto like Sure-Seal Pavement Maintenance Inc., we know all of the procedures that need to be taken to ensure the longevity and quality of your asphalt surface. Contact us today for more information on how we can keep your pavement looking its best at all times.