Asphalt Parking Lot Repair – What You Should Know!

clock-1One of the most important factors when considering asphalt parking lot repair is timing. The frequency or intervals at which parking lot maintenance is performed is just one aspect of timing. Time of year is another critical component. While no two plans will mirror each other—either in frequency or time of year, there are some general considerations of which to be mindful when determining how often and during which months to perform asphalt parking lot repairs.

How much do parking lot repairs cost?

Generally speaking, when defects are caught early, the cost to repair them will be less than if maintenance is deferred. Routine pavement inspections are the best way to be proactive and prioritize repairs, which saves money over time. But, the time of year matters, too. Adhering to proper product application conditions helps ensure a long-lasting repair. Conversely, ignoring these recommendations can compromise the effectiveness of the repair and require a more costly remedy down the road.

What services are often needed in parking lot repairs?

A good pavement management plan consists of three primary procedures: parking lot crack repair, seal coating, and lot marking. Crack sealing is the most cost-effective asphalt parking lot repair.  It is crucial to perform as early as possible (when cracks measure ¼-inch to 1-inch wide) to minimize water infiltration which, if left untreated, can permeate through cracks and quickly erode the sub-base. Once cracks have been treated, it is recommended to perform seal coating. Parking lot sealing provides a protective barrier against UV rays, water, and salt as well as oils and gasoline. Without it, these elements can more easily penetrate the surface and break down the fines, binder, and stones. After seal coating, the finishing touch is lot marking. Clearly marked stalls, loading zones, and entrances/exits help to direct traffic safely around any facility.

Why you should repair asphalt parking lots in winter:

We’re heading into spring, which kicks off the busy season for paving. However, there is no need to wait until the spring equinox on March 20th. Late winter is a great time to perform parking lot maintenance for a variety of reasons.

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  1. Weather Conditions – It is possible to perform crack sealing and lot marking in mid-March, when the weather begins to warm up, provided you adhere to the proper application conditions. For crack sealing, most product manufacturers recommend an ambient air and surface temperature of 40°F or above. For striping projects, acetone acrylic paints can be applied when surface and air temperatures are 40°F and above (up to 90°F). But, for optimal results, the air temperature should be at least 5°F above dew point and relative humidity should measure below 85%. After a long winter, potholes may be prevalent, too. Repairs can be executed this time of year using premium cold mix asphalt. This product can be applied in temperatures as low as 15°F.
  2. Supply and Demand – When supply and demand are equal, the price of goods—in this case, asphalt—is at a fair market value.  For the asphalt industry, the closest state of equilibrium occurs earlier in the year when asphalt plants re-open and produce or supply the same amount of material being demanded. Therefore, for the best bet and bang for your buck, late winter or early spring can be an ideal time of year to buy pavement services.
  3. Labor Availability – Beginning in late winter and early spring, many paving contractors begin ramping up operations. They tend to employ more crew members and back-office support and operate extended hours. Their availability and capability to complete a greater number of projects for a cluster of job sites increases. For facility managers with multi-site portfolios, this translates to fewer mobilizations, reduced travel costs, and–oftentimes–savings for buying material in bulk.
  4. Budget – For most organizations, facility managers have access to more funds in the beginning of the year versus any other time. This means more money to complete asphalt parking lot repairs.
  5. Aesthetics – Last but not least, a job completed in late winter or early spring will make a great impression for a longer period of time compared to projects executed later in the year, which are then subject to harsh weather conditions and its damaging effects.
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