Heavy and consistent spring rains, like any other extreme weather, can take their toll on asphalt parking lots, especially ones unprepared for the ever-changing precipitation and temperatures in the Fort Lauderdale, West Palm Beach, and Tampa areas. There are ways you can protect against spring rain to ensure your parking lot will last for many seasons to come.
Find out more about the effects of spring rains on asphalt parking lots and how our U.S. Pave team can help you prepare for seasonal changes with minimal issues for your business’s parking lot. Customers, employees, and your bottom line will appreciate it.
Rain Leads to Erosion and Drainage Problems
While moderate rain doesn’t cause many issues, heavy rainfall that leaves standing water can undermine the structural integrity of your parking lot and loosen the bond between the asphalt binder and aggregates. It can weaken the layers of asphalt that provide its structure and strength. Existing cracks and imperfections are susceptible to growing and leading to more damage. Depressions and potholes can lead to severe damage. Pits may appear over time as areas settle; they’re repairable with patches that keep water from accumulating.
An adequate drainage system is necessary to avoid the damage that standing water can cause over time. Drainage systems improve safety for pedestrians and drivers while protecting your investment from damage. Drainage channels are one of the ways to keep water flowing away from parking lot surfaces. Sweeping and keeping these areas free of debris and other blockages are crucial to maximizing the benefits.
Potholes, most noticeable in the spring and summer, are common in northern states where the freeze-thaw cycles exacerbate cracks, old patches, and other existing damage. Potholes can cause vehicle damage, such as bent rims, blown tires, and suspension damage. Small potholes may be remedied with a patch, while more extensive potholes may require asphalt sections to be replaced.
Vulnerable asphalt surfaces must be fixed as soon as possible. Preventive maintenance and inspection of your asphalt parking lot are vital to ensuring your investment lasts for a long time.
Seal Coating Protects
Seal coating is the easiest way to block moisture, UV rays, pollutants such as fluids from vehicles, and other damage from your asphalt parking lot. Seal coating is a thin layer of liquid protectant that can be applied hot or cold. This preventative maintenance extends pavement life by preventing cracking and protecting existing imperfections from worsening. Seal coating typically offers protection for three to five years, but that can vary depending on weather extremes, asphalt conditions, and traffic volume.
Keep Up on Maintenance
Heavy rains, standing water, and temperature extremes can’t cause much damage if there aren’t any cracks or other issues like poor drainage. Properly maintained parking lots allow rainfall to flow away promptly. As with most things, preventive maintenance and fixing minor problems before they become big can save a lot of money. Proper maintenance can help your asphalt parking lot last 15 to 30 years or more, depending on weather and usage.
Visible deterioration of surfaces often appears when parking lots are neglected for three to five years. Always look for cracks, potholes, puddles, and other issues that should be fixed immediately.
Avoid Alligator Cracking
Alligator cracking, a series of interconnected cracks that resemble a reptilian pattern, or extensive cracking patterns where surfaces degrade over time and fatigue, is a severe issue that needs prompt attention. Alligator cracking is a sign of insufficient strength of the supporting structure under the asphalt to handle the weight of vehicles and other pressures.
Alligator cracking is often caused by freeze-thaw cycles or excessive water that compromise the integrity of the asphalt and the layers of aggregate under it. Applying crack filler or seal coating will help stop further water infiltration and damage, as will blocking traffic to the area. The way to properly fix alligator cracking is to remove the damaged areas, fix the sub-base, and replace the damaged area with new asphalt.
Handling Snow Melt and Freeze-Thaw Cycles
Areas with freeze-thaw cycles have more concerns about protecting pavement. Standing water freezes and thaws as temperatures fluctuate, shrinking and expanding the water molecules. This freeze-thaw cycle breaks the bonds holding asphalt together and can also expand cracks and other imperfections. Freezing and thawing water has the power to move mountains. When it occurs under the sub-base of your asphalt, imagine what it can do to your parking lot.
Quality Materials and Application Pay Dividends
Many problems that can cause damage to asphalt parking lots can be prevented using proper materials installed on a good sub-base with a drainage plan in place. U.S. Pave can handle issues from sub-par asphalt jobs or install new materials to avoid pitfalls from inferior quality materials. Old or dry asphalt can lead to block cracking that doesn’t go as deep as the sub-layers. Block cracking can pop up after a couple of years and is characterized by square or circular patterns.
If the sections or strips of new asphalt aren’t properly joined, linear cracking can cause long cracks along those joints. Temperature extremes and moisture can cause linear cracking as well. Edges of parking lots can suffer edge cracks due to poor drainage, soil drying and shrinking, heavy traffic, and excessive vegetation. Poor drainage and surface preparation can also lead to alligator cracking and fatigue of larger areas.
If the top layers don’t adhere properly to other layers, slippage cracks may occur and can be spotted by wrinkles and open gaps on your parking lot surface. Excessive sand in the asphalt mix can also lead to slippage cracks.
Spring Maintenance Is Key
Warmer weather usually means it’s time for spring cleaning, and asphalt parking lots are no exception. Regular seal coating, crack repairs, and sweeping away dirt and debris are the top ways to extend the life of your asphalt and ensure spring rains don’t linger and cause hard-to-fix damage.
Some asphalt issues can be traced back to inconsistent quality of materials, inadequate preparation, and bad drainage. U.S. Pave is experienced in maintaining, repairing, and replacing asphalt parking lots for home and business owners. We can improve the appearance and safety of your business with minimal impact on your daily operations. Reach out to us, and we’ll help you make a plan to ensure your asphalt surfaces will serve you and your customers for many years.
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U.S. Pave is a full-service paving maintenance and installation company serving all of Florida with Parking Lot Maintenance, New Asphalt Construction, Asphalt Patching and Repair, Parking Lot Crack Repair, Pothole Repair, Parking Lot Resurfacing (Overlay), Parking Lot Sealcoating or Resealing, Concrete Maintenance, Concrete Flatwork, Concrete Car Stops, Flow line / Curb & Gutter, Trip-hazard Removal/Grinding, Parking Lot Striping, Signage, Bollards, ADA Compliance and Upgrades, Catch Basins, Sweeping and Porter Services.
Whether you’re in need of a small repair or a new construction project, U.S. Pave's dedicated team has you covered.
For more information on our services contact us today at (954) 210-7481.