Is Your Paved Parking Lot Unsafe? Here Are 5 Ways to Know
Maybe it’s something that happened overnight or gradually over a long period, but something seems off in your paved parking lot. The smooth asphalt surface has given in to the elements, leaving behind a huge pothole, jagged cracks, and crumbling asphalt all across the lot.
To top it off, the parking spaces have faded away, leaving drivers confused. Potholes start to appear and cause minor accidents. Not only is it not a good look for your business, but it’s a major safety concern for your customers and employees, too.
What can you do in this situation to keep your parking lot from becoming unsafe before it is too late? Outside of staying on top of regular maintenance of your asphalt parking lot, there are ways you can tell when your lot needs a little or big patch before someone gets seriously hurt.
In this blog, we’ll give you a step-by-step guide on how to spot if your lot is unsafe, how to prevent future damage to your asphalt’s surface, and most importantly, how to make sure you’re repairing it before someone at your business gets hurt.
1. Visually Identify the Problems Before Any Parking Lot Repair
When it comes to the repair of parking lots, the first step in addressing safety issues in asphalt parking lots is visually inspecting the lot for any signs of distress. Look for cracks in the asphalt that are wider than the standard size of a dime and examine if they are deep or shallow.
Any crack in the asphalt greater than ¼ inch wide should be investigated further to determine its cause. Finding the cause of the damage before you patch or repair cracks in the pavement can help prevent it from continuing to happen.
In addition, look for any signs of excessive wear and tear on the paved parking lot surface, such as potholes, rutting, or spalling. These indicate that the asphalt has been overloaded and could be the reason for any widening or deepening of the cracks, preventing them from turning into a pothole.
2. Inspect the Asphalt Parking Lot Drainage System
Looking at the drainage system to identify if any areas might not be operating correctly is another important step to take before parking lot repair. In many cases, parking lot repair is due to water from snow or rain accumulating in certain areas, which increases pressure on the asphalt and causes cracking and potholes.
On your commercial property or building, you also want to make sure to check the gutters, curbs, and catch basins to make sure they are free of debris or dirt and not blocked. Blocked gutters or storm grates can cause water to build up in the asphalt’s existing cracks or freeze during cold weather to create a pothole.
3. Spot Oil Spills In Your Asphalt Parking Lot
Oil spills, grease stains, and fuel leaks are also something to keep an eye out for since they can significantly impact the longevity of an asphalt parking lot. These substances penetrate the pavement’s surface, slowly breaking down the asphalt binder and protective barrier that holds the aggregate together.
As it deteriorates, it leaves the asphalt pavement surface dirt exposed and susceptible to erosion. Over time, this can lead to the formation of cracks and potholes, which require repair and further compromise the integrity of the parking lot.
4. Having Asphalt Subgrade Tested
An important step to fix parking lot issues is to check the subgrade underneath the pavement. Subgrade refers to the native soil upon which asphalt parking lots are constructed. It serves as firm support for the pavement structure, and its integrity significantly impacts the longevity of the asphalt surface.
The subgrade should ideally be stable, well-compacted, and free from organic materials or clay soil. If you can see that the soil is not level, it could indicate that there is too much weight or pressure on one particular area, which would cause asphalt cracking or a pothole.
Subgrade Evaluation & Testing
If you need your subgrade tested to see if there is material in it causing damage to your parking lot, it is important to have a professional complete the soil evaluation, just like the fix or repair itself.
It is vital to have a contractor who has experience testing it so that it can be done the correct way and that all necessary steps are taken to secure your parking lot. Here are a few things they will look at when evaluating your subgrade:
Soil Type & Composition
They will examine the soil’s type and composition. Some types, particularly those with high clay matter, can shift and become unstable, leading to cracks in the asphalt above and the need for a patch.
Stabilization & How Well It Is Compacted
They will also assess the soil compaction. A solid subgrade ensures a strong asphalt foundation, minimizing cracks. If not compacted correctly, re-compaction and stabilization may be required before repair.
They will also look for signs of excessive moisture. Water weakens the subgrade and can cause failure. If there’s too much moisture, the professionals will install or adjust drains or adapt the slope of the area before repair.
5. Examining The Parking Lot’s Striping
After examining the surface for signs of distress, your attention should turn to the parking lot lines. These lines are vital for maintaining order, enhancing safety, and maximizing space use.
Look for signs of fading and if they are still visible or if they are hard to discern. Faded lines can confuse drivers, causing chaos or even accidents.
Fading lines in parking lots can be caused by various factors. The most common is regular wear and tear due to weather changes, ultraviolet rays, and the friction caused by debris vehicle tires. Other causes can include fuel or oil products, which can break down the paint used for the lines.
If Your Paved Parking Lot Needs Repairs, Call Lyons & Hohl Paving for Help
If you need to fix parking lot issues quickly for the safety of your customers and staff, make sure you turn to the professionals at Lyons & Hohl Paving. Our staff of expert paving contractors is here to help patch your paved parking lot’s potholes, smooth over any bumps, and ensure the cars and people in your parking lot stay safe in the long run. Get a free quote for your paving job today!