Now that spring has arrived, its truly time to start thinking about your parking lot. Perhaps the most important thing that you can do is patch any potholes, that are a result of a harsh Northeast Ohio Winter, and Crack Seal. Often times, people would like to put off the maintenance until the Summer or Fall months but you should be cautioned that this can actually do MORE damage to your parking lot. Water penetration, coupled with an extreme amount of annual freeze/thaw cycles, is one of the worse things that your parking lot can experience. The problems that come from water penetration (rain water, melting snow, etc) in open cracks and potholes can be overbearing and quite costly.
The Smallest Crack(s) Can Be The Beginning Of The Biggest Headaches
When rainwater and melted snow seep into the cracks, often caused by heavy traffic or sub-base issues, it finds its way under the pavement. Low temperatures in the Winter Months make the water freeze and then expand which will make the cracks deeper. Once that water soaks into the rock, gravel and sand (base) it softens and weakens the base.
When vehicles drive on a lot with weakened base more cracks are created. Rain and melted snow continue to penetrate those cracks and the process repeats itself with every freeze/thaw cycle (expansion and contraction) continuing to break up the pavement.
Eventually, the base begins to erode, the cracks begin to grow and eventually break apart and more cracks appear. The pothole is formed when the amount of traffic, coupled with the broken surface and weak base, becomes overbearing to the parking lot.
Be Preventative Not Reactive
The best way to mitigate the damages of freeze/thaw cycles on your parking lot is to Crack Seal and Patch immediately. This will help repair fractured and broken areas and reduce the amount of water penetration that causes problems under the parking lot. Cold Patch may be used when the temperatures are below that of what Hot Asphalt can be made and installed. This will serve as a temporary fix until Hot Asphalt is available. Crack Sealing can begin when the temperatures reach 48 degrees and climbing.
Waiting until late Summer or Fall can be detrimental to the life of your parking lot, as you just may be allowing too much water to penetrate the lot throughout the entire season. Think Spring – its a time for refreshment and bringing back to life what was dead….this includes your parking lot.
Learn more by visiting the Asphalt Learning Center.
Contact a Surface Engineering Professional today at 216-531-7730 or visit us online at www.surface-engineering.net.