concrete for long-lasting household projects

Caring Your Your Asphalt Parking Lot: A Dos And Don'ts Guide For New Business Owners

by Kyle Carpenter

When you first start your own business, you have so many different tasks on your plate. In addition to handling accounting tasks, setting up marketing, and maybe hiring some employees, you also have to take care of the physical structure of your business -- including your parking lot. Caring for that large expanse of asphalt may be intimidating at first, but if you follow these dos and don'ts, you'll soon realize it's not too hard after all.

Do: Treat any cracks now, before they get worse.

It can be tempting to ignore little cracks until they get to the point of being an eyesore. However, this is a mistake. The longer you let cracks go, the harder (and more costly) they will be to repair.

If you're of the do-it-yourself mentality, you can repair the cracks yourself while they're still less than an inch wide. Once you've cleaned out the crack, you simply pour a liquid asphalt patch product into the crack, smooth it out to ensure it is the height of the pavement, and wait for it to dry.  Remember to wait at least 24 - 48 hours before letting anyone drive on that part of the parking lot. You may want to mark it with cones or caution tape to keep customers off of it.

If your cracks are wider than an inch, your best bet is to have a professional come repair them. While the paving specialist is on site, they can inspect your parking lot and let you know how long it will be before you need to have it sealed or replaced.

Do: Inspect the parking lot regularly.

A crack or pothole can go from tiny to huge quite quickly. If you want to keep catching and treating these problems early, then it's wise to make regular parking lot inspections a priority. If you have a smaller business, this might just mean keeping your eyes open and taking the longer route to your car once a week. If you have a larger parking lot, however, you may want to make a habit of walking up and down it and inspecting it closely once a month or so.

Don't: Try to extend the time between seal coating sessions in an attempt to save cash.

Experts recommend seal coating asphalt surfaces every 2 - 3 years. Some business owners think that their asphalt still looks pretty good after 2 - 3 years, so they put off having it re-coated. However, this is a mistake that will cost you in the long run. Once the seal coating wears off, the asphalt underneath wears down very quickly. Having your parking lot resealed before the seal coating is completely worn away can extend its lifespan up to 300% -- saving your a lot of money on replacement asphalt. A newly sealed parking lot is also more attractive, which may help boost your reputation with customers and bring in more sales.

Don't: Use standard rock salt as a de-icing agent in the winter.

If you hire a company to plow and de-ice your parking lot, specifically ask them to see the label of the product they use for de-icing. It must say that it won't degrade or harm asphalt. If the company uses standard salt (which some companies will if they are trying to save cash or offer you a lower rate), ask them if they can use an asphalt-safe de-icer instead, or seek out a different snow removal company. Using standard rock salt on asphalt can cause the seal coating to break down prematurely.

If you plan on doing your plowing and de-icing yourself, you should also shop carefully for an asphalt-safe de-icing agent. Often, these come in liquid form and can be applied to pavement before the snow even falls. They'll continue to work for a week or so before needing to be re-applied.

Caring for your parking lot should not take a lot of time or money as long as you focus on preventative care rather than waiting until problems get really severe to fix them. For more information, contact a local paving company like Asphalt Industries LLC