by James Farley
Posted on December 20, 2017 at 4:00 PM
There are many benefits to sealcoating, as well as things to consider when deciding whether or not to sealcoat your parking lot.
Now more than ever it's important to be a savvy and educated consumer. This is especially true when you are managing a property with a large asphalt parking lot. Asphalt repair in your parking lot can be one of the biggest expenses you will come across when maintaining a property, so learning ways to reduce asphalt cost should be a priority. Many paving contractors don't take the time to educate you about what can be done to save money in your parking lot. The reason for this is often times it feels too much like an up sell, or in an effort to keep things easy for their customers, they just focus on the current project and scope of work that the customer is looking to get done. With that in mind we decided to set up a round table with our asphalt estimate team, and discuss some of the most important things that property owners can do to reduce the cost of owning a paved parking lot. The question presented to them was simple; What can people do to save money in their parking lots? Well after milling the idea about, they started to give me some great ways to save some money in your parking lot. Keep in mind these are not a one size fits all solution, but if any of these apply they can potentially save you a lot of money over time.
Install Concrete Swales
When it comes to parking lots there is one enemy that paving contractors can agree upon and that’s water. I have written several blogs in the past about this one enemy because it's so very true. Water needs to move off your asphalt and go somewhere else, and the thing that works best at doing that is a concrete swale, or flow line. Water that is allowed to sit, or constantly run over your asphalt will destroy it faster than almost anything else. The answer is to move the water to a flow line or concrete swale. The basic idea of the swale is to move the water off of your parking lot and onto the city street where it can get to a storm drain. Sure, installing these swales will cost you some money, but over time you will find the cost will be well worth it. Typically parking lots with swales and good drainage last for many more years then asphalt with poor or no drainage. If you don’t have them now, consider getting them installed. You won't be sorry.
Asphalt thickness is another one of those issues that doesn’t come up often enough when bidding pavement repair projects. The thing about thicker asphalt is, it doesn’t need to be installed throughout an entire parking lot. Just spending one day on your parking lot can tell you where weight load abuses are happening, sometimes these abuses are necessary, take for example a typical shopping center. The front parking lot doesn’t receive the same weight load as the rear parking lot where large trucks and vehicles are unloading their cargo, or where garbage trucks are entering and exiting. If you keep fixing an area of your parking lot and that same area keeps failing, there is a good chance that you need a thicker pavement solution. The key is to design a custom paving plan that includes the areas that typically get heavier weight loads, an intelligent repair will last far longer than an ignorant one.
Treat Oils Spots Early
In parking lots oil spots are pretty ugly, but worse than that, they are breaking down your asphalt. They start off as harmless little stains, and more and more they get built up into large blotchy circles that nothing will stick to. If left unattended long enough, they will continue to unravel your asphalt until it becomes a full fledged pothole. The solution is pretty simple when it comes to this problem but will often be overlooked. Oil spot primers are perfect for the job, oil spot primers can be used on any type of asphalt surface, including parking lots, airports, gas stations etc. These primers seal oil, gas, and grease spots on pavement prior to coating and helps prevent oil spots from bleeding up through freshly applied pavement sealer.
Sealcoat ever 2 years
Most of our clients are pretty good when it comes to sealcoating their parking lots. The property owners understand that a clean and well maintained parking lot typically leads to a parking lot that feels safe and inviting, but how often should you be sealcoating? The short answer to that question is typically every two years. Sealcoat should be applied every two years and with two coats as mentioned above. If you can get on this schedule and stay on this schedule from day one of your parking lot, you will be amazed at how few repairs will need to be done in your parking lot. Keep in mind your parking lot will not be pitch black for two years, but it will be protected. The cost difference between pavement repair and sealcoating is very large. So keep that asphalt sealed.
Fix you irrigation
Sigh…..Ever feel like a broken record? I have talked about this one so many times now I can only imagine me saying out loud while sleeping. (Note to self ….ask wife if she hears the words "Bad Irrigation" when sleeping) Bad irrigation waste water, bad irrigation leaks water all over the parking lot, bad irrigation causes most of the problems we see in parking lots today. Maybe what I really need here is one of those sexy headlines that people can't resist like "Want to learn how Oprah became a millionaire", then just tell people to fix their sprinklers. If you haven't figured out by now, fix your bad irrigation. Call your local landscaping contractor, or better yet talk to mine here, and get him to fix your bad sprinklers and irrigation. You're gonna save a ton of dough.
So this list really is just about good pavement maintenance suggestions. These suggestions are designed to prolong the lifespan of your asphalt, and the longer your asphalt last, the less money you have to pay over time, simple concept but it's true.