4 Ways To Protect Your Asphalt Parking Lot From Water Damage

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You know how weather can take its toll on your parking lot, but did you know that water is the biggest contributor to damage? In fact, a parking lot that's covered in water only 10% of the time will see its lifespan potentially cut in half. Fortunately, you can take steps to protect your investment against threats to its integrity. If you want to get the maximum life out of your asphalt parking lot, here are four ways that you can shield it from the ill effects of rain, snow, and sleet.

Applying a Sealer

The sun is vital for supporting life, but, oddly, it's also a known enemy to asphalt, and here's why. Through a process called oxidation, UV rays mix with oxygen to break the chemical bonds in your pavement, leading to cracks and potholes that allow rain and snow to seep in.

A good sealer is about as important to your parking lot as a sunscreen is to your skin. It works by adding a shield that blocks the harmful effects of UV rays so that degradation and oxidation is much more difficult. Sealers should be applied every three years if you want to save up to $100,000 in down-the-road repair expenses.

There are several different types of sealers to choose from, and they vary in cost and environmental friendliness, among other things. For instance, asphalt emulsion sealers can only be applied during the hottest months of the year, as the heat makes the coat curate. They tend to be better in that they have less of an impact on air quality, and they're non-irritating to the skin. Fast dry sealers curate in less than an hour but tend to be more costly.

You should consult with an asphalt contractor to decide which one will work best for your parking lot and with your budget.

Crack Filling

Cracks in your parking lot are bound to happen as a natural result of oxidation. And while they may seem like nothing more than an eyesore, they actually need to be addressed ASAP.

Cracks allow rain and melted snow to seep into the deepest layer of your parking lot, ultimately eroding the base. The next thing you know, you've got a pothole. Potholes are bad because they can lead to injuries—for which you could be held liable—as well as damage to vehicles.

Crack filling is a relatively simple process that can prevent further eroding and the costly repairs of potholes. Asphalt professionals will start by removing any debris or plant material that may have infiltrated the cracks, then repair and fill the cracks with a special type of sealant that offers long lasting protection.

Patch Repairing

Patch repairs are used to fix potholes, a gaping invitation to the elements, and they are very important for protecting against expansion of the hole as well as liability issues.

The first stage is to outline the troubled area before using a jackhammer to completely remove the pothole all the way down to the sub-base layer. The new asphalt is then "patched" in, and the edges are sealed with a special emulsion that allows the new material to bond with the neighboring asphalt. This last step is critical to ensure against future erosion.

Applying an Overlay

If your entire parking lot is in need of attention, with minor cracks and potholes, there is a remedy that's less costly than a complete repaving or replacement.

An overlay is a nice, thin layer of new asphalt applied over the stretch of your lot. An overlay comes with one caveat, however: while it's a good temporary fix and will brighten your lot with a fresh, new look, whatever issues you have with your original parking lot will eventually resurface, so any cracks or potholes could make their way up to the top layer. This is known as reflective cracking, and a fabric overlay could be a good solution to this issue.

With this method, a layer of fabric is laid down between the old asphalt and the new overlay. Fabric overlays are made of geotextiles, and they kind of serve a dual purpose. First, they help to prevent reflective cracking. Second, they add a layer of protection against future water damage, working as a moisture barrier and protecting against new cracks and potholes.

For more information, contact a company like Construction Asphalt Paving Services Inc.

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29 June 2016

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