Asphalt is one of the most versatile and durable paving materials currently available. However, while asphalt can withstand a number of stressors, certain conditions can encourage premature wear or cause acute damage to asphalt surfaces.

Whether you own an apartment complex or manage a school building, you have a lot of property logistics to manage. In addition to taking care of your building itself, prioritize protecting your parking lot from hazards that can turn your lot into an unsafe and unsightly detriment to your property instead of an asset.

In this blog, we list 10 common threats to maintaining the condition of an asphalt parking lot.

1. Age

As asphalt ages, the pavement can become more brittle and, therefore, more vulnerable to cracking. While you can’t keep your parking lot from aging, you can stay current with maintenance and consult with a paving expert to keep the pavement intact for as long as possible.

2. Caustic Chemicals

While asphalt can handle harsher conditions than many materials, your parking lot is still vulnerable to the effects of corrosives. Paint thinner, gasoline, ice melt or road salt, and even industrial-grade cleaners can cause pitting and contribute to wear.

To minimize damage from any chemicals spilled in your parking lot, dilute and wash away the substance with water as soon as possible.

3. Direct Sunlight

Older blacktop doesn’t look nearly as black as freshly paved parking lots due to sunlight-related fading. In addition to changing the color of your parking lot, direct sunlight speeds up the aging process. Shade your parking lot if possible, but definitely have a sealcoat applied at recommended intervals as well.

4. Hail

Hailstones hit with surprisingly hard impact. In areas where hailstorms are frequent, this precipitation can leave little divots in asphalt pavement that eventually become cracks and potholes. To reduce the effects of hail, schedule seasonal maintenance from a paving contractor with experience in the local climate.

5. Oily Liquids

While caustic substances can eat into your asphalt, oily liquids seep into the pavement. This saturation makes your parking lot sticky and affects the natural way that the asphalt expands and contracts with temperature fluctuations.

If you notice a motor or food-grade oil spill, soak up as much of the liquid as possible with sand before clearing it away.

6. Overgrown Vegetation

Weeds and plant life that outgrows their designated area can actually pose a threat to your asphalt over time. Misplaced vegetation affects drainage in parking lots. When you have a lot of overgrown plant life, this vegetation may lead to standing water, which we’ll discuss in a later section.

Additionally, particularly strong weeds can widen existing cracks with their root structures and complicate repairs.

7. Oversized Vehicles

When oversized vehicles move more slowly, the pavement beneath them takes a heavier load. If you often have delivery, garbage, or dump trucks in your parking lot, your asphalt may show signs of the excess weight sooner rather than later.

When you know to expect oversized vehicles, you can have a contractor lay down deep asphalt to compensate for the weight of these trucks.

8. Pools of Water

Asphalt is built on a base layer that provides a surface for the blacktop you actually see to adhere to. Unfortunately, water seeps right through the blacktop and penetrates the base layer easily, especially when it stands in one spot for a long period of time.

Water intrusion decreases pavement strength and contributes to wear and tear like potholes.

9. Unaddressed Repairs

Many property owners and managers assume that their parking lot repairs can be put at the bottom of their to-do lists because many roads and parking lots show signs of wear. However, unaddressed parking lot damage can worsen dramatically with normal foot and road traffic or weather changes.

When this damage becomes more extensive, so too does the scope of your repairs and the potential costs involved.

10. Weather Extremes

One of the reasons why asphalt is so durable is because the material expands and contracts easily as temperatures change. However, weather extremes can take a serious toll on your parking lot.

If you live in a climate with heavy snow or rainfall, icy winter conditions, or blisteringly hot summers, prioritize yearly asphalt maintenance.

Safeguard your parking lot against these threats to protect your paving investment. You may need to implement new rules about vehicle maintenance being performed on your lot, install a security system, or adjust elements like drainage in order to keep your parking lot structurally sound and strong in the long run.

If your parking lot has already been exposed to these or any other damaging substances or circumstances, schedule professional asphalt repair as soon as possible. Prompt repairs minimize the scope of necessary work, saving you time and money. Additionally, this step improves lot usability and customer, employee, or tenant perception.

For comprehensive asphalt paving services, trust the experienced team at Plehal Blacktopping.