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Is Winter Weather Bad for My Parking Lot Asphalt?

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Is Winter Weather Bad for My Parking Lot Asphalt?

If you’re a property manager, it helps to be aware of the various things that can damage your property. In this case, we’re specifically talking about how the weather can affect the asphalt in your parking lot. It’s true that hot and cold weather have different impacts on your parking lot’s asphalt, but since it’s now March (and technically, still winter), we’re going to discuss the question of whether or not winter weather is bad for asphalt in your parking lot. Equipped with this knowledge, you’ll be better able to anticipate potential problems and avoid spending hundreds of dollars repairing your damaged parking lot each winter.

1.    Ice

Ice is one of those winter elements that everyone needs to be aware of. Ice is slippery, it’s dangerous, and in the case of black ice, you sometimes don’t even see it coming. Not only is this a hazard for people driving on your parking lot, it can also lead to deeper structural issues that will require repaving.

Cracks

Cracks in parking lot asphalt happen over time. Why? As the asphalt contracts and expands in the hot and cold weather, it will develop small cracks and weak spots. Similarly, the ground underneath your parking lot shifts over time, also leading to cracks. What does ice have to do with all of this? When water gets into the cracks in your parking lot pavement and freezes, it expands, causing small cracks to become bigger ones gradually year after year. To alleviate this issue, make sure that your parking lot has adequate drainage, and that you have a professional fill in the larger parking lot cracks.

Rock Salt

If you’re in the habit of throwing rock salt over your walkways and parking lot pavement in order to remove slippery ice, keep in mind that rock salt is one of the most damaging things to pavement. Rock salt gets rid of ice fast, but it also lets your water refreeze later on. As water in your parking lot continuously freezes, melts, and refreezes, it seeps into the porous asphalt and actually starts to break away at it. If you’re in the habit of salting areas of your parking lot, then you probably will notice more potholes and significantly more wear and tear. Use rock salt sparingly.

Asphalt parking lot cracked by wet winter weather. 2.    Rain

Rain, rain, go away – unless you live in California, in which case you’re currently welcoming the long-awaited rainfall. However, rain isn’t without its drawbacks, and that’s true for your parking lot as well.

Puddles

We’ve already told you about the dangers of parking lot puddles, which tells you just how big of a problem it is. To put it plainly, no one wants to have to park their car in a flooded, puddle-filled parking lot – and you don’t want to deal with the wear and tear that puddles cause.

Potholes

And with rain comes the infamous pothole, the bane of every driver’s existence. Over time, rain will wear down your parking lot and create small holes, which only become bigger and bigger holes over time. Potholes cause damage to vehicles, and also serve as tripping hazards for pedestrians. Have a professional fill in potholes as soon as possible.

3.    Hail

Luckily, hail isn’t as common as are cold temperatures and rain – but that doesn’t mean hail is without its negative effects.

Erosion

Imagine the effects of rain on asphalt, and multiply that twice over. Hail is like dozens of tiny hammers on pavement, worsening the effects of erosion, creating bigger potholes, and making even bigger cracks. If you live in an area where hail is frequent, play close attention to the look and feel of your parking lot surface year after year. Make sure to take steps to maintain the surface and keep it free of potholes and large cracks.

So is winter weather bad for your parking lot? In short, it puts extra strain on your parking lot pavement – strain that is largely unavoidable. It’s important to know when it’s time to call in the help of a professional to offer parking lot repair and resurfacing to increase longevity and ensure that you are offering a pleasant experience for vehicles and pedestrians.

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