Parking Lot Maintenance: Best Practices for a Well-Maintained Lot

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Like everything else in life, parking lots age over time. Environmental elements break down asphalt, washing away paint lines and leaving cracks that give way to potholes. 

A poorly maintained parking lot can inflict damage to vehicles parked on the premises and may even depreciate the lot’s total value (along with the value of the surrounding properties).

From filling cracks to repainting stripes to hiring professionals, keeping parking lots clean and new in appearance requires a bit of maintenance work. Using tips from the National Parking Association, we’ve compiled this comprehensive guide to parking lot maintenance.

The Lifespan of a Parking Lot

At the start of its lifetime, a parking lot is safe, durable, and has high curb appeal. With proper maintenance, an asphalt parking lot can remain in pristine condition and last anywhere between 20 and 30 years.

Parking lots in areas with high traffic, such as grocery and department stores, tend to have a shorter lifespan. Extreme weather conditions can also cause asphalt to become brittle and deteriorate more quickly. 

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Identifying Common Issues

The faster you remedy potential problems, the longer your parking lot will live. For instance, filling and sealing cracks when they first appear can help prevent larger potholes from forming. 

Thus, a key component of parking lot maintenance is regularly inspecting the space for cracks, standing water, oil spills are other hazards. Here are three issues to look out for: 

Potholes and Cracks

Always keep your eyes peeled for cracks. While a crack is unlikely to cause any major damage, these can quickly develop into potholes.

    Water can also seep into these cracks, causing further damage and potentially compromising its structural integrity.

    Standing Water

    Standing water in a parking lot can be problematic for a couple of reasons. First off, it’s a safety hazard, as it creates a slippery surface. 

    Water can also damage a vehicle, and weaken the asphalt or concrete surface over time. This can lead to long-term drainage problems and surface deterioration. 

      To protect against water damage, you’ll want to seal coat an asphalt parking lot every three years.

      Generally speaking, the cost to reseal a parking lot will range from 14 to 28 cents per square foot. (Note that the average parking lot measures anywhere from 300 to 350 square feet).

      Faded Striping

      Parking lots with faded stripes are confusing for drivers to navigate. This confusion can lead to traffic congestion, wrong-way driving, and potential accidents.

      In addition to safety issues, unclear striping can give the impression of neglect or lack of attention to maintenance, which may deter customers or visitors. 

        Essential Maintenance Tasks

        To remedy the aforementioned issues (or to prevent them in the first place). there are a couple of routine steps to add to your parking lot maintenance routine. 

        Here are three services you should consider to keep your space in top condition.

        Cleaning and Debris Removal

        Keep the space clean. Accumulated dirt and debris can cause surface deterioration and make it difficult to identify new issues. A clean parking lot is a parking lot free of pollutants, such as oil, chemicals, and litter—all of which can stream into stormwater systems and harm the environment.

        Options for cleaning parking spaces include high-pressure water hose, a power washer, or a suitable cleaning solution. Before employing any of those methods, be sure to remove loose debris or leaves by hand or with a broom.  


          Sealcoating is the process of applying a protective coating to the asphalt surface. This coating shields the asphalt from sunlight, rain, snow, and harsh weather conditions. It also prevents water penetration. 

          New parking lots should be sealed within the first year of installation. Reapply the sealant every two to three years, or as needed. 

            Crack Filling and Repair

            If you’ve identified any cracks in your parking lot, have them filled as soon as possible. This can save you a bit of money, as cracks can turn into costly and extensive problems if left untreated. 

            To fill cracks, begin by thoroughly cleaning off any debris. You’ll need to rid the area of debris before applying a filler (whether you use a caulking gun or by pouring it directly into the crack). After the filler dries, consider seal-coating the entire parking lot for added protection.

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              Seasonal Considerations for Parking Lot Maintenance

              From icy winters to simmering summers, weather conditions have a huge impact on parking lot maintenance. Here are two seasonal considerations that impact the lifespan of your parking lot. 

              Winter Snow Removal

              The accumulation of snow and ice can lead to slippery and hazardous conditions. Avoid accidents for both drivers and pedestrians by removing snow and treating ice with salt. 

              In addition to maintaining safety, snow removal prevents damage to the parking lot surface caused by the freeze-thaw cycles. These cycles cause moisture within the pavement to expand and contract, weakening the asphalt and leading to erosion and structural degradation.

                Summer Heat and Sun Protection

                Heat and sun can also cause wear and tear on your parking lot. Both UV radiation and extreme heat can cause asphalt to soften and crumble over time.

                In addition to implementing regular maintenance practices, like filling cracks and seal coating, consider incorporating planted trees or any other structure that could create shade and protect asphalt from the sun. 

                  Should You Hire Professionals for Parking Lot Maintenance?

                  Take your parking lot business to the next level by hiring a professional parking lot maintenance team. Professionals have the necessary tools and expertise to perform a variety of parking lot maintenance services, including cleaning, crack repair, and seal coating. 

                  Involving professionals also ensures your parking lot receives the highest quality of service and adheres to industry standards. 

                  How Routine Parking Lot Maintenance Can Boost Businesses

                  Understanding parking lot maintenance is especially important if you’re thinking of starting a parking lot business. This business involves conducting market research, verifying zoning requirements, and designing a space according to the correct parking space dimensions. The last step is maintaining a clean and well-maintained parking lot, which will help draw in visitors. 

                  You can further boost your business by becoming a host on a peer-to-peer storage marketplace, like Neighbor, to publish all your available parking spaces.

                  Owning parking lots is a great investment opportunity This niche investment provides a stable income, often immune to other fluctuations in the economy. 

                  Final Thoughts

                  Keeping an eye out for potential issues, taking preventative measures, and employing a professional are just some of the key components of regular parking lot maintenance. 

                  By prioritizing your parking lot, you not only avoid expensive repair charges and sinking property values, but you also make the space inviting and safe for visitors or clients. 

                  Frequently Asked Questions

                  How do I keep my parking lot clean?

                  To keep your parking lot clean, establish a regular sweeping routine to remove leaves, dirt, trash, and other debris. Use absorbent materials to clean up oil or chemical spills, and try a pressure washer to remove stains and dirt buildup.  

                  What is parking lot sealant?

                  Parking lot sealant is a specially formulated liquid coating that protects surfaces from water penetration, sun damage, and harsh chemicals, ensuring long-lasting protection.

                  What is the best surface for a parking lot?

                  Asphalt and bitumen are the most common materials used for constructing parking lots. 

                  What is the average lifespan of an asphalt parking lot?

                  The average lifespan of an asphalt parking lot is between 20 and 30 years.

                  How often should a parking lot be seal-coated?

                  Parking lots should be sealed every two to three years to keep them in optimal condition.

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