Everything You Need to Know About Parking Lot Repair

If you own a business or manage a commercial property, you know that parking lot repair is crucial.

Surprisingly, an asphalt parking lot also be one of the most expensive assets to maintain.

Whether your lot is asphalt or concrete, its constant exposure to the elements makes keeping a well-maintained parking lot challenging. However, yearly maintenance to fill cracks is often necessary. Completing repairs, like timely crack repair, can extend the lifespan of a parking lot from 15 years to roughly 30 years.

Let’s consider how and when to get serious about your commercial parking lot repair.

Understanding the Importance of Parking Lot Repair

Repairing an asphalt or concrete parking lot is primarily a matter of safety. Accident mitigation aside, addressing issues early on can prevent more extensive (and expensive repairs), all while maintaining the value of your investment: aka, your parking lot business.

Safety Concerns

Prioritizing the safety of your users and their vehicles is crucial. Regular maintenance, such as cleaning and crack repairs, ensures that the surface is even and free of hazards. This frees you from complaints, accidents, and injuries – not to mention major repairs resulting from neglect.  

A survey found that 75% of unsealed cracks become potholes within three years. But if you seal smaller cracks, only 1% develop into potholes in those same years. 

Aesthetic Appeal

A well-maintained parking lot is a source of pride for owners, patrons, and the public. And since parking lots and garages are where 10% of all property crimes (theft, vandalism, etc.) ltake place, you also want to ensure your lot is stable enough to hold lighting fixtures and other theft-deterring features. 

Customers and tenants are more likely to park in your lot if it is free of potholes, cracks, and unsightly issues. Freshly painted lines and attractive landscaping also help.

Cost-Effectiveness

Keeping your lot repaired is the best way to keep costs down. For example, sealing small cracks as soon as issues occur can prevent water and dirt from worsening the damage. 

Both concrete surfaces and asphalt require preventive measures, such as crack filler, to extend a lot’s lifespan. However, parking lots that have been in operation for over two decades (and those lots with damage stretching over one-quarter to one-third of the total square footage) typically require removal and reconstruction. 

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Identifying Common Parking Lot Issues

To get ahead of issues, inspect your lot frequently and make a note of any cracks, potholes, or drainage problems that need to be repaired.

Cracks

Cracking can be caused by:

  • Water infiltration
  • Sunlight exposure
  • Freezing and thawing cycles
  • Inadequate initial construction
  • Heavy traffic
  • Long-term wear and tear (resulting in alligator cracks)

When it comes to upholding the integrity of your lot and preventing further damage, using a crack filler followed by a seal coat on small cracks (as they appear) is the best course of action. Crack filler helps stop snow, rain, and debris from accumulating and creating wide, deep cracks. 

Potholes

Potholes can inflict damage on vehicles and pose a safety hazard for pedestrians. They form due to:

  • Natural aging processes
  • Wear and tear 
  • Poor construction
  • Structural weakness
  • Extreme weather
  • Water damage

Repairing emerging potholes is a step toward avoiding future damage. To repair potholes, fill them with a hot asphalt mix and compact the mix for durability. Ensure there’s no uneven surface, and remember that a sealant helps block further water infiltration.

Drainage Problems

Adequate drainage is vital to avert water damage and prolong the lifespan of your lot. Drainage problems can be identified by standing or running water.

To fix drainage issues, consider implementing a drainage system, grading the lot, or installing a catch basin. Regular inspections, debris removal, seal coating, and crack sealing can also help prevent drainage issues.

Asphalt vs. Concrete Parking Lots: Repair Considerations

Asphalt surface lots and concrete lots each have distinct repair considerations.

If you have yet to pour a parking lot for your parking lot business, the decision is yours: asphalt vs. concrete. When deciding, consider factors such as your budget, maintenance requirements, and climate.

For example, asphalt may be more susceptible to damage from freeze-thaw cycles in colder climates, whereas concrete may be more resistant to salt damage in coastal areas.

Asphalt Surface Parking Lot Repair

Repairing asphalt pavement is typically simpler. The flexibility of asphalt makes it more adaptable than concrete. These lots:

  • Can be ready for use within a couple of days
  • Are typically more affordable to install

However, they may require frequent maintenance, such as using a crack seal to protect the asphalt’s foundation and prolong its lifespan. Resurfacing, which involves applying a new layer of asphalt on top of the existing layer, can lengthen the life of your lot.

Concrete Parking Lot Repair

Concrete lots can take longer to pour and are usually pricier to both install and repair than asphalt parking lots. However, with proper maintenance, a concrete parking lot yields the following benefits:

  • Is more durable and resistant to damage
  • Has a longer life
  • Involves fewer long-term maintenance costs

During concrete parking lot repair, it is essential to get cracks filled immediately and address salt damage, flaking, and potholes right away.

Patching involves mixing concrete, applying cement patch bonding glue, applying the new cement mixture, and allowing the concrete to harden for 3 to 4 days. For the best results, consult consulting a professional.

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Choosing the Right Parking Lot Repaving or Repair Method

DIY repairs can be a cost-effective option for minor damage. However, professional resurfacing or replacing your parking lot may be necessary for more significant damage or underlying issues.

DIY vs. Professional Repair

Deciding between DIY and professional services depends on many factors, including the extent of the damage, the expertise and equipment needed for the fix, and your finances. But don’t let money get in the way of properly repairing your parking surface. 

If you are unsure about your ability, consult with a professional contractor.

When to Resurface or Replace

Resurfacing can be a cost-effective option to upgrade the condition of your lot without having to replace it and may extend a lot’s lifespan by 8-15 years. However, it is crucial to clean up all debris and oil spills, repair every crack, and remediate all damage first to ensure the best results.

In cases of severe damage or underlying issues, replacement may be necessary.

Preventative Maintenance for Long-Lasting Parking Lots

Proactive maintenance like inspection, debris removal, and crack sealing keep your lot in service and help save money over time. 

Regular inspections

Routine inspections help you identify and resolve problems early to avoid extensive damage and the associated expense. By staying on top of potential issues, you can also improve your parking lot’s safety, aesthetic appeal, and overall value.

Proper Cleaning and Debris Removal

Keeping your parking lot clean is essential to prevent damage and maintain its appearance.

Regularly sweep the parking lot, remove any snow, debris, or litter, and use a pressure washer to eliminate dirt. Cleaning helps reduce accidents, lengthens the life of your pavement, and wards off flooding and other drainage issues.

Sealcoating and Crack Sealing

Sealcoating and crack sealant can shield your parking lot against water damage, oxidation, and other deteriorating factors. Sealcoating protects against water saturation, asphalt decay, and the corrosive effects of oil and gas spills. A crack sealant prevents water and debris from causing further damage to your pavement.

Final Thoughts

Proactively repairing a parking lot is but one way to increase the profitability of your lot.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Are parking lot repairs capitalized or expensed?

Parking lot repairs are typically expensed, while replacement work can be capitalized. Contact a tax pro for your specific situation. 

How do you repair cracks in a concrete parking lot?

For minor concrete parking lot repair, especially a crack in the pavement, assess each square foot, ensuring the soil beneath the concrete sections is stable. Use crack filling and sealants for maintenance on the porous surface.

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