The Midwest is fast approaching the winter season! With leaves falling and the temperatures dropping, the time for getting your last-minute parking lot repairs completed is NOW.
Potholes and cracks are serious business, particularly once the snow and ice take over. Winterizing your parking lot is crucial for protecting your pavement while ensuring a safe and easy-to-maintain surface throughout winter.
Here’s how to winterize your parking lot!
1. Fill in Cracks (Cracksealing)
Even the smallest pavement cracks quickly turn into larger cracks, craters, and dangerous potholes. Sealing cracks to ensure that water and ice cannot penetrate the subgrade of your pavement is an inexpensive way to prevent excessive heaving and settling throughout the changing seasons.
Done properly and frequently, asphalt cracksealing can easily extend the life of your asphalt. Make sure to schedule cracksealing before the first freeze since cracksealing works best when temperatures are warmer. It’s also important to rout the cracks prior to sealing them. This creates a reservoir for the rubber sealant to really penetrate into the crack creating a better seal.
It’s also important to learn how soon to crackseal parking lots after winter!
2. Patch Potholes
Patching potholes is a critical aspect of parking lot maintenance, especially when gearing up for the winter season. There are three primary pothole repair methods, each designed to address specific pavement issues.
Pothole patching is the first option and cheapest solution because it is short-term, lasting about a year. A patching crew goes to a site with a set amount of asphalt that they shovel into the holes and compact with a small roller.
Mill patching is a versatile and cost-effective approach used to repair damaged sections of a parking lot with surficial damage, beginning with the removal of the deteriorated pavement surface using milling machinery. This process not only eliminates potholes but also levels uneven areas, creating a smooth and uniform surface. Mill patching is particularly effective for addressing surface-level damage, such as shallow potholes, cracks, and ruts.
One of the key advantages of mill patching is its ability to restore the structural integrity of the pavement while maintaining the existing base layers. This method is environmentally friendly as it recycles the removed material for future use, reducing waste. Mill patching is also a relatively quick process, minimizing disruption to your parking lot's functionality. It's an excellent choice for extending the lifespan of your pavement and preventing minor issues from escalating into major problems.
Full-depth patching, or dig-out patching, is a more comprehensive solution suitable for repairing deep and extensive pavement damage, such as deep potholes or areas with significant base deterioration. This method involves the removal and replacement of the entire damaged section of pavement, including the base layers. It’s the ideal patching solution to use when the structural integrity of the pavement is compromised.
3. Clean Off Pavement
Dirt and debris can corrode pavement if left on the surface all winter long. Leaves can also create dams, clog gutters, and force water to collect or not drain properly, resulting in more ice on the asphalt surface.
4. Sealcoat the Pavement
Applying a sealcoat to your parking lot before winter provides an additional layer of protection against the harsh elements. It helps prevent water infiltration, UV damage, and the oxidation of pavement surfaces. A well-applied sealcoat can extend the life of your pavement and reduce the need for costly repairs.
While there are various types of sealcoat applications, the most popular are emulsion and chipseal. Learn more about the two different types of sealcoats for parking lots, and feel free to reach out to our experts with any questions!
5. Create a Snow & Ice Removal Plan
Weather affects asphalt pavement throughout every Minnesota season, especially during winter, so it’s important to have a comprehensive snow and ice removal plan in place before the first snowfall. This includes having the necessary equipment and personnel to keep your parking lot clear and safe throughout the winter.
Prompt snow removal prevents the formation of ice and ensures safe access for your customers and employees!
6. Inspect Lighting & Signage
Winter days are shorter, and visibility can be reduced due to snow and fog. Ensure that your parking lot lighting is in working order and that all signage is visible. Proper illumination and signage contribute to safety and prevent accidents during low-light conditions.
7. Get an Annual Pavement Assessment
Beyond immediate repairs, consider performing a self-assessment of your pavement conditions (https://bitroads.com/Portals/0/br_pavement_condition_assessment.pdf). This can provide valuable insights into the overall condition of your pavement, helping you prioritize long-term repairs and budget effectively.
If you would like to meet with a pavement expert, BR will always visit your job site and provide a pavement assessment. We will check for any low-settling areas. Identifying weak areas – or areas where water can collect and freeze – can reduce the risk of your parking lot turning into a skating rink – which is obviously dangerous for both pedestrians AND vehicles.
Fall months are perfect for budgeting for long-term parking lot repairs. If you haven’t already, inspect your parking lot for weak pavement areas now. Common problem areas include pavement cracking, heaving or settling, rutting, potholes, faded paint, or oxidized pavement.
If left untreated, all of these can lead to extensive and costly damage.
Get Your Parking Lot Ready for Winter
To ensure an accurate pavement evaluation, enlist the help of a reputable parking lot maintenance contractor. Bituminous Roadways, Inc. can assist you with getting your parking lot in tip-top shape for winter and help prioritize repairs so your maintenance budget is manageable.
We can provide valuable assessments now to assist you in forecasting your maintenance budget. The season for road construction is finally nearing its end, this means parking lots too!
Contact BR at 651-686-7001 before it’s too late, and get your pavement ready for winter!