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Parking Lot Aesthetics: How to Keep Your Lot Shining


By Michael Coletta, PCM Asphalt Division Manager | May 22, 2013

Do you know that studies show you only have between 7-17 seconds to make a great impression?

First impressions make a difference

This means that first impressions are critical. Does your parking lot make a positive first impression to customers, owners, prospective tenants, or even buyers? If the answer is no, you may be interested to learn how to keep your parking lot shining. First we need to understand why it breaks down or fails.

Significant contributors to pavement deterioration

Allowing minor blemishes in your pavement to grow into major problems will both increase your costs and lower customer satisfaction. From day 1, asphalt begins to breakdown from the sun, rain, and load (traffic). The primary cause of failure is the permeation of water into the asphalt base. When water enters the base of the pavement, the base material is displaced and settles. This leads to further cracking and a depression in the surface. As water gathers in the depressed area, the asphalt deteriorates and becomes unstable. At this point, removal and replacement of the old asphalt is often the only solution. Over time, all asphalt degrades naturally due to oxidation and the breakdown of the surface. As water penetrates the asphalt it begins to speed up the failure process. If the original asphalt is not constructed to meet the load placed on it (heavy trucks, etc.), it may fail earlier as well.

Water is the number one contributor to asphalt deterioration. The obvious source of this water is rain. But what about landscape irrigation? Over-watering and repetitive water runoff is extremely detrimental to the lifespan of asphalt. The constant overflow of water actually erodes the binder that holds the aggregate together.

Expensive Neglect

If you are worried about money, consider how much you will save when your well-maintained parking lot lasts 10-15 years longer than a neglected lot. Without proper maintenance, a parking lot will deteriorate significantly in as little as 5 to 7 years. A parking lot that is regularly sustained, however, can last 20-25 years.

With an initial investment in your parking lot, annual maintenance will extend the life of the asphalt pavement which ultimately results in an overall lower cost. Now ask yourself what makes the most sense for your business and budget.