An aging parking lot doesn't fail all at once. There are little signs that problems are developing. By acting on these signs, you can prolong the working life of your asphalt parking lot.

Aging Issues

Certain issues often develop as your asphalt lot ages. Damage from weathering and water is the most obvious. This type of damage can lead to large single cracks or a network of small cracks, for example, or it may cause potholes to form. In some cases, settling of the base material beneath the lot can lead to low areas and standing water, which in turn speeds up the development of cracks and potholes.

Surface erosion is another issue with aging asphalt. The oils in the asphalt begin to dry while weathering forces, like rain and wind, wear away at the surface. The asphalt color fades and the aggregate stone seems to rise above the asphalt binders. This creates a bumpy surface and can also lead to loose aggregate issues.

Problem Signs

Some of the first signs of trouble are the development of low areas or fine cracks, which are most often caused by settling of the base material or drainage issues causing base washouts. As water collects in these areas, it seeps into the pores of the eroding surface asphalt. There the water freezes and expands in cold weather, leading to cracks and potholes.

Loose aggregate on the surface is always a sign that the lot is deteriorating, as is excessive color fading and the presence of many fine cracks. Another problem sign is an overly-absorbent paved lot. Generally, water should bead up and flow off the surface of the lot and into the nearest storm drain. An aging lot will absorb the water, which is what leads to the crack and pothole formation mentioned above.

Repair Possibilities

If caught early, you can prolong the life of an aging parking lot. For lots with minimal base settling and no raised or loose aggregate, sealcoating is the answer. Any small damages, such as cracks and developing potholes, are repaired. Then, a parking lot paving service applies a sealcoat that is made of asphalt and special epoxies. This thin coating covers any tiny cracks and creates a protective seal against future weathering. Sealcoats can be applied as often as annually on lots exposed to heavy traffic or harsh weather conditions.

Resurfacing is a way to repair a badly aged lot with cracks, potholes, and loose or raised aggregate. A new coat of asphalt, several inches thick, is applied over the old lot. This is like installing a new parking lot but using the old one as the base. If the actual base of the lot is badly damaged, though, then only a full lot replacement will help.

Contact a parking lot paving service for more help with your aging commercial lot.