FM Articles

Parking Lots Maintenance Mistakes

Parking Lots

Revitalizing the appearance and strength of parking lots is a top priority for many facility managers this year. After a tumultuous 2020, many are beginning to think about how they can get back into a regular maintenance routine. After all, sealcoating and repairing a parking lot not only beautifies your property, but also keeps patrons safe as they enter and exit a business. Here are some of the most common parking lot maintenance missteps, and how you can avoid them as you consider scheduling asphalt maintenance and paving services this season.

  1. Choosing the contractor based solely on price.

First, decide what your asphalt repair budget is for this year before meeting with contractors. Being upfront about what you are willing and able to spend, and your repair priorities, will allow contractors to provide estimates that meet your needs and will help you fairly compare estimates.

Many times, new facility managers think they need to get several quotes, but the more important thing is to find a contractor you are confident you can trust.

When comparing contractors, keep these additional tips in mind:

  • Find a contractor who offers multiple services. A quality asphalt paving contractor should be able to offer crack filling, sealcoating, repairs and replacement. If a contractor only offers one service, they may be inclined to push that solution, even though it may not be the best one for your situation.
  • Check Google reviews and look for a contractor that has been in business for a long time, which speaks to the quality of their work.
  • Meet with the contractor in-person to talk through your parking lot’s repair needs. If they ask detailed questions to understand your desired project scope, it’s a good sign that they are interested in providing an individualized approach to your asphalt paving project.
  1. Sealcoating your parking lot too frequently.

On average, parking lots should be sealcoated every 2-5 years. The appearance of a freshly sealcoated parking lot revives the look of a business, but doing it too often creates a buildup that can cause cracks in the sealcoating or peeling, which can be both unattractive and costly to repair. In addition to making your parking lot more attractive, the purpose of sealcoating is to waterproof and seal the parking lot from damage due to rain, chemicals, U.V. rays, and debris.

Over the past year many parking lots saw higher than average vehicle traffic as they were transformed into vaccine clinics, drive-through celebration spots, and outdoor dining areas. Depending on your location, harsh weather conditions may have also created more wear and tear on your parking lot than in average years. If you are debating whether or not your parking lot may need to be repaired or sealcoated, here are some questions to ask as you audit your parking lot:

  • What types of repairs are needed this year?
  • What is the impact if the parking lot maintenance is delayed?
  • What contractors have been used in the past, and were you pleased with their service?
  • Are there new cracks or potholes that need repair?
  • When is my ideal date and time to schedule maintenance?
  1. Attempting repairs yourself.

If you notice potholes, place an orange cone or steel plate over them to prevent further damage and protect patrons, then call a paving contractor. Professional contractors repair potholes with a hot mix asphalt that is purchased from a material supplier and lasts longer.

If you notice cracks in your parking lot, this is another service it’s best to call the professionals to do. Crack filling prevents debris and water from entering the foundation and eroding base materials, ultimately improving the lifespan of your parking lot. Small, untreated cracks in your asphalt can quickly become bigger, more expensive repairs, so tackle them as soon as they appear.

  1. Avoiding a maintenance plan.

Winter season and early spring is a good time to audit your parking lot, handle any immediate repairs, and schedule sealcoating or professional repair work. It’s also an ideal time to gather quotes from paving contractors when they are less busy and able to quickly respond to your inquiries. The best time of year to have sealcoating done is when your state’s weather is consistently above 55 degrees, but if you wait until then to call a contractor, by that time it may be harder to get on their schedule.

Take this spring season to review your facility maintenance needs and welcome patrons back with a revitalized and safe parking surface.

Bob Lester is president and CEO of Columbus, Ohio based Dura-Seal, a sealcoating, asphalt, and concrete services company. He has worked in the paving industry for over 20 years, leading two buyouts, an acquisition, and the sale of an equipment manufacturing company at Dura-Seal. Prior to joining the company, Bob studied business finance at Otterbein University.