Who would have thought that the parking lot maintenance is as essential as the maintenance of a building? It must not be neglected since this is the area that is seen first by all visitors, and it gives the first impression of the business on the visitor. The parking lot must be inspected for any effects of weather, oily deposits, stagnant water, and heavy traffic, as they have adverse effects on the paved surface over time. Thus, to minimize these effects, the parking lot is extremely essential as the deterioration of the asphalt is unavoidable, but it can be slowed down significantly with regular maintenance.
To extend the life of the pavements, parking lot paving and parking lot maintenance are extremely important. The main reason for this maintenance is that in about 90% of the parking lots in the United States, asphalt is used, which is very susceptible to weather damage, and must be repaired periodically. Asphalt, also known as bitumen, is a form of petroleum, that is mostly used in the construction of roads. Regular parking lot maintenance helps to preserve the value of the property and ensures the safety of everybody on the premises of the parking lot. Since the parking lot is the first thing that all visitors see, it should be visually appealing for them to leave a good first impression on the visitors. Furthermore, regular maintenance of the parking lot helps to prevent a big mishap, that may require a major repair. Filling cracks and seal coating the asphalt is much less expensive than paying for the repair and replacement of the asphalt itself. Without any repairs, the seal coating can last for about fifteen years. However, when the seal coating is done every three to five years, and crack filling is done yearly, the pavement would have a lifespan of about thirty years.
Numerous places require a regular parking lot maintenance. Mostly big retail facilities and public buildings rely on parking lot maintenance. Generally, all those buildings that are open to the public, rely on parking lot maintenance.
The facilities that rely on parking lot maintenance include the following:
These buildings house numerous offices, stores, and companies. It is mandatory for them to conduct regular commercial parking lot maintenance for the security of the visitors and workers, and also to maintain the value of the property.
These buildings cater to the public and happen to be busier than other buildings. These include government buildings, libraries, courthouses, hospitals, etc. Since these buildings host more traffic than other buildings, they must undergo regular parking maintenance.
Since grocery and department stores have very large parking lots, they must undergo regular parking lot maintenance to minimize any chances of accidents, slips, and falls.
Factories require regular parking lot maintenance as they require ample space for large vehicles that transport materials and products to and from the factory. These heavy vehicles add a lot of force to the parking lot and it must undergo regular maintenance to prevent any mishaps from happening.
Warehouses and shipping facilities require large parking areas for large and heavy vehicles. Hence, the parking lot needs to be maintained regularly to prevent any major damages from occurring, which can be more costly to repair.
There are two types of parking facilities that can be utilized by drivers to park their vehicles. These facilities are:
This type of parking facility consists of parking bays provided on one side or both sides of a street. This may be paid or unpaid, or limited or unlimited.
This type of parking involves parking lots. These could be privately or publicly owned, they could be self-parking garages, attendant parking garages, or surface lots. Some areas may be allotted exclusively for parking, away from the mainstream traffic. The off-street parking facilities include the following:
Maintaining large parking lots requires a team of dedicated workers to complete the task successfully. Some companies offer their clients a wide range of employees that can carry out various tasks related to the parking area maintenance. These employees include the following:
These members of the team are responsible for operating heavy machinery that is essential for the regular parking lot maintenance.
Mechanics are mainly responsible for keeping the paving equipment in good repairing condition.
Once the asphalt has been finished, the parking lot stripers paint lines and signs on it as accurately as possible. These lines and signs are very important in the smooth running of the traffic in the parking lot.
It is estimated that an average parking lot lasts about twenty to thirty years with regular parking lot maintenance. A few of the preventative maintenance ideas for parking lot have been discussed below to help increase the life span of your parking lot.
A visual inspection once a month could help you in detecting any cracks in the asphalt. Early detection could help in saving a lot of money and effort. Visual inspections must be carried out right after extreme weather conditions, such as intense rain, snow, or heat. These extreme weather conditions are known to cause the deterioration of the asphalt.
This is the simplest thing to do. All you have to do is sweep the parking lot regularly to ensure no dirt or debris can cause damage. Regular cleaning can also help prevent garbage and sticks and rocks from clogging the drains, that could prevent water from draining into the drain. Stagnant water damages the asphalt, adding to the repair costs in the future. It is also recommended that you should pressure wash your parking lot a few times in a year to get rid of oil and other chemicals that may cause damage to the pavement.
Once the pavement has been installed, you must get it to seal coated within three to six months of the installation. Once that is done, then you must get your pavement seal coated every three to five years after that. Sealcoating is extremely important in protecting the pavement against damages caused by oil leaks, oxidation, water penetration, salt, cold or hot weather. Sealcoating gives the parking lot a fresh, new, jet black look of a newly installed asphalt parking lot. One thing to keep in mind is that the sealer must be of an environmentally friendly material. Usually, the seal coating is done with coal tar or an asphalt-based emulsion. Once the seal coating has been done, the traffic flow must be changed to help spread the wear by the reorientation of the parking spaces.
Painting the surfaces of the parking lot help in keeping the area safe and helps to prevent any space wastage. These signs and lines guide the drivers regarding where to go and where to park their vehicles. It is generally a good idea to redirect and restripe the parking lot differently every time.
Any cracks found in the pavement that are 1/8 inches or wider, must be filled immediately, to help prevent the cracks from expanding further and causing havoc. Cracks that are not filed timely will expand, causing the failure of your pavement’s sub-base, leading to potholes, alligatoring, etc. The failure of the pavement sub-base requires a full replacement, which could be expensive.
Asphalt overlay involves adding a new layer of asphalt to an already existing base layer. This helps in reducing the cost of completely replacing the asphalt base layer, becoming a good cost-effective solution.
Infrared repair is a procedure that is much faster than the traditional way of removing and replacement of asphalt in the parking area. This method is cost-effective and causes less disruption in the traffic flow, due to the little downtime. This is an advantage in places which require constant access by people, such as hospitals and main roads. This technology uses infrared light rays to heat an area of the pavement, for quicker removal of the damaged asphalt layer. It is used to treat pavement depressions, trip hazards, potholes, and any rough patches in driving lanes.
Preventative concrete maintenance covers all the maintenance aspects of the parking lot. This includes all repair options, such as crack filling, expansion caulking, patching, grinding, mud jacking, sealing, power washing, protective coating, and markings.
Storm drains are built to collect pavement runoff and also collect stormwater. It is built with a sump below the pipe invert. All debris is collected by the sump through the gate inlet. For proper drainage, the storm drains must be repaired and adjusted timely.
Games, such as tennis, basketball, etc. cannot be played until there is a correct surface for the particular game. This involves a series of coatings made up of multiple layers of special acrylic material, to smooth out imperfections and voids in the asphalt or concrete base.
Asphalt deteriorates due to certain processes. These processes include UV rays, water, expansion, and contraction during winter months, oxidation, oil leaks, and thermal fluctuations.
Deterioration of asphalt is an inevitable process, but it can be slowed down. It is estimated that with regular maintenance, the asphalt can last for up to twenty to thirty years.
Asphalt maintenance procedures for parking lots include the following:
Parking lot maintenance is not as easy as it seems to be. To be a good parking-related professional, you must attain the required training and certifications. For parking lot maintenance, two certification programs are being offered:
The International Parking and Mobility Institute (IPMI) offer this certification. It is a well-known organization that is involved in the advancement of all professions involved in parking. With this certification, you can show your competency in your parking related profession to your employers, consumers, and the public.
The National Parking Association (NPA) offer the CPP, which helps you to prove to the relevant authorities or personnel that you have adequate knowledge about maintenance, operations, safety, design, loss prevention, equipment, and human resources.
In addition to these certifications and programs, there are a lot of other organizations that provide you with relevant certifications and degrees for your parking lot maintenance courses.
The parking lot maintenance must not be overlooked and should be given importance. It is necessary for the safety of the visitors and also for leaving a good impression on the visitors.