Asphalt Maintenance: How to Keep Your Lot at Its Best After a Long Summer

Asphalt maintenance is a necessity when it comes to keeping your parking lot looking inviting for visitors to your business property. It’s important to keep on top of maintenance no matter what time of year, but there’s one season that often gets neglected when it comes to keeping your asphalt lot in top shape: summer.

Yes, it’s true that a long winter can wreak havoc with your asphalt paving. In many ways, though, a long, hot summer — like the kind we often get in New Jersey — can set up your lot for even more damage over the coming winter if you’re not careful. Here’s how asphalt maintenance in the summer can help keep your parking lot looking its best all year round.

Summer Sun Leads to Winter Blues

It’s well known that excessive moisture can have a negative impact on asphalt, especially in the form of heavy rains followed by cold weather. Standing water can infiltrate into microscopic cracks, and if this water freezes it expands and widens these cracks. This, in turn, makes these cracks even more susceptible to water damage and can lead to the formation of potholes. Why, then, does a long, hot summer jeopardize the health of an asphalt parking lot?

The secret lies in that same warm sun that sends you to the Jersey Shore for the weekend (or running for the air conditioning during the week). Ultraviolet rays, the same wavelength of sunlight that helps you get that nice summer tan, isn’t so nice to asphalt lots. In only takes a few hours to get a sunburn — up to 18 hours a day of UV light battering your pavement, day after day for months,  not only bleaches your asphalt gray but begins to break it down, opening up avenues for water to seep within. This damage may be nearly imperceptible now but will be unavoidable come next spring.

An Ounce of Preventative Asphalt Maintenance

It’s this rough treatment at the hands of the summer sun that calls for asphalt maintenance before going into the cooler seasons. As the old saying goes, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, and taking steps to get your parking lot back in fighting form before the cold, wet autumn and winter seasons arrive will lead to less maintenance on your hands once the snow thaws in early spring.

Preventative maintenance isn’t expensive or time-consuming. A visual inspection of your parking lot is often all you need to begin, making a note of any spots that seem to have crumbled or cracked pavement. Asphalt patch kits, available at hardware and big box stores, are often just the thing for providing a bit more protection going into a rough cold season.

Heading it Off at the Pass

If you’re really serious about asphalt maintenance and you don’t like the idea of hand-patching, there’s an even better option for you. Having a sealcoat applied to your asphalt parking lot provides a sturdy barrier against UV rays and water damage for anywhere from three to five years, making it the ultimate tool in keeping your lot in good shape.

Sealcoating your lot has another benefit as well — with the coating blocking that UV light, your asphalt won’t discolor and fade as quickly either. In other words, your lot will stay looking better for longer as well. In the end, whether you sealcoat, patch any cracks you find, or both, late summer preventative maintenance is just what your asphalt parking lot needs to be a safe and attractive part of your commercial property.