As the sun's rays beat down over time, the original dark black color of your parking lot will turn into a light black/dark gray color. Typically, your line striping will be fading out at the same rate. The loss of color tells you that significant amounts of oil have left the asphalt surface material. Oil spots are not signs of wear, necessarily or indicators of future failure. Motor oil harms the performance of asphalt cement binder and therefore, the strength of the surface. Oil spots indicate an unhealthy accumulation of oil, which left unchecked, will lead to more serious problems. Rough surfaces and lost aggregate (rocks) are indications of raveling. Raveling is magnified by vehicle traffic and fast moving water from rain or sprinklers.
Miscellaneous small cracks may be telling you many things about the condition of your parking lot. Usually, they are simply the result of pavement surface or base contraction and expansion.
There are two things to keep in mind:
1.) Cracks allow water to enter and damage the subsurface.
2.) The frequency and pattern of crack development will indicate whether they are the sign of a serious problem requiring repair of the base and replacement of the existing surface layer.
To maintain its visible impact and protect against the other effects of weather, you should have a protective surface coating applied to your pavement every few years in accordance with weather and traffic conditions. Many different types of seal coats are available. Each one works well for some applications and less well for others. Using the lowest priced seal coat is not necessarily the best investment for your parking lot or your long-term budget. Seal coats do not stop cracks.
They do not add strength to an asphalt pavement surface. They do reduce the impacts of sunlight on the parking lot. They help the pavement hold onto its oils and aggregate. Cracks need to be routed prior to applying a seal coat. The parking lot should be swept clean of any dirt. Oil spots must be heated and scraped clean. Saturated oil spots should be removed down to a depth of at least 1?? and filled with an asphalt mix.
The primary reason for sealing cracks is to prevent water from entering the subsurface and causing damage. A second situation, which calls for crack filling, is when preparing surface for the placement of a fabric or an overlay. Cracks can be filled and sealed with two different techniques. The best approach is to use an injection nozzle that leaves the sealing fluid slightly below the top of the pavement. The more economical approach is to spread crack sealer with a spray nozzle/squeegee that leaves a three inch wide band centered over the crack. The principle advantage of the injection nozzle is that tires do not come into contact with the sealer and, therefore, will not be able to pull it up, which can happen with the banded approach. The injection nozzle also increases the probability that the filler/sealer penetrates the crack well to better withstand the shearing forces and will likely form a crack in itself over order for either method to work well, small cracks must be routed out to at least 1/2??. The sealer used should have an adhesive quality to it so that it will provide a superior water barrier. The crack should be cleaned out with compressed air. Crack filling should not be performed during wet weather. Cracks less than 1/8?? can be suitable covered with a sealcoat.
As a property manager or owner, here is something you need to remember: Asphalt wears is a given. It loses its color, it cracks, it hardens, and it has occasional potholes Asphalt is an asset that requires consistent maintenance to ensure reliable service.
Maintaining an attractive and smooth asphalt parking lot requires investment in asphalt preventative maintenance and repair. The speed at which your pavement wears out will be a function of vehicle traffic volume, quality of design, quality of installation, weather, and last but not least, quality and timeliness of asphalt maintenance. Combining any one of the first four elements with poor asphalt maintenance is a recipe for pavement failure.
Your asphalt parking lot will eventually show signs of deterioration from one or more of the following conditions:
Allowing pavement wear to continue unchecked will lead to distress. Ignoring distress greatly increases the likelihood of failure to the pavement. Timely response to your parking lot's warning signs is the most cost effective approach. It also signals that your company is interested in its clientele's well being and even the small details of superior customer service.
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Smith's Paving is located in Troy, New York.