Maintenance Tips for Commercial Property Parking Lots

Parking lot with tire marks

Parking lots are crucial though often overlooked features of commercial properties. Too often they are allowed to fall into disrepair with very little thought to the impact that this has on the profitability of the property and its occupants. With the right commercial property management service, your parking lot will remain in good condition.

To ensure that your parking lot remains in good condition for an extended period, you should invest in expert contractors.  A properly constructed parking lot can provide you with 20-30 years of comfortable services before needing repairs.

Parking Lot Damage – A Closer Look

As with many other things though, over time, even the sturdiest parking lot will begin to deteriorate.  Signs of deterioration will appear in the form of cracks and ruts. If these signs are not detected and addressed serious, and often costly, consequences can occur. Summer is the ideal time for repairing parking lots because the favourable weather allows for the activities to be completed relatively smoothly.

Cracks are elongated gaps in the paved surface that vary in type and appearance. These parking lot flaws may emerge as reflection cracks, shrinkage gaps, edge cracks, slippage, alligator cracks or widening cracks. Substandard construction, water penetration, oxidization from the sun and freezing and thawing are among the factors that result in a cracked pavement.  If cracks are not repaired they cause bigger problems in the future. Water and other material can get into the cracks and undermine the integrity of the entire parking lot.

Ruts are depressions that appear in paved surfaces over time. This is usually caused by the wear and tear (constant pressure from the wheels of vehicles) but can also be caused by the shifting of material below the pavement. Ruts are very dangerous as they can cause planning ( which occurs when the wheels of a vehicle lose contact with the paved while in motion) when filled with water. Ruts should be repaired as soon as they are noticed, but those that are deeper than one-third of an inch are in need of urgent attention. Ruts are repaired through a process known as resurfacing.

The Disadvantages of a Damaged parking Lot

Damaged parking lots may cost property owners in the long run. Since they are unsafe, property owns may face litigation from clients seeking compensation for damages suffered.  They also make the space unattractive and as a result reduce the likelihood of commercial tenants attracting customers, especially when buildings with more attractive and safe parking lots are nearby.

Keeping a Parking Lot in Good Shape

An efficient and effective property manager will ensure that all parking lot cracks are sealed. This can be done by filling them in and then resurfacing the affected areas.  This is ideally done at least once per year. A general sealing of the paved space is to be done every two to four years. This helps to preserve the life of the parking lot by protecting it from oil and gas spills, water seepage and oxidation among other corrosive elements. 

Resurfacing is another handy parking lot preservation technique. It involves the application of a fresh layer of asphalt on top of the existing one. Sometimes the damage is too great for resurfacing and instead what is required is a process known as mill and resurface. This involves the stripping away of the top layer of asphalt followed by the installation of a fresh layer. 

If the condition of the parking lot is too poor for the repair and maintenance strategies outlined above, the only remaining option is a replacement. Usually, this is necessary for older parking lots (above 20 years old) or those with severe structural damage.

An unsightly parking lot may drive business away but an unsafe one is a definite turn off. A combination of regular detailed inspections and prompt action to address issues identified will help to keep parking lots in good order. Expert professional commercial property management services will make this a priority item among their suite of services ensuring that clients continue to reap tangible returns on their real estate investments and avoid loss of income.