Asphalt is a versatile and resilient material that is valued for its durability and long lifetime. It is often used for roads, driveways, and parking lots, where its cost-effective installation and 20-25 year lifetime offers lasting value without the need for inconvenient intensive repairs or crack sealing.
As a material for commercial parking lots, asphalt is not only inexpensive, it presents a smooth finished appearance that is easy to mark with paint, for a safer and more professional looking parking area. What’s more, asphalt generates less sound than other types of pavement, making it an ideal option for commercial spaces. With its longevity, durability, and overall aesthetic appeal, it is no surprise that asphalt is the most popular choice for commercial parking areas.
In order to ensure the longevity of your asphalt installation, it is important to ensure that the surface material is protected from harsh environmental factors, including rain and snow, UV radiation, and automotive fluids that can corrode and degrade the asphalt. Sealcoating, crack sealing, and regular maintenance will go a long way toward ensuring the long life of your commercial parking lot.
Common Asphalt Conditions
In spite of its exceptional durability and long lifetime, asphalt that is regularly exposed to the elements can be expected to show wear and tear over time. Common causes of cracking and potholes in asphalt surfaces include:
- Broad Temperature Fluctuations
- High Levels of Traffic
- Standing Water and Insufficient Drainage
- Freezing and Thawing Cycles
- Vehicle Chemical Exposure
- Salt and Snow Removal
These are just a few of the reasons that you may see imperfections in your asphalt parking lot. It is critical that cracks, potholes, and depressions be detected and sealed as soon as possible, in order to prevent further deterioration. If you are not sure whether your asphalt is in need of repair, look for these common indications:
- Visible Cracks or Gaps
- Potholes and Depressions
- Grass Growing Through Asphalt
- Oil and Chemical Deposits
- Collected Debris and Gravel
Benefits of Using Crack Sealers
Imperfections in commercial parking lots are often simple to repair, if they are caught and repaired early. Most professionals will apply crack sealers to close the cracks and reduce the potential for escalation. Asphalt sealants are composed of rubber elastomers, for a flexible material that will make crack-prone areas more resilient to adverse conditions.
It is critical to repair cracks before they are exposed to water, as moisture will penetrate the area below the surface and undermine the overall structure of the asphalt. In addition, water in cracks and potholes will freeze and expand when temperatures drop in the winter. This additional expansion exacerbates the damage to your asphalt and results in further deterioration of the material. Left untreated, cracks that may appear minor can ultimately result in the need for complete asphalt replacement.
With this in mind, sealcoating, maintenance, and crack sealing are logical and cost-effective ways to prevent lasting damage to asphalt, thereby ensuring that your commercial parking lot is in optimal condition throughout its lifetime.
The Inherent Value of Asphalt Maintenance
On average, the cost to seal cracks in an asphalt parking lot is anywhere from $0.60 to $1.10 per foot. The overall cost will largely depend on the size of the lot, the amount of damage to be repaired, the severity of the damage, and the material required to effect the repairs. The repairs will become significantly more expensive the longer you wait to repair, so immediate attention to any deterioration is key.
It is important to understand that even recent asphalt installations can begin to show cracking after 2-5 years, due to common environmental stressors. A solid maintenance plan with regular inspections will help to ensure that you catch any problems before they can escalate. Consider establishing a regular maintenance plan with an asphalt professional, so your commercial parking lot will remain in the best possible condition.
When to Consider Repaving
Although crack sealing is an excellent maintenance option to keep your asphalt in ideal condition, asphalt does have an age limit. If your commercial parking lot is approaching the end of its 20-25 year lifetime, it may be time to consider repaving with new asphalt. Some signs that it is time to repave include:
- Deep cracks and alligator cracks. When your parking lot exhibits extensive cracks, deep cracks, ruts, or holes, it may be time to look into repaving. Alligator cracks are characterized by their uneven cracked surface appearance, like the hide of an alligator. Whether these cracks are just in the surface or deep into the asphalt, they are a good sign that the asphalt is no longer repairable and should be redone.
- Extensive rubber surface from previous crack sealing. Although regular maintenance of your parking lot may require crack repairs, if you notice that your parking area looks like a continuous layer of sealing material, it may be time to resurface. While crack sealing works for small repairs, extensive amounts of rubber material on the surface of the asphalt can stick to tires, pulling the asphalt apart and causing even more damage.
- Buckling and warping. If you notice that the surface of your lot is warped, dented, or buckled, it may be time to repave. Deformed surfaces are often due to normal temperature fluctuations and moisture incursion, but can also be a sign of a deeper issue.
- Poor drainage and sinkage. Erosion from misdirected drainage or broken plumbing under the asphalt surface can undermine the asphalt, resulting in buckling and potholes. In this situation, it is wise to repair the source of erosion before repaving, so that the issue does not reoccur.
Choose Experienced Professionals for Your Asphalt Needs
Limitless Pavement & Concrete is a full service contract offering crack repairs and sealant for a wide variety of Maryland customers, both commercial and residential. We are dedicated to providing the highest quality pavement installation, repair, and maintenance services for projects in a variety of sizes and specifications. In addition to crack sealing for commercial parking lots, our paving services include:
- Asphalt & Concrete Driveway Installation
- Driveway Crack and Pothole Repair
- Residential Roadway Installation, Repair, and Maintenance
- Curbing and Sidewalk Installation, Repair, and Maintenance
- Driveway, Patio, and Blacktop Sealcoating
- Drainage Management
- Commercial Snow and Ice Management
Questions About Commercial Crack Sealing?
To learn more about the exceptional paving services offered by Limitless, contact us today.