Complete Guide to Parking Lot Maintenance in Denver

Doug Enright 

Maintaining a parking lot is essential for small business owners, property management companies, and homeowners associations (HOAs) in the Front Range of Colorado. It's not just about aesthetics; a well-maintained parking lot ensures safety, maximizes longevity and enhances the overall appeal of your property.

At Enright Asphalt, we understand the unique challenges and conditions of maintaining asphalt in Colorado. Our full-service approach covers everything from routine maintenance to complete resurfacing, ensuring your parking area remains in top condition.

This guide provides you with the knowledge and insights needed to keep your parking lot functional, safe, and visually appealing year-round. Whether new to parking lot maintenance or looking to refine your existing practices, you'll find valuable information tailored to your needs.

Littleton Public Schools parking lot with new ADA striping

Lifespan of a Parking Lot

The lifespan of an asphalt parking lot can vary significantly based on the level of maintenance it receives. An asphalt parking lot may only last 10 to 20 years without maintenance. However, with proper and regular maintenance, its lifespan can be extended to 25 to 30 years.

By investing in regular upkeep, property owners in the Front Range can ensure their parking lots remain functional and attractive for decades, providing a positive first impression and a safe environment for visitors and tenants alike.

Long-term Benefits of Parking Lot Maintenance

Investing in preventive maintenance for your parking lot is akin to the regular upkeep of a car; it significantly extends its service life while reducing the need for costly repairs. Not only do these proactive measures decrease the likelihood of expensive overhauls in the future, but they also lower the total cost of ownership annually.

By allocating funds towards routine maintenance now, you save money in the long run. This strategic approach ensures your parking lot remains in optimal condition, enhancing the overall appearance and safety of your property, but it also demonstrates fiscal prudence, maximizing your investment over the parking lot's extended lifespan.

Inspect Regularly

Regular inspections are a cornerstone of effective parking lot maintenance, particularly in regions like Denver, where weather conditions can significantly impact asphalt. Identifying issues early on can prevent minor problems from escalating into major, costly repairs. After the last snowfall, inspecting your parking lot for any damage caused by snow removal efforts is essential. Additionally, checking during or after rain can reveal drainage issues, as standing water is a primary culprit for a host of asphalt problems.

Checklist for Parking Lot Inspection:

Surface Damage: Look for cracks, potholes, and other surface imperfections that may have formed.

  • Surface Damage: Look for cracks, potholes, and other surface imperfections that may have formed.
  • Drainage: Observe how water accumulates or drains. Standing water shows poor drainage and can lead to further damage.
  • Fading Line Striping: Faded parking lines and symbols reduce the functionality and safety of your parking lot.
  • Signage and Parking Blocks: Ensure all signs are visible and in good condition, and check if parking blocks are secure and undamaged.
  • Landscaping: Examine the perimeter for overgrown vegetation obstructing pathways, visibility or water drainage.
  • Lighting: Check if all parking lot lights are operational to ensure safety and security during night hours.

This proactive approach allows for timely interventions that maintain the integrity and appearance of your parking lot, ensuring it remains a welcoming and safe space for users.

Parking Lot Sweeping

Maintaining a clean parking lot is more than just a matter of aesthetics; it plays a crucial role in preserving the integrity of the asphalt surface. Dirt and debris detract from the lot's appearance and can lead to premature wear and tear. Furthermore, regular sweeping ensures that gutters and catch basins remain clear, facilitating proper water runoff and preventing drainage issues.

Recommended Sweeping Frequency:

Minimum Requirement: Sweep at least once a year, ideally after the last snowfall, to remove any residual ice melt or sand used during snow removal efforts.

Late Fall: A thorough sweep in late fall is advisable to clear leaves and debris before winter sets in, helping to prevent blockages and surface damage.

High Traffic Areas: More frequent sweeping may be necessary to maintain cleanliness for parking lots experiencing high volumes, such as those at restaurants or strip malls.

Parking Lot Striping

Parking lot striping is a critical component of lot maintenance, ensuring safety and orderliness for all users. Clearly marked lines guide drivers effectively, delineating parking spaces, pedestrian areas, and traffic flow directions. When these lines start to fade, it's a signal that it's time to restripe to maintain the lot's functionality and safety standards.

Frequency of Restriping:

General Guideline: Due to the abrasive effects of snow removal, which accelerates paint fading, parking lots in this region should be restriped every 18 to 24 months.

This frequent restriping schedule accounts for the unique challenges parking lots face in the Denver area, ensuring they remain safe and navigable despite the harsh conditions.

worker painting new parking stall lines

Crack Sealing

Crack sealing is an essential preventive maintenance step for parking lots, especially in Denver, where we average 105 freeze-thaw cycles. These cycles cause asphalt to expand and contract, leading to the widening of existing cracks and the formation of new ones. Sealing these cracks prevents water from penetrating the asphalt's subbase, which is vital to avoiding forming potholes and other structural issues.

Frequency of Crack Sealing:

Recommended Schedule: To combat the aggressive weather patterns of the Front Range, it's advisable to perform crack sealing at least every two years. However, for optimal protection against the elements, an annual maintenance routine in late summer or early fall is recommended.

Asphalt Patching

Potholes represent a significant safety hazard in parking lots, posing risks to drivers and pedestrians. Beyond their immediate danger, if not promptly addressed, potholes can quickly grow in size, leading to increasingly expensive repairs. The formation of potholes is often a result of water infiltration into the pavement through unsealed cracks, which then expand and contract due to the freeze-thaw cycles, weakening the asphalt structure.

Frequency of Asphalt Patching:

Immediate Action Required: The best practice is to repair potholes as soon as they are noticed. This swift response prevents the damage from escalating, reducing overall maintenance costs and safety hazards.

Worked compacting asphalt on pothole repair

Asphalt Sealcoating

Asphalt sealcoating is a important maintenance procedure that serves as a protective layer for your parking lot. It shields the asphalt from oxidation caused by exposure to oxygen, UV rays, and varying weather conditions, thereby keeping it pliable and resilient. This flexibility is key to preventing the formation of cracks and potholes, which are common issues that can lead to extensive and costly repairs.

Frequency of Sealcoating:

General Recommendation: To maintain the integrity and appearance of your parking lot, sealcoating should be performed every 2 to 4 years. However, the specific frequency depends on the lot's usage; high-volume parking lots endure more wear and tear and thus require more frequent sealcoating than those with lower traffic levels.

Adhering to this maintenance schedule can significantly extend the life of your parking lot, ensuring it remains safe, attractive, and functional. Sealcoating helps maintain the structural integrity of the asphalt and enhances the overall curb appeal of your property, making a positive impression on visitors and tenants.

Removing Chemical Spills – Oil

Chemical spills, particularly those involving oil and diesel fuel, pose a significant risk to the integrity of asphalt. These substances can lead to the premature breakdown of the asphalt by weakening its structure, making it more susceptible to damage. Diesel fuel, known for its aggressive effect on asphalt, can deteriorate the surface if not promptly addressed.

Frequency of Cleaning Chemical Spills:

Immediate Response: It is crucial to clean up any chemical spills, especially oil and diesel, as soon as they are spotted. Quick action prevents the chemicals from seeping deeper into the asphalt, where they can cause more extensive and irreversible damage.

By immediately addressing and removing chemical spills from your parking lot, you protect the asphalt from potential harm, maintaining its durability and extending its lifespan. This proactive approach saves on future repair costs and ensures users a safer, more appealing parking area.

Asphalt Overlays & Repaving

Over time, even the most diligently maintained parking lots will require repaving, particularly in high-traffic areas such as entrances and traffic lanes, which wear out faster than parking stalls. Asphalt overlays and selective repaving are cost-effective strategies to address these worn areas without requiring a complete overhaul of the parking lot. By milling the existing asphalt in these high-volume areas and then repaving, you can significantly increase the lifespan of your parking lot.

This process revitalizes the lot's appearance and enhances its structural integrity, ensuring it can withstand the continued stress of vehicular traffic. Opting for overlays or targeted repaving in areas showing significant wear allows for a more efficient allocation of maintenance budgets, providing a practical solution to extend the parking lot's life while maintaining its safety and functionality.

Maintaining a parking lot in top condition is essential for ensuring safety, extending its lifespan, and enhancing the curb appeal of your property. Regular inspections, timely maintenance, and addressing issues as soon as they arise will protect your investment and keep your parking lot functioning smoothly and looking its best. At Enright Asphalt, we're dedicated to helping you achieve these goals with our comprehensive range of asphalt maintenance services. Whether you need crack sealing, sealcoating, or a complete repave, our team is equipped to provide expert care for your parking lot. Contact us today for a free parking lot site evaluation and discover how we can assist you in maintaining a safe, durable, and attractive parking area for your business or community.

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