How Does Florida’s Weather Affect Parking Lots?
Asphalt pavement can help enhance the look of any commercial property and invite visitors to your tenants’ businesses. Though asphalt parking lots are resilient and durable, extreme weather and heavy traffic can cause cracks and damage that affect the look and quality of the parking lot on a commercial property you manage.
Staying proactive is the best way to extend the life span of parking lots. While maintenance and repairs are best left to professionals, it’s important to know how to identify common issues when they start small to prevent them from causing more damage that requires replacement.
How Does Florida Weather Cause Asphalt Damage?
Florida weather consists of extreme heat, intense sun, humidity and rain. These elements can damage asphalt over time in different ways. Heavy rainfall and humidity, for example, cause standing water in cracks or depressions in the asphalt, seeping into the foundation and eroding the surface. This penetrating moisture and humidity weaken the materials as air gaps form, dissolving the asphalt’s binding agents and causing the surface to crumble and break.
Additionally, asphalt gets extremely hot in the sun, causing the asphalt to absorb heat and expand. This heat creates cracks that widen and form sporadically across the pavement. The asphalt will also melt at high temperatures, creating soft spots on the surface that lead to potholes and expose the foundation to harmful UV rays over time.
Here are the different ways damage can occur on asphalt pavement.
Heat waves on pavement and the top asphalt layer can cause small flecks or pieces to stick to anything that moves across the parking lot surface, including tires and shoes. Tracking can also occur if humid weather delays curing the new surface.
Moist weather conditions and UV radiation from the sun cause asphalt oxidation, which weakens the binding agents within the asphalt and causes the surface to become brittle and cracked. Over time, the sun’s rays combine with oxygen to break down the chemical bonds in the binding agents and make the surface more susceptible to breaking.
Florida weather that causes expansion or cracks in the asphalt can also lead to depressions, which are low spots in the pavement caused by issues below the surface or internal layers settling. These depressions can fill with water, which can sink into any other cracks or holes and create more problems underneath the surface.
If the weather has already weakened the asphalt mixture or surface layer, heavy traffic over the pavement can lead to rutting. This is another type of surface depression that damages many layers of the asphalt over time.
Asphalt raveling occurs as particles or pieces of the asphalt surface crack and wears away, usually in high-traffic areas. This erosion, often caused by the separation of the binding agents, leaves behind an uneven pavement and loose debris, which can collect standing water that leads to internal structural issues. Raveling can also occur in concrete.
Warm weather and UV rays can cause the paint and lines in the parking lot to fade over time and create a safety risk for anyone navigating the area in a vehicle or on foot.
After prolonged heat exposure, many different cracks can form on the surface, especially in high-traffic parking lots. Here are some of the most common types of cracking:
- Alligator cracking: Heavy traffic, asphalt structural failures and moisture can create alligator cracks that spread in every direction and increase over time.
- Block cracking: This type of cracking can happen in areas with little or no traffic and form due to pavement shrinkage as temperatures drastically change.
- Longitudinal cracking: These cracks run in a long parallel direction and are caused by asphalt shrinkage and structural damage.
- Edge cracking: This type of cracking occurs near the pavement’s outer edges where the asphalt might lack support or experience poor drainage and heavy traffic.
- Joint reflection cracking: Joint reflection cracking occurs when the asphalt is laid over concrete and forms deep cracks following the joints in the original concrete surface.
How Do Potholes Form in Warm Climates?
Potholes can quickly form in warm climates for many reasons, creating safety concerns for pedestrians and cars in the parking lot and decreasing the overall appearance of the asphalt.
If cracks or separations appear in the asphalt due to heat or retained water, they can worsen over time if not repaired. Eventually, the moisture inside these cracks can wash out pieces of supporting layers under the pavement, creating air gaps that grow big enough to develop potholes. The top layer will eventually sag, collapse and crumble, resulting in a pothole. Potholes become bigger as cars drive over the weakened asphalt structure.
How to Prevent and Repair Asphalt Damage
The best way to avoid these asphalt issues is to learn how to prevent and delay damage to stop asphalt from cracking in hot or rainy weather. Here are some of the best prevention techniques and repair services.
Apply a Protective Layer of Sealcoating
Applying a layer of sealcoating to the asphalt surface can help reduce water penetration. A protective coating will keep the chemicals in the asphalt intact and prevent it from weakening and causing cracks, divots or potholes. Adding a layer of sealcoating can also shield the asphalt from harmful UV rays to prevent color fading, oxidation and crumbling.
Patch Small Cracks and Potholes
Patching is the most common type of quick fix and is ideal for handling minor issues to prevent them from becoming more severe or leading to expensive repairs. This solution works by adding a few inches of hot asphalt into gaps, holes or cracks before they grow into larger potholes.
Routine patching services can help you keep up with parking lot maintenance and avoid more challenging structural issues. To determine patching needs, you should regularly assess the parking lot at the properties you manage, especially during hot and humid weather.
Overlay Fresh Pavement Across the Parking Lot
If the parking lot has more extensive damage or issues that can’t be fixed with spot repair, an overlay will cover the whole lot with fresh asphalt instead of focusing on smaller, specific areas. This method will help increase the asphalt pavement’s life span and cover any smaller cracks that can lead to safety issues or more significant wear over time.
Suppose your tenants’ parking lot hasn’t had regular maintenance or has been subjected to intense Florida summer weather. In that case, an overlay is a great solution to accommodate heavy traffic and keep the lot looking new. Overlays also provide easy maintenance, durability and resistance to wear.
Resurface the Top Layer of Pavement
If your tenants’ parking lot pavement requires in-depth repairs or has extensive damage, cracks and potholes, you may need to resurface the asphalt. Resurfacing requires removing the top layer of asphalt and addressing major issues underneath the surface, such as cracks or weather damage. Once you have a clean, smooth surface, a new layer is poured on top to prolong the look and value of your tenants’ parking lot. Resurfacing is an ideal alternative to replacing the pavement completely.
ToriTom Services Provides Fast and Reliable Asphalt Maintenance
By using an experienced asphalt overlay company like ToriTom to care for the Florida properties you manage, you can benefit from various services for your commercial property units, including:
- Asphalt paving
- Paving installation
- Paving overlay
All asphalt surfaces need regular touch-ups to maintain good condition and a smooth, seamless surface. If you need professional asphalt maintenance, replacement and repair, reach out to ToriTom. We provide a hands-on approach to give you quick response times and excellent customer service throughout each stage of the process.
Our reasonable rates and impressive results will keep the properties you manage looking pristine and drive more traffic to your tenants’ businesses. To get in touch about our services or to receive a free quote for your next project, contact us online or at 941-932-2593 today to get started.