Winter can be especially hard on your asphalt parking lot. Temperature fluctuations and standing water can lead to cracks or even potholes. The following are a few things you need to tend to each spring to make sure your lot doesn't become a real mess.
#1: Fill any cracks
Cracks and pits are precursors to potholes, so these need to be fixed as soon as possible before they have a chance to expand. It only takes the expansion of a little water inside of a crack to cause it to crumble into a large hole. Asphalt companies will use a hot patching method, which is much more durable than the cold patching DIY method. This method requires the removal of any debris. Then, the asphalt is heated up before fresh hot asphalt is added. This way the patch can fuse into the existing pavement for a more secure bond.
#2: Tend to low spots
Low spots can occur as your parking lot ages and settles, especially in regions with sandy soil or seismic activity. Winter snow melt and spring rains will collect in the low spots, which can eventually lead to cracks and potholes. Fortunately, low spots can be filled in or you have a drain installed to carry water away from the spot, which will help prevent problems down the road.
#3: Clean up the mess
Ice melt chemicals, road salts, and winter grit are all hard on the asphalt. They can also cause micro abrasions on the surface, which allow water to penetrate the asphalt so that it can cause cracking and pitting when it freezes. Schedule a parking lot cleaning after the last snowfall of the year so that any residue is removed before it becomes a problem.
#4: Seal against future damage
A seal-coat applies a protective layer over the asphalt that helps guard it against dirt and damage. Many asphalt services offer packages where they apply seal-coat and then repaint the lines on the lot afterward. The best part is the seal also makes the lot look like new, since it evens out the color and covers most stains. Sealcoating may not be required every year, depending on the state of your lot and the harshness of your weather. An asphalt company can help you determine how frequently your lot will require treatment. Cleaning and crack filling should be performed annually.
For more help, contact an asphalt company in your area. One example is http://www.starpaving.com.