5 Good Habits You Can Develop to Protect Your Asphalt


Once your new asphalt parking lot is installed, your job is to keep it in good condition. How can you contribute to the good appearance and health of your asphalt? Here are a few protective habits to begin.

1. Protect Long-Term Parking

Asphalt is a durable substance for normal parking lot use, but it is at some risk if something is parked on the surface for long periods. The primary danger is that divots, impressions, or cracks could form if an object's weight is not evenly distributed. A quick and easy way to avoid this problem is to keep some plywood or other wide boards handy nearby and place these underneath tires, jacks, or support struts.

2. Avoid Harsh Driving and Turns

The way you drive on asphalt helps keep it in pristine shape. Actions like turning the wheel while the vehicle is parked press tires into the asphalt and could make grooves or scuff marks. Form habits of keeping vehicles in motion and making wide, smooth turns. Avoid sharp starts and stops as well, as these can also press unsightly tire tracks into the ground.

3. Patch Holes and Cracks Early

Keep up with regular asphalt maintenance. Small imperfections such as cracks and gouges or holes will become larger and deeper as they are exposed to wear from use and the elements. Rain and snow, for instance, will find its way into small cracks and add to their deterioration from the inside. The result of ignoring a small problem is that what once may have been a modest, barely-visible repair becomes a large one.

4. Clean Debris Regularly

The simple act of keeping asphalt clean helps its overall health. As debris builds up, it can cause permanent marks or impressions, especially if it's in an area that gets run over by vehicles on a regular basis. Cleaning the lot also helps you keep track of when you need to make repairs or remove something with damage potential. Make adjustments, too, to landscaping to prevent recurring problems.

Stains and spills — commonly of oil, gas, or household chemicals — should be cleaned up as soon as possible. These may not be as easily visible as they would be on a concrete surface, but they shouldn't be ignored. Diesel fuel is particularly dangerous for asphalt, as it can dissolve the binding agents that keep asphalt solid and stable.

5. Prohibit Certain Vehicles

Don't allow just anyone to use your asphalt lot or driveway. Very large equipment can be too heavy for many standard asphalt bases and could break or indent it. This means that you should divert large or overweight vehicles such as garbage trucks, heavy construction equipment, or loaded tractor-trailers.

If you operate a business or your lot is open to the public, put up signage that prohibits the use of such vehicles, and talk with employees about the importance of following these rules. For a residential lot, talk with anyone who may need to drive such a vehicle — like your waste disposal service — and make alternate arrangements. You may also be able to limit them to early morning hours when the asphalt is cool.

As you develop good habits that proactively protect the asphalt, your lot or driveway will continue to be attractive and highly functional for many years. Do you want to know more about preventative measures for your particular lot? Start by meeting with a paving professional in your area.

At Star Paving Company, we have helped New Mexico residents and businesses install and maintain quality asphalt features for more than 50 years. Let us help you with yours.