Whether you run a retail mall, office building or a hotel franchise, parking lots greet your guests before you do. They are the first chance for your guests to experience your brand of hospitality, and they are your last chance to leave a lasting impression as they head home. So if you are planning a renovation of your property don't forget to include your parking lot.
Parking lots receive their fair share of traffic. It is inevitable that these lots will endure wear and tear as time progresses. Here are four very common problems that occur:
Potholes: Potholes are a common type of damage. They are also dangerous to your customers and staff. If one or several potholes exist in your parking lot, it has the potential to damage vehicles and your business’s brand appeal. Potholes typically form due to the accumulation of water in the ground beneath the asphalt. This dangerous eyesore can be remedied with parking lot maintenance in the form of full-depth, partial or injection patching.
Cracking: As asphalt deteriorates, it spurs the onset of cracks across the pavement surface. This is a sign that your parking lot’s asphalt has reached the age when it requires significant maintenance. Cracks can be remedied by filling, patching and a handful of other surface treatments.
Raveling: This is the separation of particles within the pavement from the asphalt’s surface. If raveling occurs, your parking lot will have a rough and/or bumpy texture. It can be repaired with the addition of an overlay and/or the use of sealing or micro-surfacing.
Oil Stains: When oil is absorbed by asphalt, it mixes with asphalt’s binding elements and prevents them from maintaining their adhesive properties. Such unsightly oil spots can be prevented with the coating of a parking lot’s asphalt with a sealant.
Sometimes Maintenance Isn't Enough
A crumbling parking lot with faded parking lines dotted with more cracks and craters than the surface of Mars is a terrible eyesore. Damaged parking lots can also be safety threats to guests. The fact is, sometimes maintenance isn't enough and a new parking lot is required. Here are some things you should know before you start:
The top layer of a new asphalt surface is going to look beautiful, but it is what lies underneath that is more important. Proper installation of the parking lot sub-base is the most critical step in ensuring the structural integrity and proper drainage of any asphalt surface. The sub-base supports the asphalt pavement, and helps prevent shifting, cracking and sinking of the paved surface. The sub-base needs to be able to withstand changing climate and other factors that might affect its durability.
Parking lot construction zoning laws and standards can vary city to city. Before moving forward with any new construction or parking lot expansion, make sure to get approval from the city and obtain any required permits. For a new parking lot you’ll need blue print drawings which includes sub grade material and preparation specs, asphalt mix design and installation specs, drainage specs, and striping and marking layout specs, along with concrete curb and gutter, sidewalks and handicap ramp specs as well.
If you already have an asphalt parking lot and it’s showing signs of serious deterioration, overlaying the existing asphalt or completely removing and replacing it may be in order. In most cases, this can also be done without blue prints or specs, but should be performed by a reputable paving company that will do it right the first time. A well-qualified pavement company will be licensed, bonded, and insured, with several years of experience.
Sealcoating every few years reverses a multitude of pavement sins, slowing the natural breakdown of materials and preventing water, debris, and other elements from destroying your parking lot. Every lot is different: your climate and daily use will determine how quickly your sealcoat wears off.
Parking Lot Pedestrian Safety: Better Designs for Better Results
Throughout the U.S., parking facilities are the third most frequent place in which violent crime happens, with nearly 1,400 attacks occurring each day. Here are some fundamental safety steps that you should take:
Install speed bumps to slow traffic
Post regulations and safety tips prominently
Keep space and aisle markings in good shape for maximum visibility
Thin out vegetation surrounding parking lots so attackers can't hide behind it
Use security cameras to monitor parking lots
Add security patrols to deter crime
Install extra lighting for added safety during evening hours.
In addition, it is the law that ADA-compliant ramps, handicapped spaces, and curbs are installed to allow everyone equal access to your business. The minimum amount of handicapped parking spaces is relative to the total number of spots in your lot. For example, parking lots with 1-25 spots must have 1 handicapped spot, while lots with 26 to 50 parking spaces must maintain 2 handicapped spots. One in every six spaces must be van accessible.
A parking lot isn’t the first thing that owners or operators think of when it comes to property renovation. However, the state of your parking lot plays a much larger role than you might think at first glance. In fact, keeping your parking lot in good condition could be crucial to the happiness and safety of your guests. Cicero's can help you navigate this oft-overlooked facet of guest comfort and satisfaction.