Being a property manager can be challenging. Between juggling current renter issues, onboarding new residents, meeting potential tenants, collecting rent payments, navigating changing health and safety guidelines, arranging emergency repairs, and scheduling preventive maintenance, you’re likely stretched thin. With so many demands on your time, it’s easy to overlook the condition of your paved areas.
However, when your pavement begins to show cracks and damage, you may be left with some unhappy tenants. Not only can a well-maintained parking lot help command higher rental rates, but it can also positively impact your tenant’s experience.
Use this paving guide to manage your properties, extend the life of your pavement, and make the most of your paving budget.
Benefits of Maintaining Your Pavement
As a property manager, there are many reasons why maintaining your pavement is important, including:
- Increase pavement lifespan: Filling cracks before they spread and resealing the surface are quick, simple solutions that, when applied regularly throughout the year, can significantly increase your pavement’s lifespan. A well-maintained pavement surface can last upwards of 15 years.
- Improve property aesthetics: Whether you manage a commercial or residential property, keeping up appearances is critical. No one would want to move into an apartment block or commercial building surrounded by cracked pavement. The better the appearance, the better the property will draw people in.
- Significant cost savings: Pavement maintenance is a money-saving investment because the cost to repair damaged asphalt far outweighs the cost of regular upkeep. Also, poorly maintained parking lots can be hazardous for pedestrians when covered with ruts or holes. Quality maintenance reduces the chance of being liable for any slip-and-fall accidents due to tripping on uneven pavement or potholes.
General Paving Maintenance Tips for Property Managers
Properly maintaining your parking lot doesn’t need to be difficult. When you take the right steps to keep your pavement clean and well maintained, you can save yourself from a major headache down the road. Here are some paving maintenance tips you can use to keep your pavement in prime condition.
1. Invest in Routine Preventive Maintenance
It’s easy to look at your recently paved asphalt surface and assume that it won’t need to be touched for the next few years. However, the best way to extend the life of your pavement and avoid unnecessary repair costs is to perform regular preventative maintenance. Waiting for minor issues to escalate into large repairs before taking action is an expensive way to manage your pavement.
With routine preventive maintenance, you can avoid costly replacement and double the service life of your pavement while also extending the life of your operating budget. Maintenance may include:
- Patching and repair
- Crack sealing
- Pavement sweeping or cleaning
- Pavement marking
2. Keep Your Pavement Clean
Keeping pavement clean is one of the most impactful, cost-effective, and efficient ways to provide long-term pavement durability and risk management. Fluids from passing vehicles, clogged drains, and other buildups can easily stain your pavement and threaten its integrity. Dirt and debris can block water drainage, causing water buildup on the pavement, which can result in structural damage over time. Attractive pavement that is clean and free of garbage, oil slicks, and debris also enhances your property’s curb appeal.
As a rule, it is good to clean your pavement at least once a month. If you manage a property with a busy parking lot, you may want to sweep the lot at least once every week. Cars bring gravel and other debris into your lot. Regular cleaning will:
- Remove surface dirt and debris
- Reveal necessary repairs, like growing cracks or potholes
- Ensure that your asphalt does not get stained or damaged over time
- Clean away harmful vehicle fluids that can cause premature deterioration
- Save your money over time and keep your pavement looking like new
3. Sealcoating is Essential
Sealcoating is the process of applying a thin liquid layer of asphalt-based aggregate over the existing paved surface. Left untreated, asphalt pavement will deteriorate because the asphalt binder (glue) that holds the pavement together begins to oxidize and weather soon after installation. Moisture penetrates the asphalt, causing deterioration and damage to the pavement, while oil, gas, and salt cause further damage to the pavement surface.
Sealcoating replenishes the binder lost through weathering and aging and provides a protective barrier against UV rays, moisture intrusion, salt, sediment, oils, and chemicals. It also helps to keep asphalt pavement flexible by sealing in the asphaltic oils and makes your pavement surface more resistant to traffic without cracking. With sealcoating, you can hide surface-level flaws and restore the rich color of your pavement, making your property more appealing to customers and potential tenants.
Here are some asphalt seal coating tips to bear in mind:
- Asphalt pavement should be sealed every two to five years
- Sealcoating should be done under proper conditions (the best sealing weather is usually in the mornings with temperatures between 60°F and 90°F and clear sunny skies)
- Apply at least two coats over the entire surface
- You should wait 24-48 hours after the sealcoating application is complete before allowing traffic on your asphalt pavement
4. Pothole and Crack Filling Reduces Water Penetration and Damage
Filling and sealing cracks and potholes in the early stages of deterioration is always the best way to maintain your pavement. If you’ve noticed singular cracks between ¼ inch and 1-inch size, you should consider crack-filling. Cracks allow water, debris, and salt to get under your pavement, resulting in potholes, ruts, and other serious damage which weakens the pavement’s foundation. Water entering into the pavement can also create freeze-thaw problems. So, when you see cracks, fix them immediately!
Never try to fill cracks with store-bought sealers, concrete, or putty, but enlist the services of licensed and insured paving contractors like Richfield Blacktop to repair pavement cracks and holes properly. Repair cracks at least once every year. Fall is the best time if you can only manage annual repairs, but if possible, schedule crack repairs in the spring to repair any damage from winter weather. Try to fill potholes before the cold winter months arrive. Potholes can damage cars and be dangerous to pedestrians – especially if they fill with water and freeze.
5. Consider Resurfacing if Your Pavement Has Deep Cracks
Pavement that doesn’t have substrate damage but suffers from surface damage can be resurfaced. Resurfacing asphalt is the process of adding a fresh application of asphalt aggregate compound to the existing road, driveway, or parking lot. It bypasses the need for the area to be torn up and completely repaired. Instead, the fresh coat provides a brand new, smooth surface that is stronger than the original. Having your pavement resurfaced will renew the surface, eliminate potholes, cracks, and divots and extend your pavement’s lifespan by 8-15 years. However, if there’s extensive damage, like large cracks, and potholes, you may have to consider replacing your pavement.
Maintaining an appealing and functional property is crucial for attracting and retaining customers and high-quality tenants. If taken care of, your pavement will last decades. At Richfield Blacktop, we provide high-quality asphalt paving, pavement repair, and pavement maintenance to residential and commercial clients in the Twin Cities Metro Area. Working with our pavement professionals ensures you get good advice, best practice solutions, high-quality materials, and appropriate attention to what needs to be done and when. Contact us today to request a quote!