How to Prepare a Parking Lot for Winter


Winter can wreak havoc on asphalt parking lots, especially if they are ill-prepared. Freeze-thaw cycles cause asphalt surfaces to expand and contract, making pavement vulnerable to fissures, cracks and large potholes.

When lot owners fail to properly winterize their lots, they leave themselves open to liability issues and expensive repair bills. Fortunately, they can avoid these issues by properly preparing their lots for winter. According to Doug Enright of Enright Asphalt, this should begin with a thorough cleaning.

“It’s important to make sure your parking lot is free of chemicals and debris before the weather turns cold,” said Enright. “Use a sweeper or blower to clear any dirt, trash, leaves and debris from the asphalt surface. Clean any chemical spills as soon as possible to prevent or minimize damage to the surface. All of this will help prolong the life of your parking lot. If you fail to consistently clean your lot, chemicals can promote cracking over time.”

As debris is ground into your lot by vehicles, it can also cause damage, so make sure the surface is clean before harsh conditions make this difficult. You should also ensure that your lot is free from cracks and fissures which can promote the development of potholes once the mercury begins to fall.

“If your asphalt lot has cracks, water will seep into the subgrade and gather beneath the primary top layer,” said Enright. “When temperatures drop, this water will ultimately freeze and expand. Over time, repetitive contraction and expansion will cause cracking. Eventually, potholes will develop, and the asphalt surface will need extensive repairs.”

You can prevent this from happening by hiring a reputable pavement contractor to evaluate your surface and repair any cracks. That said, even if your asphalt is in tip-top shape, you still need to take steps to preserve its condition and keep it safe for drivers and pedestrians.

“If you own or lease a commercial building, you are responsible for keeping your lot safe for customers and employees,” said Enright. “Since Colorado weather can be unpredictable, it’s best to stock up on salt and powerful snow-melt chemicals, so you will be able to act quickly after a storm to ensure that your parking lot remains safe all winter long.”

By keeping your asphalt parking lot free of ice and snow, you can reduce your risk of liability concerns relating to wintertime slips and falls. Using salt and snow-melt chemicals will also create a more inviting space for customers who tend to avoid unsafe driving conditions.

Still, while you may be able to handle a small amount of snow, you won’t be able to clear your lot after a large snowfall. With this in mind, it’s important to arrange to have your lot cleared by a snow removal company. That said, make sure the company is reputable since an inexperienced snow plower can easily damage the surface of your parking lot, leading to pricey repairs.

In addition to keeping your asphalt free of snow build-up, you will want to make sure it will not accumulate ice by inspecting your lot’s drainage system.

“Your parking lot drainage system should prevent water from pooling on the surface of your asphalt,” said Enright. “As snow falls, melts and refreezes during the winter, you will want to make sure your drainage system is ready to handle runoff. If it’s not up to the task, water may overflow and refreeze, turning your lot into a dangerous skating rink in a matter of hours.”

Most importantly, it’s a good idea to have your lot inspected by a reputable local asphalt specialist who can identify and repair potential issues before they evolve into serious problems requiring thousands of dollars in repair costs.

About Enright Asphalt

Founded more than 30 years ago, Enright Asphalt has worked hard to develop a well-deserved reputation for being one of the most skilled and reliable concrete and asphalt contractors in Denver and the surrounding area. During these three decades, our knowledgeable team has provided beautifully crafted, durable asphalt surfaces for residential homeowners and local businesses using first-in-class materials and the industry’s most trusted installation methods.

With unrivaled experience and diverse capabilities, our attentive concrete specialists can help you determine the most effective paving option based on your distinctive preferences and needs. Our team knows the best way to create attractive surfaces that fit your individual budget and stand the test of time.

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Doug Enright