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What Happens to Kingston & Thousand Island Parking Lots in Winter?

Here in Kingston, Thousand Islands, and throughout Eastern Ontario, snow is serious. We get lots of it, and it can really impact our plans to do something as simple as get to the corner store. If you own a commercial property, your parking lot has to deal with all this snow. While asphalt is one of the best material we have for parking lots so far, we wouldn’t say that it handles snow expertly. Instead, winter issues often leave parking lots in disarray come spring.

How does a simple layer of snow do so much harm? We’ll discuss what is actually going on with your parking lot all winter below.

The Freeze-Thaw Cycle

We hope for a consistently cold winter every year, but we don’t always get it. In the earliest and latest parts of winter, especially, temperatures tend to fluctuate around zero degrees. Or, they warm up above the freezing point during the day but drop below freezing at night. This is a big problem for your parking lot.

When water freezes, it expands. So, if there is water in a hairline crack in your parking lot, the process of freezing puts pressure on it and expands it a bit. When the ice melts and refreezes a few times, it slowly pushes open the hairline cracks in your asphalt. It wears down the elasticity of the asphalt and begins to create larger and larger gaps in it. Sometimes this turns into cracks and sometimes into full-blown potholes.

This impact is more serious in years when your parking lot experiences more freeze-thaw cycles. It is also harder on lots that already have issues with the expanding ice can make it worse. Parking lots that are sealed fair the best when faced with the freeze-thaw cycle.

Frost Heave

The freeze-thaw cycle can also have more impact if it gets into the sub-base of your asphalt. Below the visible layer of your parking lot is a small sub-base layer of gravel or other base material. If water seeps into this layer, it can leak out and then freeze when exposed to winter temperatures. As a result, the whole thing expands up, putting pressure on the top layer and bursting it open. This is called frost heave.

Frost heave looks like something a large gopher decided to dig its way up through your parking lot. It usually causes the asphalt to buckle upwards and become dangerous to walk over or drive over. Often, serious issues with drainage in our lot cause frost heave, and it ruins the structural integrity of the whole lot.

Parking lot with snow cleared off

Snow Removal

While those who drive snow plows for a living are often very careful about their equipment’s impact on the surfaces they drive on, there is no getting around the fact that snow plows are heavy and scrape along the surface of your asphalt. It does damage to your parking lot.

In fact, any chemical deicing products or salt that you use to reduce the formation of ice in your parking lot also do damage. They can exacerbate the freeze-thaw cycle even when temperatures are consistently below freezing. They also provide friction that can make other sources of damage worse on your lot.

Of course, you may need to use snow removal equipment and tools, so you need to protect your lot from them.

Oil Evaporation

This is a long-term risk but still one worth talking about. When snow is in contact with your parking lot, it evaporates its natural oils and contributes to aging. Asphalt sealcoating can help prevent this.

Choose EverLine for Parking Lot Maintenance in Kingston & Thousand Islands

When the snow arrives, you want to ensure that your parking lot is in the best condition it can be in so that it resists the frost-thaw cycle as much as possible. Then, in spring, you want to get your lot back up to shape if it ends up developing an issue like cracking or potholes. The Team at EverLine Coatings can help with all of the work you’ll need done on your parking lot in fall, winter or spring.

Learn more about our pavement maintenance services in Thousand Islands and Eastern Ontario.

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Phone: (613) 876-2163

2407 Forfar Road
Portland, ON K0G 1V0

General Manager – Jeff and Ashley Chant

Surrounding Communities Serviced

  • Belleville
  • Brockville
  • Cornwall
  • Frontenac County
  • Gananoque
  • Hastings County
  • Kingston
  • Lanark County
  • Lennox and Addington County
  • Napanee
  • Prescott
  • Prince Edward County
  • Quinte Economic Development Commission
  • Quinte West
  • Smiths Falls
  • United Counties of Prescott-Russell
  • United Counties of Stormont, Dundas, and Glengarry