How Austin Winters Impact Your Parking Lot
While Austin has milder winters than many other places in the country, your asphalt doesn’t know how lucky it is. Pavement is not able to handle sub-zero temperatures without some degree of damage. What harms parking lots most, in fact, is when temperature freeze, then thaw, then freeze again. Austin has unpredictable weather, and while we only drop below freezing for about a month out of the year, those days are not always in a row. That means your pavement is damaged by winter and looks much worse come spring.
How does winter hurt your pavement, and how can you protect your parking lot from the freeze-thaw cycle so that you can avoid asphalt repair and its associated costs? Here is what you need to know.
Winter’s Effects on Parking Lot Asphalt
Parking lots are made of asphalt, a tough bitumen material made from petroleum. When you stand on a parking lot, it might seem like this material should be impervious to water and ice. However, we know that water and ice are enough to destroy rocks. All it takes is time.
In the case of your parking lot, it is actually the freeze-thaw cycle that does the most winter damage to your parking lot. Water makes its way into even the smallest dents or cracks in your parking lot when temperatures are not yet freezing. As the temperatures drop, the water freezes and expands. When water turns to ice, it always expands. This pushes the dent or crack open a bit.
The worst part actually happens when the ice and snow melt, even if temporarily. Now the crack that was stretched by the ice is larger, more water gets into the crack, and then that water freezes and rips the crack apart even more. Quick freeze-thaw cycles can do more damage than one prolonged freeze.
In Austin, the unpredictable and comparatively wet conditions in winter make for less-than-ideal conditions for your parking lot. That is why you’ll notice that any problem it had before winter is worse by spring.
Ways to Prepare for Winter’s Impact
Winter doesn’t have to do a number on your parking lot. As with most aspects of property management, if you can better maintain the parking lot and take steps to protect it, you can avoid more costly repairs down the line. Here is what you can do before winter to ensure your asphalt will get through it as best as it can:
Fix Drainage Issues
In order to prevent some of the damage from the freeze-thaw cycle, you can have a better slope and add better drainage systems to your parking lot. Anywhere water currently pools is a liability and will feel the impacts of freezing. But very high-quality drainage can even move meltwater off your lot before it has the chance to freeze again. Depending on the current conditions of your parking lot, fixing your drainage issues may not even be too much work.
Repairs Before Winter
Any parking lot potholes or cracks, no matter how small, will be larger come spring. The best thing that you can do to prevent these from becoming more serious issues (and more expensive ones) is to get them repaired before any freezing temperatures arrive. The team at EverLine can help with infrared repair services that create a better, smoother seal. This means that there are no gaps that water can work its way back into.
A sealcoat is a thin, highly protective coating that you can apply to your parking lot before winter. It creates a smoother surface and closes up even the smallest gaps that water and ice could get into.
For safety and liability reasons, it can be avoidable, but deicers which melt ice and then allow it to refreeze are rough on pavement. When you can, use alternatives such as kitty litter which provide traction without melting.
Does Your Austin Parking Lot Need Repairs?
The team at EverLine can help you avoid the harm that winter can bring to your parking lot. We offer advanced asphalt repair services that can get your lot fixed faster, to a higher degree of quality and with less environmental impact. Our infrared repair services can even be performed in summer or winter conditions, preventing damage right before it happens. Learn more about our asphalt repair services in Austin, TX.