Summer Maintenance for Parking Lots and Decks

September 14, 2023 | By: CRE Insight Journal

The sun is shining, temperatures are soaring, and summer is coming to a close. While people look forward to the final beach trips and barbecues of the season, it is crucial for commercial property owners and managers to look towards the less glamorous (but equally important) task of parking lot and deck maintenance. Neglecting these areas during the summer months can lead to both aesthetic and structural issues, potentially costing thousands in repairs down the line.

The Challenges of Summer Weather

The summer season is both a blessing and a curse for parking structures. While clear skies facilitate easier maintenance work, the relentless sun and elevated temperatures create specific challenges. High heat can make asphalt more pliable and vulnerable to damage, particularly from the pressure of heavy vehicles. Similarly, the sun’s rays can accelerate the breakdown of both asphalt and concrete over time. Add to this the naturally higher volume of vehicle and foot traffic during the season, and the wear on parking surfaces can be considerable.

Extreme weather conditions—such as heatwaves, torrential rain, and even hail—can occur throughout summer. These situations can exacerbate existing surface defects and may also result in flooding, particularly in lower-level and underground parking decks. A focus on durable materials and effective drainage solutions can go a long way in mitigating these risks. Following any extreme weather event, a thorough inspection is essential for identifying areas that may require immediate maintenance or repair.

Efficient water management is often an overlooked aspect of parking lot and deck maintenance, and it’s especially vital during summer storms. A well-planned stormwater management system—featuring regular cleaning of drainage systems and catch basins, as well as using porous materials that improve water flow—can prevent pooling and subsequent water damage. Frequent inspections can catch drainage issues early, before they escalate into more severe, costly problems.

Keep an Eye on the Surface

Increased human activity during summer also contributes to the accumulation of contaminants like dirt, motor oil, and organic debris on parking surfaces. Timely removal is necessary to prevent these substances from permanently staining asphalt or concrete. Regular sweeping and the occasional power wash are practical ways to tackle this issue. For high-traffic areas—such as shopping centers or large office buildings—a more thorough, professional cleaning might be warranted to address stubborn grime and stains.

A protective seal coat over the surface of your parking lots and decks can extend the life of your parking lot considerably by providing a barrier against harmful UV radiation and water intrusion. Before applying the surface, it’s crucial to address any cracks. Neglected cracks can widen and deepen, ultimately requiring more extensive and costly repairs. Using a quality, rubberized asphalt sealant can prevent water from seeping into these cracks and causing additional damage. Depending on your facility’s condition and exposure to the elements, a new seal coat and crack repair are generally recommended every two to three years.

Maintaining clear and visible striping and markings in your parking facility is not just about aesthetics; it’s a safety issue and a legal requirement. Worn-out or unclear striping can lead to confusion, inefficient use of space, and even accidents. Opting for high-quality, durable striping materials like thermoplastic can also make the markings last longer, reducing the frequency of reapplications.

Summer Maintenance

The summer season provides a golden opportunity for property managers and owners to focus on parking lot and deck maintenance at CRE properties. By taking a proactive approach to address the unique challenges that summer poses, you can not only extend the life of these crucial assets but also improve the overall value and appeal of your property. For a full look at how to maintain and enhance your property, check out CRE Insight Journal’s free Structural Inspection and Repair guide. While summer is a time for leisure and relaxation for many, ensuring that your parking facilities are in peak condition year-round.

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