Watch for the signs of damage from poor parking lot drainage!
In most new parking lots, you expect to find that rich, black asphalt with bright, freshly painted lines, but often, one aspect of a parking lot is overlooked: drainage. Perhaps the most important aspect regarding the longevity of your parking lot, drainage will determine the ability of the pavement to withstand the harsh effects of traffic and weather.
In part one of this series, we’ll discuss the different types of damage associated with poor parking lot drainage, then in part two (coming soon), we’ll discuss some solutions for drainage issues.
Damage Associated With Poor Parking Lot Drainage
While sometimes easy to overlook, when done correctly, parking lot drainage is almost invisible. But when done improperly or overlooked altogether, you may be left with serious water issues. While that puddle may seem harmless, sitting on the hard asphalt, the two do not mix well and will cause real issues over time. This form of water damage is especially bad for two reasons. First, it degrades the bonds that hold your asphalt together, causing the asphalt mixture to separate from its aggregates. Second, water that settles on your parking lot’s surface causes damage slowly. You probably won’t see the damage happening, making it hard to guess how much aggregate separation has really occurred.
Other problems include:
- Bleeding: When asphalt binder rises to the surface.
- Cracking: Water pressure causes cracks on the surface of your asphalt.
- Raveling: Disintegration of the surface asphalt layer.
- Rutting: Depressions created in heavy traffic areas.
Structural damage is possibly the worst kind of damage that inadequate drainage can cause. Water isn’t just pooling on the surface but is slowly seeping into the pores of your parking lot, where it will then make its way into the subgrade, causing structural issues. These issues will go unseen and unnoticed until the day the asphalt gives way and collapses under the weight of a vehicle. While in a worst-case scenario this would cause a sink hole, it more often results in potholes and low spots forming across your parking lot.
Your parking lot is also susceptible to structural damage when water collects at the edge of your parking lot. When the ground around the edges of your parking lot gets saturated with moisture, it can allow water to seep under the entire parking lot. This happens frequently when a parking lot is built on grounds that serve as a natural low point.
The last form of damage that water can cause is collateral damage, in the form of liability. When water pools on the surface of your parking lot or in potholes, it creates a hazard for people walking and driving. People can get injured walking across a slick surface, much like cars can hydroplane on standing water. Poor parking lot drainage has the potential hurt an employee or visitor which could result in legal fees that would cost you more than just maintaining your parking lot.
There Is A Solution!
Water drainage issues can be an expensive problem. That’s why it is always recommended to work with licensed and insured, professionals that will nail the parking lot design, effectively minimizing future problems and ensuring your parking continues to look great! If you’re interested in learning more about parking lot drainage, contact the professionals at PaveConnect. Our team is available to discuss all your paving needs and help you put together a maintenance plan to help extend the life of your parking lot!