Winterizing Your Parking Lot: Protecting Your Property Before the Freeze
Pre-Winter Protections For Your Surfaces Can Save You Time, Money and Liability Risks
Game of Thrones jokes aside, winter is coming, and that is especially menacing for parking lots and pavement that hasn’t been sufficiently prepared. In regions where winter brings snow, ice and low temperatures, those brutal conditions can wreak havoc on surfaces and turn small problems into big ones. The time to start planning to winterize your portfolio is at the tail end of summer and into the early weeks of fall, and procrastination will cost you. Here’s what you need to know right now to get your properties in order on time.
Why Do You Need to Winterize Your Parking Lot?
Failure to prepare for damages caused by winter weather poses big risks for your lot and the people who use it. If your property needs resurfacing before it’s buried in snow, postponing that treatment until after things thaw will allow potholes and cracks to grow—sometimes doubling in size due to the expansion and contraction of water under the surface. Any preexisting divots in your sidewalks are also likely to worsen, making the path your customers must navigate exceedingly treacherous. Fixing these problems early is much simpler and cheaper than having to fill in a giant ditch later, and these small issues quickly devolve into big ones. “Problems that could have been solved by resurfacing before winter hit will often need more full-depth removal and replacement prior to resurfacing by springtime or summertime, because the damage has escalated based on winter freeze and thaw cycles,” says Tim Chimack, vice president of Rose Paving Chicago. “It happens all the time.” Surface irregularities aren’t just eyesores: they’re risky and potentially expensive liabilities, especially when slick ice makes them more treacherous and even harder to spot.
What Treatments Do You Need to Protect Your Property?
Winter weather wreaks havoc on all surfaces, as do the solutions many properties use to combat it, from shovels to snow plows to road salt. A pristine lot can withstand most of those abuses, and preventative maintenance—including sealcoating and freshly painted lot markings—increases the odds for your property to remain visible throughout the winter, which will reduce liabilities. Cracks and potholes need to be resolved most urgently since they tend to expand in the winter, making them more dangerous and expensive to repair. Asphalt fills and sealcoating can stop parking lot conditions from degrading, and since uneven concrete on walking paths is a serious risk factor, Chimack says Rose Paving crews are happy to get creative. “Making sure sidewalks are safe before they freeze is essential, but they might not need to be completely removed or replaced,” Chimack says. “We can grind them down to at least make them flush, so that eliminates the trip risk and is very cost effective. We do a lot of that with retail and homeowners associations.”
When Do You Need Your Winterizing Plan in Place?
If this is the first time you’ve considered taking measures to protect your lot, the time to act is right now. Sealcoating season wraps up in mid-October, and once that window is closed, there’s no way to backtrack; paving companies in Chicago typically empty and clean out their tanks in late October for the winter, and once they’re done, they’re done. Asphalt is also time-sensitive and gets more expensive as temperatures dip, since more equipment/trucking is needed to maintain adequate material temperatures to ensure structural integrity of your lot. Chimack says that in most temperate climates, winterizing of any kind is off the table by Thanksgiving. Cutting it close increases the likelihood your services won’t make the cut, especially if you’re delayed by permit approvals or unexpected early snowfall. Failure to winterize shifts your needs from preventative to reparative, which usually increases your servicing price tag by roughly 10 to 20 percent, Chimack says.
A national provider that’s attuned to your property’s needs will ensure you’re always prepared for whatever Mother Nature throws your way. That includes a comprehensive Portfolio Management Plan (PMP) designed specifically for you. Contact Rose Paving today to learn how we can take the guesswork out of keeping your surfaces safe.