When the weather forecast predicts the arrival of El Niño in the upcoming winter season, you'll want to take steps to protect your parking lot from the impending risk of damage. Understanding what kinds of preventative measures you can take as well as what types of repairs may be necessary later will help you to be better prepared when the weather starts to shift. Here's a look at what you should do now as well as what you can do after the weather passes.

Prevention Tips

Sometimes, a little bit of prevention can save you from hundreds or thousands of dollars in damage. Here are some things you should do before the weather comes in.

  • Identify the Trouble Areas – In the late fall, take some time to evaluate the condition of your asphalt parking lot to identify the areas of concern, including any cracks in the asphalt. Cracks let water in, which can then erode the foundation of the parking area. Depressions in the asphalt surface can allow water to pool, which may weaken the surface integrity of the asphalt. You should also check all of your drains to be sure that they are clear, as blocked drains lead to standing water.
  • Clean Things Up – Clean out any debris or litter from the drains if any is present. Go through the entire parking area and pick up broken sticks, leaves and other material. This keeps the drainage paths from becoming clogged. Make sure that the parking lot has a proper slope or sufficient drainage paths.
  • Fill In Any Cracks – Unfilled cracks in the pavement provide a vulnerable area for water to seep in and wash away the foundation. This can lead to areas where the parking lot may sag or cave in. Fill in any potholes as well. Do this well in advance of any weather so the filling asphalt has time to set and cure. This also applies to the seams where the parking lot meets sidewalks and curbs. There are usually subtle cracks where those seams are, and you'll want to have those seams filled and sealed.
  • Seal the Surface – Talk with a local asphalt installation and maintenance service about having a fresh layer of sealant applied over the surface of the asphalt. This coats the whole parking lot in a layer of asphalt slurry mixed with a seal coat to protect it.

Damage Repair

The El Niño weather pattern will last for several months. During that time, you'll want to examine the parking lot on a regular basis for any signs of damage.

  • Fill New Cracks - Look for any cracks, holes or other things that need attention and fill them in right away. The sooner you address them, the less risk you'll have of water seeping in
  • Remove and Replace Extensive Damage – If a particularly heavy burst of rain and weather moves through and causes significant damage, talk with an asphalt repair specialist about having the damaged section removed and replaced. The sooner you deal with it, the less risk you'll have of subsequent problems.
  • Refresh Your Markings – The paint used to mark your parking area will need to be refreshed periodically. You'll want to be sure that your customers can clearly see the parking areas and any specialty parking tags. Have the paint reapplied any time it shows signs of weathering, cracking or fading. That way, you stay ahead of the storm's damage.

With the tips presented here and the help of a reliable asphalt maintenance and installation crew, you'll be able to keep your parking lot in its best possible condition throughout the El Niño weather pattern. Contact a company like Lakeridge Paving Company for more information.