Spreading Rock Salt Can Damage Your Parking Lot – What Should You Do?
We all know Winter weather brings moisture and cold conditions that can cause damage to unprotected asphalt, but did you know that overusing rock salt can speed up the wear and tear on your parking lot, exacerbating normal deterioration from the freeze-thaw cycle? Ensuring that your parking lot is properly prepared for winter and using rock salt best practices are your best bet at keeping your lot looking its best year after year.
How Rock Salt Damages Asphalt
Of course, rock salt is the trusted snow removal and de-icing process for parking lots. But if used on asphalt that is not adequately maintained, rock salt can accelerate damage and lead to more significant problems. If your parking lot is not serviced correctly, melted snow caused by rock salt can find its way into the asphalt and refreeze, causing cracks that eventually form potholes. If your parking lot is already damaged or has multiple cracks, this can be an even larger concern as it will allow even more water to penetrate the surface. Additionally, if used in excess, rock salt itself can have a corrosive effect, damaging your parking lot, cars, and the environment.
Other Mistakes You Could Be Making While Salting
When using rock salt, it is crucial that you use it sparingly and in temperatures above freezing. Additionally, applying it after snow and ice storms are over is more cost-effective and dilutes the corrosive chemicals. It is easy to think that it can do all the work for you, and while highly effective at snow removal, rock salt should be one step in your snow removal process. If you don’t take the time to have your parking lots plowed and shoveled, you will be using your entire winter budget on it. This will not only contaminate the environment and not be thorough enough for proper walkways and parking, but it will leave excess water and chemicals on the surface of your asphalt, leading to further deterioration.
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So, What Do You Do?
The best way to fight against corrosion from rock salt is by properly preparing your asphalt for the winter season. During the fall, it is important to survey your parking lot and note any cracks or potholes that need to be repaired. It is recommended to follow a comprehensive winter preparation for your parking lot to be in the best shape possible before the winter season.
Once you identify areas of concern, particularly cracks and potholes, use a filler or contact an asphalt maintenance company to come and repair any cracks in your parking lot. Utilizing a filler will allow for additional expansion during the freeze-thaw cycle, preventing further damage.
It is vital to stay ahead of both parking lot repairs and the snow removal process to avoid damage caused by excessive rock salt use. Budgeting and contracting out your snow removal services along with signing up for a parking lot maintenance plan is a great way to stay ahead. Make sure that the snow removal contractor you choose is reputable and able to accommodate your schedule. It is also important to make sure that their equipment has rubber snow deflectors to avoid asphalt damage from metal plows.
By hiring a contractor for a routine asphalt maintenance plan, you can get ahead of many challenges that come with preparing a parking lot for winter. If you repair, restripe, and sealcoat your parking lot during the summer months, you will know that your lot will be in good shape for the winter.
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