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The Ultimate Guide to Protecting Asphalt Lots in Winter

The Ultimate Guide to Protecting Asphalt Lots in Winter

Justin Rollin

Winter will do a number on your driveway or parking lot if left unchecked. A few bad winter months and no maintenance could completely ruin your asphalt. While asphalt needs periodic maintenance to remain healthy and avoid succumbing to harsh winter weather the process is straightforward.

Asphalt is a durable substance, which is precisely why it’s used to pave our roads, parking lots, and driveways. It can take a beating, but it still needs some attention from you to remain in good shape. With that said, the following tips will ensure you understand the basics of protecting asphalt lots in winter.

Use De-Icer Sparingly & Avoid Rock Salt

The substances found in all de-icers, especially rock salt, are particularly corrosive to asphalt. While de-icer is the lesser of two evils, it’ll still do a number on your asphalt pavement if not used sparingly. On the other hand, rock salt is one of the worst substances to lay on top of asphalt over winter. 

The more you use, the more damage you’ll see come spring when everything thaws out.

There are plenty of chemical-free alternatives to ridding the surface of your paved space of snow and ice. However, if you must use a de-icing agent, then use a magnesium chloride formulation. It works under chillier temperatures (down to 0 degrees Fahrenheit). Just make sure to use it according to the instructions. 

Schedule Your Asphalt Sealcoat Ahead of Time

Asphalt is a hardy substance but water is even more pervasive. Without a proper seal, water from rain, ice, and snow will find its way into your asphalt where it will begin to erode it. You should be sealcoating your asphalt every 4 years, or even more frequently if you have harsher-than-normal winters, to protect your asphalt.

A properly sealcoated asphalt space will repel water and hold its own against ice and the subsequent potholes that’ll arise come spring. 

However, one sealcoat is never enough—it needs to be done on a schedule. Without it, the expansion of ice as it turns to water will turn your pavement into a crumbling mess.

Moreover, every single person with an expanse of asphalt will be calling a contractor for a sealcoat at the first signs of spring. With that in mind, ensure you call well ahead of time so you’re already booked before every other person in town has the same idea!

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Avoid Metal Snow Shovels

You might think that a metal shovel is much more effective as snow removal than a plastic one. While that is true, a good metal shovel is also a great tool for chipping away and removing your asphalt. While you may think the damage you’re doing to your pavement appears to be superficial, it’s ruining your seal coat and creating chips and divots in the surface that’ll bring in ice and water.

A cracked and damaged asphalt surface will resemble the surface of the moon in short order. Just how your local streets go from frozen salad to veritable war zones full of deep, crumbling potholes, so too will your driveway if you’d beat it to death with a metal shovel all winter.

Call a Professional

Call a Professional

At the end of the day, snow removal is one of those things that seems simple until you break it down into its bare components. There are many ways to remove snow yet the healthiest ways are typically the more labor-intensive.

Professional snow removal services will bring in their snowblower, which will clear your driveway and asphalt parking lot in short order without the use of corrosive substances or damaging equipment. A properly calibrated snowblower will remove snow without even touching your pavement. Beyond that, it’ll take a fraction of the time that it would take you. And after all—time is money.

Check for Cracks, Potholes, & Pooling

Visual inspections of your pavement are paramount to understanding its health and taking preventative measures to ensure your asphalt surface lasts its entire lifetime. The complete repaving of your lot or driveway is much costlier than doing some simple repairs.

Several times throughout the year, especially in Spring, visually inspect your pavement for standing water, potholes and cracks. Any of these things will mean that the sealcoat on your asphalt is compromised and, once that happens, you’re going to face exponentially more damage the longer you let it go. A somewhat damaged driveway one spring can be a complete wreck by the next Spring.

Asphalt Won’t Fail You if You Don’t Fail Your Asphalt

It’s important to protect your asphalt lot in winter. Yet, like many aspects of your home or business, asphalt needs just a little bit of your periodic attention to remain in good order. If you avoid using chemical de-icers, especially rock salt, ensure your paved space is properly sealcoated, and avoid/respond to damage to the surface of your asphalt then it should last you at least a decade if not two.