Business owners know that they need to make sure that both current and potential customers have direct access to their businesses. This may mean installing a large parking lot, so people can leave their cars close to the store. If you are one of these business owners who has a parking lot, then you must make sure to maintain the asphalt. Potholes and loose asphalt can cause damage to customer vehicles, and a fall may happen if someone trips on a hole. Good parking lot maintenance means occasional sealcoating with the help of an asphalt professional. After you make the sealcoating appointment, prepare for the professional with the following tips.
Get Your Barrier Materials Ready
When you invest in a parking lot sealing, a professional will place a coal tar emulsion, asphalt emulsion, or an oil asphalt sealer on top of the parking lot. All of these sealers are oil based, and they will adhere to the asphalt across the parking lot as they dry. It is very important to allow the sealer to cure properly or areas of the asphalt may be left without any protection. Sealers will typically cure within a 24 to 48 hour period. You must keep all cars and foot traffic off the asphalt during the process. This means placing barriers around the entirety of your parking lot.
To secure a barrier around your parking lot, purchase several rolls of synthetic plastic barrier tape. Tape that is a bright color like orange, pink, or yellow is a good choice, and it should be two or three mils thick to withstand stress from the wind and rain. Usually the tape is sold in large 1,000 foot rolls, so take some general measurements of the parking lot so you know you are purchasing enough tape.
Place wooden or plastic stakes around the perimeter of the parking lot. Stakes should be placed every three or four feet, and they should sit outside the edge of the lot at least a few inches. Run the barrier tape across the stakes and tie the tape to each one as you move along. Place three or four orange cones at the entrance of the lot to keep vehicles out and move the cones when the sealing professionals arrive.
Clean Your Asphalt
Asphalt professionals may not tell you to clean your parking lot before a sealing, but it is wise to remove dirt and debris. Petroleum based sealer materials cannot stick to the asphalt if dirt, debris, and oil cover the surface. To clean the parking lot, use a regular garden hose to rinse the surface. You may need to use dish soap and warm water to clean as well if debris does not immediately loosen. When applying the soap and water, use a nylon, polystyrene, or polyester scrub brush to help the soap release debris.
After the initial cleaning is over, look for oil spots on the asphalt. If you see any stains, then purchase some trisodium phosphate. Trisodium phosphate is a strong basic compound that can break up oil and grease. You only need a small amount of the powder, and it is wise to use about one-half a cup in about two gallons of water. This helps to reduce burn concerns. Once you create the mixture, spread it on the oil stains and use a scrub brush to release the oil. Rinse the oil and trisodium phosphate away afterwards. Allow the driveway to dry. Typically, you want to clean the asphalt several days before the sealing. The asphalt must be completely dry before the sealer is placed or it will not adhere properly.
Keeping your business parking lot in great condition with an occasional sealing will help to make sure that your patrons can access your store. Before the sealcoating or asphalt professionals arrive, you should make sure to set up your barrier and clean your asphalt thoroughly.