Your business’s parking lot forms the first impression a visitor gets when they visit your commercial property. Making the parking lot attractive and keeping the surface free of hazards that could cause injuries to pedestrians or damage vehicles is a primary concern for business owners. That’s why many businesses choose concrete for their pavement surfaces. Proper maintenance, inclusive of concrete parking lot repairs, helps protect your long-term investment.
Why choose a concrete Parking Lot?
Concrete parking lots provide a clean, durable parking surface inviting to prospective tenants and their customers. A concrete parking lot offers many desirable qualities for large areas.
- High traffic counts and heavy truck volumes make concrete a desirable choice because it holds up better under heavy loads. Concrete is regarded as less susceptible to rutting, frost heaves in colder climates, and stresses related to the constant pounding it takes from heavy loads.
- Concrete requires less maintenance than most other pavement types. Concrete parking lot repair can be accomplished affordably.
- Concrete does not rust, rot or burn, saving energy and resources needed to replace or repair damaged buildings and infrastructure.
- According to a Department of Transportation Study, concrete has a low lifetime impact on the environment due to its lower energy cost .
- The Construction Materials Recycling Association estimates that about 140 million tons of concrete are recycled each year in the U.S., reducing the construction projects’ environmental impact.
- Concrete’s brighter reflectivity can lower infrastructure and ongoing lighting costs while boosting safety for vehicles and pedestrians.
The most common concrete parking lot issues
Unlike asphalt, concrete is not pliable, making it much less forgiving when it comes to heaving from freeze and thaw cycles. The elements cause deterioration. Oxidization from the sun, rain, and snow, freeze and thaw cycles and the amount of traffic the parking lot receives cause issues that make concrete parking lot repair necessary.
Cracking. Concrete is prone to cracking under extreme pressure and major repairs can be costly. Cold weather can cause concrete to expand and contract, leading to cracking. If cracking begins to occur, you want to patch it immediately
Salt Damage. Concrete can be damaged by road salt. Salt damages concrete over time by causing corrosion to occur under the surface, causing crumbling or cracking.
Flaking. Concrete can flake in areas of the country that are subject to freezing and thawing. Flaking can also occur if there was too much water used in the concrete mix.
Potholes. Potholes occur when contraction and expansion of the soil under the pavement take place. Potholes happen when there has been significant rain or snow. Water will seep down through cracks and can settle underneath pavement surfaces. In winter, water freezes and expands. As temperatures warm, the ice may melt to create a void. Potholes will form as the paving material and soil over the opening breaks down.
How to repair a concrete parking lot
The surface preparation is critical to the success of concrete parking lot repair. More repairs fail because of poor surface preparation than from any other cause. All unsound concrete must be removed, leaving sound, clean, and suitably roughened surfaces.
1. Concrete Parking Lot Repair by Patching
Clean off the area of the parking lot that needs to be patched. Mix concrete by adding 50% Portland Cement and 50% Gravel. Add some water and mix with a shovel until you have a medium consistency concrete mixture.
Apply cement patch bonding glue to the area of the parking lot that needs repairing. The bonding glue acts as a binder that allows the new concrete to adhere to the old concrete on the parking lot’s surface. Next, apply the new cement mixture liberally and flatten it down firmly with a wooden board. Allow the concrete to settle at least 3 to 4 days.
2. Concrete Parking Lot Repair for Flaking
Spray the concrete area to be repaired with a water hose. Sweep away the water and let the area dry. Mix a batch of Polymer-Modified Cement following the instructions on the package.
Using a shovel, scoop out the mixture and apply it to the flaking concrete area. Smooth the repaired area with a wooden slab and allow at least a week for the cement patch to dry before cars are allowed in the area. Once dry, use a high-quality concrete parking lot sealer to prevent the concrete from flaking too quickly.
3. Concrete Parking Lot Repair for Cracks
- Using a circular saw, scrape the part that has cracks. You have to scrape deep enough for a pocket to form that can be filled with new concrete. If the crack is wide, you’ll need to use a chisel and hammer and chisel out the crack to create a deep cut in the concrete.
- Clean all loose material from the crack using a wire brush or a portable drill with a wire wheel attachment.
- Apply bonding adhesive in a thin layer to the entire concrete area to be repaired. The bonding adhesive will help keep the repair material from loosening or popping out of the crack.
- Mix vinyl reinforced patching compound and use a trowel to push it into the crack. Smooth the repair with a trowel so it is even with the surrounding surface. Then, let it dry.
- To strengthen the repair job, spray the pocket with a concrete parking lot sealer generously.
A small concrete crack repair can be a simple DIY project. Larger cracks may require a professional concrete contractor to correct the damage.
4. Concrete parking lot Repair for sections that have shifted
Concrete sections can sometimes shift over time, causing an uneven surface. To fix the surface, a concrete contractor will grind down the high side and resurface the area.
5. After all Concrete Parking Lot Repair is complete, seal the surface
The sealant helps block the porous surface from the corrosive effects of salt and water. Seal your parking lot to avoid more damage and costly parking lot concrete repair. Many chemical formulations are available as sealers and coatings to protect concrete from a variety of environments.
Tips on how to maintain a concrete parking lot
The goal of any concrete parking lot should be to maximize the life expectancy as much as possible before removing and replacing it completely. Ongoing concrete parking lot maintenance, including concrete parking lot repair, is an essential part of owning a concrete parking lot. Research studies have shown that regular maintenance of a concrete parking lot can extend its life dramatically.
Here are things you should plan on regularly doing:
Remove oil stains
Oil, grease, and other petroleum substances can damage the surface of the concrete. While grime will not cause severe structural damage, these stains can worsen over time and become permanent. Cleaning your parking lot will ensure your concrete’s appearance. Clean concrete lasts longer and creates a better impression on your potential customers.
Clean oil spots with a commercial de-greaser, a rigid bristle broom or brush, and some hot water. You’ll need to brush and rinse a few times to get all of the oil off, but in the end, it’s well worth the effort. Just be sure to rinse off all of the de-greaser when you’re finished.
Remove long-standing stains
Long-standing Stains can be removed from concrete with dry or mechanical methods or wet methods using chemical or water.
Standard dry methods include sandblasting, flame cleaning and shot blasting, grinding, scabbing, planing, and scouring. Use Steel-wire brushes with care because they can leave metal particles on the surface that later will rust and stain concrete surfaces.
Wet stain removal methods require the application of specific chemicals tailored to the nature of the stain. The chemical treatment will either dissolve the staining substance to be blotted up from the concrete’s surface or bleach the staining substance so it will not show.
Seal the cracks in the concrete
When cracks do develop, you should seal them with a concrete crack sealer. Sealing the cracks will help to prevent further damage and failures like potholes by avoiding or minimizing the amount of water entering them. The best maintenance plan should include concrete parking lot repair by crack sealing services each year.
Sweep and power wash regularly
Concrete parking surfaces are extremely durable and can last up to 30 years with regular sweeping and yearly power washing.
Re-surface the concrete parking lot
The concrete should be re-surfaced every 2 to 3 years to slow down the deterioration process and avoid costly concrete parking lot repairs or replacement. Use a quality commercial grade concrete sealer and a reputable pavement contractor.
The cost of concrete parking or repairs and maintenance
Concrete parking lot repair and maintenance costs vary depending on many factors. The prices of services are not the same nationwide. You can expect to pay more in a city location than you will in a rural or suburban area.
Concrete parking lot repair costs
There is no one best way to estimate the cost of many concrete parking lot repairs. A pavement maintenance contractor will conduct an on-site inspection to assess the damage and determine the best course of action. A contractor will take several factors into consideration that may impact the cost of your project, including:
– Current condition of the parking area
– Type and Severity of the damage
– Local labor and material rates
– Square footage of the lot
– Repair method used
– Materials that will be required
For commercial seal coating, the average cost nationwide is about $0.19 per square foot.
Most concrete paving contractors will base their quotes on the square footage of the parking area. A larger parking lot will require more labor and materials to prepare the surface and seal coat the parking lot.
Resurfacing your concrete lot costs between $3 to $10 per square foot on average. It is cheaper than new installation and can extend the concrete’s life beyond its initial 30 to 40 years.
Concrete parking lot maintenance costs
A commercial sweeping company‘s rates ranges between $70 per application for a 25 car lot ,and $150 per application for a 300 car lot. The nature of your business and your parking lot’s size will affect the frequency and length of time of each visit.
Similar to concrete parking lot repair contractors, sweeping and maintenance contractors typically base their quotes on:
- Type of Business. Sweeping companies provide parking lot sweeping services to schools, restaurants, hospitals, apartment buildings, grocery stores, service business, trade business, and shopping. Parking lots are not one size and design. The quantity and quality of trash and debris varies greatly. Parking lots with more trash or heavier trash take longer to clean.
- Parking lot size. How many spaces does the lot have? Are there 25 or over 1,000? It should be no surprise that larger parking lots are going to be more expensive to clean.
- Frequency. How often will you need them to clean the parking lot? How long will it take to clean the lot? Most local companies will work with you to determine the best schedule for your needs. While some businesses may require nightly service, others may be able to go weeks between cleaning visits. More frequent visits will add to the cost, however, it typically takes less time to clean a lot more frequently.
- The parking lot’s condition. It is usually cheaper to clean a parking lot that has been well maintained in the past. If the parking lot’s surface is full of crack and potholes, this may increase the time required to clean the area, which means more money out of your pocket.
Prevention is the key to saving you time and money. By addressing concrete parking lot repairs as soon as issues occur, you’ll be able to extend the life of your parking lot for years to come. Following a regular parking lot maintenance schedule, you will improve your concrete parking lot’s appearance and keep it safe for pedestrian and vehicular traffic. Concrete parking lot repair and maintenance is an ongoing process that should be handled by a professional contractor.
If your business requires concrete parking lot repair, locate a paving contractor near you.