The most expensive investment you’ll make in your property?  Your roof.  The second most expensive is one you probably rarely think about though: your pavement.  If you don’t take proper care of it and spend preventative maintenance dollars now, you’ll need to spend exponentially more to replace it as it deteriorates.

The financial aspect is just one side of parking lot maintenance though.  How a parking lot appears to customers, tenants or guests speak volumes of how you are as an owner or manager. No matter how spick and span your establishment looks, if the parking lot is crumbling and littered with trash and debris, a customer would surely be hesitant to even go through the front door.

So where should you start?  We have put together this checklist to help you determine in priority whether your parking lot is on track or in danger of costing you a lot.

Surface Condition

  1. Are there visible cracks on the pavement surface?
  2. Are there sections that are puddled or under water?
  3. Is there stray vegetation growing where it shouldn't?
  4. Is the color of the asphalt faded and uneven?
  5. Are there oil and chemical stains visible on the asphalt surface?

If you answered “yes” to these five questions, then your parking lot is due for surface prepping, crack sealing, pothole patching and sealcoating. Visit our resource pages for in-depth guides on pothole repair, asphalt stain removal, and asphalt damage repair. This application temperature guide will also be very convenient, especially if you need to make asphalt repairs in cold weather.

Drainage Maintenance Check

  1. Does your parking lot flood after every rainfall?
  2. Is water pooling on certain areas instead of getting drained properly?
  3. Do grates and manhole covers appear to pop-up above the surrounding asphalt surface?
  4. Do rancid or pungent odors waft out of the grate slots?
  5. Do your parking lot drains overflow even if there isn’t much rainfall?

If you also answered “yes” to these questions, chances are, your drains are either blocked or collapsed, causing them to fail. Drainage maintenance is very important in prolonging the integrity of your asphalt. Check your drainage system to make sure that all surfaces are leveled, or if there are slopes and inclines, they lead to proper inlets to prevent water pooling. Patch up crumbling areas in your parking lot to avoid getting aggregate and debris deposits in your drains that can cause flooding. For blocked drains, try flushing with water and see if it drains out. If it doesn’t, get in touch with professional drainage cleaners to have the blockage removed.

Signs and Markings

  1. Are the stripes between parking spaces clear and visible, even at night?
  2. Are handicap areas clearly labeled or marked according to federal regulations?
  3. Are the entrances and exits in your parking lot clearly marked and easy to find?
  4. Are curbs appropriately striped to prevent unexpected collisions and accidents?
  5. Are slippery areas and surfaces properly closed off from regular traffic?
  6. Are one-way and fire lanes appropriately marked?

If these questions were answered with a “no,” then, your parking lot needs to be restriped. Use stencils for speedy application and accurate markings. Use the correct types of traffic paints and colors to keep in compliance with rules and regulations in your area. Our resource page on how to choose the best striping paints can provide lots of insight, especially for new parking lot owners and managers. Additional guides on when and how to restripe your parking lot are also available.


Regularly monitoring and checking your parking lot is ideal. A walkthrough and visual inspection will allow you to spot potential issues that can be prevented from escalating if discovered early on. Sweeping schedules should also be included in your parking lot maintenance routine to clear away stray vegetation, fallen leaves, mud, sand and other debris can cause obstructions to both vehicle and human traffic that can lead to accidents.

Remember, sealing cracks every year and sealcoating your asphalt pavement every 2-3 years will save you more money than having to spend a lot on repaving and resurfacing.


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