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Effect Of The Seasons On Asphalt Parking Lots

Key Takeaways:

  1. As a commercial property owner, ensuring your parking lot is up to par is essential to make an excellent first impression on customers or employees.
  2. One way to keep its maintenance in check is by keeping the pavement surface in tip-top shape.
  3. Factors affecting Asphalt Parking Lots include UV rays, water exposure, vehicle weight, and weather changes.
  4. Winter: Poses challenges such as freezing temperatures which contract and expansion of asphalt, leading to cracking; Ice buildup/snow accumulation; Salt and other chemicals used for melting ice can be corrosive if used excessively.
  5. Spring: Moisture from rain combined with humidity levels can cause standing water accumulation; Melting snow and ice seepage gradually deteriorates asphalt; Cracking from temperature fluctuations between day and night. 
  6. Summer: The sun’s UV rays age the surface of pavement resulting in cracks; Oils from vehicles sitting in a parking lot during summer months penetrate asphalt weakening its structure
  7. Fall: Leaves and other debris can tarnish the parking lot’s appearance and form a breeding ground for mold and mildew.

Do you own a commercial property along with a parking lot? Want to make it look more appealing? Want to make a good impression on your customers or employees?

If your answer to all three questions was a resounding “Yes,” the best solution is to invest in property parking lot maintenance. If you’re a commercial property owner, it’s important to ensure your parking lot is up to par. A well-maintained lot can help attract and keep customers. In contrast, a poorly maintained lot can ruin their impression of your business.

One way to keep its maintenance in check is by keeping the pavement surface in tip-top shape. Asphalt is one of the most common materials used in commercial properties. It can be used for paving driveways, parking lots, and sidewalks.

Asphalt is durable and withstands weather changes well, but there are some ways that seasonal changes can affect it. Standard Striping Inc discusses the different ways seasonal changes asphalt parking lots. If you stick around long enough, you could also know what to do to maintain it.

Factors that Affect Asphalt Parking Lots

Asphalt is a popular choice for asphalt contractors for paving roads and parking lots. The National Asphalt Pavement Association (NAPA) reports that 94 percent of roads are paved using asphalt. Although it’s durable, certain factors can diminish asphalt parking lots.

Common factors that can affect asphalt include:

1. UV Rays

Chances are you’ve heard that UV rays can damage your skin, and it’s the same for asphalt. The sun’s UV rays age the pavement’s surface, resulting in cracks, potholes, and other types of deterioration.

2. Motor Oil and Other Vehicle Fluids

Motor oil and other vehicles, such as fuel or transmission fluid, can also damage asphalt over time. When these liquids seep into the pavement, they cause a weakening of structures which leads to pavement cracking and disintegration over time.

3. Water

Moisture is essential to life but isn’t welcome on parking lots. Too much water exposure causes oxidation which weakens the binder in asphalt material, eventually breaking down faster than expected.

Additionally, water can cause freeze-thaw cycles, which leads to cracking, potholes, and other types of damage.

4. Vehicle Weight

Vehicles driving in parking lots can cause damage over time. The weight of cars can cause wear and tear on the surface, which leads to cracking, crumbling, and disintegration.

5. Weather and Seasons

The weather and seasonal changes can significantly affect the asphalt parking lot surface. Temperature changes result in constant strain on asphalt surfaces.

Let’s look at the seasons more to understand what happens to the asphalt surface and how to prevent it.

Winter and Asphalt

Winters and asphalt don’t often go together. Why you ask, well here’s what asphalt contractors have to say about them:

1. Freezing temperatures

With winter comes freezing temperatures, which can cause the asphalt to break down due to contraction and expansion.

2. Ice buildup/snow accumulation

If not removed promptly, ice and snow accumulations can also add stress to the asphalt surface. It is why it’s essential to shovel or plow away snow as soon as possible.

3. Salt and other chemicals

Asphalt contractors often use salt, calcium chloride, and calcium magnesium acetate (CMA) for melting ice during winter. However, these chemicals can be corrosive to asphalt if used excessively or without proper dilution ratios. Too many materials can cause cracking and potholes on an asphalt surface.

Spring and Asphalt

Although not as harsh as winter, spring can pose some challenges to asphalt parking lots.

1. Rain and humidity

Rain can be beneficial by flushing away salt and other chemicals used in the winter. Still, it also softens the asphalt surface if not appropriately addressed. The combination of rain and high humidity levels can cause standing water to accumulate in the parking lot.

Other than that, water seepage can result in the gradual deterioration of asphalt.

2. Melting Snow and Ice

Melt water from snow and ice can seep into the asphalt, weakening its structure. Also, standing bodies of water, such as puddles or pools of melted snow, can cause cracking and potholes in the asphalt surface if it’s not addressed quickly.


3. Cracking due to Temperature Fluctuations

During spring months, temperature fluctuations between day and night can cause contraction expansion.

Summer and Asphalt

Next in line in the seasons is summer, and although the sun can be enjoyable, it plays a major role in asphalt damage.

1. Extreme Heat and Warm Temperatures

Extreme heat and warm temperatures can cause the asphalt to become brittle, which makes it more susceptible to cracking. In addition, the sun’s UV rays can break down the surface of the asphalt parking lot.

2. Oils from Vehicles

The oils from vehicles that sit in a parking lot during summer months can penetrate the asphalt and weaken its structure. It is why it’s essential to make sure there is no standing oil or fluid on your parking lot’s surface.

3. Overgrown Grass and Weeds

Overgrown grass and weeds that come up between cracks in asphalt can also cause damage by additional cracking when they are pulled out or begin to die and decompose.

Fall and Asphalt

With the end of summer comes the onset of fall. During this season, asphalt may face several challenges, including:

1. Temperature Drops

As temperatures start to dip in the fall, any cracks that have developed over the summer will begin to expand due to freeze-thaw cycles caused by moisture and temperature changes. It can lead to further deterioration and require professional repair or maintenance.

2. Leaves

Leaves can cover a parking lot at this time of year, creating an ideal environment for mold growth due to trapped moisture beneath them. Additionally, when wet leaves are walked on, they can create slippery surfaces, which pose a safety hazard to those using the parking lot. It’s essential to keep up with leaf removal during the fall to prevent falls from happening.

Parking Lot Maintenance 101

Now that you know what seasonal changes can affect your asphalt parking lot let’s look at some best practices to help keep it in its best condition year-round.


Make sure to clear snow and ice from the parking lot’s surface quickly and efficiently after each snowfall or freeze cycle. It helps to prevent further deterioration due to freeze-thaw cycles caused by moisture and temperature changes. Additionally, deicing agents such as rock salt can help melt away frozen precipitation. However, you should use them sparingly as they may corrode asphalt over time.


The wet weather that often accompanies springtime can pose problems for asphalt surfaces. It’s vital to ensure groundwater is drained adequately from the asphalt surface, as standing water can cause damage to and even potentially erode the pavement.


The intense summer heat can cause deterioration to asphalt surfaces due to oxidation and fading of color. It’s essential to inspect the condition of all asphalt surfaces regularly to protect against this.

Routine maintenance, such as periodic crack filling and seal coating, will help keep your parking lots looking their best for years to come. Additionally, attention to areas around trees and shaded spots helps protect these more sensitive parts of your parking lot.


It’s important to regularly sweep up fallen debris, such as leaves and twigs, from the parking lot to prevent damage from leaf mold. Additionally, regular inspections are recommended to identify any other potential damage sources before they affect your asphalt’s integrity.

Also Read: 6 Signs Of Asphalt Damage That You Should Worry About

Commercial Asphalt Solutions in Waldorf, MD

If you’re looking for quality asphalt solutions for your parking lot, consider Standard Striping Inc serving in Waldorf, MD. We are a professional exterior maintenance company operating in Maryland since 1998. We have skilled professionals who are experienced in using the latest technology and tools to make your exterior both elegant and sturdy. Contact us today and get a free estimate for your parking lot project