Asphalt maintenance is an important part of any regular property care routine. Whether you’re the building manager of a major commercial property with a massive parking lot or if you’re simply just proud of your asphalt driveway, keeping these surfaces in good condition can keep your place looking neat and clean. It can also save you a bundle on repair costs as well, as patching small cracks costs a lot less than filling potholes or repaving even larger surfaces.

But spotting the telltale signs of minor damage before they grow into major problems isn’t always easy. If you’re wondering how to tell when your parking lot or driveway needs some TLC in the form of asphalt maintenance, here’s what you need to look for!

Visible Cracks May Require Asphalt Maintenance

Let’s start with the easiest and most obvious case: visible cracks. If you can see a crack in your asphalt, that’s a sure sign that the problem is big enough to require some maintenance. That’s because what you see on the surface is only a fraction of the problem: below that, the crack could (and often is) much bigger and deeper. Cracks let moisture seep into the interior of your pavement, and will begin to erode it over time. In freezing temperatures, as a crack filled with water expands as that water freezes. Then, when that frozen water melts, it leaves behind an even bigger crack. That’s how potholes are made, so patch cracks now to save yourself a headache later.

Standing Water is a Serious Red Flag

With water the natural enemy of asphalt, it’s always a bad sign if you see puddles of standing water in your parking lot or driveway after it rains. Water should either run off to the sides or be directed to the nearest drain; if it’s not, you may need asphalt maintenance to re-grade your lot so that water runs off properly once again. Even if the water isn’t seeping into the interior of your parking lot, it’s slowly breaking down the binding agents on the surface of your asphalt, and that means eventually you’ll end up with cracks and potholes there as well!

Faded Color and Stained Pavement Are More Than Just Ugly

Finally, if you notice the color of your pavement is fading or that you’ve got ugly stains left over from a vehicle leaking coolant, oil, or whatever else, then it’s a surefire sign you might need some asphalt maintenance. Fading and stains are more than just cosmetic issues — they’re signs that your surface is beginning to age and lose its protective properties. If you have a sealcoating, it’s likely time to have it re-applied. If you don’t have one, you may want to consider an application in the very near future. It’s an added expense, but sealcoating is the type of asphalt maintenance that extends the life of your pavement for years.

Asphalt Maintenance: Saving You Money and Keeping You Safe

Looking out for possible maintenance issues and treating them appropriately in a timely manner saves you money in the long run, and not just because you’re fixing issues before they become more expensive to patch later. A well-maintained lot or driveway also protects you and your visitors from harm, as you can’t trip on broken or crumbling asphalt if your lot is in good shape. This makes it all the more important to keep an eye out for maintenance issues whenever you can!