Hotel Parking Lots: Why First Impressions Matter and How to Spot Trouble Areas Before Your Guests Do
By Rollin Bell Founder / CEO, PCM Construction | October 2008
One of the first things a guest sees when driving onto your property is your hotel's parking lot. A fresh, black coat of asphalt makes a positive first impression. A parking lot exhibiting signs of neglect or disrepair will have a profound negative impact on guests - even before they walk through the front door. Beyond appearances, a cracked parking lot can be a liability for hotel executives and managers if one of your guests becomes injured.
So how can you, as a hotel executive, know when it is time to repair your parking lot? Besides planning for recurring inspections and maintenance, there are several trouble spots to look for.
In many cases, a fresh seal coat may be the answer to your parking lot ailments. Seal coating is a thin asphaltic treatment used to protect pavement surfaces from UV radiation and oxidation. Seal coat may contain asphaltic or coal tar emulsion, fillers, sand, polymer latex, fibres and pigments. Seal coats are mostly for protecting a surface from aging. They are a thin layer and work well as void fillers. They are commonly used on parking lots to extend the life of asphalt and provide a fresh new look.
Raveling - This is one of the more common failures of asphalt pavement. Raveling can be described as the on-going separation of aggregate particles from the pavement's surface. A raveling pavement will deteriorate progressively faster with time. A raveling pavement leaves a pock-marked surface texture, followed by the loss of larger aggregate sizes, which leads to a rough surface texture with large, exposed aggregate, eventually resulting in the loss of the entire lift of asphalt pavement. With proper seal coating, raveling can be significantly reduced.
Alligator Cracks - These are easy to spot because of the resemblance they bear to the leathery, cracked skin of an alligator. Alligator cracks are attributable to various factors such as pavement movement, shrinkage of asphalt mix due to oxidation, weak or weathered joints, extreme temperature changes and/or surface layer movement. Depending on their severity, alligator cracks can be fixed with an application of seal coat.
Polished or Smoothed Aggregate - This is when the protruding aggregate that typically provides traction for cars and pedestrians becomes smoothed over time. This typically occurs in areas of high traffic or in geographic locations where studded tire use is common in the winter. Polished or smoothed aggregate generally occurs over a long period of time and results in a slick, unsafe surface.