Preparing A Commercial Concrete Parking Lot For Repairs

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It is quite well known and true that when it comes to general care and frequency of maintenance, concrete parking lots are a bit easier to deal with than asphalt lots. However, it’s still important to have routine repairs on any concrete parking lot to mitigate any damage done over time. If not sufficiently maintained, the presence of spalling, potholes and concrete chips scattered about the lot can be dangerous for drivers and pedestrians.

Concrete parking lots are, for example, more susceptible to frost heaves (when soil swells upwards due to freezing) and freeze/thaw expansion. This is why you might notice more asphalt lots in the northern regions of the United States where it’s colder due to the higher frequency of cooling and thawing cycles. However, there are many things you need to do in preparation for concrete parking lot repairs, especially when large areas of the lot are remarkably damaged.

Determining the Nature of the Problem

There are various methods of preparation for concrete repairs, but it does go without saying that the kind of damage to the surface in question, will determine the method used. Freezing and thawing damage might call for something different than the presence of cracking on the surface, even though most repairs require similar procedures.

Think about how the problem originated, if whatever caused the damage is likely to cause recurring damage then it’s within your interest to eliminate it. You’ll also need to consider whether or not a repair is even feasible or recommendable because if a certain degree of damage has been exceeded, a full-blown replacement might be in order. This would definitely be the case if your concrete lot is cracked and uneven in multiple places throughout the surface; however, if the damage is limited to one or a couple of areas, a repair is perfectly reasonable.

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Proper Cleaning

Before any attempt at a repair, the area must be cleaned of dirt, debris, and even trash. This is most often done by hosing the affected area down well with a power hose, then letting it dry completely afterwards. It is also important to remove any weeds, shrubbery and plants that may have come up through the ground.

Proper Planning

It’s important to set out a time for the repair during a time when the lot experiences little traffic activity, making it more convenient and safer for those conducting the repairs. For cement parking lots in particular it’s important to keep an eye out for the weather, so make sure to plan a repair during a clear day if the lot is located outside.

Redirecting Traffic

Obviously, during the repairs, you won’t want to have cars in the area so you’ll need to create lanes that divert traffic around the repair site. Sometimes you might have to close down the whole lot to direct traffic to a temporary lot.

Notify About the Repair

To make the process go smoothly and eliminate any type of confusion, notify both employees and customers by posting signs beforehand so no one is surprised when they find the lot closed for construction. Make sure to include the dates of when the repair(s) is happening if it is a substantial area of the lot you’re repairing.

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Hiring a Contractor

Concrete contractors are probably the most experienced people when it comes to dealing with concrete in general. Their specialized training enables them to coordinate projects that turn out with extremely high quality.

They can handle all the stages of concrete repair, including the preparatory stages which include the removal of plants and debris and the placement of the concrete itself. In the case of repairing a commercial concrete parking lot, hiring a concrete contractor would be the right thing to do.

Surface Preparation

Once the basic tasks have been completed, the surface of the concrete needs to be prepped and this can be done using various methods. This includes acid etching, mechanical preparation, scarifying, grinding, and shot blasting. This essentially removes the top layer of concrete, clearing the surface of debris and allowing for easier binding to the new cement later.

When it comes to removing the top surface, scarifiers increase efficiency and are relatively easy to use, so it’s a good idea to look for a handheld scarifier for sale. Although make sure to remove all dust created by scarification. It’s probably a good idea to steer clear from chemical cleaning though, as it can be dangerously abrasive to the surface of the concrete. At the end of this process, the remaining surface should be smooth, and ready to apply subsequent coatings.

Img source: independent.co.uk

Using Proper Machinery and Materials

To ensure a quality job, it’s vital to use top-grade tools and machinery for any repair. Usually, the concrete contractor has access to this kind of machinery and materials required for the project, but it also doesn’t hurt to find a handheld scarifier for sale from Aurand.com to use during the surface preparation stage. These devices can come at very reasonable prices and are not extraordinarily difficult to handle and use.

You will also have to match the materials (such as specific polymers and bonding agents) you’re set on using to the requirements of the project you’re undertaking because using the wrong materials for the job can most definitely result in an early failure. For example, depending on when the repair is planned, certain liquid materials might not work as well in freezing conditions vs in warmer temperatures.

Also, consider how strong the repair must be, for example, if the area will be subject to heavy traffic flows multiple days a week or to heavy vehicle traffic, then it would be best to use high-strength materials that are not as abrasive as others. Choosing materials and planning around the possibility and frequency of natural disasters such as earthquakes is also a common precaution taken during the preparation process. All in all, starting off using proper, good quality materials will definitely ensure that the project gets done more efficiently and reliably.

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