Facility managers oversee every inch of their property. With so much area to cover, parking lots are sometimes overlooked. And yet, your facility’s parking lot is essential for streamlining daily operations, not to mention the ongoing safety of all drivers and pedestrians. If your parking lot is riddled with cracks, potholes, pits, and bumps, it’s imperative to address these concerns as soon as possible. Of course, facility managers might hesitate to invest in pavement repair and restoration because such projects tend to disrupt regular operations.
So, how long after paving is a commercial parking lot ready to use once more? As you might imagine, the answer depends on a number of variables, which we’ll explore below.
It Depends on the Process
Not all parking lot paving and repair projects are created equal. Depending on the extent of deterioration, you might decide to invest in cut and patch repairs, milling and overlay, pulverization, or a full-depth reconstruction. Not only do each of these processes differ in nature and duration – the time it takes for a parking lot to settle after the fact may also differ. On average, it can take anywhere from 48-72 hours for a new asphalt paving project to settle enough for use. Re-milled asphalt is typically settled after 24 hours. An asphalt sealer application can take 24-48 hours to completely dry. Concrete paving tends to take longer to settle (sometimes a week or more).
Temperature Plays a Part
The durations listed above are just rough, average estimations. In reality, environmental factors (namely temperature and wind speed) can lessen or extend how long it takes for a commercial paving project to fully settle. Put simply, a parking lot will settle faster when temperatures are cool and met with a consistent breeze. However, paving contractors won’t work if temperatures are too cold, as this can cause problems with hot-mix applications. Parking lot paving shouldn’t be performed on exceptionally hot days, either. If you want your parking lot to be ready for use shortly after paving, you’ll want to aim for a stretch of days with milder temperatures – this can be challenging in a turbulent region like New England, but not impossible.
Provide Enough Time Before Sealing
It’s always a good idea to seal your parking lot after laying down fresh asphalt. That said, you don’t want to perform this task right away. In most cases, commercial parking lot contractors will wait at least 30 days before sealing the surface. Sealing too soon will put a hold on the asphalt’s natural oxidation process, meaning some of its oils will become trapped underneath the sealer. However, you don’t want to wait too long to seal your parking lot either, as failing to do so will allow the oxidation process to continue indefinitely, causing the material to break down much quicker. In other words, timing is key when it comes to sealing after paving. As mentioned above, your parking lot will need to rest for another 24-48 hours after sealing, so many facilities opt for such a project over the weekend (if they operate on a typical schedule).
There’s no single, simple answer to the question of how long it takes for commercial parking lot paving to settle. What’s important is allowing your facility enough time and giving occupants plenty of notice to ensure the process isn’t interrupted. Cassidy Paving is happy to answer any questions you may have regarding asphalt and concrete cure times so you’re ready to tackle your next paving project. Call us today at 866-978-9788 for a free estimate on your next commercial parking lot project.