Cleaning & Maintenance Management Online
August 2011 Maintenance Matters

Don't Alienate Your Parking Lot

Focusing on cleaning and maintenance tasks outside of your facility has its benefits.

August 1, 2012

So much time is spent cleaning and maintaining indoor environments and ensuring safety and optimal indoor air quality for building occupants that exterior tasks are often overlooked.

Some building owners and managers are cognizant of the initial impression the façade of their facility provides, but many fail to focus beyond cleaning windows and repairing bricks and mortar.

From observational experience, exterior maintenance, notably that of the parking lot, is of minimal concern.

The fact is that a well-maintained parking lot can do scores in terms of curb appeal and building security.

Proper Illumination

Aside from the obvious tasks like fixing potholes and regularly sweeping away debris in the summertime and removing snow during the winter, ensuring adequate lighting should rank highly on your parking lot maintenance list.

In discussing how outdoor lighting fixtures require regular maintenance, Richard Heinisch, manager of energy and environmental standards for Acuity Brands Lighting Inc., notes that lamps tend to produce less light as they age and become soiled.Parking Lot Lighting

"You should replace lamps at scheduled intervals — not just when they burn out," says Heinisch. "Group re-lamping when they reach 70 percent to 80 percent of their expected life is typical. Dirty light fixtures also produce less light, so arrange to have fixtures cleaned both inside and outside on a regular basis."

A properly illuminated parking lot will minimize instances of crime.

A potential offender is less likely to pilfer if he or she is visible from many angles.

Similarly, the risk of an attack is greatly diminished if there are no dark areas in which one can hide.

The power of peace of mind by building occupants and patrons cannot be overstated.

Aside from security, lighting's aesthetic properties can be a boon or a bust for business.

"When looking at outdoor lighting, don't forget signage," exclaims Susan Anderson, manager of energy relations for ORSAM SYLVANIA.


Well-placed, well-lit parking lot signs can help ease frustrations of those not familiar with a facility and its grounds, helping visitors get where they need to quickly and efficiently.

"Often times, if a site has been improved or if additions have been made, the signage in the parking lot is the last to be thought of," states Jayme Nelson, corporate communications manager for FASTSIGNS International Inc. "However, parking lot signs are one of the first visual impressions a visitor receives of an establishment.

Visible, eye-catching signs can help boost curb appeal for potential patrons and inform building occupants that their facility manager takes pride in their grounds.

According to Nelson, there are four basic design principles that can help make the most of a sign or graphic:Parking Lot Signage

  1. Visibility: Achieved by ensuring the sign's lettering is clearly distinguishable from its surroundings
  2. Readability: Ensure the message is correctly comprehended with specific graphic elements and color choices
  3. Noticeability: Draw the viewer's attention by changing colors, messages, sizes or shapes frequently
  4. Legibility: Utilizing certain typestyles and spacing ensure certain characters on the sign are discernible from others.

As with all aspects of facilities maintenance, experts are available to help guide your decisions and assist in maximizing your available budget.

If you are looking to upgrade your parking lot lighting or signage, consult with someone with experience assisting comparable facilities.

Detailed descriptions, photographs and on-site audits can pay dividends and help ensure you are getting exactly what you want and need.

Melting Through The Clutter

Another important aspect of parking lot maintenance is snow and ice removal.

JanSan professionals have numerous ice melt choices, and for good reason: Varying circumstances demand different products to get the job done.

Here’s a quick primer to help you find the right product for your needs:

Magnesium chloride

  • Melts down to -25 degrees Fahrenheit (F), with the fastest melting speed above 0 degrees F
  • Safe to handle and safe for vegetation and concrete and hard surface floors — when used as directed
  • Best for use near public entryways and vegetation, and when concrete maintenance is a concern.

    Snow Plow Truck

Calcium chloride

  • Melts down to -25 degrees F
  • Application requires goggles and gloves, and it can harm concrete and vegetation
  • Contains oily substances that can cause slippery floors
  • Best for treating remote areas in extremely cold temperatures.

Sodium chloride (rock salt)

  • Melts down to five degrees F
  • Economical and safe to handle and store around children and pets
  • Must be managed properly if used around vegetation
  • Best for treating large areas and for use in more moderate temperatures.


  • Typically rock salt blended with magnesium chloride, calcium chloride and other additives such as melting enhancers, color and corrosion inhibitors
  • Provide additional benefits such as enhanced melting power, extended freeze/thaw cycles and coloring to assist with even application
  • Can be economical depending on the ingredients.