Why Asphalt is the Best Choice for Parking Lot Paving

So you want to build a new parking lot. What should you use? Concrete is always an option, as is various other types of surfacing. Driving around town, it’s pretty noticeable that most parking lots are paved with asphalt. Why is that? Asphalt paving provides a number of benefits that concrete and other materials don’t. 

What about concrete?

The main contender for asphalt parking lots is concrete. Concrete does have some benefits.

  • Concrete is versatile. There are many design options that you can use with concrete that aren’t an option with asphalt.
  • Long lifespan with low maintenance. Concrete lasts a long time, and requires comparatively little upkeep.
  • Concrete holds up better in intense heat. An asphalt parking lot can soften and become oily in extremely hot weather, concrete will maintain its integrity. The lighter color of concrete also stops it from absorbing as much of the sun’s rays as blacktop asphalt does.

What other options are there?

Brick, gravel, and other permeable barriers can be used for driveways and parking lots as well. Some of them offer a better ecological impact, some simply look better. There are myriad different choices you can use, and they all come with their pros and cons. Here’s a good article about the different alternatives (including concrete) that can be used for driveways. Why driveways and not parking lots? Because parking lots see a lot more traffic. They require more maintenance, and that maintenance has to be done in a timely and cost-effective manner. There’s a reason you don’t see too many brick commercial parking lots.

Why we still think asphalt is the best

Although asphalt paving may not be perfect, it still outshines its competitors for a number of reasons.

Safety

Even the smoothest asphalt gives tires a great grip on the road. It’s why you don’t see highways made out of concrete. Asphalt’s aggregate construction provides ample traction for all kinds of wheels. One problem that permeable parking lots can have is that natural soil comes through to the surface. This may be intended, but in cold climates, that same topsoil freezes and makes for a slippery, dangerous hazard.

Sustainability

Asphalt one of the most recycled materials in the world. About 80% of asphalt that is removed from streets, highways, and parking lots during maintenance winds up being recycled. The ability that asphalt has to be reused/renewed isn’t just good for the environment. It’s good for your wallet too. It means that maintenance projects can reuse damaged asphalt, making expensive shipping of materials to the site less necessary. It also means that when you are having your asphalt touched-up or serviced, the asphalt being used to replace it is coming from a local nearby source, not a new material being mined halfway around the world. 

Asphalt is versatile

There’s a reason it’s the most commonly-used material for parking lots. Now matter the size of the lot that is required, asphalt can get the job done. It can make lots with different thickness and area. The thickness of the asphalt can help determine its longevity. Why do you think you see asphalt used for driveways, streets, highways, and parking lots? Because it’s a useful material for the different requirements that each surface has. 

Other uses for asphalt involve water storage, erosion prevention, and flood control.

  • It can be used as a coating to water-proof wood, building foundations, and other materials. 
  • Parts of cars and trucks are even lined with asphalt to make them run more quietly. 
  • Black asphalt paint is used to paint over graffiti.
  • It can be used to seal wounds and stave off bacteria.
  • Asphalt is even used in paintings.

How is this relevant to your parking lot? Well, if you have lots of asphalt sitting around your construction site after paving, then you can probably find plenty of other uses for it.

Longevity

Asphalt has a pretty good lifespan. Not only is it tough and capable of lasting for years on its own, it can be maintained and improved to last even longer. A little preventative maintenance can make asphalt last for decades more. 

Sealcoating is one of the most common types of asphalt improvement. This basically means that the asphalt is topped with a covering that prevents liquids from getting inside.

Crack filling and hole repair is easy and can be done with recycled asphalt from the same site or other sources. The recycling aspect also helps keep the costs down on this type of maintenance.

Getting rid of debris also helps the asphalt live longer. Small stones can crack the asphalt when sandwiched between a heavy vehicle’s tire and the pavement. Simply keeping your lot clean can help make it last.

Easy and quick to pave

Time is money, and asphalt is able to be laid and cool/dry quickly. This means that your business minimizes customer loss due to maintenance and parking lot installation. A material that takes longer to dry will mean clients can’t park at your business for more time. 

Asphalt reduces noise

If you have ever been in a concrete parking lot with a veneer, you know the racket that car tires can make. Even a slow turn can produce a high-pitched squealing. Asphalt can reduce noise by up to 50%, making for less stressful driving and happier neighbors. 

Start on your asphalt parking lot

If you’re convinced that asphalt is the way to go for your parking lot, Reliable Paving is happy to help. With over 35 years of experience, and 200-plus person team of paving contractors, Reliable can handle big jobs and little jobs while being safe, timely, and cost-effective. Maybe you are certain that you need a new asphalt driveway, maybe you aren’t sure what kind of pavement you want. Send us a message today, and we will be happy to guide you through the whole process, from planning to paving.