Concrete vs Asphalt Parking Lots : The Pros and the Cons
When it comes time to either add a new parking lot or redo your current parking lot, one of the first decisions you must make is whether to go with concrete or asphalt. Commercial parking lots often need to be designed to withstand large volumes of traffic, fluctuating temperatures, and heavy vehicle loads. Both asphalt and concrete have advantages and disadvantages when it comes to these things. Other factors to consider when making this decision are related lifespan, cost, and time. Below we will discuss the advantages and disadvantages of both.
There are several advantages to choosing concrete over asphalt for your parking lot.
- Better suited for hot weather – In the southern heat, this is certainly a big advantage. Concrete surfaces are less likely to expand in the heat of the summer and the lighter color allows the surface to stay cooler than the dark color of the asphalt surface.
- Less maintenance – One huge benefit of concrete is that it generally only needs periodic joint sealing and an annual cleaning which keeps maintenance costs very low.
- Longer life span – The longevity of a concrete parking lot makes it more desirable as well. In optimal conditions, a concrete lot can last up to 40 years which is considerably longer than you could expect from an asphalt lot.
- More design options – Concrete parking lots have many colors, textures, and even designs available to choose from making them more diverse than asphalt.
There are a few disadvantages to consider when it comes to concrete.
- More expensive to install – Although the maintenance and longer life span make concrete an attractive option, there is a much larger upfront cost.
- Long curing time – Concrete can take up to seven days to completely cure and be ready for use so time should definitely be a consideration.
- Water runoff – Due to concrete not being permeable, it may be necessary to establish a water runoff management plan to avoid having a flooded parking lot. This is extremely important in areas that tend to have extended periods of heavy rain or sit in flood zones.
There are also several advantages to choosing asphalt for your parking lot.
- Better suited for cold temperatures – Asphalt is made to withstand cold temperatures better than concrete.
- It is readily available – Unlike concrete, asphalt is usually readily available which allows the projects to be completed in a more timely manner.
- Easier to install – The process of installing asphalt is easier compared to installing concrete. An asphalt parking lot can be installed, cured, and ready to drive on in as little as two days.
- Less expensive to install and fix – Due to the ease of obtaining the material and faster installation time, an asphalt parking lot is less expensive to install and asphalt repair is less expensive as well.
There are however a few disadvantages to asphalt parking lots too.
- Fuel spills – The leakage of gasoline or motor oil can both negatively affect the surface of the asphalt parking lot. It is important to get these cleaned up as soon as possible.
- Affected by heat – Not only does the summer sun cause asphalt parking lots to be incredibly hot, but it can cause a lot of wear and tear due to the surface shrinking and expanding in the heat. The sun can also produce an oil sheen to appear on the surface.
- More maintenance – Although the upfront cost of asphalt is less expensive, the long-term preventative maintenance can quickly add up causing it to cost more over the long run.
- Shorter lifespan – The average lifespan of an asphalt parking lot is about 15 to 20 years making it about half as long as concrete.
With so many pros and cons to consider it is best to work with an experienced paving contractor to determine which material best suits your individual needs. With over 14 years of experience, Firemans Paving Contractors would be honored to be of service to you in helping make the best decision for your property. Call The Paving Contractor You Can Trust today at 817-900-6947 to set up a FREE consult!
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