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Parking Lot Paving

Commercial pavement contractors specialize in parking lot paving, which is a critical element of your property’s infrastructure. A quality parking lot will withstand wear and traffic for decades, provide excellent surface performance, and improve the property’s appearance.

In the Houston area, and all along the Gulf Coast, the climate and soil can be tough on parking lots. Therefore, you will need the right professionals and materials to get a strong return on your parking lot investment.

Choosing the Right Material for Your Parking Lot Paving

Would concrete or asphalt be best for the parking lot? If you are planning a parking lot project, you will first need to choose what your parking lot will be made of. The majority of the time, that material will either be concrete or asphalt.

Which one makes sense for your parking lot? It depends on the following factors:

  • Installation costs – Asphalt is less expensive to install than concrete. Though pricing fluctuates with the price of oil, asphalt is $2-5 less expensive to install, per square foot, compared to concrete.

  • Maintenance requirements and costs – Concrete requires almost zero maintenance once it is installed. Regular sweeping and power washing is all concrete needs, along with the occasional crack repair. Concrete is typically more expensive to repair if it is damaged, but its ongoing maintenance costs are minimal.

    Asphalt requires more attention and care to maximize its longevity. Sealcoating is necessary every other year to protect the asphalt’s surface. Cracks will need to be addressed, and it is a good idea to invest in a surface treatment such as chip sealing and overlaying. This will extend the parking lot’s life by several years.

    Asphalt maintenance is more involved, and it is required more often, so it costs more to upkeep.

  • Installation and curing time – Asphalt is faster to install and cure. Most asphalt parking lots are ready within 48 hours of installation. Concrete may take up to a week before it is ready for light vehicle traffic. If your parking lot must accommodate heavy commercial vehicles, it may take a couple weeks to cure.

  • Long-term durability – Concrete’s number one benefit is its strength. Concrete is expected to last for decades, even with infrequent maintenance. Concrete also tolerates extreme heat and water exposure well, so it can withstand Houston’s hot and humid summers.

  • Reflectivity – Concrete reflects more light than asphalt, so it’s brighter at night (which can improve visibility and safety) and doesn’t emit as much heat. The temperature difference between concrete and asphalt can be up to 20 degrees on a sunny day.

Ultimately, every parking lot paving job is unique in its parameters and challenges. It is for this reason that many property owners consult with a reputable pavement contractor first to assess the project, its cost, and likely timelines.

4 Reasons Why Parking Lot Pavement Should be Installed by the Professionals

Whether your business decides on a concrete or asphalt parking lot, you will get the best results if it is installed by an experienced pavement company. Here are four reasons why:

Better Work Quality and Installation Practices

Reputable pavement businesses have the education and practical experience to guarantee high quality work. For example, a skilled contractor will ensure the site’s subgrade is compacted within precise tolerances before formwork begins. They will take care to pace curing for maximum concrete strength. They will only use high quality concrete mixes, ensure even pouring, and finish the concrete for maximum traction.

These seemingly minor touches make a big difference in parking lot longevity and performance.

Experience with Construction Project Management

A reputable pavement team is deeply familiar with the construction processes in their area, including pulling the necessary permits to ensure the project gets started on time and in compliance. Project management and organization skills are essential qualities in your parking lot contractor, as they can be used to anticipate and resolve “blockers” before they delay the project.

Proper Site Development and Drainage Design

If your parking lot will be part of a larger commercial construction project, it is cost effective to source your site development and pavement services from a single contractor. Experienced pavement teams often have site development capabilities and equipment, too, so they can serve in both roles for their clients.

Reputable site developers and pavement contractors are drainage experts. They can author viable site plans, grade the site for efficient runoff, identify areas where water may collect, and mitigate flood risks by installing drainage structures. This could be retention/detention ponds, storm drains and catch basins, culverts and more.

The Manpower and Equipment to do Parking Lot Paving Efficiently

Commercial parking lots are large undertakings and are typically time sensitive. Reputable contractors know this first-hand, so they can efficiently mobilize their manpower and equipment to maximize efficiency.

A poorly resourced team may struggle to complete a single project on time. An established contractor will have the resources to manage several projects, including yours, without sacrificing quality or timelines.

Why Consistent Maintenance is Important for Parking Lot Pavement

Concrete parking lots require minimal maintenance and asphalt requires a bit more, but both materials will last longer and handle traffic better with consistent upkeep.

Parking lots show signs of damage long before the pavement completely fails. Proactive property owners can respond as soon as the parking lot’s surface starts showing flaws, such as:

  • Cracks, especially cracks that are widening or spreading
  • Potholes
  • Depressions
  • Warping, such as rutting
  • Loss of surface aggregate (raveling)
  • Discoloration

The above issues may indicate that the parking lot is nearing the end of its useful life. Even if there is life left, any surface wear or damage will put your parking lot at risk of water intrusion.

Water is a serious problem if it penetrates the pavement’s surface. While the parking lot’s top layers are designed to withstand water exposure and drain efficiently, the same can’t be said for the pavement’s deeper layers. Here, water intrusion can eat away at the binders that hold the pavement together, causing it to deteriorate faster. Further, water may compromise the base and cause it to shift or subside, which puts intense stresses on the overlaying pavement.

On-time maintenance will ensure these problems are resolved before they threaten the pavement’s overall integrity.

Planning a Parking Lot Paving Project? Consult with the Pavement Professionals

Parking lots are significant investments, but they provide long-term benefits if they are expertly planned out and built. If development is underway on your commercial property, or if it’s imminent, a parking lot paving contractor can advise on the pavement your property will need, where it will need it, and how it can be installed as cost efficiently as possible.