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Asphalt or Concrete Parking Lot? A Choice You Don’t Have to Make

In the United States of America, we have certain freedoms. We can make our potato chips taste like cinnamon rolls, crossbreed our St. Bernards with our Yorkies, and watch March Madness on 9 different devices simultaneously. And while all of these things are generally inadvisable, we can appreciate the liberty to not have to make a decision when we don’t want to.

Liberty - you don't have to choose between an asphalt or concrete parking lot

So it goes with asphalt and concrete: you can choose, but you don’t have to. Each brings its own strengths and drawbacks to the paving process. Asphalt can provide you with you an estimated 15-20 years of surface life, minimizing tread marks and oil leaks, and making striping and traffic flow easy. Add a little crack filling and maintenance, plus a new wearing surface with an asphalt overlay, and another 10-15 years is added to your parking lot. On the other hand, concrete offers 20-25 years of surface with little-to-no maintenance, and improved technologies for overlays can extend the lifespan even longer.

But you need the whole flavor profile of each option before you decide between pizza, taco, and pizzaco, don’t you? We’re right there with you.

Asphalt paving on a standard aggregate base foundation is generally performed 2-3 inches thick, maybe 4 in special circumstances. It offers more give than concrete, simplifying and lowering the cost of initial paving, but is subject to more deterioration over time, hence the necessary maintenance. Concrete is typically placed 5-6 inches thick, sometimes 7 (for heavy load areas), and is therefore almost double the initial cost of asphalt. The more rigid surface requires control joints to minimize cracking and allow for the same flexibility as asphalt, but even heavy traffic stress won’t demand ongoing maintenance.

Of course, the two aren’t mutually exclusive. This is America, after all, where we put sleeves on our blankets so we can have it both ways!

Concrete and asphalt parking lot

Using both asphalt and concrete in a single parking lot system can demonstrate excellent uses of each product’s benefits. Consider applying asphalt for the majority surface of your parking lot: low-cost up front, and easily striped for visibility. Then utilize the more rigid concrete for loading areas, access drives, sidewalks, drainages, and curbs, taking advantage of its durability for multiple uses.

Not just any visionary can make pavement art with both mediums, however, so be sure you’re working with specialists who are experienced with the unique properties of both surface materials. Ace Asphalt understands the various tradeoffs when it comes to budget, durability, maintenance, and timelines, and working with a single contractor for both asphalt and concrete eliminates the unnecessary cost and scheduling headaches associated with managing multiple contractors.

Maybe a classic potato-flavored potato chip is all you need. Maybe some other time you’ll order a cinnamon roll. The day you decide you want it all at once in a mind-bending American mash-up of the best of both worlds? We can honor that decision, too.

We're ready to help you find the best ways to use asphalt and concrete in your parking lot. Contact us today.

ACE Asphalt is a full service asphalt maintenance, repair, and paving company with offices in Phoenix, Tucson, and Flagstaff, Arizona, Las Vegas, Nevada, Albuquerque, New Mexico, and Dallas,Texas. Ace serves the parking lot repair, maintenance, and paving needs of property managers, building owners, and contractors.

Comments
(1) responses to "Asphalt or Concrete Parking Lot? A Choice You Don’t Have to Make"
Dave Thompson says: 27-Aug-2015 12:11 PM
I had no idea there were so many different pros and cons to both concrete and asphalt. I've never even considered using both of them in the same parking lot like you mention. That would definitely make things a lot easier and the parking lot a ton easier to use for everyone involved.
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