Parking Lot Maintenance

Parking lot maintenance is the regular process of maintaining and repairing your pavement to prolong its life and maintain its aesthetics. While some homeowners rarely maintain their parking lots, doing so will keep them in tip-top shape. So what are some of the ways to maintain your parking lot? 

To maintain parking lots, homeowners must perform a series of activities including assessment and planning, regular cleaning, patching and crack sealing, seal coating, drainage maintenance, landscaping, snow removal, and lighting maintenance. It’s also advisable to conduct regular inspections to identify problems early enough. 

If you’ve just set up your dream parking lot and want to ensure the pavement lasts long, then you couldn’t be in a better place. Read on as we take a closer look at some proven ways of prolonging your parking lot’s life and keeping it in top condition. 

What Is The Parking Lot Maintenance?

Parking lot maintenance is the process of inspecting, maintaining, and repairing your parking lot to keep it in good shape. Regular maintenance ensures your parking lot remains in excellent condition both functionally and aesthetically. 

It’s crucial to regularly maintain your parking lot as it is exposed to daily traffic and the elements, which significantly increase the risk of premature wear and tear. Inspecting your parking lot for cracks or any issues allows you to address the problems early enough, and at affordable costs. 

The Benefits of Regular Parking Lot Maintenance

An underground car park fixed after the intervention of maintenance workers

Investing in a paved parking lot can be costly, especially if your outdoor area is large. The costs can even be higher if you use exotic or costly materials to make your pavement stand out. As such, it is vital to take good care of your outdoor investment. Below are some of the main benefits of maintaining your parking lot regularly. 

Attractive Appearance

Maintaining your parking lot regularly ensures it remains aesthetically appealing months and even years after being set up. By restriping your driveway and parking lot, your parking lot will appear neat and tidy regardless of its age. In addition to looking attractive, a well-maintained parking lot increases your home’s value, especially if regularly inspected and repaired. 

Prolonged Life

Investing in a proper parking lot isn’t a cheap affair, and maintaining it regularly will ensure it serves its purpose for decades to come. An ill-maintained parking lot won’t be able to withstand the wear and tear associated with the elements and regular usage. However, by making regular repairs, you’ll boost your parking lot’s overall durability and attractiveness. 

Reduced Costs 

Regular parking lot maintenance allows you to detect issues early and make the necessary repairs and improvements without wasting any time. Fixing tiny cracks and holes will cost you a lot less compared to the repairs you’ll need to make to repair massive issues. This can end up saving you thousands of dollars in repair and replacement costs over the years. 

Improved Safety 

Restriping a parking lot and sealing cracks (and holes) improves the overall safety of your driveway and parking area. The increased visibility allows for proper traffic and parking arrangements. Not only does this improve overall safety but it also ensures that cars are well organized outside. 

How to Carry Out Parking Maintenance in 10 Steps

A parking lot for disabled people and women with small children perfectly maintained after maintenance

It’s important to maintain your parking lot if you’re to extend its life and get the most out of it. In this section, we take a look at 10 proven ways to keep your parking lot in good shape. 

1. Assessment and Planning 

Perhaps the most important part of maintaining your parking lot is conducting regular inspections. You should stay proactive and inspect for any irregularities such as cracks or built-up dirt. Ensure you check everywhere, paying special attention to the most commonly used areas, as they’re more susceptible to faster tear and wear. 

2. Regular Cleaning

Cleaning your parking lot regularly is among the best ways to keep it in pristine condition. Pressure washing your parking lot is ideal for removing dirt and spots. It’s advisable to use hot water as it will soften the stains and remove stubborn dirt. Before you pressure wash your parking lot, however, it’s best to sweep the layer of dirt on the surface. 

3. Crack Sealing and Patching

As the parking lot gets more traffic, cracks will start to develop over time. The problem with cracks is that they tend to grow larger over time, and can be hard (and costly) to repair if not fixed early enough. Be on the lookout for cracks and ensure you patch them immediately after you spot them. 

4. Sealcoating

Sealcoating your driveway allows you to protect the surface of your pavement and fill the cracks and crevices. This prevents the water and dirt from getting into those gaps and widening them to form cracks and holes.  In addition to prolonging your driveway’s life, sealing also keeps it looking good. Sealcots also help increase the melting rate of snow and ice. 

5. Striping and Marking 

The view from above of a car park following maintenance

As your parking lot continues to age, so too, will its lines and marks. A good rule of thumb to observe is to restrip your parking lot every 18-24 months, or earlier, depending on its condition. Not only is a newly striped lot attractive but it also enhances overall safety and traffic organization. 

6. Drainage Maintenance

Standing water can severely damage your parking lot, as it increases the likelihood of crack and pothole formation. These repairs can prove costly over time, especially if you don’t take the necessary measures and act fast. Consider installing a drainage system to ensure rainwater doesn’t stand on your parking lot. 

7. Landscaping 

While some homeowners might not view landscaping as important to parking lot maintenance, it can play a vital role in keeping your parking lot neat. For instance, curbing around your lawn or flowerbed helps prevent dirt from building up on your driveway. What’s more, a beautiful landscape will complement your parking lot by enhancing its overall attractiveness. 

8. Lighting Maintenance

The importance of good lighting in a parking lot cannot be overstated. Without proper lighting, it will be difficult to see the striping well. A well-lit parking lot is also a lot more attractive compared to a poorly lit one or one with flickering lights. 

To ensure your parking lot remains in top condition, you should regularly inspect and maintain your lights. It’s advisable to clean fixtures after a couple of months depending on how dusty or windy your area is. Consider upgrading your fixtures or replacing old light bulbs if you’re in need of better lighting. 

Read more: Eco-Friendly Parking Lot

9. Snow and Ice Removal

Removing snow and ice is crucial to maintaining your parking lot during the winter. Snow accumulation is particularly harmful to your parking lot as it thaws and creates puddles. The water that forms around potholes and cracks can freeze to form ice and worsen the issue. To be on the safe side, it is highly advisable to remove snow and ice as soon as you can. 

10. Regular Inspections

The workers are evaluating the conditions of the parking lot and have decided to intervene to repair it

The best way to prevent your parking lot from premature wear and tear is to conduct regular inspections, especially if your parking lot is a high-traffic area. Be on the lookout for cracks, potholes, and built-up dirt. We strongly advise that you fix the problem as soon as possible to avoid dealing with greater (and costlier) issues.  

Cost of Maintaining a Parking Lot

Experts say that in the first 10 years of life of an asphalt or concrete lot, it costs roughly 8 cents per square foot to maintain. Preventative measures will be 14-16 cents per square foot, and more complex preventions can set you back 60-65 cents for a simple overlay and even up to $1 for a more extensive project.

A parking lot located in a place that experiences snow is more vulnerable and will need more repair. Sealing will be scraped off during snow removal, causing the pavement to crack faster than usual. If the owner reseals the lot as soon as needed, it would cost around 19 cents per square foot. If the owner fails to reseal it in a timely manner, the parking lot would then need resurfacing, which on average costs $1.60 per square foot. 

Regrading a gravel lot costs less than 10 cents per square foot.

On average, the cost of painting over faded lines is about $4.25 per 18-foot line. 

While proper maintenance will protect your investment, don’t forget to be sure you have the parking lot installed correctly to begin with! Avoid further damage costs by using proper installation techniques.

Choose a contractor who has experience in your specific lot needs. Find a company that will create a parking lot and a maintenance package that suits your needs and strategizes around your budget

DIY Vs Professionals Car Park Maintenance

A professional is doing maintenance on the parking lot

You might be wondering which option between hiring an expert to maintain your car park or doing it yourself is better. Well, it all depends on personal preferences, the size of the property, and of course, your budget. 

Making parking lot maintenance a DIY project is a great idea if you don’t have a massive driveway (and parking lot) and want to minimize overall costs. However, it does come with its fair share of challenges, especially if you know little about maintenance. Instead of reducing costs, you may end up paying more, especially if you don’t inspect, clean and make repairs early enough. 

While outsourcing parking lot maintenance to professionals might sound expensive, it can end up saving you thousands of dollars in the long run. The experts will routinely inspect your property, making necessary repairs and improvements along the way. The total cost of outsourcing largely depends on local rates, the material needed, and the extent of repair needed or improvements required. 

Wrapping Up

Maintaining your parking lot regularly is highly advisable if you want it to stand out and last for years. Remember to sweep and clean your parking lot regularly to prevent dirt and debris build-up. 

It’s also advisable to inspect your driveway and parking area regularly to identify (and fix) cracks as soon as possible. Consider outsourcing to professionals if you know little about repairs and maintenance or you just want to ensure your parking lot remains in tip-top shape. 

Check out more articles on how to maintain your driveway and parking areas here. 

Tim Dawson's Avatar

About the Author: Tim Dawson

Tim is a seasoned paving expert with 30+ years of experience in the industry. He has worked on countless projects, from small residential driveways to large commercial parking lots.

Concrete Parking Lot

Considering a concrete parking lot is the right decision for your business because it can withstand extreme environmental exposure and significant vehicular loads. Today over 80% of driveways are paved with asphalt. However, its rising prices and ability to deteriorate fast have made concrete the best alternative

A concrete parking lot is the first step toward creating a positive impression on potential customers. Parking lots undoubtedly receive a great deal of vehicle and foot traffic, which could cause your parking lot to wear out easily. You need a parking space with low starting costs and minimal maintenance. Concrete parking lots offer low maintenance costs, multiple colors, and texture design options. It’s the best choice if you’re considering cost and aesthetic appeal.

However, there are many reasons concrete can demonstrate its superiority to asphalt and other paving options. It can provide significant cost savings, reduce the amount of energy required to cool buildings, and improve safety. In this article, we explain all you need to know about concrete parking lot as a business owner.

The Benefits of a Concrete Parking Lot for your Business

An excellent parking lot can help your business run efficiently. Your parking lot is the first impression your building gives to your employees or clients. It tells to an extent what they should expect within the building. Concrete helps many business owners design a durable parking lot that can withstand pressure, and the aesthetic is appealing enough to draw more clients. The following are the benefits of concrete parking space for your business:

Low Maintenance 

Concrete requires low maintenance without much work; to maintain its beauty, you must remove debris and debt from the surface. It is the best option for your business if you are always busy and have little time to take care of your parking lots.

It Is Eco Friendly 

Concrete is recyclable and causes zero harm to the environment. It requires less machinery to keep your parking lot healthy and safe, and most concrete mixes are made from natural and chemical-free materials. 


Concrete parking lots are more robust and durable; you do not need so much money to fix or maintain your parking lots. Under the weight of traffic and heavy vehicles, your concrete parking space will still maintain its integrity.

A concrete parking lot reflect the sunset light

Concrete Reflects Light At Night

To improve the safety and security of your employees, lighting up your parking lot is significant. Concrete reflects light at night and helps you save money on energy over a long time.

Aesthetically Pleasing

Concrete comes in several color schemes, including white, gray, brick red, and brick brown, which can appeal to your taste. It can be constructed with textured and colored patterns to suit your business brand. 

How Thick Should Concrete Parking Lots Be?

The American Concrete Institute’s ACI 330: contains the guide for constructing concrete parking lot. The guide contains the exact inches you need which will vary based on certain factors.

  • The size of the aggregate mixture, 
  • The type of the component (beams, slabs, reinforcement), 
  • The fire resistance standard, soil condition, 
  • The driveway function,
  • Your budget.

Also, the strength of your concrete will affect its thickness. Stronger concrete can be a few inches thinner because it can withstand more pressure than weaker concrete.

Therefore, your parking lot concrete must be at least 6 to 12 inches thick based on the anticipated load and subbase strength. Concrete constructors usually use 6 inches for parking lots that would face a lot of traffic pressure. For seasonal parking lots, 4 inches thick is perfect for your concrete pavement.

Concrete parking lot cost

The price for a concrete driveway or parking lot breaks down to about 4 to 6 dollars per square foot. This price includes the cost of labor and the materials needed to install the concrete. Factors like; location, distance, traffic, size of the parking lot, the scope of work, and lightning requirements may affect the price of your concrete parking space.

A concrete parking lot with design lines

Concrete parking lot maintenance

Concrete parking lots are known to last the test of time; however, as you continue to drive or walk on them, they will start to deteriorate and reveal their age. A proper maintenance routine will help improve its lifespan. 

Below are a few steps that will maintain your parking lot and preserve its life.


Concrete parking lots will require some regular maintenance. A large push brush assists in removing debris from the surface and keeping it clean for a long time. Power washing is another alternative for cleaning your parking lot. Before washing your concrete driveway, ensure your drainage system is effective and in good condition

Fill Up Crack 

Aside from being aesthetically unappealing, cracks and potholes disturb your parking experience. Once your concrete driveway is cracked, ensure you fill it up to avoid crack expansion. Concrete repairs and filling up the surface are always advisable if you want to improve the performance and lifespan of your parking lot.  

Remove Stains From your Concrete Parking Lot

Oil stains are a common problem with parking lots that are always busy or used. Removing these stains will prevent them from sticking to the floor and messing with the aesthetic of your parking lot. Stain removal will help clear every stain without destroying or scaring some parts of your concrete. Removing stains from your pavement is an integral part of maintenance and should be carefully done. 

Different cars parked on the old parking lot

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Concrete parking lot repair

Next to maintaining your parking lot, concrete parking lot repair helps to preserve the lifespan of your concrete pavement. This is because your business parking lot can suffer cracks when heavy trucks or vehicles are always parked on it or suffer from potholes, flakes, salt damage, or other extreme weather conditions. Follow these easy steps for your concrete parking lot repair:

Identify The Source Of Damage

Before you can repair the damage on your parking lot, you must identify the course of the damage and decide the method of repair that will best suit your pavement. For example:

  • if your business parking lot is cracked, a bonding adhesive will help you fix every track and keep them a staple for a long time. 
  • if your driveway has many shifted sections, you can invite a contractor to grind down the high side. 

Knowing the exact cause of the damage will save you time and money. 

Surface Preparation

Preparing the concrete surface is the first step to fixing any substantial damage. Remove any shaky concrete, debris, or shattered parts from the surface. You must ensure that all parts of your parking lots are free from dirt, clean, and ready for repair. 

Fix Cracks, Potholes, or Flakes. 

If your concrete driveway or parking lot is cracked, broken, or has many potholes or flakes, consider fixing them using the correct repair method. You can also decide to do your repairs yourself or contact a concrete constructor to help you handle the job.

Some good repair techniques include: 

  • Leveling
  • Concrete crack repair and patching
  • Joint sealing 
  • Cutting and sectional repair 
  • Overlay and slap restoration
  • Epoxy injections and
  • Complete replacement

Replace Your Parking Lot

After evaluating the cause of your damage, you will have to decide between fixing or replacing your parking lot pavement. Sometimes, fixing alone won’t do the work of keeping it together and preserving its lifespan. Replacing your pavement, especially when it has served you for a long time, is the best thing to do. Replacing your concrete pavement will keep you in business and reduce your stress, worry, and complaints. 

A asphalt and concrete comparison.

Related Articles:

Concrete vs. asphalt

For years concrete and asphalt parking lots have been compared with each other; because they are the two essential pavement materials. Homeowners and businesses always struggle to decide between concrete and asphalt parking lots; pavement materials have a gravel base and many similarities. However, they still have a distinctive difference that gives concrete paving a substantial advantage over asphalt parking lots. 

Lifespan and Durability 

When compared to concrete, asphalt parking lots are less durable. With regular maintenance, asphalt lifespan can be preserved and protected from damage. However, a concrete driveway can last up to 50 years or more.

Maintenance and Repair 

Concrete is less challenging to maintain and preserve. With early maintenance plans, your concrete business parking lot will remain decent for a long time. Remember that asphalt repair is more expensive and hard to carry out than concrete.

Concrete Vs. Asphalt Parking Lot Aesthetic 

It’s easier to be creative with the concrete pavement; you can stain, tint or design concrete to give you the desired effect. Concrete finishing provides different colors or hues to its natural color. While asphalt is easy to install, it must be filled and compressed, and the result is usually black. 

Cost and Price Difference 

The cost of installing asphalt pavement is always cheaper than concrete. It usually costs 2 to 4 dollars to install asphalt pavement and 4$ to 6$ per square foot for concrete.


If you are looking for a good driveway or parking lot that can withstand pressure, you should look towards concrete parking lots. When used for homes or business parking lots, they are more durable, flexible, and require less maintenance. 

Tim Dawson's Avatar

About the Author: Tim Dawson

Tim is a seasoned paving expert with 30+ years of experience in the industry. He has worked on countless projects, from small residential driveways to large commercial parking lots.

There are several reasons why pavement striping is crucial for any road or parking lot project.

Pavement striping ensures the safety of pedestrians and drivers within your premises, controls the way in which traffic flows to help prevent accidents, maximizes parking space, and improves curb appeal.

Of course, there are many considerations to make if you are planning on hiring someone to stripe your asphalt, pavement, or parking lot. Continue reading to learn more.

What Is Pavement Striping?

In its simplest terms, pavement striping is the process of painting lines on the pavement, such as a road, parking lot, or another surface. We pavement stripe to let people know where to go and set boundaries on otherwise wide-open spaces. 

Asphalt and Concrete Striping

There are many reasons why parking lot managers or road builders make a point of the importance of asphalt and concrete striping. 

Let’s look at a few reasons why a good striping job is so important.

A Good Pavement Striping Job Can Eliminate Confusion

A Good Striping Job Can Eliminate Confusion

Try, if you can, to imagine a large parking lot without any lines. 

It would be an incredibly difficult parking lot to navigate. 

If you’ve ever experienced a parking lot that was really difficult to navigate due to the fact that it wasn’t well-marked, then you already know how handy a well-thought-out striping solution can be. These kinds of marks can eliminate confusion and solve any navigation problems.

A Good Striping Job Can Increase Efficiency

Trying to navigate a very busy parking lot can be stressful, especially when there are tons of other vehicles. A good striping job can be an essential part of a well-planned lot.

It’s important that drifters and pedestrians can enter your parking lot, easily navigate it, and exit without getting into any accidents. 

It also saves people from meandering around a parking lot when it’s crowded, wondering if they are even going the correct way, to begin with. If you own a parking lot attached to your establishment, the last thing you want is a bunch of confused customers who are feeling stressed before they even walk through your doors! 

A Good Striping Job Follows Regulations

There are unique rules in each state, ensuring businesses are accessible to all people. Businesses have to follow strict parking lot guidelines so as to not discriminate against any customers. 

Business owners have to comply with these rules and regulations unless they want to face fines. With a striping job from a professional service, you can bet that your parking lot will be up to code. Ensuring the accessibility of your business is not only an issue of compliance, but it is also great business.

The importance of following regulations when painting lines

How Do You Paint Lines On The Pavement?

While you certainly could paint lines on the pavement by hand, many striping companies will use new technology like striping machines to do a professional job. These machines are far more accurate than painting by hand. 

Here are a few technologies that companies will often use for concrete striping.

Spray Shields

If you’re painting in an area with a lot of wind, spray shields can be helpful. Even high-end striping machines are vulnerable to wind. All it takes is a gust of wind for the paint exiting the machine to change its stream and leave uneven marks all over the surface.

Spray shields are there to protect the paint from the wind to make sure that the stream is uninterrupted with each spray.

Reflective Bead Dispensers

One of the best additions to parking lot stripes is reflective beads. They work to increase visibility for pedestrians and drivers at night. You can attach a reflective bead dispenser to a striping machine, eliminating the need to perform this method manually, which can improve your results and save you tons of time.

Laser Guides

To create a high-quality, professional-looking parking lot, you’ll need to replace faded or dull lines. Of course, without the right tools, this process can be quite difficult. To ensure the best result each time, we recommend utilizing laser guides.

Laser guides work by outlining the location of each new line with a laser beam to make sure things are even and straight.

The different kinds of paints used on pavement

What Kind Of Paint Do You Use On Pavement?

The longevity of your striping job has a lot to do with the kind of paint that you are using on the job.

There are a few different kinds of paint that you can use to paint on pavement. These include:

Oil or Solvent-Based Paint

Oil or solvent-based paint uses oil rather than water. This type of paint is one of the most popular for this application, as it offers supreme durability for how much it costs. Plus, unlike some other types of paints, such as water-based paint, it won’t even freeze in extremely cold weather conditions. 

Water-Based Paint

Water-based paint is mostly made of water. It is the least expensive paint that you can find and the most environmentally friendly. If you’re on a tight budget, water-based paint is one of the best choices. It’s also one of the fastest-drying types of paint out there. 

However, it’s worth noting that it is not very durable.

Thermoplastic Paint

Thermoplastic paint is one of the most durable paint options out there, thanks to the fact that it contains plastics. It is very expensive, however.

Canned Aerosol Line Striping Paint

You can use aerosol line striping paint with a line striping machine to paint your parking lot with ease. With these kinds of canisters, it’s easy to get professional results. If you’re someone who is looking to maintain their parking lot after the initial job is done, having these tools is a great choice.

The duration of pavement paint

How Long Does Pavement Paint Last?

In an ideal situation, striping paint can last for several decades. Of course, this depends on a number of factors, such as the quality of the paint, the volume of traffic, the weather, etc. If durability and longevity are what you’re after, we recommend starting with a higher-quality paint, such as thermoplastic paint. 

Pavement Striping Services

Finding vetted, high-quality striping services can be tough, especially if you’ve never performed a job like this before. Luckily, here at Paving Finder, we have a list of paving companies that you can search through, each of which has been carefully selected.

Make sure to check out these pavement striping companies on our companies page

Benefits Of Using Line Striping and Pavement Marking Services

Beyond eliminating confusion, increasing efficiency, and making navigation more manageable, one of the main benefits of using professional line striping and pavement marking services that we want to accentuate is safety.

The last thing you want is to be liable for an accident because you cut corners when designing your parking lot.

Parking lot accidents might seem few and far between, though they can still cost people tons of time and money, not to mention the stress of getting into an accident in the first place.

With clearly marked and professional parking lot striping, you can prevent some of these accidents from happening, keeping your customers and employees safe. Of course, the adjacent benefit is that you save yourself from potential litigation in the case of an accident. If you have a parking lot that is marked clearly, then you can ensure any accidents that take place are not your fault.

It’s also important to note that a professional line striping job can increase curb appeal.

Parking lots that have crisp and clear pavement striping look great!

It’s important to be aware of how much first impressions matter in a business. Even before customers walk in through the front door of your establishment, they’ll judge you based on your parking lot. If they see tons of chipping and faded lines, they’ll think about how unprofessional and unattractive your business is before they even get a chance to see it. 

THe importance of good pavement striping for your business

Final Thoughts – Keeping Your Parking Lot In Line

As you can see, pavement striping is crucial for making sure people have a positive experience in your business. Hiring a professional paving service can ensure that people continue coming back again and again. 

It’s worth noting that pavement striping is not an easy job by any means. A good pavement striper knows about the design and layout of parking lots, ADA requirements, different types of paint, and much more. 

Hiring a competent striper who can provide reliable equipment and professional layout plans is crucial to getting a job done correctly. It’s worth hiring a reputable service if you want to have a positive experience. 
If you have any further questions regarding striping or paving, make sure to get in touch with us here at Paving Finder. You can also check out our long list of blogs for expert paving advice!

Tim Dawson's Avatar

About the Author: Tim Dawson

Tim is a seasoned paving expert with 30+ years of experience in the industry. He has worked on countless projects, from small residential driveways to large commercial parking lots.

Best Parking Lot Sealer

Your home or business parking lot is a huge investment, and it’s one that takes a deal of time and resources to get it exactly the way you desired it. That’s why your safest choice for preserving that investment is a decent seal coat.

If it’s been a couple of years since you paved your parking lot and it’s beginning to look rough and worn out, it might be time to seal it. Parking lot seal coating is distinct from resurfacing. Resurfacing is mostly used to cover gaps or holes in your pavement, while seal coating is used to put back the rich look of your pavement and provide a layer of protection to prolong its service life.

But what is the best parking lot sealer?

Based on experts’ recommendations, there are four categories of sealers that work best for parking lots depending on the parking lot’s design, current state, and traffic level. They include Bio-based Parking lot Sealcoating, Refined Tar-based seal coating, Acrylic Concrete Sealers, Silane/siloxane, Asphalt-based pavement sealer Specialty resins. 

They are currently the best parking lot surface sealers due to their superior protection, adhesion, durability, and flexibility they offer your pavement, extending its service life.

There are varieties of brands of parking lot sealers out there to consider. Each one does a pretty decent job of protecting your parking lot from deteriorating with time, but there are some substantial variations between them.

A seal coat product you should consider is one that can shield your parking lot from damage triggered by UV rays, fluid from vehicles, and oxidation while also preventing water penetration into the substrate. Aesthetics and environmental considerations should also be weighed by property owners when deciding on a seal coat.

A process of sealcoating on asphalt parking lot

Best sealer for asphalt parking lots

Below is the list of the top 4 categories of sealers recommended for asphalt parking lots based on experts analysis, including:

  • Bio-based Parking Lot Sealcoats
  • Asphalt-based pavement sealer
  • Specialty resins
  • Refined Tar-based seal coating

The best asphalt parking lot sealer is probably one that utilizes filled-sealer formulations. There are more solid ingredients in these types of sealers that cover tiny cracks and holes leftover during the paving process, shielding them well from the elements than less solid sealers.

Biobased Parking Lot Sealcoats

When you talk of the best parking lot sealer, Biobased Sealcoat is among the top products, using soybean oil as one of its primary raw materials. It is uniquely formulated to shield parking lots from UV, chemical exposure, oxidation, and other common asphalt enemies. The product has also been developed with sustainability in mind, making it possible for striping and reopening of parking lots on the very same day. Biobased sealers cure 4 to 5 times faster than traditional products.

You can restripe the parking lot covered with Biobased sealer within 2 hours of seal coating. This is facilitated by the formula’s chemical properties, which enables the application of the product at 1⁄4 the thickness of traditional parking lot seal coating while offering superior protection. This enables the product’s application even later into the season compared to coal tar sealers.

BioSealcoat sealer cures to a jet-black, matte finish explicitly formulated not to fade with time, guaranteeing a durable, uniform look. While biobased seal coats cost considerably more (on a cost per gallon basis), their improved efficiency enables total project costs to be equivalent to other sealers.

BioSealcoat was also developed with sustainability in mind; it is among a couple of seal coating products on the market with no identifiable PAHs (based on EPA testing) and releases no unpleasant odor. As the only USDA Approved seal coat on the market, integrating a biobased seal coat into a pavement maintenance practice can show a dedication to the environment.m

Asphalt Based Pavement Sealer

Asphalt-based pavement sealer is an environmentally sustainable, mineral enhanced asphalt emulsion pavement sealer formulated with unique surfactants for optimal adhesion, longevity, and flexibility. It is also another best parking lot sealer that regenerates the binder that is depleted by weathering and aging, offering more excellent protection against environmental disruption. 

This type of sealer is suitable for protecting all forms of asphalt pavement surfaces such as parking lots, low traffic roadways, driveways, and much more.

Specialty resins

This type of coating possesses highly performing properties similar to the ones in Refined based seal coating (RTS). It is exceptionally resistant to degradation as a result of ultraviolet rays, weathering, salts, and petrochemicals. The exciting thing about this coating is that the specialty resin formulation is tailored to each customer’s needs.

Refined Tar-based seal coating

This coating consists of TR-12 (a highly refined coal tar) commonly created when coal is being transformed to coke for metallurgy. Refined tar-based sealer consists of various steady chemicals that remain unaffected by damaging elements of sunlight, petrochemicals, and salts. RTS is extremely dependable since it is regarded as the workhorse of the industry. 

Its compositions and properties are thoroughly delineated to support your lifelong coating necessities.

An old concrete parking lot on shopping mall

Best sealer for concrete parking lots

The following are the highly recommended sealing options for your concrete parking lot:

  • Silane/siloxane sealer(Siloxa-Tek 8510)
  • Acrylic Concrete Sealers
  • Mold-inhibiting concrete pavement sealer(Aqua-X)
  • Quikrete Concrete and Masonry High Gloss Sealer
  • Foundation Armor SX5000 Clear Concrete Sealer(Solvent-based)

Silane/siloxane sealer (Siloxa-Tek 8510)

The Siloxane-Tek 8510 can permeate through the surface openings of the concrete to saturate the concrete itself. The sealer will cover up the air pockets inside the material, resulting in deep and permanent protection from the climate, oil, road salt, heavy usage, and other vehicle stains. 

If you are considering getting the best parking lot sealer for your concrete lots, Siloxa-Tek 8510 is a good option.

With the Siloxa-Tek 8510, any water from snowmelt or rain, and any other liquid stains, will bead on the concrete surface. Its performance is plain to the naked eyes, and you can see it with your eyes working, helping to give you peace of mind regarding your concrete parking lot.

Acrylic Concrete Sealers

Acrylic sealer is the most commonly preferred sealer for a concrete parking lot. In addition to being cost-effective, their application is precise and swift. They can be applied almost immediately after the concrete is installed and are considered to have outstanding recoating capabilities. Besides, some acrylics are resistant to ultraviolet rays.

Furthermore, acrylic is an excellent type of sealer if you are looking for a concrete sealer that works well against deicing salt, moisture, and chemical or oil penetration.

Mold-inhibiting concrete pavement sealer(Aqua-X)

AQUA-X is reinforced with mildew and mold inhibitors and is a great option if you reside in a rainy or moist area. Two coats stave off mildew and mold, offer a clean, flawless appearance, and shield concrete from freezing and thawing cycles and water for up to 5 years. 

Solvent-free AQUA-X is an environmentally-friendly, low VOC sealer (so no concern about chemical fumes), and one gallon, poured or rolled on, fills up to 500 sq ft.

Quikrete Concrete and Masonry High Gloss Sealer

This concrete pavement sealer is fantastic for stamped concrete parking lots when a wet look is sought. It retains a glossy sheen as well as protection from chemical deicing products, oil and grease spills, and food stains. 

Foundation Armor SX5000 Clear Concrete Sealer(Solvent-based)

This type of sealer provides parking lot protection you can rely on even in cold environments. This penetrating sealer’s singular coat can create a protective bond with the parking lot surface, shielding it for seven to ten years from damage triggered by salts, deicing chemicals, stains, and freezing & thawing cycles. 

The SX5000 won’t alter the appearance of your parking lot or create a film, and one gallon fills up to 200 sq ft.

A new asphalt parking lot with proper drainage system and striping parking guide.

Why it’s important to seal your parking lot

It is vital to have your lot sealed with any best parking lot sealer over time (especially for asphalt surface) since an asphalt pavement surface oxidizes over time and becomes gray or faded in color. Seal coating offers a vivid black finish that preserves and enhances your parking lot’s life expectancy. In addition to the traffic on the lot, weather conditions will play a role in seal coating frequency. 

It is the right choice to get your parking lot inspected by a paving expert if it shows any signs of cracking, fading, and wear and tear.

How sealers can protect your lot

The following are ways sealers can protect your lot:

  • Slow oxidation rate: Sealcoating covers surface voids, decreasing oxygen and UV ray exposure and reducing the extent to which the pavement can be penetrated by oil or gas.
  • Slow the rate of water penetration: Sealcoating serves as a waterproofing agent, which minimizes the level at which water reaches the pavement. Water will penetrate more easily without it, leading to the pavement freezing and thawing expansion and pavement.
  • Resistant to gas and oil spills: Gasoline leakage during hot weather from a topped-off fuel tank can soften and break down unsealed asphalt pavements. Coal tars used in seal coats are resistant to the spills of gas and oil.
  • Improves pavement pliability: Sealcoat offers your pavement a dark black shine. The more black it is, the more heat is absorbed from the sun by the pavement. And, the hotter it becomes, the more it becomes malleable, allowing it to endure traffic without cracking. Hence, it is a smart idea to have your parking lot seal coated with any best parking lot sealer.
  • Protects asphalt from washing by pressure: Restaurant parking lots usually stretch to areas close to dumpsters where pressurized washing of food processing equipment occurs. If food waste that is close to the dumpsters can’t be swept up, it will need to be washed away—seal coating shield asphalt cement from the detergents and high volume water pressure being utilized in pressure washing.
A clean asphalt parking lot with proper striping guide.

How often should you seal your parking lot?

How often seal coating should be done depends on many factors, which include, but not limited to the ones that follow:

  • The quality of the pavement sealing material
  • The number of material you applied
  • Adequate sealer mix design
  • Geographic area
  • The number of coats you applied
  • The level of daily traffic

Sealcoating is usually recommended every three to four years to offer sufficient pavement protection and appealing curb appeal for your commercial property or home. After the original asphalt application on your parking lot, the optimum time is typically one to two years to ensure adequate cure. 

Besides, the sort of components you choose will also enable your paving contractor to ascertain the number of coats needed for your parking lot.

The process of sealing your lot

An asphalt parking lot surface will typically need two seal coat applications at first to penetrate the surface, resulting in a deep, protective coating.

  • Assess the surface. Your paving contractor would have to first evaluate the current condition of the lot’s surface before proceeding further. You will not need seal coating for 12-24 months if it is a new surface. However, if it is an existing surface, your contractor will first check for potholes, oil stains, cracks, and other damage that might require fixing before applying any best parking lot sealer you may have in mind.
  • Make the surface clean: The parking lot surface would need to be extensively washed using brushes, brooms, or power washers, ensuring the seal coat can bind adequately. This is also vital because before repairs can commence, all potholes, cracks, and damaged sections will have to be cleaned as well.
  • Recognize cracks and fix, as required: If there are cracks, holes, or depressions, they should be covered with a correct aggregate mix to guarantee prolonged asphalt integrity and longevity.
  • Reparation of Pothole: Fix or patch all potholes to ensure that the surface looks and works at its best before seal coating.
  • Surface priming and cleaning of oil spots: Before seal coating, it is necessary to remove oil stains from the asphalt parking lot because the seal coat will not adhere to vehicle pollutants of any sort. If you could not have the stain removed, try using a primer agent (somewhat like a wall primer) that will cause the seal coat to adhere to the surface of the asphalt lot.
  • Apply a minimum of two coats of quality pavement sealer. After ensuring that the surface pavement is free of any dirt, stains, or any form of damage, you can then apply a top-quality sealant to the surface.
A man sealing a potholes on asphalt parking lot.

What are the conditions for conducive long-lasting seal coats?

Weather conditions significantly impact seal coats, particularly during construction. The proper conditions under which seal coating should be carried out are warm temperatures and sunny days with low humidity since cool weather and humidity will slow the curing time, causing seal coat’s tendering for a prolonged period, making it more vulnerable to traffic damage. 

This is, however, the reason contractors recommend getting the best parking lot sealer when you consider carrying out seal coating for your lot.

Rain can trigger severe issues when seal coating. If you carry out the application prior to the asphalt binder’s curing, it can become diluted, rising above the aggregate cover top.

After the water has evaporated, asphalt can fill the whole surface, triggering tires to track the binder around the surface or pick up the aggregate. It would be best if you avoid seal coating your parking lot when showers are making threats. Also, ensure the asphalt surface you want to seal coat is relatively in a good state. 

This implies that load-related distress like rutting, alligator cracking, and potholes should be minimal. If all these conditions exist in your parking lot, avoid seal coating until they are addressed first.


When you are planning seal coating for your parking lot, it is best to choose the right sealing product that would work best for your pavement. There are varieties of sealers on the market, but not all can deliver the required good result.

Hence, it would be best if you employed a pavement maintenance specialist who has excellent ability to assess the pavement surface and offer the best possible solutions to your parking lot maintenance requirements for the best performance.

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About the Author: Chris Hawk

Chris is a paver with more than 15 years' expertise in the field. He has established a reputation as an expert and trustworthy specialist with a track record of providing his clients with top-notch paving solutions.

Estimated Parking Lot Life

Discover the secrets of extending the lifespan of your parking lot in this insightful article. Uncover how a well-maintained parking lot can last up to 25 years.

A parking lot’s longevity hinges on several crucial factors. Timely repairs and diligent maintenance play pivotal roles in prolonging its life. Environmental conditions, such as extreme weather, can significantly impact durability. Regular upkeep and appropriate measures against these elements are key to achieving the maximum life expectancy of a parking lot, typically ranging from 20 to 25 years.

Delve deeper into the comprehensive guide below to explore the various aspects that influence the lifespan of your parking lot and how to effectively manage them.

Factors that Affect the Longevity of a Parking Lot

If you are in the process of paving a parking lot or having a newly paved one, you must surely be concerned about its longevity. For all homeowners, longevity is the utmost desire. Considering what a huge investment building a structure is.

However, a lot of factors have a direct and huge impact on the lifespan of your lot—these range from pavement material, traffic level, drainage to others. In comparison, concrete tends to be far more durable than asphalt if you maintain the right conditions. 

Having said that, let’s take a look at the factors that impact how long your parking lot lasts.

Surface Type

A worker leveling the newly installed asphalt roads.

No structure, no matter how solid, can last forever. This rings even truer for those who live in areas where winters are on the extreme side. You surely are aware of what damage a rough winter can cause to your parking lot, be it of asphalt or concrete. In fact, the weather is just one factor, as several others can take a toll on particular surface types. 

Every pavement surface must have specific elements that will help it withstand traffic load, weather elements, and others over its lifetime. If you allow inadequacy in the asphalt’s depth or type, or if certain negligence leaves anything lacking in the base support, you can expect premature surface failure.

Then there are also certain other factors relevant to surface types that you need to consider. Bituminous concrete is another composite material that commonly goes into the surface for parking lots. Some common conditions could also cause the surface to deteriorate and the life expectancy to reduce.

The conditions include:

  • Shoving actions causes the surface to deform. This happens when traffic pushes the surface, producing an abrupt and short wave-like movement on it. 
  • Rutting is another harmful factor for the surface. This action includes a lateral or consolidated movement of the surface’s material. This occurs due to a heavy traffic load. 
  • Raveling may also reduce the estimated parking lot life. This happens when the surface wears away because of tar binder, asphalt or concrete loss, and dislodged aggregate. But only certain conditions create the threat of raveling for your surface. This includes a particular type of traffic, such as aggressively treaded or tracked vehicles. Other conditions that categorize as raveling include oil spillage causing softening and dislodging of the surface. 


The rain flooded the parking lot

Weather can be brutal to your parking lot, and the after-effects can also significantly reduce the service life of the lot. Let’s look at the weather elements that are detrimental in this regard:

  • Ice- one cannot underestimate the severe damages and hazards ice can create on your parking lot. In addition to making the surface extremely slippery, ice causes driving to become hazardous on your lot and also creates deep structural problems. After every ice season, your parking lot may require repaving. 
  • Rock salt- you may be in the habit of throwing rock salt all over the snow pile in your parking lot. This is perhaps the most damaging thing because rock salt may be melting the ice fast, but it also causes refreezing later. When the melting and refreezing process happens repeatedly, it sneaks into the porous asphalt and starts breaking away at it. Consequentially, you will notice more wear and tear and potholes. 
  • Weather also causes cracks in your parking lot. The cold and hot weather causes repeated contraction and expansion of the asphalt, and it ultimately develops weak spots and cracks. The ground underneath your asphalt also shifts over time, causing more cracks. This happens because water from the melted ice gets through the cracks and then freezes and expands more. This causes cracks to become bigger year by year. 
  • Rain, too, causes a lot of wear and tear from puddles and stagnant water. Over time, rain begins to wear down your parking, creating small holes that widen significantly over time. Not only are potholes damaging to vehicles but also dangerous for pedestrians walking over the parking lot. 
  • Hail may not be too common in your area, but if it is, then your parking lot is in for more trouble. Hail worsens the effect of erosion. 

Traffic Type

A parking lot built specifically for automobiles

If you subject your parking lot to heavy traffic, it will have adverse effects on the life of your lot’s structure. This is especially true if your parking lot does not feature a design that caters to current loading patterns. The opposite is also a problem here: very little traffic or parking lot usage means the asphalt will become brittle sooner, and shrinkage cracks will form throughout the structure. 


Two main water problems are detrimental to the estimated parking lot life. These are:

  1. Sub-surface water saturation
  2. Insufficient surface drainage

Sub-surface water saturation is the larger of the two menaces because the high water tables or leaking irrigation saturate the support structure under your asphalt. The load-bearing exerts additional stress and eventually cause the asphalt to fail and the base structure to weaken or collapse. 


Consistent maintenance can contribute largely to maximizing the life of your parking lot. However, negligence in this regard will cause the cracks to widen, the seepage to worse and other damages to turn worse with abandon. 

When you regularly seal and fill the cracks, you slow down the oxidation rate and also protect your structure from water seepage. Proactive repairs go a long way in preventing and minimizing damages to the surface and load-bearing structure of your parking lot. 

Durability Comparison between Asphalt and Concrete Parking Lots

A comparison of asphalt and concrete parking lots

Till a few years ago, rarely would you have come across a parking lot featuring concrete: it was asphalt all the way. With time, you must have seen the widespread popularity of concrete, and they’re all the valid reasons for it. 

Concrete sure has several advantages over asphalt apart from durability alone. This includes strength and sustainability, among others, but sadly, concrete still is not the first option for many because of their unawareness. 

When it comes to big construction projects like a parking lot, concrete is definitely worth the investment. Let’s take a look at some essential components of asphalt and concrete below to compare the two materials. 


Many are of the belief that asphalt parking lots last for approximately twenty to twenty-five years. In truth, asphalt lots require major repairs in as less as five or seven years after you install them. But when we talk about concrete, you can trust this material to last you far longer. 

You find it interesting to note that experts expected the original concrete roads to last for twenty years. The same roads not only completed their twenty-years life expectancy but are going strong even thirty, forty, and fifty years later. 

Concrete even has the potential to spread heavy loads over its larger areas. Hence it is more durable in the long term. It minimizes pressure on its sub-base too. Due to this characteristic and considering the soil type and application, concrete lots can even use lesser aggregate in your base than asphalt. 

This proves the optimal longevity and durability of concrete. In comparison, you will hardly find any asphalt parking lot or even roads that outlast their initial or speculated lifespan. But with concrete, you can expect this as a standard because concrete is meant to last. 

When you put the travel, vehicle load, and weather into consideration, you’d find it sensible to choose concrete that can withstand massive daily stress. 


Asphalt does not last as long as its own life expectancy, let alone outlast it like concrete. Those who own asphalt parking lots will tell you how they had to conduct repairs in less than five years after the installation and have had to do so repeatedly. 

Asphalt also lacks the ability to spread loads and, as a result, creates high points that exert higher pressure on the subbase. As a result, the likely degradation escalates, and the subbase begins to deteriorate.

You find yourself conducting maintenance and repairs on the asphalt parking lot sooner than you had expected. 

Proper Asphalt and Parking Lot Maintenance 

A newly installed asphalt parking lots with paint guides.

Proper maintenance is key to having your parking lot remain in top shape for as long as possible. If you have an asphalt parking lot, you can follow certain best measures for its maintenance. Let’s take a look at those below:

  • Repair pothole as soon as they appear
  • Ensure proper signage 
  • Seal and fill the cracks as soon as they appear and before they have a chance to widen
  • After every two years, you must treat your parking lot to seal coating
  • Conduct inlet repairs the moment you notice signs of failure
  • Never take standing water in your parking lot lightly. Find out its root cause immediately and remediate it. Many parking lots have suffered failures from standing water and the eventual free-thaw cycles. If you leave small cracks untreated, they will soon turn into potholes, and the pavement will likely fail. 

We can define the proper asphalt maintenance practices into three categories, based on the order of priority. 

What you must do

You must immediately attend to parking lot troubles that revolve around personal and property liabilities. This includes hazards like potholes, broken curbs, large cracks, raised sidewalks, failing inlets, and alligatored areas. 

What You Should Do

You should pay due attention to parking lot areas that concern with preventive maintenance measures. These will also help you stay ahead in cost savings by preventing a lot of complicated problems that could occur due to neglect in maintenance. 

What You Could Do

You could reconstruct the parking lot when your budget permits and when you feel your parking lot has served you sufficiently without asking for attention. This way, you can avoid a lot of costly base repair if you perform paving and milling early. 

Proper Concrete Parking Lot Maintenance

Different cars parked on concrete parking lots.

For concrete parking lots, you can conduct maintenance every three to five years. To this end, you will have to address small issues really and not heavy structural issues. A proper concrete maintenance checklist must include the following:

  • Surface sealing- you must use a sealant to block the porous surface against salt and water’s corrosive effect. Sealing the surface is a fine idea because it prevents more damage from occurring and will also reduce the need for further concrete repairs in the future. 
  • Filling chips and cracks- for repairing cracks, you have to fill with concrete, pourable crack filler of a leveling caulk. You can use hydraulic cement if you have to patch up chips. 
  • Deep surface cleaning– for this, you can power wash your concrete lot annually. It will clear all the dirt piles and uncover the beautiful and fresh concrete underneath. 
  • Stabilizing sinking or low areas- for this, you will have to pump cement slurry below your problem area. You may even use a cold mix pothole filler for patching the pothole. 
  • Uneven section grinding- concrete sections tend to shift, causing uneven surfaces. You can fix this problem by grinding down the high sides and attaining a smooth surface. 
  • Protective coating application- for this, you can add a protective layer of the acrylic coating to your concrete lot. It will serve as a barrier until the parking lot needs a replacement, which is typically after years or more. 


The estimated parking lot life is typically around twenty to twenty-five years, unless it is concrete that can last even beyond. The key to maximizing the life of your parking lot is making time and set aside a budget for its preservation. Proper maintenance, regular checks on your parking lot, and proper measures will suffice in achieving the service life period you expect from your parking lot. 

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About the Author: James Brennan

James has over two decades of experience in the paving industry and has worked on a wide variety of projects, from large-scale commercial installations to small residential repairs.

Parking Lot

If you own a commercial parking lot, even if you’re not there every day, that lot is your responsibility. Should a car blow out a tire or the wheel cracks because a customer drove over a pothole in your parking lot, the liability falls on you. You must maintain and repair your parking lot when necessary to promote its longevity. What should you do?

The following parking lot maintenance tasks will reduce your rate of repairs:

  • Cleaning the lot
  • Repainting faded stripes and other markings
  • Overlaying the asphalt
  • Sealing the lot
  • Repairing when damage occurs

In this extensive guide, we’ll provide further information on maintaining your parking lot so it remains in its best condition for a long time to come. We’ll also delve into areas of parking lot repair, including how much money you might expect to pay for various repair jobs.

parking lot repair

How to Properly Maintain Your Parking Lot

Most parking lots are made of asphalt or concrete. Asphalt, as we covered in this article, is prone to plenty of damage. Here’s a list for you:

  • Bleeding, when the asphalt develops a film that can make it slippery if it gets wet, posing significant risks to motorists who use your parking lot
  • Raveling, which is when the asphalt fragments, leaving gravel behind
  • Upheaval, or the movement of the asphalt upward due to moisture or freezing
  • Rutting, which is asphalt depressions from ignoring the parking lot’s max recommended weight
  • Potholes, which start as holes in the asphalt that grow bigger and deeper over time
  • Cracks, including slippage cracks, joint reflection cracks, edge cracks, block cracks, and alligator cracks

No parking lot is impervious to damage, but through maintenance, mitigation becomes possible. Per the information in the intro, here are the areas of parking lot maintenance to focus on. 

Keep the Parking Lot Clean

We’ve discussed this on the blog before, but it’s worth repeating now. Cleaning your parking lot may sound like a basic and thus skippable part of parking lot maintenance, but it’s one of the most important jobs. 

Why is that? For several reasons, really. From an aesthetics standpoint, a clean, tidy parking lot will always attract more business than one that’s dirty and looks run-down. Much more importantly, cleaning your parking lot removes small objects that can lead to motorist injuries, which again become a liability for you. 

A clean parking lot is one in which the asphalt remains in better condition, as nothing is grinding against it when motorists drive across the lot. You may even be able to enjoy a few more years out of your parking lot. 

repair parking lot

Repaint Faded Stripes and Lines

Painting the parking lines and other indicators throughout your parking lot wasn’t a cheap nor inexpensive process, but it’s something you’ll have to do much sooner than later. You might get only a year out of the paint before it needs touching up depending on the frequency of parking lot use. In other cases, it’s two years, but no more than that.

You absolutely cannot forego repainting these stripes, lines, and markings. If the lines are faded to the point where they’re barely visible, your customers won’t be able to tell where one parking spot ends and the other begins. This creates an environment where unnecessary car accidents can occur.  

Overlay the Asphalt

Although it does nothing for the bottommost layer of asphalt, overlaying the top layer can improve the overall appearance of your parking lot. Further, you might stretch out the longevity of your lot, so overlaying is certainly a job worth doing.

When you overlay asphalt, you pour a fresh layer over the preexisting top layer. That layer still remains intact, as removal would be more labor-intensive and expensive. You end up with asphalt that’s even more multi-layered than before.

Seal the Lot

The last maintenance job to commit to as parking lot owner is sealing the asphalt. Depending on the age of your lot, you may have to reseal it annually or you can possibly go three years before applying some fresh seal. The latter is true of new parking lots and the former of older ones with worn asphalt.  

sealed asphalt

The Most Common Parking Lot Repairs

If you skipped out on some of the above maintenance jobs due to a tight budget, lack of time, or simply inexperience owning and managing a parking lot, then your lot is probably in disarray. Here are some of the more common parking lot repairs you might encounter. 

Repairing Cracks

We listed a variety of cracks earlier that tend to affect asphalt. Here’s a quick explanation of the ones that are especially prevalent in parking lots:

  • Slippage cracks: Developing in distinct half-crescents, slippage cracks tend to appear shortly after your new parking lot is paved. If the asphalt layers have incorrectly adhered, these cracks will result. 
  • Joint reflection cracks: We’ll discuss repairing joints shortly, but for now, know that joint cracks occur when the joints are strained through the asphalt subbase. The subbase may move as moisture and temperature changes occur. 
  • Edge cracks: Common in driveways, roads, and parking lots, edge cracks affect the edge of a street or lot that has insufficient drainage. The moisture accumulation leads to the cracks, as can improperly installed subbase or heavy vehicular traffic. 
  • Block cracks: When the temperatures get very cold or extremely hot and the asphalt’s binder can’t contract and expand to accommodate, block cracks happen. Why are they called block cracks? Well, due to how these cracks are often rectangular.
  • Alligator cracks: Fatigue or alligator cracks look like alligator skin, which is the last thing you want for your parking lot. Many issues can cause alligator cracks, among them too much clay in the surrounding soil, ground movement and erosion, thin pavement, poor subgrade quality, and exceeding your parking lot’s weight limits.

Whether it’s an alligator crack, a slippage crack, or anything in between, repairing a crack should be at the top of your priority list as a parking lot owner. Even small cracks can become bigger as your lot gets a lot of use. Large cracks develop into potholes. 

Repairing Potholes

Speaking of potholes, they’re another frequent problem across asphalt roads and parking lots. According to Harper’s Magazine data, as of 2012, the United States has 55,961,000 potholes. Given the age of that data, we’re sure you can add several thousand–if not more–potholes to that tally by now.

Edmonton, Alberta, Canada calls itself “the pothole capital” because its problem with potholes is that serious. In 2014, the city spent $4.8 million to repair potholes, says Canadian news source The Walrus. The city alone adds about 450,000 potholes to its preexisting total every year.

We talked in the intro about how risky leaving potholes intact can be, so repair must be imminent. 

Improving Joints 

In a perfect world, you’d have gotten your parking lot constructed with high-quality joints. That can prevent a lot of headaches now and in the years to come. After all, the worse the quality of the joints, the fewer years you can expect out of them. 

Sealing may be able to restore the strength of the joints provided they haven’t been under much strain for long. Pretending the issue doesn’t exist though can quickly degrade the quality of your parking lot. Alligator cracks might develop, allowing for structural issues that can become full-on lot failure if left unaddressed. Potholes will also appear. 

Adding Drainage 

Given that so many asphalt problems that impact your parking lot’s structural integrity are related to moisture and other sources of water, having any drainage at all is better than none. Drainage vents or pipes give the water somewhere to travel so it doesn’t linger on the asphalt.

repairing parking lot

How Much Does It Cost to Repair Your Parking Lot?

Now that you know the duties that lay ahead of you, it’s time to start budgeting for parking lot repairs. To help you do that, you need to know the costs of each job. 

According to ProMatcher, a resource for connecting with professionals, sealing asphalt costs an average of $0.22 a square foot for commercial parking lots. On the lower end, you might pay $0.14 per square foot and, on the high end, up to $0.29 per square foot depending on the sealant you choose.

Paving asphalt is $2.81 a square foot on average. The job may be less expensive at $2.24, or it could be costlier, up to $3.37 per square foot.

Paving an asphalt parking lot if you’re adding a two-inch overlay is an average of $1.60 a square foot. Costs may be between $1.40 and $1.70 per square foot depending on the breadth of work, notes ProMatcher.

Here are some maintenance costs to get you started. To sweep and clean your parking lot, expect the job to cost:

  • $73.75 if you have a 200-space parking lot
  • $83.32 if you have a 500-space parking lot
  • $149.17 if you have a 1,000-space parking lot

The costs for repainting your parking lot stripes depends on the size of the stripes and the type of markings you’re adding. For a white stripe that’s four inches, per linear foot, you’d pay $0.34. For 18 feet of striping, that’s $4.27. Handicap parking spots cost about $28.08 each and arrows $18.09 apiece.

parking lot maintenance

How Long Should an Asphalt Parking Lot Last?

By putting all this time, effort, and expense into your parking lot, how many years should you expect to get out of it? At least five to seven years, but well-maintained parking lots may last around 10 or 15 years. If you go above and beyond to ensure your parking lot is always in tip-top shape, the lot could be usable for 20, even 30 years. 

Other Ways to Extend the Life of Your Parking Lot Outside of Maintenance

As we’ve established, there’s no better way to enjoy more years out of your parking lot than through maintenance, but that’s not the only way. To wrap up, here are some things you can do in addition to your maintenance routine for a better parking lot.

Don’t Let Small Problems Fester

It’s a lot cheaper–not to mention less laborious–to pave a small hole or crack in the parking lot. You might even be able to patch that area rather than overlay or reseal the whole lot. 

If you don’t already, you should visit your parking lot at least weekly when it’s completely empty. Inspect the whole lot, including the edges and corners. These areas are often overlooked but can be the most troublesome. 

Should you spot any concerning issues, make a plan for how they’ll get repaired and when. If you’re not the one personally doing repairs, then come back a few days later, following through to ensure the work was done, and adequately at that. 

asphalt patches

Add More Drainage If You Have Too Much Standing Water

The drainage you have now might not be all that you use for the entire life of your parking lot. If your drainage solution leaves too much standing water, then you may need more drainage or another means of removing the water altogether.

Clean Spills 

Besides loose gravel, sticks, rocks, and other debris that inevitably accumulates in and around your parking lot, you also want to remove spills as soon as you notice them. Depending on the fluid that was spilled, it can degrade the quality of your sealant. Now that area may start cracking, which can soon spread to other sections of your parking lot. 


To avoid lawsuits and hold onto your customers, maintaining your commercial parking lot is not optional. With the tips and advice we presented to you in this article, you know which issues to be on the lookout for so you can work preventatively to keep your parking lot safe for anyone to use. 

Cost to Build a New Parking Lot

Contemplating the costs of building a new parking lot? This is a key decision for your business, promising convenient parking for customers and service vehicles. Understanding the financial commitment is essential.

The cost to build a new parking lot typically falls between $10,000 to $150,000. This range depends on various factors, including the size of the lot, your choice of materials, and the overall complexity of the project. Opting for a small, basic asphalt lot? Expect costs on the lower end. Planning a large, concrete space with unique features? Your budget should lean towards the higher estimate.

To dive deeper into what shapes the cost of your parking lot project, our next sections will explore the key influencing factors. We’ll compare cost-effective material options against those that offer more durability and style. Stay tuned for a thorough breakdown and expert tips!

Important Costs To Consider

A black car parked on new asphalt parking lot

Before you can begin ordering materials for your new parking lot, you need to create a budget. If your parking lot project is on the lower side of the price spectrum, then you might spend $10,000 on a new lot. By using inexpensive materials or building a smaller parking lot, a budget of $10k is possible.

The average price for a new parking lot, according to recent numbers from HomeAdvisor, is $75,000. We’re assuming this price accommodates an average parking lot size, which is between 7.9 and 9 feet.

For a bigger parking lot or one that uses pricier materials (more on this later), you can expect to spend the most money, at least six figures. You’d need a budget of around $150,000, possibly more.

What if you’re interested in sealcoating your new parking lot? We discussed this in another recent post, but a sealcoat is a product that maintains the quality of the parking lot, sometimes for up to several years. The larger your parking lot, the more sealcoat you need, so you can expect a higher sealcoat price per square foot of lot. 

Besides that, not all sealcoat is created equal, with some brands or types more expensive than others. Per square foot then, you might pay $0.05 to $0.20 for sealcoating.

Factors That Affect the Cost of Building a Parking Lot

Now that you have a good idea of what you might spend to build a new parking lot, let’s examine the factors that can determine why your project is more expensive or less so. 


The geographical location of your parking lot project significantly impacts the cost. Constructing a parking lot in urban areas often incurs higher expenses due to elevated labor rates and material costs. In contrast, building in rural areas might offer cost savings. Moreover, the accessibility of the construction site plays a crucial role – sites that are difficult to access can escalate transportation and labor costs.

Lot Size

Different cars parked on new concrete parking lot.

This is a big one and a factor we’ve already touched on. For the most part, you can anticipate that a larger parking lot will cost more than a mid-sized lot or a small one. Exceptions may exist, such as choosing a premium parking lot material for a mid-sized lot. In such a case, you might be looking at prices on par with the cost of building a large lot with less expensive materials.


Most parking lots are concrete or asphalt, but some companies prefer gravel or tar and chip lots. Later in this guide, we’ll contrast the prices of concrete versus asphalt parking lots by square foot. We’ll also introduce you to those other parking lot materials and their costs. 

You’ll quickly see how some lot materials are more budget-friendly than others, which will likely influence your choice. 

Anticipated Traffic

What kind of vehicles will use your parking lot the most? Will it be everyday cars, trucks, and SUVs? Perhaps you’ll have garbage trucks, freight trucks, and other commercial vehicles coming in and out of the lot daily.

If it’s the latter, then you need a parking lot material that’s strong enough to handle this heavy traffic without cracking, buckling, or leaving potholes in the vehicle’s wake. Since you must reinforce your lot, the scope of your project now increases, as must your budget for the parking lot.  


The cost of building the parking lot increased after installing a drainage system

You don’t want to wait until water damage has accrued before you add drainage to your parking lot. Water will pool anywhere the lot isn’t even.

You might find that the people who use your parking lot will steer clear of these water-damaged spots because they don’t want to ruin their vehicles.

The lot material can begin deteriorating from all the water. One such form of damage that can occur is called rutting. This is where the wheels of cars and trucks leave depressions shaped like tires in areas of your lot that get a lot of traffic. All the pressure from the rushing water can crack the top layer of your parking lot too. The lot material can also separate, which is known as bleeding.

Drainage vents give the water a place to go rather than linger in your parking lot.

Adding these vents is more costly than going without. Not every parking lot needs a drainage option, but for those that do, the vents save so much money in the future. 

Lighting and Security Features

Incorporating lighting and security features such as CCTV cameras or emergency call stations enhances the safety of the parking lot but also increases the cost. The type and extent of these features should align with the intended use and location of the parking lot.

Land Preparation and Site Conditions

The worker is preparing the land on which to build the parking lot

The existing condition of the construction site plays a significant role in determining costs. Clearing land, removing trees, leveling ground, or dealing with rocky terrain can all add to the project’s complexity and expense.

Accessibility and Proximity to Utilities

The proximity of the parking lot to existing utilities like water, electricity, and sewage impacts costs. If utilities need to be extended to the site, this can significantly increase expenses.

Permitting and Regulatory Compliance

Securing the necessary permits and ensuring compliance with local, state, and federal regulations is a must. This process can be time-consuming and costly, especially if special zoning or environmental permissions are required.

Labor Requirements

By reinforcing your concrete and adding drainage options, your parking lot builders have to expend a lot more time and energy. The extra labor drives up the overall price of your project. 

Landscaping and Aesthetic Features

Finally, adding landscaping and aesthetic elements like trees, shrubs, walkways, or art installations can enhance the appeal of your parking lot but also adds to the budget. The scope of these features should be balanced with the overall cost goals of the project.

Concrete vs. Asphalt Parking Lots: Which Is More Expensive?

AspectConcrete Parking Lot Cost (per sq. ft.)Asphalt Parking Lot Cost (per sq. ft.)
Material Cost$4.00 – $7.00$2.50 – $4.50

As mentioned, you’ll more than likely choose between concrete or asphalt for your parking lot. Asphalt is the traditional gray or black building material you see on streets, freeways, and highways. Repairing asphalt is easy, but it requires frequent maintenance, including resealing. In very hot temperatures, asphalt can become unstable. 

Concrete tends to outlast asphalt, but it costs more. This material also demands fewer repairs, which is good, since concrete is harder to patch up. In very cold conditions, concrete might crack or buckle, and it stains quite easily. 

According to 2020 numbers from HomeAdvisor, pre-poured concrete slabs are $1.40 to $4 a square foot. If you’d prefer pouring the concrete yourself, that costs $3 to $4 for each square foot. Overall, you’re looking at a concrete parking lot price of $4 to $7 a square foot when you add in labor as well. 

Asphalt might be $2.50 to $4.50 a square foot with labor added in. 

Other Parking Lot Surface Options and Their Prices

AspectGravel Parking Lot Cost (per sq. ft.)Tar and Chip Parking Lot Cost (per sq. ft.)Pavers Parking Lot Cost (per sq. ft.)Brick Parking Lot Cost (per sq. ft.)
Material Cost$1.25 – $2.00$1.00 – $3.00$10.00 – $30.00$15.00 – $40.00

You don’t necessarily have to choose between asphalt and concrete. Here are a few other materials for your parking lot that you might consider instead

Tar and Chip

The paving style known as tar and chip resembles asphalt as well. To construct a tar and chip parking lot, you use gravel and other loose stone as well as bitumen asphalt that’s heated until it becomes a liquid. The resultant parking lot is quite visually appealing. Repairing or maintaining one of these lots isn’t terribly difficult, and again, there’s the low price.

Just how low? Tar and chip parking lots might cost $1 to $3 a square foot, which isn’t bad. Like gravel driveways, tar and chip driveways can degrade from weather extremes and everyday wear and tear. 


Example of gravel used for a parking lot

A gravel parking lot has the look of asphalt but not the price. Maintaining your lot will be easier compared to an asphalt or concrete lot, and installation of a gravel lot typically doesn’t take long either. Do make sure you’re using specific types of gravel for the longevity of your lot, including marble chips, pea gravel, or crushed stone.

Per square foot, you’d pay $1.25 to $2 for a gravel lot. Do keep in mind that if the weather gets very hot or very cold, a gravel parking lot might not be able to handle it. You also get less longevity than with a concrete or asphalt lot. 


Pavers, available in materials like concrete, natural stone, and recycled plastic, provide a customizable option for parking lot surfaces. The cost varies with material type, generally ranging from $10 to $30 per square foot. This pricing includes labor, base materials, and installation. Their advantage lies in durability and easy maintenance, with the ability to replace individual pavers as needed. Their design flexibility allows for unique patterns and color combinations, enhancing the lot’s visual appeal.


Brick pavers are a premium choice, offering a classic look. They are more expensive, with costs ranging between $15 to $40 per square foot, influenced by brick type and design complexity. Despite the higher upfront cost, brick’s durability makes it a long-lasting option. It’s suitable for high-traffic areas due to its load resistance and offers excellent drainage and environmental benefits, being made from natural materials. When choosing brick, consider its long-term advantages alongside the initial investment.

FAQs about How Much Does It Cost to Build a New Parking Lot?

Worker leveling the newly installed asphalt over concrete roads.

Here are a few common questions related to the expenses associated with parking lot construction.

How Much Does It Cost to Repave or Resurface a Parking Lot?

No matter the material used for your parking lot, the day will come when you need to repave or resurface the lot. When you resurface your parking lot, you first fix the lot damage and then add new asphalt on top of the preexisting layer.  

This costs $3 to $5 a square foot, says HomeAdvisor. Although resurfacing is expensive, your parking lot can last decades longer than it would have if you skipped this job. 

Resurfacing is different than repaving, which is when you replace the damaged paving with fresh areas of asphalt or concrete. It’s less expensive than resurfacing, as you may pay $0.90 to $2.50 a square foot for the job. 

How much does it cost to stripe a parking lot?

The cost to stripe a parking lot typically falls in the range of $0.15 to $0.25 per square foot, with an average total cost ranging from $4,000 to $5,000 for a standard-sized lot. Keep in mind that specific factors such as lot size and layout complexity can influence the overall expense.


Building a new parking lot requires many considerations, such as the size, material, and whether you need drainage. Once you can answer those questions, you’ll have a clearer idea of how much your project will cost.

Tim Dawson's Avatar

About the Author: Chris Hawk

Chris is a paver with more than 15 years' expertise in the field. He has established a reputation as an expert and trustworthy specialist with a track record of providing his clients with top-notch paving solutions.

Resurface Parking Lot

A damaged parking lot affects the revenue of your tenants as a result of customers who would rather choose to stay away. 

Overlooking your parking lot condition can also have a huge influence on how prospective and current tenants view your property. A poorly maintained parking lot can cause damage to cars and put pedestrians at risk. Restoring the value of your property entails resurfacing the parking for both form and function.

What exactly is “resurfacing”?

Resurfacing is when a new layer of asphalt is applied to an existing pavement surface. We must note that resurfacing the parking lot is not the same as total pavement replacement, where the parking lot foundation is left untouched. 

Just like every other property, our parking lot begins to wear and tear over time, making it necessary for resurfacing to be carried out. Resurfacing adds a new layer of asphalt of about 1.5 – 2 inches in depth. 

Resurfacing parking is cost-effective as it could add 8- 15 years to your parking lot’s general life span. The old lot layer must be repaired if it is damaged to prevent it from weakening the resurfaced lot.  

A black car parked on newly asphalt parking lot.

Signs that your parking lot needs resurfacing

Resurfacing the parking lot would be necessary if the following signs arise:


Several factors can result in potholes in our parking lots. They include sudden expansion and contraction of cracks in asphalt, which causes potholes and movement of the underlying soil underneath the parking lot.

 If left unattended, potholes can cause damage to vehicle rim and tires. Pedestrians on the parking lot are not spared as they may trip, thereby injuring themselves. Potholes should be filled, and the parking lot resurfaced to create a safe space for drivers and pedestrians who walk on the parking lot. 


Continuous pressure from vehicles may cause the parking lot to suffer from distortion and uneven surfaces. Warping is common with industrial and commercial parking lots as heavy articulated vehicles ply and park on the asphalt. 

A warped parking lot could pose a danger for people walking on it and the safety of the vehicles. Resurfacing the parking lot helps to restore the warped parking lot into perfect shape. 


One of the vital signs that show your parking lot needs resurfacing is the appearance of cracks on parking lots. Asphalt develops cracks over time as they are exposed to moisture and sunlight. As water continues to percolate into the asphalt, it widens the cracks leading to distorted and unattractive surfaces. A deep crack on asphalt on the parking lot is a serious matter of concern for individuals on door and vehicles. 

Faint lines 

The continuous exposure of marked lines on your parking lot to sunlight, rain, and wind forces the lines to lose its brightness and spark. To avoid confusion,  parking lanes and no parking zones lines need to be bright and conspicuous. Resurfacing the parking lot allows for parking lines to be redrawn with the right colors and styles. 

A damage asphalt parking lot.

Is resurfacing your parking lot the right choice? 

Several commercial property owners are very much concerned about the safe and attractive condition of their parking lot. Maintaining your asphalt parking lot by filling up potholes and cracks may not be enough to keep your parking lot in very good condition. 

As time goes on, the wear and tear would become too profound, forcing you to carry out a parking lot’s complete replacement. Rather than going for an outright replacement, resurfacing a parking lot restores your parking lot’s appearance at a cheaper cost than asphalt replacement.

Here are some reasons why resurfacing the parking lot is good for you. 

If the foundation still maintains its structural integrity: 

Resurfacing is good only if the foundation of the parking lot still maintains its structural integrity. If the parking lot’s underlying structure is compromised, then the gains of resurfacing would be defeated as the same challenges facing the parking lot would persist. 

Nonetheless, if your parking lot still has a stable underlying structure, resurfacing is the best option to put your parking lot back into shape and use. 

If the damage to the parking lot is minimal :

Before resurfacing is carried out, defects on the parking lot, such as potholes, cracks, need to be fixed. Furthermore, failure to do resurfacing is ideal for any parking lot when cracks only exist a few inches deep or quarter inches wide and when your paved surface is no more than 20 years old. 

Reconstructing your parking lot from scratch may not be necessary if your parking lot only has limited and shallow cracks. In such cases, resurfacing your parking lot is the ideal thing for you. 

Pros and Cons of Resurfacing  

Many commercial property owners appreciate the importance of resurfacing their parking lot, mainly due to the numerous benefits a resurfaced lot provides:


1. Safety 

As your parking lot begins to wear out, the formation of cracks and depressions begin to get more noticeable. Over time, these cracks may start posing as hazards to those who use the parking lot. Incidences of users’ injury from the cracked parking lot would become frequent if resurfacing is not carried out.

 Resurfacing parking lot allows you to cover all cracks and depressions, thereby enhancing the safety of users of the property. 

2. Improves and maintains the aesthetics of your parking lot 

The aesthetic appeal of a resurfaced parking lot cannot be overemphasized. The value of a property is boosted if the parking lot has an impressive appeal. A resurfaced parking lot appears new and rejuvenated, giving your lot that attractive look. 

Cracked and distorted surfaces of parking lot diminish the aesthetic allure of properties, which is detrimental to the property’s value. 

 3. Prolongs the life of your parking lot

Resurfacing contributes to the extended life of your parking lot. For instance, asphalt coated parking lot is built to last for more than 20 years. Proper maintenance and resurfacing of the parking lot increase the life span of your parking lot. Poor maintenance of the parking lot would further the breakdown and reduction in your lot’s working life. 

4.  Helps save time and money 

One common mistake of some commercial property owners is allowing cracks and depressions to deteriorate before fixing them. Once cracks and holes are not taken care of early enough, they may worsen over time, forcing you to spend more on fixing. 

Resurfacing the parking lot in time helps prevent incidences where you have to spend more money reconstructing your parking lot from scratch. 

5. Helps to minimize seal coating 

Asphalt built parking lot are sometimes seal-coated to extend the life of the parking lot. However, excessive seal coating results in substantial cracking of the parking lot. 

To prevent seal coating your parking lot from time to time, you can carry out resurfacing to restore the shape of your parking lot effectively. 

An asphalt parking lot in front of hotels on the town.


1. Cost 

The major challenge of resurfacing the parking lot is the issue of cost. In avoiding the cost of resurfacing their parking lot, some commercial property owners resort to other measures of maintaining their lot. 

 The cost of complete resurfacing of a parking lot might be cost-effective, but not everyone can afford the cost of resurfacing their parking lot. 

2. Effectiveness is subject to conditions 

Resurfacing a parking lot is only guaranteed to be effective if done under certain conditions. A badly damaged parking lot whose cracks have gone deep and wide cannot be restored by resurfacing. 

Resurfacing the parking lot under such circumstances is a waste of time and resources as the foundation’s internal structure has been badly affected. Repaving the parking lot would be the only option in such a situation. 

Parking Lot Maintenance Tips 

Maintaining your lot is one crucial way of extending the working life of your parking lot. Commercial property owners must ensure that they take the business of maintaining the parking lot as a top priority.

 While it is said that most parking lots are built to last between 25- 30 years, it is not guaranteed, as parking lots experience more vehicular activity than others, which leads to wear and tear. Parking lots that are poorly maintained are a recipe for danger for both motorists and pedestrians on your lot. 

The following maintenance tips you can use for your parking lot. 

  • Regularly check your parking lot for any form of damage: By so doing, you will be able to spot areas that are already cracking. Early discovery of cracks and depressions allows you to them as quickly as possible before it deteriorates. 
  • Engage a professional to access and repair your parking lot: As part of routine parking lot maintenance procedures, you should call a professional parking lot company’s services once you begin to notice cracks and holes in your parking lot. 
  • Rework your paints once they are faded: Stripes on your parking would begin to fade over time due to exposure to sunlight and other factors. Ensure you update your paints when they fade to keep your lot looking good and healthy. 
Frist and second floor parking lot with yellow line guide and concrete stops.

Related Article: Concrete Parking Stops Installation

How to select the right resurfacing company 

Choosing the right resurfacing company helps you save both time and money and build a  long-lasting relationship. However, selecting the right resurfacing company may be quite challenging. The following tips can help you select the right resurfacing company. 

  • Carry out your research: You must carry out your research before selecting any resurfacing company. Ensure you are familiar with the company’s history, how long they have been in the business, their customer reviews, etc. 
  • Ask others: You can find out about the right resurfacing company by simply asking people who have hired the services of parking lot resurfacing companies in the past. 
  • Do not fail to ask relevant questions: Ensure you ask the right questions before selecting the right parking lot resurfacing company. 
  • Confirm their licenses and claims: You can verify any parking lot resurfacing company licenses before selecting it. By so doing, you are guaranteed a quality standard of work if you select them. 


  1. Can you resurface over the cracked pavement?
    Yes. It, however, depends on the type of crack. Hot rubberized sealant and fabrics can be used on linear cracks before resurfacing. 
  2. Why can’t my parking lot be resurfaced during the winter months?
    Resurfacing during winter is not advisable because cold layers may emerge, which may cause the resurfaced lot to deteriorate. Resurfacing should be done when the temperature is 50of and above. 
  3. How long should I wait to drive on my newly resurfaced lot?
    At least a day. 
  4. How long should my newly resurfaced parking lot last?
    Several factors could determine this. Weather, vehicular traffic on the parking lot, and the thickness of the asphalt layer determine how long a newly resurfaced parking should last. A period of 8-15 years can be said to be the average life span of a resurfaced lot based on prevailing factors. 
  5. Should I reconstruct my parking lot, or should I resurface it?
    Deciding to resurface or reconstruct your parking lot should depend on the underlying core structure of your parking lot. You might need to reconstruct If more than 30% of the total parking lot area is completely damaged. 


Resurfacing a parking lot is a cost-effective way of reinvigorating and extending the life span of your parking lot. Hiring a parking lot resurfacing company can help you maintain and resurface your parking lot. However, you must ensure you choose the right parking lot resurfacing company to give your lot that impressive and attractive look.

Tim Dawson's Avatar

About the Author: Tim Dawson

Tim is a seasoned paving expert with 30+ years of experience in the industry. He has worked on countless projects, from small residential driveways to large commercial parking lots.

Parking Lot Paving

The first time a new customer pulls into your parking lot, they have already begun forming an opinion of you and your business. 

  • Are you old-fashioned or up on the latest trends? 
  • Do you take pride in your work?
  • Do you pay attention to details? 
  • Are you the kind of business they want to patronize? 

It is judging the book by its cover, and maybe it’s not fair to assume a business is slipshod based solely on a few cracks in their parking lot, but regardless, that is what happens. 

That makes your choice of a parking lot paving a far more critical decision than you may have supposed.  

In this post, we’ll walk you through the essential factors you should consider when choosing your parking lot paving. 

12 Factors To Consider When Choosing Parking Lot Paving:

Different cars parked on concrete parking lot with proper markings.

1. Is this a new parking lot or a replacement?

If you are paving your parking lot for the first time, you are in luck. Assuming a reasonable location and favorable terrain, you will have a much easier job than the business owner replacing an existing parking lot in need of replacement. 

For a new parking lot, you will need to ensure the space is adequate for your expected traffic volume and type (i.e., passenger vehicles vs. commercial trucks), reasonably flat and compacted or compactable. Of course, consider access to parking from the nearest street.

If you are replacing an existing lot, then the above conditions are probably already met (make sure). 

If your existing lot just needs a minor repair, then jump to our article on maintenance and repair. Furthermore, if you need a complete replacement, you will most likely need to remove the existing parking lot material altogether.

The exception is a pre-existing gravel parking lot. A gravel surface is a precondition for most choices of parking lot paving. An existing bed of gravel will save you time and money.

If you have a pre-existing parking lot, then you have three options. Your contractor may recommend “milling,” “pulverization,” or a complete replacement. 

Milling is only an option if the pre-existing lot is asphalt, and you plan to replace it with asphalt. In milling, the top is removed and then recycled when the contractor pours the new layer of asphalt. This saves on material, reuses much of the existing parking lot bed and is better for the environment.

In pulverization, the existing surface is broken into small pieces using special equipment. The resulting product is  “gravel” and forms the base for the new paving surface.  

Pulverization is not appropriate for all pre-existing surfaces as some may powder instead of crushing.
Finally, your contractor may recommend complete removal of the existing lot material. Replacement is especially common when the current parking lot is unstable for some reason, or the base needs significant rework.

Complete removal is expensive and may add significantly to your labor cost and the time your customers’ inconvenience. We’ll talk about both of those considerations shortly.

2. Drainage

Whether a new or replacement parking lot, drainage is an important consideration. Both asphalt and concrete are impervious to water. That water has to go somewhere. 

Standing water in a parking lot is a customer nuisance and reduces your parking lot paving lifetime. Your contractor will need to design a proper drainage system and connect to the local municipal drainage system or meet local runoff standards if emptying into a public waterway.

Permeable parking lot paving options like gravel, pavers, or permeable pavers may reduce the need for a full drainage system, but drainage should still be considered.

An old concrete parking on shopping malls

3. Traffic

The volume of daily traffic and the size and weight of the vehicles expected are also vital considerations. While perhaps less attractive, simple gravel may be the best choice for mainly commercial vehicles or heavy trucks. Most passenger vehicle owners prefer an asphalt or concrete parking lot to avoid possible damage to windows or paint.

4. Local Weather Conditions

Different parking lot paving options fare better under different prevalent conditions. Considerations are the temperature extremes, the amount of rain and snow and the duration of the various seasonal peaks.

As a rule of thumb, asphalt surfacing is usually preferable in cold climates. 

  • Concrete is prone to expansion and contraction in cold weather, leading to cracking and frost heaves.
  • Concrete also suffers from damage from road salt
  • Asphalt also tends to retain heat better, which makes snow and ice melt more quickly.
  • Finally, concrete is slippery when icy providing poor traction for both vehicles and patrons going to and from the cars.

In hot, dry climates like the Southwestern United States, concrete may be a better choice.

Asphalt tends to soften in extreme heat.

Asphalt is subject to deformation in extreme heat.

As stated above, asphalt retains heat, increasing the feeling of heat to patrons and playing havoc with surrounding landscaping and grassy areas.

An asphalt parking lot with 1st and second floor.

5. Local Regulations

Many municipalities and commercial areas have strict rules about parking lot paving. Your qualified contractor will be familiar with local regulations and should be able to provide guidance. However, if they recommend something utterly different from the choices of neighboring businesses, be sure to check if there is a local regulation in play.

6. Aesthetics

Different businesses are going for a different look. This applies as much to your parking lot paving as it does to your business’s exterior and interior. Again, your parking lot is often the first impression a prospective customer receives.

Choose a parking lot paving consistent with the message you want to convey; gravel, we’re a no-frills operation, asphalt – we’re strictly business, concrete – we’re upscale and modern. You get the idea.

7. Safety

No business wants to expose themselves to potential liability issues. Personal injury lawyers are often referred to as “slip and fall” specialists for a reason. 

The sleek look of concrete comes with the safety risk of less traction. Gravel or oil and stone surfaces risk potential damage to cars from loose stones. Cracked asphalt poses potential dangers for pedestrians and can cause flat tires.
There are no risk-free parking lot paving options. You’ll need to consider the tradeoffs with a firm view on the safety of your specific patron profile. Do you have a lot of elderly clients? The improved traction of asphalt may be a better choice for you. Do you have luxury vehicle traffic? Then concrete may be the way to go.

8. Upfront Cost

There are distinct differences in the parking lot paving options’ costs, both in terms of materials costs and labor.

Concrete is usually the most expensive option upfront, costing 2-3 times as much as asphalt and about 6X the gravel cost.
We’ll get into the costs of the various options below. For now, be aware that your budget may limit your options.

9. Installation Time

While you pave your new parking lot, customers will have difficulty parking and accessing your business. At best, that’s an inconvenience. In many cases, the customer will choose to go someplace else rather than deal with the hassle.  

The average parking lot requires 2 – 4 weeks from start to finish, with concrete tending to require the longest.

10. Maintenance Cost

The costs of maintaining a parking lot can be surprisingly high. Factors to consider are, 

  • sealants that need refreshing
  • line repainting
  • cleaning
  • snow plowing
  • drainage maintenance
  • weeding
  • repairing cracks
  • oil stains

By far, the lowest maintenance option is good old gravel. Gravel is virtually maintenance-free except for replacing lost stones and occasional weeding.

Both concrete and asphalt may require sealants and will be subject to cracking. They’ll both also require painting and occasional repainting of parking lines.

An asphalt parking lot with markings and drainage system.

11. Environmental Impact

Patrons are increasingly aware of the environmental impact of businesses. There is substantial debate about the ecological tradeoffs between asphalt and concrete. The harsh reality is that neither is genuinely sustainable.

  • Both asphalt and concrete are made from materials that have an adverse environmental impact to drill for or mine.
  • Both surfaces are impermeable, leading to water runoff and potential problems for local water treatment facilities, rivers and streams.
  • And both release Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC).

Nonetheless, we live in the real world. Parking lots are a necessity for most businesses. According to a 2017 Department of Transportation Study, concrete gets the nod in terms of lifetime environmental impact due to its lower energy cost upfront, better recyclability and lower lifetime reflection of sunlight into the atmosphere (aka the Albedo Effect).

12. Durability

Finally, you’ll want to consider how long your new parking lot paving will last before you have to face this decision again. 

  • Depending on the amount of water runoff and slope, gravel will last about ten years before being replaced.
  • The typical asphalt parking lot will last 20 – 30 years.
  • A typical concrete parking lot will last 30 – 40 years.

What are your parking lot paving options?

Gravel – Gravel is comprised of crushed stones, typically smaller than ¾”. The most common stones used in gravel parking lots are granite and limestone. However, a wide range of designer options like river rock or shale is also available.

Oil and Stone – Oil and Stone, also known and chip seal, tar and chip and macadam, is a mid-point between gravel and asphalt in which loose gravel is pressed into a bed of hot bitumen. Oil and stone was the most common road surface in the USA for decades until being replaced by asphalt.

Asphalt – Asphalt is a manufactured material comprised of a smooth blend of bituminous oil, sand and gravel. In fact, asphalt is applied to a bed of gravel at sufficient depth to cover the rock fully. Asphalt is smooth, black and impervious to water. Asphalt is the most popular road and parking lot surfacing material in the USA.

Concrete – Concrete is a composite of fine and coarse aggregate (crushed stone) and fluid cement. The resulting natural color is grey, but adding colors provides almost any desired shade. Concrete parking lot paving is smooth and also impervious to water. Concrete typically will require some form of sealant.

Cost Comparison for The Different Parking Lot Paving Options

Cost is, of course, one of the primary considerations for most business owners contemplating paving a parking lot.
You should remember that, while upfront costs tend to receive the most immediate attention, you also need to consider each option’s lifetime costs.

Gravel –  Gravel parking lots are by far the least expensive option both in terms of upfront cost and annual maintenance cost for the lot’s lifetime.

A typical gravel parking costs about $1 / sq. ft. depending on the desired depth of gravel.

Ongoing maintenance cost for gravel is practically zero. You will need to rake up loose gravel and redistribute it occasionally. Weeding will likely be necessary. Snowplowing a gravel surface requires particular care not to redistribute the gravel.

There no sealants required.  Oil stains are quickly covered by merely turning the gravel with a rake or small shovel. There are no lines to repaint.
On the downside, over time, stones are lost. This slow process will likely mean replacing your gravel parking lot every ten years or so.

Oil and Stone – A typical oil and stone parking lot will set you back between $1 and $5 per sq. foot depending on the type of gravel used. For most commercial parking lots, the cost is under $2 / sq ft.

You will have little or no maintenance costs for an oil and stone parking lot. The annual maintenance activities are the same as for gravel, except there is less requirement for weeding.

An oil and stone parking lot will last 10 to 15 years before needing replacement.

Asphalt – An asphalt parking lot will cost between $4 and $6 per sq. ft. The price can swing dramatically with the price of crude oil.  

Asphalt has slightly higher annual maintenance costs than gravel or oil and stone. Depending on your climate, you may need to apply sealants, and those may need refreshed every 2 or 3 years. You will also likely choose to have lines painted on the lot, and these will also need periodically repainted.
Asphalt is prone to cracking. Minor cracks are easily repaired, but this will also need to be done every two years. You’ll also have to deal with oil stains and the like, and you may want to power spray annually to keep it looking fresh.

A well-done asphalt parking lot will last 20 to 30 years before needing replacement.

Concrete – Concrete is the most expensive of the familiar parking lot paving options. A typical concrete lot will cost $5 to $9 per sq. ft. There are a broad range of designer looks possible, which add additional costs.  

Maintenance costs are also higher with concrete paving. You will need to seal the concrete to protect from weather. Concrete is prone to cracking, and cracks are more costly to repair.
Regular cleaning is essential because the lighter color shows stains and road grime readily. Of course, you will need to repaint the parking spaces occasionally as well.

As noted, concrete has the most extended lifetime and will need to be replaced only about every 30 to 40 years.

An asphalt parking lot in front of hotels.

Related Articles:

Choosing a Parking Lot Paving Contractor

Paving a commercial parking lot is best left to the pros. 

You will probably have a broad range of options ranging from “2 guys with a wheelbarrow” to a full-size contractor able to do large scale roadway construction.

How do you choose a qualified contractor? 

  1. Multiple Offers – Of course, you will want to get quotes from multiple contractors. That’s the only way to know if you are fairly treated price-wise. Most quality contractors in your area will come in within a few hundred dollars of each other. Beware of outliers on either end.
  2. Experience – We all love a reasonable price and cheering for the small business person. Parking lot paving is a project that requires experience. Overlooking a drainage issue or getting the mix wrong for the weather conditions can mean the difference between a ten-year job and a 40-year job. You don’t want someone learning on your tab. Find an experienced contractor.
  3. Availability – Depending on the paving you choose, different times of the year are ideal. Check the availability of your contractor for peak times.
  4. Project Implementation Time – As we noted above, your business will suffer while your parking lot is being paved. You want a contractor who can complete the job as quickly as possible. That typically means a contractor with a larger team and more equipment.
    Your lost revenue may more than offset any price difference.
  5. Testimonials – Look for a contractor with good testimonials and reviews from projects like yours. Ideally, you’ll want to be able to visit nearby projects to see the work first hand and speak with other business owners about their experience.

Choosing your parking lot paving is a crucial step toward setting the tone for your entire business. Select both your paving solution and contractor carefully. Consider all the factors listed above, and you’ll put your best foot forward with every customer who pulls into your lot!