Ideally, when you use concrete as the paving material for your parking lot, you expect it to be robust and durable. Your home’s concrete parking lot would last for a lifetime. However, it may start to look bad for all that wear after periods of exposure to vehicle traffic and the elements, shortening its longevity and leading to hideous cracking, settlement, de-coloration, or scaling.

The first and most critical step is to find out what caused the damage before beginning the project of resurfacing a concrete parking lot and then decide the best repair method to fix the problem.

What are the typical causes of concrete parking lot distress or damages?

Causes of distress or degradation in a parking lot include but are not limited to, the following:

  • A wrongly compacted subgrade
  • Using an inadequate concrete mix
  • Exposure to extreme weather conditions
  • Bad placement processes

The key reason many homeowners and business owners use concrete for their parking lot is that it is recognized for its resilience, flexibility, and durability, in addition to being economical. You can customize concrete to obtain the appearance you want and still count on that look to last for years.

Instead of just excavating the concrete and beginning over, you can always save some money by resurfacing your parking lot; so far, the concrete is sound structural.

concrete parking lot

What is a concrete parking lot resurfacing, and is it good for your next repair project?

Resurfacing, also referred to as overlaying, is the substitution of the top layer of concrete with a new one on top of the existing one, normally 1.5-2 inches in diameter. It’s suitable for every house, as it helps prolong the life of your parking lot for yet another 8 to 15 years if done correctly.

You likely wind up with a jet-black, sparkling parking lot, and your wallet is still left untouched. If your parking lot has wider holes or cracks in a tiny area, you might be able to repair it yourself. 

Suppose you are not sure of your parking lot’s structural strength. In that case, you can get an expert concrete contractor near you to determine your concrete condition and make recommendations on whether resurfacing your concrete parking lot or installing a new one would be perfect at that point in time.

Pros and cons of resurfacing a concrete parking lot vs. replacing it

If your parking lot has stayed for a long time, you could find signs of aging on it, including cracks and potholes. When your parking lot is in poor shape, you might be asking if you should do some moderate resurfacing or have the whole lot replaced. The fact is, everything depends on how serious the damage is, the material (concrete or asphalt), the time of year, and the budget. 

If your home or business’s parking lot displays aging signs, do not immediately presume that your only choice is concrete removal. For a justifiable reason, resurfacing is rapidly creeping into the mainstream. 

There is no point in paying for a completely new parking lot when you can resurface it for a lower price. In some instances, concrete resurfacing could be the optimal solution over concrete replacement. 

There are many reasons why resurfacing your concrete parking lot is a perfect alternative to fully replacing it. If you are considering concrete resurfacing vs. replacement for your parking lot, below are some of the advantages and drawbacks that will help you make an informed decision:

parking lot maintenance


The advantage of parking lot resurfacing include:

  • It requires lower cost, minimal time, and effort
  • It extends the parking lot’s life
  • It restores your concrete surface
  • It can be performed without inconveniences

It requires lower cost, minimal time, and effort.

Tiny cracks and depressions will not grow into more decay that will require more money to fix if resurfacing is performed at the correct time. One of the key factors motivating resurfacing concrete rather than repairing it is the financial benefit. This means that resurfacing a concrete parking lot would help to save both money and time. Resurfacing your home’s concrete surface is far more economical than replacing the whole thing.

Furthermore, fewer materials, workforce, and machinery are required for concrete resurfacing, leading to lower upfront costs. Although this is undoubtedly appealing to homeowners wanting to save money, it is essential for property owners, including apartment complexes, because concrete surfaces in apartments can grow wear and tear quite easily as they are exposed to the movement of many individuals.

It extends the parking lot’s life.

Resurfacing is integral to the practice of maintaining every parking lot. Ideally, concrete parking lots are projected to last around 30 years; however, adequate resurfacing would lead to its prolonged working life. If you ignore resurfacing your parking lot as it cracks, it will lead to more deterioration.

It restores your concrete surface.

A commonly held belief is that concrete resurfacing would not make the parking area look good as fresh concrete would be, and residents will not notice the difference. In truth, if you resurface your concrete parking lot, it would look as good and fresh as a replaced concrete surface. In a real sense, resurfacing your concrete parking lot is a perfect time to add a decorative touch that will make it sparkle like a brand new one.

Don’t let anyone fool you by claiming that resurfacing your concrete parking lot will not make it look great except if it is replaced; the truth is that by resurfacing your concrete, you are indeed bringing new life into it. The improvement will be visible for years to come.

It can be performed without inconveniences.

If you are an apartment complex owner, you will find it a big deal to replace your concrete surfaces because it will require inconveniencing your tenants. When replacing concrete, you would need to dismantle it first, which can take up to two days, meaning you may have to ask your tenant to park somewhere for the night or restrict their movement to a specific space for a significant period.

The process of resurfacing concrete is much accelerated, as you do not have to take out the entire concrete nor pour a huge volume of fresh material that would then require curing. And by resurfacing, you are more conscientious to your tenants.


Irrespective of the many benefits of concrete resurfacing, there are, however, a few drawbacks as well, including:

  • It can not address cracked crumbling concrete
  • It can only be performed on Plain Concrete Surfaces

It can not address cracked crumbling concrete.

If your parking lot is concrete, you will need to patch and fill the cracks before resurfacing. Resurfacing is not recommended if the concrete surface starts to crumble. The surface may not support the new concrete’s weight, which may trigger even further crumbling. 

It can only be performed on Plain Concrete Surfaces.

The other drawback of resurfacing concrete parking lots is that it can normally be performed only on bare concrete surfaces. If the concrete surface has been epoxy-sealed, colored, engraved, stained with acid, or stamped, concrete resurfacing will not stick correctly to the existing surface.

concrete surface replacement

When is it time to resurface your concrete parking lot?

Concrete parking lots are standard in different neighborhoods because they provide unsurpassed durability. While it’s built to last, some factors, such as elements and heavy foot traffic, could still trigger it to wear-and-tear. Once you observe crumbling edges, cracks, sunken places, or dull colors on your parking lot, it asks for resurfacing.

If your parking lot begins to experience more than just a few cracks or holes, or the cracks and gaps are broader, then the time for resurfacing has fully come for it. Furthermore, if you consider patching but fear that soon, more tiny holes or cracks will develop, you will gain more by resurfacing it.

Resurfacing is better suited for patching up small holes and shallow cracks. It can be a more cost-effective alternative if you want to introduce a new layer of texture to your parking lot’s surfaces, making it an excellent option for restoring a parking lot’s shine and look.

How are concrete parking lots resurfaced? 

If you are considering resurfacing a concrete parking lot for your next project and you are contemplating between using concrete or asphalt, keep reading to learn how straightforward it can be to offer your parking lot a new life:

Resurfacing with concrete

Six steps are involved in concrete resurfacing:

  • STEP 1: Clean your concrete parking lot and patch as needed.

Prime the existing concrete surface for the renewing layer to stick to it properly. Start by removing soil, flaking concrete, and oil. After cleaning the parking lot, check it for deeply worn away areas or large cracks, making sure to fix any with patching material. 

Finally, water the parking lot down to the point of saturation, then remove standing water using a broom.

Use a 1/2 -drill, 5-gallon bucket, and paddle mixer to mix the resurfacing compound. Note that you can not use concrete barrel-type mixers and hand mixing for this application.

  • STEP 3: Measure and pour 3-1/2 quarts of cool/clean water into a 5-gallon bucket. Pour the concrete resurfacer into the mixing water and mix extensively for about five minutes until a pourable lump-free consistency is accomplished. If the mixture is too thick, add water infrequently to achieve syrup consistency; if the mixture is too thin, you can add more powder to it.
  • STEP 4: Pour the resurfacing material onto the concrete parking lot in one-foot broad strips, and use a long-handled squeegee to scrape the substance into the concrete surface.
  • STEP 5: Spread the resurfacing compound back and forth uniformly on the slab and use a concrete broom to add a non-slip polish after around five minutes.
  • STEP 6: Moist cure at temperatures above 90° with a fine water mist for 24 to 48 hours. After about 6 hours of curing, it can withstand foot traffic while supporting vehicle traffic after about 24 hours.
resurfacing with asphalt

Resurfacing concrete parking lot with asphalt

Below are the six steps involved in asphalt resurfacing:

  • STEP 1: Prepare the surface

Before starting the concrete resurfacing project, you need to clean the parking lot, ensuring it is blank. Ensure you demolish or replace any concrete speed bumps and address every other structure that may stand as an obstacle.

  • STEP 2: Asphalt milling

Remove the asphalt’s top layer surface to generate space for fresh material. In some cases, this step is also done before the actual parking lot resurfacing. This step can take up to a day; hence, you need to inform everyone using the parking lots and prohibit parking until the project is completed.

  • STEP 3: Fix any pavement issue

Once you remove the asphalt’s top layer, you may have to fix the underneath pavement or perform additional milling to level out any rough areas, making the surface uniform. You may apply crack filler to address any tiny repairs. Furthermore, use a trowel to fill and smooth out small cracks.

  • STEP 4: Asphalt resurfacing

This step requires using a squeegee, leaf blower, and heavy machinery and is done in multiple layers. The first added layer is adhesive, and it is termed the tack coat. The tack coat is aiding the asphalt binding to the underneath layer. Next, use a roller truck and paver to lay a layer of asphalt. 

  • STEP 5: Curing

The concrete parking lot resurfacing  project needs to cure properly for some time before you go on to the next step. This will offer a shiny and new look to the top layer of your new asphalt surface.

To protect the surface from the elements, you may need to apply a seal coat at this point to preserve your investment. After applying the seal coat, allow it to dry. You can now repaint your parking lots with lines for traffic patterns, parking spaces, etc.

The cost of resurfacing a concrete parking lot

Several factors can affect the cost of resurfacing your parking lot. Among all, location is always the main factor. For instance, materials used by contracting companies and labor costs vary per location. Also, the type of soil in an area can impact the price. 

With that said, the estimated cost of resurfacing with concrete is $400 for a 100 square feet surface; less costly and more expensive projects can run as low as $300 and $500, respectively. The price may vary between $3 and $5 per square foot.

While the cost of resurfacing with asphalt can range between $1,800 and $4,200, or $3,000 on average. This rate is split into $3 to $7 per square foot for the standard 600 square feet area.

asphalt vs concrete surfaces

Difference between concrete resurfacing and concrete replacement

If you are considering resurfacing a concrete parking lot or replacing it for your next repair project, it is good to know the difference to make the right decision.

Concrete Resurfacing:

  • It includes applying a thin mortar overlay over the old concrete slab
  • It helps restore the surface; however, large cracks, significant breakage, or pitting are not fixed
  • It can be finished in a few hours,
  • Usually, half the cost of replacing concrete 
  • Offer additional layer, reducing wear and tear

Concrete Replacement:

  • Removing and replacing damaged slabs with new ones
  • offer a more permanent solution for high-traffic surfaces
  • The project can run for two days
  • Cost more than resurfacing
  • Eliminates the possibility of regular concrete repair


If your parking lot is due for repair, it would be best for you to evaluate the pros and cons of resurfacing and replacement before deciding which one to opt for. For the best recommendation, you can call in a concrete paving contractor to find the cause of the deterioration in order to decide whether concrete replacement or resurfacing would be a better choice for your property.

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. 

Most building owners know that the parking lot is a large part of their property. It is also the most frequently neglected. Asphalt or concrete surfaces that are not maintained over time can lead to costly replacements, vehicle damage, and injury risks to visitors.

Property owners should make sure parking lot cleaning and maintenance are conducted regularly to attract customers and avoid costly repairs and lawsuits.

Why it’s important to keep your parking lot clean

The appearance of your building’s exterior has a significant impact on potential clients. Maintaining an attractive building is a priority for property owners. Buildings with curb appeal draw in new tenants and customers and keep existing occupants happy. An attractive building shows that the office building, warehouse, or retail center is a professional, premier location.

Surveys have documented that consumers judge the quality of a shopping or commercial facility by the cleanliness of its exterior areas, including parking lots. When people come to your business, you want them to see pristine conditions. How you treat your facilities reflects how you treat other jobs.

A poorly maintained parking lot can become a danger to vehicles and pedestrians.

Keeping a parking lot safe for visitors should be your number one priority. Regular sweeping and parking lot cleaning reduces the chances of slip and fall accidents caused by small objects. 

Falling leaves or hard-packed snow can be slippery, which can cause your visitors severe injury and make you susceptible to liability. If injuries occur in your lot, your business could be held responsible, potentially costing you hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Removal of sand and loose pebbles improves braking time for vehicles trying to stop quickly.

cleaning parking lot

Regular cleaning helps protect your investment in your parking lot.

Parking lot cleaning reduces how often you need to repave and restripe. Concrete and asphalt wear down eventually. Excess dirt, rain, water, and garbage speed up that process.

The weight of a vehicle driving across the sand, dirt, and debris left in your parking lot acts as an abrasive. Abrasives shorten the pavement’s life and increase the frequency of seal coating and striping. When dirt is allowed to collect on the pavement, weeds can also grow, and their roots can cause cracking of the cement and asphalt. 

Removal of sand, dirt, and other trash saves property owners time and money in the long run.

An asphalt parking lot can last 25-30 years if it is cleaned regularly and well maintained. Concrete parking surfaces are extremely durable and can last up to 30 years with regular sweeping and yearly power washing. 

A clean parking lot minimizes pollution in our local waterways.

Keeping your lot clean discourages littering, keeps rodents and pests away, and prevents erosion. Sweeping can prevent the larger debris from going down a storm drain. Whenever there is rain, anything left on the parking lot will be picked up by the storm water runoff and flow into local waterways.

Dust on the lot can contain several different contaminants and toxins like vehicle lubricants, coolants and brake dust, petroleum products used in pavements, and other pollutants that fall on the parking area surface.

Parking lot cleaning and sweeping is a best lot management practice for eliminating storm water runoff and controlling dust. A regularly scheduled professional sweeping program will keep your commercial or retail property in compliance with all government environment regulations and requirements. Minimizing pollutants that could otherwise end up in the air we breathe and the water we drink is just good business. 

A clean parking lot repels Rodents and other pests.

Rodents and other pests are attracted to garbage and debris, where they can hide and search for food.

When rodents and pests move in, it is a sign of unsanitary conditions. Most people stay away from areas that have unsanitary conditions that can cause disease.

Most business and establishment owners want to make an excellent first impression on their customers and visitors. While they may not tell you about a clean, well-maintained parking lot, you can bet they will tell you about a dirty, poorly maintained lot.

parking lot cleaning

Property Owners have a responsibility to keep their exterior surfaces safe.

Each year, more than 9,000 pedestrians are injured or killed in parking lots and garages. While many injuries and deaths are due to driver negligence, poor lighting, or improper signage, a good portion are due to slip and falls on pavement surfaces.

Slip and falls in parking lots result from cracked or uneven pavement, potholes, debris and slippery substances on the pavement surfaces, and weather conditions. 

Premises liability law holds the owner of a parking lot responsible for watching over their property and making sure it is safe at all times. Failure to maintain your property is considered negligence in the eyes of the law.

Mary Butler, an older woman attending a funeral at an East St. Louis Church, slipped on loose gravel and fell into a pothole in the parking lot, twisting and fracturing one of her ankles. Within two weeks of the incident, she passed away due to complications associated with the fracture. A premises liability lawsuit was filed on behalf of the woman’s estate against the McCasland Church of God, alleging that the church’s failure to maintain and conduct regular parking lot cleaning created a hazardous situation, which resulted in the woman’s wrongful death.

cleaning for parking lot

Two primary methods of parking lot cleaning

Commercial sweeping

Regular, scheduled sweeping of your parking lot will get rid of dirt and debris. Sweeping is a form of asset preservation. Sweeping makes your asphalt look better for customers and other visitors. A clean surface allows you to more easily notice any cracks or damage in the pavement that needs to be repaired.

Getting the debris off the lot with regular parking lot cleaning helps prevent garbage, large sticks, or rocks from clogging drains, which can cause standing water that quickly erodes asphalt. 

Commercial sweeping equipment is designed to pick up small trash such as cigarette butt, or paper. They are not built to pick up large pieces of garbage or liquids. Commercial sweepers do not remove stains from parking lots. 

Pressure washing

Pressure wash the parking lot a few times per year to get rid of oil or any other chemicals on the pavement. Pressure washing with high-pressure water deep cleans dirt and spots. 

Pressure cleaning is effective in deep parking lot cleaning debris from your property’s exterior. To get the best results, use hot steamed water because it will soften all the stains and dirt from the ground. 

Any pressure washing contractor you hire should comply with both EPA and OSHA standards of practice. The EPA’s Clean Water Act is a federal law that stipulates that nothing but rainwater can go down a storm sewer. The UAMCC staff has heard stories of businesses being fined more than $10,000 for a first occurrence. Talk to your contractor. He or she should be educated in your local requirements and meet the minimum standards for capturing wash water runoff.

parking lot maintenance

The most common parking lot blemishes and how to clean them

Many materials build up on the surface of parking lots, such as dirt, sand, trash, grease, oil, algae, leaves, mud, etc. Parking lot material build-up is more than just an eyesore; it is an accident waiting to happen. 

Grease & Oil Stains

When you park your car or bike in a parking lot, sometimes oil can leak and get on the pavement. Oil leaks can cause permanent or harsh stains on the ground, which can be challenging to remove. If you leave the stains for an extended period, the leakage will become permanent. Wondering how to remove grease and oil stains from an asphalt lot.?

Start by blotting excess grease or oil with an absorbing agent like cat litter, baking soda, or sawdust left on overnight. Be sure to cover the absorbing agent pile with a tarp or towel, so it does not blow off or attract animals. Sweep up the absorbing agent and dispose of, so you are ready for parking lot cleaning. Clean the stain with dishwashing liquid or vinegar diluted with warm water in a 1:1 ratio and a wire brush.

Special products are used for parking lot cleaning of tough grease or oil stains. 

Asphalt: Trisodium phosphate bleach, and baking soda are effective at cleaning grease from asphalt. Apply the mixed compound to the stain and then scrub it away using a firm bristled broom. Be careful of using too much solvent or scrubbing too hard, as it will remove the stain and part of the asphalt. Once the stain is removed, thoroughly rinse off the asphalt until all solvent residue is gone.

Concrete: Cola and dishwashing liquid are useful for combatting grease spots on concrete. Start by pouring some cola on the stain until it saturates the whole area. Let the cola soak in overnight, and then scrub the area the next day using a 1 to 1 mixture of liquid dish detergent and warm water. Use a flexible but firm nylon brush to create a soapy lather, and the stain will lift away. Rinse until the water runs clear.

Mulch & Leaf Stains

Leaf and mulch stains can cause damage to asphalt or concrete pavements. You can clean the stains away by using soap and vinegar, two products easily found in every home. Spread a mixture of one to one vinegar and soap on the stained pavement surface and rub in a circular motion using a wire brush. Thoroughly remove the soap or vinegar after brushing with low-pressure water. 

If stains do not fade away, try to remove them with bleach and warm water. Allow bleach and water mixture to sit on the pavement surface for 30 minutes before rinsing with warm water at low pressure.  Bleach includes fading agents that should remove tough stains. 

driveway seal

Other parking lot cleaning and maintenance tips

Caring about your parking lot cleaning and regular maintenance increases the overall life of asphalt and concrete.

Perform a monthly visual lot inspection. Visual inspection is essential after you experience extreme weather such as high heat, hard rain, snow, or ice that can leave debris throughout the parking lot. Make note of areas of concern such as:

  • Cracks or wear holes
  • Leaves, oil or grease, or icy conditions.

Apply a Sealcoat after pressure washing an asphalt parking lot. 

To keep your asphalt parking lot in top shape and looking good for customers, it’s recommended that the lot’s surface be thoroughly cleaned at least twice a year. The asphalt should also be seal-coated every 3-5 years.   

Seal coating restores your asphalt parking lot’s surface to keep cracks at bay and slow natural erosion caused by weather conditions and changing seasonal temperatures.

A seal coat product covers the asphalt, adding a second layer atop  that acts as a protectant. Seal coats can ward off water damage as well as fading from UV rays and even fluids from passing vehicles.

Concrete roads require very little maintenance. Regularly scheduled parking lot cleaning and sweeping eliminates trash and debris build-up and reduces contaminants. 

Repair parking lot damage immediately after parking lot cleaning.

After your parking lot has been cleaned,you should be able to see any areas that need repair. If your parking lot is in good condition but has cracks, potholes, or minor flaws, spot filling should be done to prevent them from spreading. 

Suppose you notice many cracks, crumbling, large potholes, or other more considerable flaws. You might want to consider contacting your paving contractor to come out and evaluate your parking lot’s condition and determine the best type of repair. A paving contractor can talk to you about your needs and budget and advise you whether an overlay, reconstruction, or repaving would be your best option.  

Regularly scheduled parking lot cleaning via sweeping, periodic pressure washing, and treatment of stubborn stains will help to maintain the “curb appeal of your property”, eliminate safety risks, protect and extend the life of your investment. 

Your business has decided to construct a new parking lot from scratch. You want to give your customers or clients space to comfortably park as well as be able to accommodate service vehicles, but may be wondering how much it’s going to cost you.

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

A new parking lot costs between $10,000 and $150,000 on average. Factors that can influence the cost of a parking lot include its size, the building material, and the scope of the project.

Our paving experts will elaborate on the cost of building a new parking lot, including a detailed section on the factors that influence the price. We’ll also delve into which are the cheapest versus the most expensive parking lot materials. Keep reading! 

Important Costs To Consider

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. 

Lot Size

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.  


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. 

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. 

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

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

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. 


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. 

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. 

asphalt driveway

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. 


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.

If you feel like you don’t know much about the options available for a new parking lot, you’re not alone. There’s a lot of information online about the various types of surface choices you have and all that information can be confusing. 

Thankfully, we’re breaking down the best parking lot surface options for you right here so you don’t have to look any further. 

The five main parking lot surface options are:

  1. Asphalt
  2. Concrete
  3. Gravel
  4. Tar and chip
  5. Pavers

Keep reading to learn more about the pros and cons of each of these surface options so you can make the decision that’s best for your business’s needs. 

The Five Best Parking Lot Surface Options

While each surface material has its merits, there are some details that might make one better for your needs than another. We’ve included a breakdown of each material below to make comparing them easier for you. 

asphalt driveway

Surface Option #1: Asphalt Parking Lots

Asphalt is:

  • As expensive as the average parking surface option.
  • Relatively easy to install.
  • Professional looking.
  • Immediately usable after installation.
  • Long-lasting with regular maintenance.  

Asphalt Parking Lot Pros And Cons

Pro: Durability

Asphalt surfaces last a long time. An asphalt parking lot can last 25-30 yearsif it is maintained well. This means your initial investment in the parking surface will extend far into the future. 

Pro: Immediate Usability

Unlike some other parking lot options, asphalt parking lots can be driven on near immediately after installation. This is a big plus for many business owners, who want to ensure that customers can park at their buildings as soon as possible. 

Neutral: Cost

In general, paving or repaving a parking lot can be an expensive project. However, when you choose asphalt for the surface of your lot, you can save a considerable amount of money compared to other parking lot surface options like concrete. 

In 2020, Home Advisor estimated the cost to pave an asphalt lot to be between $2.50 to $4.50 per square foot. 

Asphalt parking lots are in the average price range for what it costs to install a parking lot: asphalt surfaces aren’t overly expensive but they aren’t remarkably inexpensive either. 

Think of asphalt as that trusty, reliable solution you can count on. It won’t be super cheap, but it won’t completely empty your wallet, either. 

Con: Regular Maintenance

To keep your asphalt parking lot in top shape and looking good for customers, it’s recommended that the surface of the lot be thoroughly cleaned at least twice a year. The asphalt should also be seal-coated every 2-5 years. 

While this may not seem like too heavy a maintenance schedule to some, other business owners may find the need for upkeep to be a deterrent. 

Con: One Look

Unlike some other surface options, asphalt generally always looks the same: black and semi-smooth. While looks won’t affect the functionality of your parking lot, and many people like the look of asphalt, you may want to consider other options if you have a specific aesthetic in mind. 

Surface Option #2: Concrete Parking Lots

Concrete is:

  • More expensive than most other parking lot surface options.
  • Time-consuming to install. 
  • Extremely long-lasting. 
  • Very easy to maintain. 
  • Diverse and customizable to fit your aesthetic goals.

Concrete Parking Lot Pros And Cons

Pro: Durability

Concrete parking surfaces are extremely durable and can last up to 30 years after installation. Unlike other surface options which may last half that amount of time or less, concrete lots pay for their price of their initial investment in the long term. 

Pro: Little Maintenance

One characteristic of concrete lots that many business owners like is that they require little-to-no maintenance. 

Generally, it’s recommended that concrete parking surfaces be power-washed once a year, and that any chips or cracks be filled in. Otherwise, there’s little ongoing work that needs to be done on them.

Pro: More finish options

Unlike asphalt and gravel parking lots, concrete parking surfaces can be customized to have different finishes. Thus, they can take on unique appearances that could help your business stand out and make a positive impression on customers. 

Con: Cost

On the higher end of parking surface prices, concrete lots cost between $4.00 and $7.00 per square foot of paving. This means that concrete lots can easily cost more than double the price of an asphalt lot of the same size, and much more than some cheaper surfacing options like gravel or tar and chip lots. 

Con: Delayed Usability

Unlike asphalt surfaces, which can be used almost as soon as they’re poured, concrete parking lots must be undisturbed for approximately one week. 

While you can be sure your concrete parking lot will look great when it’s done, you will have to close your lot off to customers while the cement sets. 

Surface Option #3: Gravel Parking Lots

Generally, gravel lots are:

  • Much less expensive than other parking surface options.
  • Immediately usable after construction.
  • Not very durable.
  • Very maintenance-heavy.
  • Not the best-looking surfacing option.

Gravel Parking Lot Pros And Cons

Pro: Cost 

Gravel is one of the least expensive surface options available for parking lots. At only $1.25 to $2.00 per square foot of gravel, this option can be as little as half the cost of asphalt surfacing, and just a quarter of the cost of concrete surface options. 

The affordability of gravel lots are perhaps their strongest selling point, thought there can be other benefits as well. 

Pro: Immediately Usable

Gravel lots can also be used immediately after being created. Unlike concrete which requires time to set and dry, gravel can be driven across as soon as it’s put down. 

This means that if you need a parking surface fast or by a specific deadline, gravel could be a good option for you. All that is needed is to spread out the gravel stones to fit the shape of your lot and your parking area is ready for customers. 

However, while you may be thinking that a gravel lot is the best option for your business, there are a few less-than-appealing points you should know about, too. 

Con: Durability

While the individual stones that make up a gravel lot are, technically, quite durable, your lot as a whole may not be. 

Though some sources claim that gravel lots can last up to 100 years, this is possible only with heavy and regular maintenance, which we’ll discuss next. Without regular and extensive maintenance, it’s highly likely that your gravel parking surface will last less than 7 years, if that

Gravel has a tendency to shift over time as vehicles and customers move over it. The gravel can shift so much that it can be wiped away completely from sections of your lot, leaving the bare ground exposed beneath the gravel. 

While the inconvenience of this shifting may concern individual business owners differently, it’s clear that the durability of gravel lots as a whole is quite minimal. This brings us to the next con regarding gravel parking lots. 

Con: Frequent Maintenance

Because gravel lots are not very durable, the maintenance required to keep them in good condition is quite extensive. In order to keep up with the shifting of gravel and the bald spots that can develop, your lot will need to be raked out very often, possibly once a week. 

Additionally, though the initial cost of gravel is very low, it’s likely you’ll find yourself ordering in more gravel to maintain the lot, as gravel is gradually carried away by vehicle tires and customers’ shoes over time. 

Depending how often you have to order in maintenance gravel, this could lead to another significant expense for your business. 

Con: Poor Aesthetics

Last, though certainly not least in the eyes of your customers, gravel lots tend not to look the best. While business owners may like that they are cheap to install, it’s worth considering that they look quite cheap, too. 

Additionally, gravel lots often kick up dirt and dust when traffic moves over them, which can stick to customers’ automobiles and irritate your patrons. 

Surface Option #4: Tar And Chip Parking Surfaces

Tar and chip parking lots:

  • Are less expensive than most other parking lot surface options.
  • Don’t last as long as other parking lots. 
  • Can be customized to different colors to fit your vision. 
  • Don’t require much maintenance, though they do require careful considerations.
  • Can be used almost instantly. 

Tar And Chip Parking Lot Pros And Cons

Pro: Cost

Much like gravel lots, tar and chip is one of the least expensive kinds of parking lot surface options out there. In 2020, estimates of installing a brand new tar and chip parking lot range between only $1.00 and $3.00 per each square foot. 

This means that, while tar and chip surfaces aren’t quite as inexpensive as gravel parking lots, they are significantly less expensive than both asphalt and concrete surface options. For this reason, many business owners will consider a tar and chip lot. 

Neutral: Easy Maintenance, But Care is Required

Tar and chip parking lot surfaces require little-to-no maintenance after they are constructed. The individual durability of the stone and gravel of the lot is held in place by the tar, preventing the annoying maintenance required of a gravel-only lot. 

However, because the top layer of stone spread on the tar is exposed to the elements, it’s important not to treat your parking surface too roughly. 

For example, if you live in an area that gets a lot of snow, ensuring that snow removal workers don’t scrape up that top layer of stone when plowing will help extend the life of your parking lot. 

Additionally, if you’ll have landscapers cutting grass near the edges of your lot, be sure to warn them not to drive over your parking surface with lawnmowers, as this could also remove the top layer of gravel. 

Neutral: Short Wait Time Required

Unlike asphalt and gravel parking lot surface options, tar and chip lots do require a setting period before customers can begin driving on and using your parking lot. The general rule of thumb is to wait a full 24 hours before opening up your parking lot after the surface is laid. 

While this means your lot won’t be immediately usable, most business owners don’t set their parking lot up the same day that they plan on opening to customers. Therefore, this wait time isn’t likely to have a significant impact on your business, but it’s worth noting just the same. 

Neutral: Aesthetics

For being the second-cheapest parking lot surface option out there, you’d be surprised by the versatility offered for tar and chip appearances. While many people think of tar and chip parking lots as merely black surfaces, the truth is that this kind of parking lot offers many customization options. 

To adjust the aesthetics of your tar and chip parking surface, you just need to select the color and type of stone you want laid into the tar. Do be aware though, that more aesthetically pleasing stone generally costs more than basic gravel, so this could increase the cost of your parking lot overall.

Con: Durability

Because tar and chip lots use tar to hold what is essentially a gravel lot in place, tar and chip lots tend to be more durable than only gravel lots. 

However, tar and chip surfaces still don’t last as long as asphalt, concrete or paver lots. The average tar and chip parking lot will last 7-10 years, unlike asphalt and concrete surfaces which, you’ll recall, can last up 30 years. 

Surface Option #5: Parking Lot Pavers

Paver parking lots:

  • Allow you to choose from many combinations of options to fit your business’s needs. 
  • Are generally very durable, but some options are more durable than others. 
  • Are more expensive than other kinds of parking lot surface options.
  • Require essentially zero maintenance. 
  • Can be used immediately after installation.
  • Require heavy research before construction.

Paver Parking Lot Pros And Cons

Pro: Different Types of Pavers to Choose From

Pavers are one of the most highly customizable parking lot surface options you can use. 

Not only do parking pavers come in a variety of aesthetics, but there are three main kinds of pavers that you can choose from:

  • Permeable pavers are grids of lightweight, polymer materials that can be laid down over an intended parking surface and filled in with stone or gravel. 
  • Porous pavers are similar to permeable pavers, but the grid structure is made of concrete and they are generally filled in with grass, sand or topsoil, creating a more natural surface. 
  • Plastic pavers are also similar to the previous two options but, obviously, are made of plastic. The big difference with this option is that the plastic pavers are typically filled with soil and grass turf — materials the plastic can support.

Pro: Durability

Because these paver options involve using some kind of grid structure to hold other surface materials in place (stone, grass, sand, etc.), paver parking lots tend to be very durable. The paver grids prevent the parking surfaces from shifting and moving over time, and provide a network of support beneath the entirety of the parking lot. 

Among the three paver options mentioned above, permeable and porous pavers are the most durable options, with plastic pavers being more suited for lots with less-regular traffic.

Pro: Maintenance

Another benefit of using pavers to construct your parking lot is that they require little-to-no maintenance. Because the pavers support and can even shift with the traffic moving over your parking surface, your parking lot won’t fall victim to bare spots, shifting gravel or debris runoff. The walls of the paver grids keep everything in place, requiring no extra work from you. 

Also, because these paver options use porous materials like grass, sand and gravel, any water that runs into the pavers is naturally filtered down into the ground below your parking lot. 

Additionally, because most paver options use natural fill elements, your paver parking surface won’t be subjected to cracks or potholes like concrete and asphalt surfaces. 

Pro: Immediately Usable

Because there are no liquid or chemical setting agents used to construct a paver parking lot, paver surfaces can be used immediately after being constructed. Once the fill material has been added to the paver grid, your lot is ready to go. 

Neutral: Cost

Though the cost of a paver parking lot surface will obviously depend on which kind of pavers you want, paver lots generally cost about the same as asphalt parking lots: roughly between $2.50 and $4.50 per square foot. 

This is because, while paver grids and installation processes are relatively inexpensive and you’ll save on the cost of labor time, the cost to prep the ground beneath the paver grid can be significant. Which brings us to the one, big con of choosing paver surfacing options. 

Con: In-Depth Research is Necessary

While most paver parking lot surfaces are durable enough to withstand traffic from customers all day, every day, not all are. 

Plastic pavers and turf-built paver lots aren’t great options for year-round businesses because the turf and grass that make up the parking area are likely to be trampled by too-heavy traffic. For this option, a weekends-only or seasonal business would be a better fit. 

Similarly, though paver parking lots reportedly cost about the same as asphalt parking lots, the cost could vary greatly depending on what preparations need to be made to the ground below where the pavers will be placed, as well as what kind of material with which you choose to fill in the paver grid. 

In short, there are a lot of variables that could impact the price and effectiveness of paver parking lots, so you’ll need to do extensive research before deciding if this is the best fit for your business or not. 

asphalt vs concrete roads

Which is The Best Parking Lot Surface Option For You?

So, which is best for you? Will it be the expensive but durable nature of concrete lots? The low cost but not-very-aesthetic gravel lot? Or maybe the reliable standby that is asphalt? 

Be sure to compare each option, then contact us to discuss your unique needs. 

How effectively water drains from your company’s parking lot may not initially be top-of-mind in your business plans. However, one heavy rain and you’ll quickly see how parking lot drainage problems can cause trouble for you and your customers.

While the problem of parking lot drainage may seem overwhelming, business owners today have a number of options that can efficiently and effectively correct poor parking lot drainage.

Three reliable parking lot drainage solutions are: 

  1. Adding internal curbing
  2. Correcting the parking lot’s slope
  3. Installing drains

Drainage problems can not only be bad for the aesthetics and lifespan of your asphalt, but they can also be expensive to repair if left unattended. Besides, no customer wants to walk through three inches of standing water before they get to your business, so don’t make them do that. 

Fix Your Drainage Problems Now

You may need only one of these solutions, or you may want to exercise all three, depending on the location of your parking lot and the extent of the damage caused by poor drainage over the years. 

Be sure to consult a professional with knowledge of your specific situation, and determine which drainage solution(s) is right for you. 

Drainage Solution #1: Add Internal Curbs

Adding curbing within the boundaries of your parking lot can help redirect the flow of water through the asphalt. This can limit standing water and push the water toward the perimeter of the lot, where it can be reabsorbed into the natural earth. 

As a bonus, curbs can also provide opportunities to accent your parking lot with light landscaping, which will make your business look more professional. 

Drainage Solution #2: Correct The Parking Lot Slope

Water pooling in your parking lot signifies that your parking lot either doesn’t have a slope, or it’s sloping the wrong way. To correct this, you need to adjust the slope of your parking lot so that the parking area very gradually slopes off to the edge of the lot perimeter. 

This will help prevent any water from pooling on the asphalt by directing it to flow off the premises instead. 

To most effectively drain water off your parking lot, the slope of the asphalt should be between 2% and 5%.

Drainage Solution #3: Install Drainage Ditches And Grates

Another common solution to drainage problems is to add runoff drains and trenches throughout your parking lot. This may be a better option if your parking lot is especially large, to the point where redirecting the water may be too challenging to realistically accomplish.

By installing drainage ditches and grates in your parking lot, you’ll ensure the water is directed out of your parking area and into a sewer or other municipal waterway. 

To make sure the standing water runs into drainage gutters, the grade of the drainage grate should be at least 3% but preferably closer to 5%. 

parking lot drains

Why Do Parking Lots Tend to Have a Lot of Puddles And Standing Water?

In short, it all comes down to poor water drainage. 

Have you ever pulled up to your grocery store, dentist’s office or local gym on a rainy day, only to find the entire lot flooded with standing water? While this may initially seem like a minor inconvenience, the truth is that all that water is bad for business. 

Unfortunately, many businesses have these parking lot drainage problems, and many consumers have experienced something like this at one location or another. 

Keep reading to learn more about why parking lot drainage is so important and what causes it.

drainage for parking lots

Why Parking Lot Drainage Matters

Adequate drainage in your parking lot is important because it prevents water from pooling on the pavement. Having a water-free parking lot:

  • Ensures your parking lot asphalt lasts longer
  • Makes a good first impression on your customers
  • Keeps parking spaces free from puddles so employees and customers can park easily
  • Keeps customers and employees safe from potential slips and falls
  • Prevents unsanitary standing water from lingering in your parking lot
  • Shows detailed consideration and planning on your part

Having a properly draining parking lot will not only keep your business property in good condition, but will also enhance opinion about your business in your customers’ and employees’ eyes. 

What’s more, not addressing potential drainage problems as soon as you notice them can lead to expensive, time-consuming remedial work later. The sooner you resolve your drainage problems, the better off your business will be. 

Now that you know why proper drainage is important, let’s consider what causes pooling problems in the first place. 

What Causes Parking Lot Drainage Problems?

Uneven ground is generally the culprit behind poor parking lot drainage. When the ground slopes unevenly in your parking lot, rainwater and water runoff follows the path of the slope, which causes pooling.

Sometimes this can be the fault of a previous paver’s oversights, but more often than not it’s simple wear and tear on the asphalt over the years or an issue with the evenness of the underlying earth. 

Regardless of the reason, it’s important to identify and resolve drainage issues as soon as possible. 

parking lot drains

How Do You Identify Drainage Problems?

The telltale signs of poor parking lot drainage are:

  • Pooling water in your parking lot
  • Leftover debris like sand or pebbles in random places on the pavement
  • Residual, dusty-looking patches throughout the lot where the pooling water has evaporated

If you notice one or more of these signs occurring on your asphalt, it’s highly likely that you have parking lot drainage problems. To prevent problems with your asphalt in the future, you should start preparing to remedy the situation. 

Unfortunately, it’s possible that the poor drainage is already affecting your lot. The following are signs that the standing water is already causing damage to your asphalt:

  • You see cracks in the asphalt surface. This is caused when water puts pressure on the asphalt.
  • The top layer of asphalt has started to “ravel.” This happens when water erodes the top layer of your parking lot over time. 
  • The asphalt looks like it’s bleeding. This means that the asphalt binding agent has risen to the surface of the pavement, indicating aggregate separation.
  • Frequently traveled sections of the lot are starting to rut. This looks like the asphalt is sinking in slightly on itself, and will occur in sections of the lot where people drive most often. Commonly, asphalt rutting looks like tire impressions. 

If you notice these issues and warning signs, be sure to speak with a parking lot drainage expert as soon as possible. Not taking action could result in severe consequences, which we’ll explain in detail next. 

parking lot deterioration

What Are The Consequences of Not Having Proper Drainage?

If your parking lot is retaining water, it’s best to deal with the situation sooner, rather than later. 

If the lot is part of a newly purchased property, you might not know how long drainage has been an issue. Speak with a professional to evaluate the extent of the potential damage and get a quote for what a drainage solution might cost. 

As mentioned above, there are a number of reasons why proper parking lot drainage is important. When these considerations haven’t been included in the original design of your parking lot, you will experience both direct and indirect consequences. 

In general, we can break these consequences down into two categories: damages and expenses. 

1. Damages From Parking Lot Drainage Problems

A good asphalt pavement will hold up for 12-15 years before it needs maintenance. However, if your pavement collects a lot of standing water due to poor drainage, that timeframe could be significantly reduced. 

Standing water can seep into and exacerbate existing cracks and holes in your asphalt. Such damage can occur both during the paving process, as well as long after its completion. 

Warning Signs Before Paving

Before construction and paving begin on your parking lot, you can assess how likely your lot is to encounter drainage problems by looking at the would-be lot’s location. If your parking lot is located at the base of a hill or on low-lying land, it’s likely that you’ll have drainage problems. 

Additionally, aside from problems caused directly by flooding, land that has experienced heavy water retention over the years is likely to have less stable soil, which can indirectly impact your parking lot over time. Unstable soil has a tendency to settle and shift over the years, which could result in uneven dips in your asphalt, even if the initial paving was done correctly.

While moving the location of the parking lot may not be an option, knowing this information early will help you determine how important parking lot drainage solutions will be for you and your customers. 

Damages Possible After Paving

While addressing any potential drainage problems before your lot is constructed is important, you won’t be out of the woods just because the asphalt has been laid. 

If pooling water recurs frequently or is left unattended for extended periods of time, the water can seep down to the pavement base, causing long-term damage. Once the base course of your parking lot is damaged, its ability to withstand regular traffic will decrease, causing further potholes and cracks. 

Not only do such eyesores look unseemly to customers, but they can be expensive to fix. This brings us to our second category of poor drainage consequences: the price to fix them.

2. Cost of Parking Lot Drainage Problems

When drainage problems are allowed to persist in your parking lot, they can end up costing you a pretty penny. 

Even simple asphalt repairs at a person’s home can cost between $979 and $3,521, let alone the cost to repair huge sections of a parking lot for your business. 

Additionally, many commercial pavers charge per foot of space that will need paving. This means that letting drainage problems persist and worsen over time can have severe consequences for your wallet.

For example, a 2019 article estimates the average cost for repaving an asphalt lot to be between $1.49 and $1.69 per square foot. This means that if your entire lot has suffered from drainage problems, you could easily be looking at spending upwards of $10,000 to get it fixed. 

Aside from the direct costs of repairing your parking lot, an unsightly parking area can cost your business indirectly, too. A 2017 report from the traffic data research company INRIX found that 40% of drivers in the U.S. have avoided driving to locations where they know there are parking challenges. 

So, if you want to address your drainage problems before they become too expensive, what can you do? Thankfully, there are several ways you can improve the drainage of your parking lot. 

drainage for parking lots

Why You Should Fix Your Drainage Problems

Your customers may not actively notice a parking lot that has no problems, but you can be sure that they’ll notice if it’s full of cracks, potholes and standing water. 

Presenting a smooth, evenly paved asphalt parking lot to your customers starts off their experience with your business on the right foot. 

By identifying and addressing your drainage problems, you can ensure that your customers have a good experience with your brand from the moment they pull up in front of your building. 

Not only will a consistently professional experience encourage patrons to become returning customers, but having good parking lot drainage will also save you future headaches and maintenance costs

Improve Your Parking Lot Drainage Problems Before They Get Worse

Poor drainage in parking lots is a compounding problem. That is, the damage caused by your drainage issues will only continue to get worse until you resolve them. 

Now that you know the ins and outs of how to identify drainage issues, what causes them and what solutions you have at your disposal, get in touch with one of our experts today to stop further water damage before it starts. 

Your customers and staff will thank you. 

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 the resurfacing of 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.  

parking lot paving

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. 

resurface 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. 

parking lot maintenance

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. 


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. 
  • Ensure you clean your parking lot regularly: Cleaning your parking lot helps prolong your parking lot’s life. Removing garbage from your parking lot helps to prevent them from impeding drainage that may cause standing water on your parking lot, which ends up damaging asphalt. 
  • 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. 

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.

A  properly maintained parking lot can make a real difference in the impression of your business. It’s sometimes the first thing a consumer sees and can provide a competitive advantage. Yet owners typically overlook the need for maintenance and proper design. 

Even though it’s the least glamorous asset of commercial property – parking lots are an investment. Experts say that proper parking lot maintenance can extend the life of your parking lot beyond 20 years.

Parking lot damage is not only unsightly but costly.

Leaving the lot neglected can cause it to sustain damages that go beyond repair and require total lot replacement.  Once a parking lot begins to crumble, repaving and reconstructing it is typically the only course. In order to avoid the cost of complete replacement, a maintenance plan is needed to keep it clean and in good condition.

 “The key to a longer life cycle is to have a well-built lot with a reasonably good design that is properly maintained through the years”, says Alan Curtis, president of CHEC Consultants Inc., a Redding, Calif.-based civil engineering company that specializes in pavements.

How to keep your parking lot in good condition

Creating a strong foundation in your parking lot is an important first step.

If its base is not stable, the lot is prone to more issues caused by cracking and sinking. If you want your lot to last it’s important to be sure it’s installed great to begin with.  

Ensure the base is secure by improving any low quality soil. To prevent pavement failure, be sure the soil is compacted to the recommended 95% of the maximum density.

Although a nice looking pavement in your lot makes for a pleasing aesthetic, the sub-base installation of the parking lot is pivotal. The strength of the lot’s surface is directly related to the strength of it’s base. 

Good drainage conditions should be ensured in the sub-base.

Around 85% of parking lot failure is due to drainage problems. It is important the sub-base stay as free from water as possible. Any excessive water in the base can weaken its stability and cause issues on the surface. Careful consideration to drainage design and size should be taken. A minimum of a 2% slope is recommended for parking surfaces. Reevaluate sub-base materials in any soft areas, and replace or add drainage as needed.

Asphalt requires a special mix design.

Using hard asphalt can crack more, but using too much soft can result in ruts. This example from Asphalt Magazine shows  “typical balanced mix design test results will determine a minimum asphalt content to meet a crack resistance threshold and a maximum asphalt content that corresponds to a maximum allowable rut depth. The range of acceptable binder content for this example becomes 5.2 to 5.9 percent. The question then becomes ‘which binder content is selected?”

Binder contentCrack ResistanceRut Depth
5.2150 cycles5.2
5.9825 cycles6.8

Clean, clean, and clean some more.  

If you own a business, you certainly wouldn’t leave the interior dirty, so why leave your parking lot – the first impression of your business – dirty? Settled dirt and oil spills not only make your lot look bad, it can also damage the surface. 

Consider having a litter collecting vehicle regularly pick up litter. Consider buying a machine to collect litter and debris, or hire a service to regularly clean up.

Clean up oil spills quickly before they cause permanent damage. Dawn dish detergent, baking soda, and kitty litter are 3 suggestions for fixing an oil spill. Soaking the spill with any of these, scrubbing, and washing away can prevent the oil from staining.

Clean concrete lots with a broom and power washer at least twice a year.

If you choose a gravel lot, rake weekly to remove any debris. Add fresh gravel when needed – especially after heavy rain.

Keep your lot looking fresh and tidy by repainting surface lines. Check the parking lines, arrows, and words for discolour. Faded lines can be dangerous for traffic flow. 

Prevent injuries or damages by repairing potholes.

Potholes can cause damage to the sub-base by collecting water. A small pothole can easily turn into a much bigger, more expensive problem if left in disrepair. Avoid a pile of fallen off tire rims by repairing them as needed.

You can give asphalt a temporary fix by filling it with hot asphalt or using a cold patch. A patch will last if the sub-base is not damaged. For a long term solution, repair the base and seal it.

Any holes in a gravel lot requires new gravel replacement to retain the strength of the base.

If dealing with concrete, remove the broken pieces and any standing water. Then fill the hole with new concrete and either sand or gravel as needed.

Sealcoating over cracks is a must!

The best preventative measure to use to save money is to fill cracks right away.

Use sealant to prevent corrosion from water building up in cracks and freeze damage. Determine the right sealant for the job by considering what kind of crack it is, what climate you live in, and the amount of traffic flowing over the crack.

“Water is the enemy,” New England Sealcoating advises, “Crack sealing your asphalt will help prevent water from penetrating into your sub-base which is a major cause of pavement failure.”

With a concrete parking lot, it may be easier to pour new concrete or resurface the lot if extensive repair is needed.

Those cracks in asphalt that look like alligator backs, also known as fatigue cracks, are caused by excessive bending under a large traffic load. This is the start of deterioration and makes the surface unstable. Seal those up in the early stages. You can also patch them by cutting a rectangular pattern, removing everything within the rectangle, and replacing it with new fresh asphalt. If badly alligatored areas get severe, they will turn into potholes.

Repair curbing to keep landscaping in place.

Curbs are an ideal accessory to your lot because they are low cost to build, they protect the landscaping, and they control drainage. Curbs are the only part of the lot not affected by snow removal.

Rain and bad parking jobs can damage landscaping. Without a curb to guide them, cars can drive off the edge of the lot onto the surrounding landscaping. This can deteriorate the edges and cause it to break up.

Well maintained landscape and undamaged curbs makes a good first impression to consumers.

Make sure basins and manhole covers are clean and working.

Repairs can  be pricey if not done right away and can lead to collapse.

To avoid excessive sitting water in basins, consider hiring a company that specializes in cleaning them out.

 Any holes next to a basin or manhole cover usually means there’s some structural damage. It could simply need a brick or block replacement.

In colder climates you will need to make sure the manhole covers are flush to the pavement after frost is off the ground. If the covers are lifted even slightly, plows can do damage during snow removal.  Patching or resetting the manhole cover or catch basin can prevent massive damage during the winter.

 Mother Nature is a huge problem for parking lot maintenance!

Water can desecrate the surface and cause destruction all the way down. 

Old age is an obvious and unavoidable situation. Over the years, with an asphalt parking lot, the surface becomes rough, a condition known as unravelling. You will need to apply a seal coat typically every four years, with the first happening three to four years after the original construction. To protect your parking lot investment, and slow the inevitable damage of aging, have a parking lot maintenance plan in place.

Sealing cracks as they happen can stop water from getting into the sub-base. Water damage to the sub-base can result in the lot needing to be completely redone.

Have a good method for deicing and snow removal using the right materials. Water damaged sections and any asphalt that is scraped off during snow removal should be repaired or cut out and replaced once a year. Water in the sub-base can freeze and expand causing ultimate damage so be sure to use proper deicing. You also want to be sure to use the best deicing treatments that won’t damage the surface.

 If your lot is asphalt and it goes from jetblack to 50 shades of gray then it’s time to toss another sealcoat on it.

So what’s the cost of properly maintaining your 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.

Figure out what materials you will use for the surface of your lot. 

  • Asphalt is better in colder climates, as it can soften in extreme heat. 90% of all parking lots in the US are made out of asphalt, which can easily become unsafe and ugly over time.
  • Concrete is known to be slippery when wet, which makes it not ideal in areas where rain or snow happen often.  Concrete is more aesthetically pleasing, but requires similar upkeep to asphalt.
  • Gravel is a low cost and easy to maintain material to choose for your lot. However, gravel can look muddy and dirty and is not the best choice for a commercial lot with nice aesthetics. It also is prone to ruts and sinkholes. Do not choose gravel in a snowy climate as snow removal disturbs the rocks and creates a whole new level of upkeep.

Avoid big problems by creating a custom lot based on the expected burden from estimated traffic.  

Ask your contractor these basic questions before signing a contract:

  1. Are you fully licensed and insured?
  2. Do you have experience with similar projects?
  3. Is cleanup included in the estimate?

You can also ask if the contractor has a team that performs maintenance tasks, or hire a business based on their recommendations.

When investing in property, one thing you need to consider in the maintenance price is keeping the parking lot safe and functional.

About 20% of car accidents happen in a lot. 

The parking lot structure can either cause or prevent the number of accidents in it per year. Potholes and damaged pavement can cause drivers to lose control of their vehicles. Safety precautions such as having adequate lighting, maintaining the parking lot paving, and repairing cracks and potholes can lower the number of accidents. Parking lot owners could be sued if they don’t do damage control swiftly and the damage causes an accident or injury. 

Keeping your lot in good condition keeps your lot safe and gives your business a great good impression.  Our own  post about how parking lot paving is important to make a good impression says “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.”  

Hiring paving crews, mechanics, and parking lot stripers to help maintain your lot can save your investment. Give yourself a solid parking lot maintenance plan to save yourself money.

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:

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. 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.

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.

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.

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. 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.

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!