If you're putting in a new parking area or adding on to an existing parking lot, concrete has a number of attributes that make it a wise choice. Three distinct advantages make concrete a more appealing material to use for a parking lot.
There are a couple minor advantages when considering an asphalt service over concrete, but those are related to the how fast an asphalt surface can be installed. When it comes to environmental concerns, there isn't a huge difference, except concrete does not require as much energy and produces less hazardous waste.
This environmental difference places concrete above asphalt for a parking lot surface, based on energy efficiency during the building of the lot. The cost of asphalt can rise dramatically with the increase in refined crude oil since it is necessary to bind the asphalt.
As a result, the price of liquid asphalt sealer rose close to 250 percent over the last 5 years. Asphalt requires the use of fossil fuels and concrete does not, so based on that one difference alone, concrete has some environmental appeal.
It may seem inconsequential, but the heat generated by black asphalt in the summer can actually raise the temperature adjacent to businesses. This increases electrical costs of cooling these buildings. So, it may seem like the environmental benefits of concrete over asphalt are about equal when only thinking about the installation process, but the effects go beyond just the paving process.
This is the one advantage where concrete is dramatically superior asphalt. Most of the research between the two primary surfaces, asphalt and concrete, involve streets or highways. The same criteria that make concrete a better choice for these situations, is the same reasoning for it's more durable in a parking lot.
Concrete has a lifespan nearly triple that of an asphalt surface. While the durability factor on road surfaces must account for moving traffic, automobiles still turn and maneuver in a parking lot.
However, the biggest problem is when the issue of surface deterioration is taken into consideration. Asphalt is black, and parking lot surfaces are frequently open, with extensive exposure to the sun. Asphalt surfaces begin to breakdown after about the first 2 years, whereas concrete has a much lighter tint, so it is not nearly as affected by the heat of the sun.
That leads to another advantage of concrete over asphalt. The visual appeal of a lighter color is more attractive when offset by offices, stores, or other types of buildings. As the black asphalt begins to gradually deteriorate over time, the color loses uniformity, developing a patchy and pitted look.
The longevity benefits of concrete over asphalt support the reasons why it is more visually appealing and will stay that way. Moreover, while the environmental advantages are not dramatic, they go beyond just the energy requirements and toxic byproducts inherent with asphalt surfaces. Considering these three important differences between the two surfaces, concrete is the wisest choice for most surfaces, especially parking lots.