As a business or property owner, you have the responsibility of keeping and maintaining the quality of your building and surrounding area. Have you ever thought about the condition of your parking lot and whether or not you’re using the best commercial paving materials?
Many people don’t think about the materials used in the paving process and the process itself, but it’s essential for the longevity and reliability of your parking area. How many times have you pulled into a parking lot and quickly drove right out the other side due to the lack of attention in the parking area?
This is a real issue facing businesses and one you shouldn’t have to deal with. Make your tenants and customers happy by using the right commercial paving materials for the job.
Residential vs. Commercial Paving
First, we want to understand the difference between residential and commercial asphalt. The terms blacktop and asphalt are often used interchangeably, but they are two different things. Asphalt is used commonly in commercial situations for parking lots, highways, and streets.
Blacktop is for residential driveways, side roads, and cul-de-sacs.
The primary thing that separates the two is the materials used in the mixture. Asphalt consists of crushed stone and bitumen, which is a black viscous material to hold the stones together. Roofing materials are another common source of this.
Blacktop has similar ingredients, but it has a much higher amount of stone compared to asphalt. This factor means it must get heated to around 300 degrees, which is higher than that of asphalt because it doesn’t have as much bitumen.
Both materials get heated and poured into a graded roadbed. As you could imagine, asphalt is much more durable and long-lasting compared to blacktop, and that is why it’s popular on heavily traveled roadways.
So, why would a business want to choose asphalt over blacktop for their parking areas? There are a few reasons, here are some:
- Asphalt is quieter to drive on. It reduces road-noise, which may make sense for some businesses.
- Asphalt requires fewer repairs down the road than blacktop.
- The speed of drying is an essential factor as well. You can drive on asphalt within two days after pouring.
Asphalt paving is also useful during the winter. The black surface helps it melt snow and ice, which requires less maintenance and salting on parking areas. This factor is a great advantage compared to concrete.
Commercial Paving Overview
Regardless of your reason, you’re thinking of re-doing your parking lot for a reason. Maybe it’s been a long time, perhaps there are some serious potholes that can use fixing, or you’re doing it purely for aesthetics.
No matter what the reason is, it’s essential to understand your options for commercial paving.
In this overview section, we want to explain to you all of the options available for paving.
For those businesses that don’t have a parking lot at all, you’ll need a completely new parking area. These are the most prominent projects, and they require the most investment, but they can make a significant difference in the curb appeal of your business.
There’s also a significant safety factor to keep in mind. If you currently a dirt or gravel parking area, you understand how dips and holes can pop up all over the place. These holes are big problem areas for people getting to and from your business.
If you have a parking lot, but it’s looking like it can use some attention, you might want to look into resurfacing. Most asphalt parking lots last around 15-20 years, which is quite a while considering the amount of maintenance you’ve done everywhere else during that time.
That said, there will come a time when you’ll need to resurface the parking lot to keep up the appearance of your building. The process involves removing a layer of asphalt and replacing that section with a new layer to prolong the life of your asphalt before requiring more involved repairs.
It’s important to do this when necessary before any more severe problems pop up.
Some examples of asphalt repairs include:
- Pothole repair
You want to keep up on these repairs over the years because they will help with the resurfacing process when it comes around. If you’re following a standard maintenance checklist, you shouldn’t have to worry about resurfacing for at least 20 years or longer, depending on how well you’ve kept up on everything.
We’ve talked a bit about preventing further problems by keeping up with the maintenance around your parking lot. Let’s get into some more details so you can understand exactly what we mean by that.
- Maintain proper drainage systems in your parking area
- Protect edges with parking locks
- Ensure proper lining and lane markers to keep drivers in the parking spaces
Following these three points will ensure you don’t have to worry too much about your parking lot. These three issues are the most common ones impacting the quality of your asphalt parking lot.
Areas to Use Commercial Paving Materials
By this point, you might be wondering if asphalt is the right choice for your business. After all, we did say that most companies choose asphalt because it’s a better long-term investment in your business. If you always have to fix potholes and cracks, you’re not only wasting money on those jobs, but you’re hurting the appearance of your business.
Here are some examples of businesses and locations that may benefit from using commercial asphalt as opposed to blacktop or concrete:
- Restaurants (high-traffic)
- Bars (high-traffic)
- Banks (high-traffic)
- Grocery Stores (high-traffic)
- Large office buildings (moderate-traffic)
- Apartment buildings (moderate-traffic)
All of these types of buildings have a lot of in and out traffic, and some restaurants or bars may experience this traffic all day and night. If you’re in any of the businesses outlined above, you’ll want to use commercial asphalt to make your parking lot last longer with less maintenance.
How to Know When Your Parking Lot Needs Improvement
As a nicely manicured lawn can tell you a lot about the people living in the house, a beautifully maintained parking lot can tell you a lot about a particular business as well.
Having clearly lined parking spots, no garbage, and a smooth surface to walk on will show your potential clients or customers that you value their time, and you appreciate them driving over to see you.
On the flip side, if you have cracked pavement, barely visible markings, trash all over the place, and potholes scattered around, you’re showing potential business opportunities the opposite.
It’s important to know when you need to re-do your parking lot or even patch up a few holes. There’s no such thing as too much maintenance on your parking area, so let’s take a look at some of the signs.
Does your parking lot have a lot of faded parking spaces, safety markings, and striping? There’s nothing more aesthetically pleasing than a brand new parking lot with brightly colored striping. If your customers can barely figure out where to park, it might be time to upgrade.
Faded lines are a safety hazard because these lines signify loading zones, fire lanes, and handicap parking. Ensure they’re always clearly visible with the proper commercial parking lot paving standards.
It’s important to know, understand, and follow all of the standards in the Americans with Disabilities Act. At Richfield Blacktop, we understand all ADA standards, and we can help you determine if you’re following them correctly.
It’s essential to have at least one handicapped space for every 25 with blue markings and a metal sign. You also need handicapped entrances with the shortest route from the parking lot. We can help you take care of this.
Cracking or Potholes
One of the most significant ways to know it’s time for an upgrade to your parking lot is when people come in and complain about your parking area. You never want the problem to get this far, but face it, sometimes it does. We often forget about the parking lot because it’s something we use to get to and from our job.
Don’t let it get to that point. Even one pothole is enough for someone to fall and hurt themselves or damage their car.
Designing your lot correctly and using the best commercial paving materials is the only way to ensure you don’t run into this problem.
Find the Right Contractor
Knowing is only half the battle; you need the right team of contractors and pavers on your side. Experience and knowledge will guarantee you have the best-looking parking lot on the block.
At Richfield Blacktop, we’ve laid over 8.5 million square feet of asphalt and concrete in Minnesota. We would be thrilled to have you add to that number. Let’s get started; contact us today!