Concrete vs Asphalt Parking Lot: Which Rules the Roost?

It’s tough choosing between a concrete vs asphalt parking lot. On the one hand, building materials may come and go, but concrete is forever. Before the advent of asphalt, the concrete parking lot was absolutely everywhere, and for good reason: concrete is one of the most durable substances on the planet. In fact, much of the concrete used for construction by the ancient Romans survives to this day!

That being said, there are quite a few drawbacks to having a concrete parking lot. There aren’t many, but the ones there are can be pretty serious. Here’s what you need to know about this strong, durable building material… and why, sometimes, an asphalt lot might be better.

Asphalt vs Concrete Parking Lot: If You Can’t Take the Heat…

One of the biggest advantages concrete has is in its ability to withstand very high temperatures. Unlike asphalt, which can get soft and oily in hundred-degree weather, a concrete parking lot will remain rock-solid. Concrete’s paler coloration means that it also reflects heat more efficiently than asphalt, with the latter making it particularly painful to walk on for pets or people in bare feet! At the same time, concrete handles cold much worse than asphalt. go figure.

Maintenance Concerns

Another major advantage of concrete parking lots is the ease of which it takes to maintain. Unlike asphalt lots, which require nearly constant scouring to ensure there aren’t any cracks forming that need to be filled, a concrete lot is so durable that it often needs little more than a simple cleaning and a joint sealing around once a year. This not only saves you time but resources as well, and that’s major.

You’re as Cold as Ice

There’s no denying the extreme durability of concrete as a building material. At the same time, though, it’s far from perfect. In fact, there’s a lot that concrete doesn’t handle well, first and foremost being extreme cold. Road salt can eat away at concrete more readily than asphalt, for example, and concrete’s extreme rigidity is a disadvantage when it comes to handling the expand-and-contract cycle of freezing weather followed by a thaw.

Think of the Environment

Finally, environmental concerns play a role in choosing a concrete parking lot. While asphalt can be broken down and reused in new construction, concrete is much less recyclable. Additionally, concrete is much less porous as well, and that can lead to all types of drainage issues if your lot isn’t graded properly or lacks the right types of water management systems. This can lead to pooling water or even flood-like runoff, none of which is particularly good for the environment either!

The Debate Betweeen Asphalt vs Concrete Parking Lot Rages On

In the end, a concrete parking lot can be a major boon for you, but only in the right circumstances. If you need a super-durable surface that withstands heat like a champ, concrete is going to be your best bet. If you anticipate a lot of wet, cold, freezing weather and have a lot of high traffic bringing in lots of road salt, asphalt is a much better option to consider. The choice is yours, so choose wisely!