Commercial businesses need efficient parking lots. They provide a place for people to park, but they also help add to the look of professionalism to a building and serve as a pathway for stormwater to runoff to somewhere safe like a sewer or detention pond. Many business owners will use asphalt if they’re planning to build a commercial parking lot, but with so many alternatives available in 2020, you shouldn’t decide to use asphalt before you’ve taken a few important factors into consideration.
In case you’re planning on installing a commercial parking, let’s go over some of the most important things to take into consideration before you make your final decision:
1. Hidden Costs
The cost of asphalt may appear as the least expensive option. But that is not always the case. In new construction, what are your drainage options? What are your stormwater detention requirements? Can you use as much of your land as you want to or are you space restricted? An impervious surface like asphalt means your building and/or parking lot has a smaller footprint due to code restrictions. With an asphalt parking lot, you aren’t just paying for the initial cost of the materials and installation. You’ll also have to pay for recurring maintenance, which is required depending on how much traffic you get and the climate in your area.
Impermeable materials like asphalt and concrete do not allow stormwater to pass through, meaning that you will need to include a drainage system for your parking lot if you choose asphalt. Drainage systems are an additional expense and can take quite a while to install.
Permeable parking lots like those built with gravel and permeable pavers, work as natural drainage systems. Now your entire lot acts as a French drain. Heavy rains can be absorbed instantly at over 1000 inches per hour. They can perform just as well as asphalt in all other areas, but provide a path for stormwater to pass right through and into the soil below or a detention pond.
Asphalt parking lots are typically one color, black. They get uglier with age. They are hot in the summer and often get torn up by trucks. Outside of different colored lot lines like white or yellow, stylistically your options are highly limited with asphalt. Permeable paver parking lots, on the other hand, can be filled with any color gravel and delineated with a variety colored parking markers to compliment your building.
Permeable pavers are also available in different varieties such as grass, commercial, or industrial. They will provide you with more flexibility to experiment with different styles and they have the added benefit of being incredibly simple to install.
4. Recurring Maintenance
There are even more recurring maintenance requirements of asphalt than we’ve already mentioned. For instance, the lot lines. Painted lot lines wear out quickly and need to be repainted often.
If you choose permeable pavers, you could use the SuperSpots® which snap right into place within the pavers and act as durable, highly-visible lot lines. The spots parking markers come in different colors and are a maintenance free way to stripe.
If you’re looking for more sustainable parking lot options, asphalt is a terrible choice. It is harmful to the environment, uses toxic sealants and allows stormwater pollutants to flow directly into aquifer recharge. The production, transportation, installation, and maintenance of asphalt parking lots is not eco-friendly in any way.
Different types of commercial parking lots such as grass lots built with pavers are far more sustainable and eco-friendly. They sacrifice nothing in the way of durability or functionality, and even give you the ability to create hidden parking lots that blend in seamlessly with the grass around them.
Weigh Your Options Carefully
The decision to install a commercial parking lot is not one that should be done without considering all of the options. Asphalt as a paving material has many negative aspects and in many cases happens to be more expensive than some of the alternative options.
Often less expensive, always more durable and functional options like TRUEGRID permeable pavers are a great alternative to asphalt parking lots in a variety of ways. If style is your main point of focus, you have plenty of great looking options including grass lots, a variety of different colored gravel lots. Your parking lot is the welcome mat to your business. Greet your clients with style.
The superior sustainability, drainage, and durability combined with a lower cost and less maintenance needs make TRUEGRID permeable pavers the best option when it comes to building a commercial parking lot. They are inexpensive and easy to install, but they also stand toe-to-toe with common commercial parking lot materials like concrete and asphalt when it comes to sheer performance.