Deciding between asphalt and concrete for your parking lot is a tricky question as both seem to be an ideal choice of material. However, you have seen concrete as well as asphalt parking lots and wonder what the difference is between the two materials. We have listed the differences between both here so you can do a comparative analysis of asphalt vs concrete parking lot as well as a cost comparison between concrete and asphalt and decide on one, or not.
Concrete costs about $3 to $10 per square foot. The initial cost of concrete is higher than asphalt by 35%. However, the cost comparison between concrete and asphalt revealed that concrete costs 18-35% less on the total cost of ownership in the long term.
Concrete has a life expectancy of about 20-40 years after the first installation with the average life expectancy being 25.7 years before the first repair is needed. After initial repairs, the concrete parking lot can last for 10-20 years depending on the maintenance and upkeep.
Cost of reconstruction and repairs
Concrete reconstruction costs tend to be 35% higher than the reconstruction costs of asphalt. When the concrete paving has reached the end of its lifespan, it needs to be completely removed and replaced, which adds to the cost of reconstruction.
Cracks in concrete are harder to repair as patching is easily visible. Other repairing solutions will have to be employed which are more expensive.
Concrete is inherently rigid once it sets and thus cracks are formed more easily. Extreme fluctuations in weather can crack the rigid structure of the concrete parking lot.
Asphalt costs start at $1 and go up to $5 per square foot. Asphalt costs 35% less than concrete and repairs are comparatively low due to overlays available for Asphalt. Overlays allow for the surface of the asphalt parking lot to be replenished with resurfacing layers which increase its lifespan.
Asphalt has the life expectancy of 15-18 years but can also serve well for 20 years with the right maintenance. Asphalt is easier to maintain and easier to work with as well.
Cost of reconstruction and repairs
The cost of reconstructing asphalt parking lots is low as they can simply be patched up and repaired using crack sealing and filling procedures. If the damage is higher, overlays can be used to solve the problem and total replacement is not required.
Therefore, the cost comparison between concrete and asphalt points to asphalt as the lower and more cost effective option.
In terms of withstanding the weather, asphalt is the obvious choice as it shrinks and expands as per the changes in temperature and does not crack easily.
Which one should you choose?
On close analysis of asphalt vs concrete parking lot, it is clear that both materials have their set of advantages and disadvantages. However, you can get the best of both worlds and do not need to pick only one. How? Well, by using both asphalt and concrete in a single parking lot system to utilize each material’s benefits together. Consider applying asphalt for the majority surface of your parking lot: low-cost up front, and easily striped for visibility. Then utilize the more rigid concrete for loading areas, access drives, sidewalks, drainages, and curbs, taking advantage of its durability for multiple uses.
We hope that the asphalt vs concrete parking lot question will not haunt you after reading this article. Go ahead and choose both or either according to your preferences for your parking lot. Be sure to hire contractors skilled in both concrete and asphalt paving to work on your parking lot project.