White arrow signs painted on road as direction restriction. Arrow signs as road markings on a street with two lanes

Building a new parking lot or starting from scratch on an old one can be daunting, especially when there are choices involved that could influence cost and time investment, and environmental impact.

The timeless debate of concrete vs. asphalt can be overwhelming to tackle because it’s in constant flux depending on the price of materials, technological advancements, and the location where the parking lot is being built.

In this blog, Curcio Enterprises will break down asphalt vs. concrete pavements and compare them on short/long-term maintenance and cost, and environmental impact to help you make the best choice for your business parking lot:

Initial Time and Cost

The upfront cost of concrete is typically higher than asphalt, however, the price of asphalt fluctuates with the price of oil, so this is never certain. If upfront cost is your golden standard, asphalt will likely be less for the initial installation.

If speed if your concern, there’s not a straight answer. Without sealing, asphalt can be ready for use in as little as 2 days, whereas concrete can take longer to solidify. However, with sealing, asphalt can take as long as 6 months to be ready for use, whereas concrete can be ready in just a few weeks.

Ideally, you should put the needs of your business parking lot above the initial pavement cost and time constraint.

Lifetime Time and Cost

Both asphalt and concrete will require additional maintenance throughout their lifetime. Because concrete is much stronger than asphalt, it has a longer lifespan, typically from 20-40 years. However, concrete is also more brittle, so its maintenance can be much more involved.

When concrete is exposed to a lot of natural elements like water and extreme cold, it’s prone to crack, causing potholes that need to be filled routinely and sometimes entire slabs may need to be replaced from time to time. However, it is significantly less prone to surface issues, such as potholes.

Asphalt maintenance, on the other hand, is very surface focused. Once it is installed, it will just need liquid asphalt reapplication every few years. However, this can be quite costly—sometimes adding up to nearly the original installation cost.

Environmental Factors

For the environmentally conscious, both asphalt and concrete are 100% recyclable, able to be broken down, melted, and used on other construction projects.

But there is a significant difference in how asphalt and concrete function in the elements, meaning that where your business is located is important in determining which one makes the most sense for you.

Because concrete needs less maintenance over time, this can mean less heavy machinery and thus lower fuel costs and carbon emissions. However, this may not be the case if you live in a colder climate—since concrete is more susceptible to cracking in fluctuating weather conditions.

Alternatively, asphalt is more reactive to very hot weather due to its oil composition and black color. It absorbs heat, and the oil in the pavement can make it slippery in hot weather. The oil composition can also cause more toxicity in storm water runoff in comparison to concrete.

We are happy to answer any questions you might have about parking lot installation and maintenance, which includes the materials that are right for you.

If your business is looking for a dedicated team of professionals to perform parking facility maintenance duties, contact Curcio Enterprises. Our range of services include striping, asphalt repairs, seal coating, pressure washing, power sweeping, general maintenance, parking facility signage, and much more! We’ll give your parking facility a sleek and professional look that’s sure to bring in more customers every day. Let us help your company reach the top! We look forward to your call.