Concrete Parking lots and your business

Building a successful business is all about knowing where to invest your time and your money. You might not consider your parking lot an important place to invest, but as the first and last thing your customers see, it’s worth putting some money into.

Concrete is durable, long-lasting, and requires little maintenance, making it a smart investment for your business parking lot.

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Your Business Can Make a Good Impression With Concrete

Your parking lot can say a lot about your business, and a lot full of potholes, cracks, and standing water is not the impression you want to give. To find out how concrete can help your parking lot send the message you want to your customers and benefit your business, read on.

concrete is more affordable

The first order of business when making a business purchase is typically the cost — is whatever your about to purchase a sound and smart business decision? When it comes to concrete, the answer is yes. Businesses will want to take two major factors into consideration when looking at the cost of paving materials: upfront cost and maintenance (or long-term) costs. In both categories, concrete comes out on top when compared to your other option, asphalt.

Once upon a time, the upfront cost of concrete was higher than the cost of asphalt. Today, the materials are comparable and, even though concrete tends to cost a little more, the long-term maintenance costs give concrete the leg up over asphalt.

concrete costs

Initial cost: Depending on the specifications of your project, a concrete parking lot can range between $4 and $7 per square foot. This price typically includes the cost of material and labor.

Maintenance cost: Over time, the maintenance costs of concrete are minimal, whereas asphalt parking lots need to be recoated every few years and completely resurfaced every ten years. Concrete only requires some joint and/or surface sealing along with some annual cleanings. This translates to savings for the business owner. It also means fewer disruptions for business. If you look at the life of a parking lot over 20 years, the maintenance costs of an asphalt lot can be as much as 80% of the initial construction cost. In some projects, asphalt turned out to be twice the cost of concrete over 20 years.

While cost is often the first consideration when paving a business parking lot, it’s not the last.


Here are a few other reasons you might want to pass on an asphalt parking lot. Asphalt:

  • Will soften in heat and become oily.
  • Will raise the temperature of surrounding areas.
  • Requires more maintenance over its lifetime.
  • Can develop potholes.
  • Fades quickly.

A faded, hot, and dangerous parking is not something a business owner wants to expose their clients or customers to. If you’re ready to look beyond asphalt to a material that is environmentally friendly, a good business investment, and aesthetically pleasing, let’s look beyond cost.

better lighting 

When you prioritize the safety of visitors to your building, it shows. A well-lit parking lot isn’t just important when customers and employees are coming and going, it can also help prevent loitering and vandalism and keep your building safe at night. A brighter lot creates safer surroundings, making pedestrians and obstacles more visible to drivers both at night and in low-visibility conditions.

Due to its lighter color and smooth surface, a concrete parking lot will reflect more light than other, darker materials. This means:

  • Fewer light poles are needed to illuminate the lot.
  • Less wattage is needed to provide enough light.
  • Less energy is used.
  • Utility bills are lower (30% to 35% per year when compared to asphalt lots).

This ability to reflect light not only means a brighter, more appealing parking area, but it also helps keep temperatures cooler during warm months and in hotter climates, both in the lot and in nearby buildings. These lower temperatures lower utility costs for cooling office buildings and reduces maintenance or replacement of overstressed HVAC systems (especially in the summer).

boosts curb appeal

Concrete offers an eye-catching alternative to the average asphalt lots owned by most businesses. Having a concrete parking lot has the power to physically highlight your business and draw attention which can lead to new customers. In fact, studies show that 70% of first-time sales are based on curb appeal.

Due to its durability, concrete will stay nicer longer. Fewer cracks and potholes mean a more welcoming appearance.

Concrete also offers more decorative options than asphalt, and businesses that want to create lots and entryways that stand out can choose from stamped, engraved, colored, textured, or other decorative concrete options.

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better for the environment

Businesses who choose concrete parking lots are taking the right steps to become more green and be environmentally friendly.

Not only does a concrete parking lot help lower your utility bill (because it keeps your parking lot brighter and cooler) it also helps reduce a problem that impacts many cities call the "heat island effect." When temperatures spike in developed, urban areas, that’s one result of a heat island. Paved surfaces absorb heat and tall buildings trap the heat, preventing airflow and resulting in higher temperatures. Concrete reflects light and helps reduce ambient temperatures to prevent “heat islands.”

Concrete also contains recycled materials that can be reused rather than sent to landfills. Recycling concrete is relatively simple and the recycled concrete can be used in a number of applications including:

  • Bank protection
  • Road construction
  • Noise barriers and embankments
  • Base or fill for drainage structures

Low Maintenance with a long life

A concrete parking lot can last 25 to 30 years  (potentially longer), roughly 10 years longer than competing asphalt lots.

Sealing your concrete can keep it looking great and extend its life. While this is not necessary, it is recommended and should be done every three to five years (compared to two to three for asphalt).  

In general, concrete is relatively low maintenance, so while many worry about the upfront cost, the long-term cost of this material is less than other options due to how little maintenance it requires.

Asphalt tends to crack and split which requires consistent repairs; concrete is built with concrete expansion joints that allow the material to contract and expand, so when it cracks, it does so in a controlled way that keeps it from breaking. Due to the chemical reaction that binds the materials together during its production, concrete is also much less likely to break apart and crumble.

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Designing Your Concrete Parking Lot

Parking lot design is more than an aesthetic perk. Parking lot design can help guide the flow of traffic through your parking lot efficiently, so it’s important to pay attention to all design considerations when installing a concrete parking lot.

Concrete Parking Lots-1

A parking lot is more than pavement. When designing your parking lot, consider:


The following items can contribute to the safety of your parking lot and should be considered during the design process.

Lighting: Include areas for lights that are spread evenly throughout the lot to make sure it’s properly illuminated.

Barriers: Gates, fences, and other barriers ensure that only a certain number of people can park in your lot and will help extend the lot’s life. They can also play an important role in the safety of the people coming and going from the lot and the building.

Drainage: Having proper drainage is an important safety feature of your parking lot. Standing water can be dangerous to drive through and can also cause damage to the concrete, significantly decreasing its lifespan. Some counties have drainage requirements, but drainage points should be considered during the design phase. Since parking lots generally drain to the edge of the pavement, the pavement should slope at a minimum of 1%, but 2% is better.

traffic types

The type of traffic you expect in your lot will impact how thick the lot should be. For cars and smaller trucks, a four-inch pavement is typical. For heavier delivery trucks, the pavement should be five to six inches thick. Areas around dumpster pads or loading docks could be up to 12 inches thick.


Concrete offers a variety of aesthetic design options that can be customized to fit the branding and appearance of your business.

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when to repave or repair your concrete parking lot 

Typically, concrete requires preventive maintenance every three to five years.

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repair your concrete parking lot

If you see signs of damage in your concrete parking lot, you may be able to repair rather than replace it. The following issues can most likely be repaired:

Small cracks: It’s typical for small cracks to form in your concrete over time. Small cracks can be repaired with crack sealer, but it’s important to repair them right away as oil leaks from cars, rainwater, de-icing salt, and other harmful substances can penetrate the concrete and make them worse.

Pooling water: Pooling water on your lot could mean an uneven or sloped lot, or drainage issues. Repair drainage issues by adding inlet or curbs to help the water runoff.

replace your concrete parking lot

In some instances, your concrete lot might need to be replaced.

Large cracks: While small cracks can be repaired, long, wide, or deep cracks are more serious and will most likely require a parking lot replacement.

Damage from pooling water: While drainage issues can be repaired, if the concrete below the pooling water has been damaged, it will need to be replaced before adding new drainage features.


To prevent cracks, potholes, and damage, a concrete parking lot should be resealed (not repaved) every three to five years. If this schedule is not followed, cracks may become too large to repair and a replacement will be needed.

A note about potholes: Potholes are more common in asphalt than in concrete and filling in potholes does not address the source of the problem. If you need a new parking lot, consider concrete. New concrete pavement materials and technology can provide a parking lot that can withstand pothole issues.

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Snow and Ice and your concrete parking lot

If you’re located in a northerly climate, or an area where temperatures freeze and fluctuate, you’re going to want to make sure you remove snow and ice in a way that preserves the integrity of your parking lot.

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using salt on a concrete parking lot

Snow and ice can wreak havoc on any surface if they are not removed properly, and the same goes for concrete. In order to ensure your concrete parking lot lasts, be sure to follow these recommendations for snow and ice removal.

Keep it clear: In the first year, you want to keep your concrete surface clear of snow and chemicals. If you need extra traction and slip resistance to keep those using it safe, use sand instead of deicer.

Use common rock salt: After the first year, we recommend using common rock salt (sodium chloride - NaCl) to remove snow and ice.

All deicing salts, salts that create a chemical reaction that mimics heat, can harm your concrete over time. It's best to keep your concrete clear of snow and ice and use products as little as possible but if you have to, rock salt is the best choice. 


Some business decisions are difficult. Choosing which material to use when paving your parking lot doesn’t have to be. A concrete parking lot is a solid business decision that will save you money in the long run, help you make a great first impression, and give you an advantage in the race to “go green.” If you’re ready to choose concrete for your parking lot, browse our directory to find a concrete contractor near you.

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