Asphalt Paving Blog

Concrete Parking Lot vs. Asphalt Parking Lot: Pros and Cons

WOLF_blog_municipal-05-wolf-paving-truck-parking-lot.jpgIf you are getting ready to update your business or municipal building with a new parking lot, you have a lot of choices to make.

One of the first and most important decisions is what material to use - asphalt or concrete?

Both of these materials have advantages and disadvantages.

As asphalt paving contractors in Waukesha, Milwaukee and Madison, our team at Wolf Paving pulled together this list of the major factors you need to consider. 

The Top 3 Benefits of Choosing A Concrete Parking Lot

WOLF_1.pngBetter In Hot Weather: In warmer, southern climate areas, a concrete parking lot tends to be a better choice. An asphalt parking lot will soften in extreme heat and become oily. This happens in areas like the southern and western United States where summer temperatures can exceed 100 degrees. In these conditions, dark asphalt pavement can become extremely hot, while the lighter color of a concrete parking lot results in a lower temperature during the summer. 

Less Maintenance:
A concrete parking lot has a long lifespan and is relatively low maintenance, needing only joint sealing and an annual cleaning. 


More Design Options: Concrete parking lots have many color and texture design options. 


The Top 3 Benefits of Choosing An Asphalt Parking Lot

WOLF_1Quick Installation, Lower Cost: An asphalt driveway or parking lot can usually be laid just a few days, depending on the size of the project, which can save you money. Concrete usually takes twice as long to install (and even longer to set and cure). Depending on the season, your asphalt parking lot can be ready for use in only two days, whereas a concrete parking lot can take up to a week to be ready to use. 

WOLF_2Better For the Environment: Asphalt is considered a green technology because it can be recycled: A parking lot contractor in Madison can grind up an old asphalt parking lot to be reused. Certain types of asphalt, such as porous or permeable asphalt, help with water drainage. This type of parking lot allows water to pass through the pavement into the soil below. With concrete, the water must run off with no permeable options, and excess water must be managed as a part of the project plan. 

WOLF_3Long Lifespan: Asphalt does require preventative maintenance, but this maintenance keeps the asphalt looking (and working) like new for a long time. With the right maintenance, asphalt pavement can last twenty or more years. When replaced, usually only the top layer is repaved, as the base layer and middle layer are considered permanent. This top layer re-pavement process is affordable, which can make an asphalt parking lot very cost-effective in the long run.

Get more in-depth information about concrete in our Everything You Need To Know About Asphalt Paving resource page.

Why Asphalt is a Good Paving Choice in Wisconsin

When deciding between a concrete and an asphalt parking lot, one of the most important things to consider is the climate where the project is located. In colder climates like ours, asphalt is the right choice for the following reasons: 

  • A concrete parking lot will be subject to frost heaves, which requires immediate maintenance for safety.
  • Concrete is more susceptible to freeze/thaw expansion and contraction.
  • Changing weather and temperatures cause more damage and deterioration in concrete surfaces.
  • Salt, which is spread on parking lots to melt snow and ice, damages concrete. 

Asphalt is not affected by the cold, and does not deteriorate from salt use. In addition, the dark color of asphalt pavement that can cause problems in the heat actually solves problems in the cold - it absorbs more heat from the sun, causing snow and ice to melt much more quickly. 

How To Choose a Local Parking Lot Contractor

Now that you have chosen the material for your new parking lot, it’s time to find the help you need to get the project done. Everyone has heard a horror story about a bad contractor - how can you make sure that you won’t have a similar tale to share? 

Here are a few expert tips to consider when choosing a contractor for your asphalt parking lot: 

  • Talk to several contractors, and ask extra questions of any who give you bids that are much higher or lower than average.
  • Look for a contractor that manufactures their own asphalt mixes. These contractors can formulate the product to match the exact specifications for your project.
  • Make sure that the parking lot contractors you choose are staffed by experienced and well-trained asphalt pavement crews.
  • Ask for testimonials from past clients, and contact them yourself for an honest opinion. Visit past job sites as well to see the work of the contractor you are considering.
  • Look for parking lot contractors in Milwaukee, Waukesha and Madison who have experience with the type of project you are considering, whether it is on commercial properties, residential driveways, or municipal projects like highways, roads and streets. 


Request an Asphalt Paving Estimate Now

Wolf Paving offers professional paving services from Milwaukee to Madison, and everywhere in between, including all areas around: Sun Prairie, Oconomowoc and Waukesha

It’s never too early or too late to request a free paving estimate. Call Wolf Paving today to get help from the most experienced parking lot contractors in Waukesha. For the Milwaukee area, call us at 262-965-2121. For the Madison area, call us at 608-249-7931.

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Topics: Asphalt Parking Lot, Asphalt Paving