As a property owner, your choice of pavement material for your parking lot matters. So much so, that the material’s durability, cost-effectiveness, and maintenance requirements directly impact how well your lot functions and lasts. While asphalt is often the go-to choice, there’s a case to be made for concrete paving, due to its longer life span and lower maintenance costs. In this guide, we’re going to cover the intricacies of concrete parking lot construction, and what concrete parking lot maintenance looks like. This will shed some light on why concrete is a future-smart choice for a commercial property owner.
Why Choose Concrete Parking Lot Construction: Looking At Durability, Maintenance, & Reduced Cooling Costs
Concrete has some notable advantages that make it a solid choice to consider:
1. Durability: Concrete’s rigidity and high strength allow it to carry heavy loads without compromising its structural integrity (no ruts or potholes), making it great for areas with heavy traffic or frequent heavy vehicle use. This durability translates into a longer lifespan and lower maintenance requirements, resulting in cost savings for property owners.
2. Low-Maintenance: Concrete parking lot maintenance is near zero, with some joint sealing and annual cleaning. Whereas asphalt, needs to be re-coated every few years, requires preventative maintenance to address potholes, cracking, poor water run-off, and warping.
3. Environmentally-friendly: A concrete lot is considered green as the runoff is cooler and less toxic than that of asphalt surfaces. Plus, concrete can contain recycled materials like concrete aggregate, fly ash, or slag.
4. Life Reflectivity: Concrete has a lower “heat-island effect” which refers to the phenomenon where urban areas are significantly warmer than surrounding rural areas due to the absorption of light on dark surfaces. Concrete reflects the light, resulting in a safer, more energy-efficient lot.
Now with this said, if you’re heavily considering the construction of a concrete parking lot, then here are some need-to-know construction and design details about concrete lots.
5 Key Aspects Of Concrete Parking Lot Construction & Design
The concrete parking lot construction process is a lot more involved than many people realize. It requires careful planning and attention to detail in several key aspects to ensure a successful and long-lasting parking lot.
1. Sub-base Preparation: It is important to ensure a uniform and compacted subgrade to prevent sinking and cracking of the pavement.
2. Pavement Thickness: The thickness of the concrete pavement depends on the subgrade strength, expected loads, and the number of load repetitions over the pavement’s lifespan. Generally, a 4-inch pavement is suitable for cars and light trucks, while bigger delivery trucks may require a 5 or 6-inch pavement.
3. Drainage Design: Proper drainage is essential for concrete parking lots to prevent water accumulation and potential damage. Pavements should slope a minimum of 1% (1/8 inch/foot) for effective drainage. Slopes of entrances should not exceed 8% to avoid vehicle dragging.
4. Jointing: Jointing in a concrete parking lot helps prevent cracks and allows for expansion and contraction. Contraction joints should be continuous, spaced according to ACI standards, and isolated from buildings, drains, and light post foundations. Tie bars may be required to prevent movement at the edges of the pavement.
5. Materials: Durable materials are crucial for concrete parking lots, especially in areas exposed to freezing and thawing, deicing chemicals, and heavy loads. Air-entrained concrete is recommended to resist freeze-thaw cycles, and a minimum compressive strength of 4000 psi is recommended. Proper curing and the use of sulfate-resistant cement can enhance durability.
By having your contracting company implement these key aspects, property owners can maximize the benefits of concrete parking lots and create a reliable, long-lasting, and functional space for customers and employees, while ensuring environmental sustainability.
What Does Concrete Parking Lot Maintenance Look Like?
Regular concrete parking lot maintenance is key to preserving its condition and extending your lot lifespan and can look like this:
Routine Cleaning: Routine power sweeping or power washing can help remove debris, oil, and grease. Keeping the parking lot clean not only enhances its appearance but also increases pavement durability and safety.
- Re-striping: Re-striping can make parking lot markings more visible, enhancing safety and navigation within the lot.
- Sealing: Sealers reduce moisture intrusion, improve stain resistance, and slow down the growth of mold/mildew. They can be of two types: penetrating sealers that are absorbed into the concrete, and surface sealers that sit on top of the concrete, serving as the wearing surface.
- Joint Resealing & Crack Sealing: Sealed joints in a concrete parking lot have a design life of 5 to 10 years. When they stop performing as designed, it’s crucial to remove and replace the existing joint seal. Cracks that develop should also be sealed to keep water out and reduce cracking from freeze-thaw cycles.
- Rarely, Full Depth Replacement: Severe distress in a particular section of the parking lot might necessitate full-depth replacement. This involves removing the affected concrete, reconditioning the support soils, installing new dowels and tie bars as necessary, and replacing the concrete.
The DCPLM Advantage
At DCPLM, we are committed to delivering top-notch concrete parking lot maintenance services, ensuring your lot remains in peak condition for years to come. Our expert team is equipped with the knowledge and skills to handle any issue, providing customized solutions based on your unique needs. Don’t wait for minor problems to escalate; contact DCPLM today for all your concrete parking lot maintenance needs and protect your investment.