What Businesses Should Know Before A Parking Lot Installation

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As you read about what businesses should know before a parking lot installation, you’ll learn:

  • When preparing your parking lot plan, you need to consider drainage and the foundation as vital attributes.
  • For commercial properties in Cincinnati, Ohio, asphalt is the superior parking lot material.
  • Parking lot design requires considerations for traffic flow and type as well as lighting.

Starting or operating a successful business is not only about the products and continuity of service. The appearance and functionality of the company are equally important. A customer does not want to spend their hard-earned money at an establishment that does not appear to care about how the world perceives it. While there are many reasons for a new parking lot installation in Cincinnati, Ohio, curb appeal is one.

However, beyond appearance, a parking lot offers form and function to a business. It clarifies order and instructs patrons on how to navigate the exterior of your business. While there is no denying the essential nature of a parking lot, as a business owner, there are several considerations you must make before signing on the dotted line of a contractor’s bid.

Preparation and Planning

The management and owners of a corporation would never move forward with a marketing or product plan without first acknowledging all the significant hurdles and resolving them; the same can be said for parking lot planning and preparation. A contractor cannot walk onto a potential job site and tell you how much a job will cost in under five minutes. They need time to inspect and measure the location to determine the amount of foundational work that must be done before laying the finishing layer. Before a contractor can make a quote or assess the budget, there are a few things you need to consider: 

Drainage

Every parking lot requires drainage. Without adequate drainage, a lot is susceptible to pooling or excessive puddling. When water sits on top of a parking lot for an extended period, it can weaken the surface, leading to minor and significant imperfections and damage. Every parking lot should have a slop to ensure water empties off the surface efficiently, channeled to sewers in and outside of the lot borders.

The land directly surrounding and connected to the parking lot will also need adequate drainage away from it. If water pools around the outside edge of the lot, it can make its way into the foundation, eventually eroding the lot’s substructure and leading to cracks and potholes.

Foundation

The sub-base or foundation is a crucial element to the integrity and longevity of the parking lot. While the surface layer’s initial finish will look beautiful, it will not take long for imperfections to begin showing if the foundational layer is weak, improper, or inadequate. The underlayer is responsible for the stability of the lot. The compacted gravel, stone, or sand contributes to the overall strength of the top layer material. Without sufficient compaction or drainage in this layer, sediment can wash away, leading to cracks and divots in the finished product. 

Long-Term Planning

The preparation is not the only aspect you need to consider of a parking lot installation. While most lots can reach an average lifespan of 20 years, routine maintenance is crucial to that estimate. Asphalt and concrete lots will require parking lot sealcoating every three years or so, depending on the material. Beyond resealing the surface, you also need to budget for minor damages and normal wear and tear. While a lot might last 20 years or more, it will need upkeep to prevent significant damage or disrepair.

Material Selection: Asphalt Versus Concrete

Traditionally, many people consider concrete to be a superior product for parking lots, but that depends on where you live. In Arizona, Florida, or other areas that experience significant heat with slight temperature variance throughout the year, concrete is likely ideal. However, in Cincinnati, Ohio, where temperatures fluctuate between 28 degrees Fahrenheit and 86 degrees Fahrenheit, concrete is less stable and durable than asphalt. However, asphalt has many advantages as a parking lot medium over concrete, beyond temperature and location.

Advantages To Asphalt

One of the leading advantages of asphalt parking lots over concrete is the cost. Asphalt is almost half the price of concrete, meaning for small or large businesses on a budget, asphalt is the most advantageous selection. Additionally, many areas throughout the Midwest and northeast benefit from asphalt use because of the moderate climate. In hotter regions, asphalt is not a wise choice because high heat makes it pliable.

Asphalt also provides a quicker installation timeline. While concrete and asphalt require two to three days for the initial installation, it typically takes four weeks before concrete is drivable. Asphalt, alternatively, is usually ready for use by day three, although temperature might prolong the wait. 

Other Considerations

While preparation, foundation, and material selection are crucial to the parking lot installation process, they are not the only necessary considerations. In fact, there are a few things to think about before you even dive into the selection of surface material, like traffic, lighting, and the environment.

Traffic

Traffic has less to do with the number of vehicles driving through your lot and more to do with design. It is necessary to understand the average number of cars parked or moving through your lot on a given day because weight requirements help establish the thickness of foundational and surface layers along with materials. However, design is the key to maximizing your usable space and ultimate flow, ensuring you permit the most customers at any given time to flow easily into and out of your lot, promoting safe and stress-free transitions.

Lighting

For clients or consumers to feel safe throughout the day and into the evening, you need to ensure adequate lighting. Where are you going to place parking lot lights, and how many will you need. Understanding the number and placement is essential before making any contractual obligations. A parking lot contractor will probably ask you about your lighting needs, but if they do not, make sure to broach the subject early and often. Failing to plan lighting at early stages in the lot design process can have costly consequences.

Environmental Impact

Many businesses are concerned with their environmental impact or carbon footprint. Asphalt is one of the most environmentally friendly parking lot materials. Production of and construction with asphalt requires low energy consumption. The product also boasts low greenhouse gas emissions. Asphalt parking lot construction also helps to conserve natural resources. With consumers and businesses concerned with environmental choices, it is no wonder that asphalt is the material of choice for parking lots.

Contractor Selection

When searching for a parking lot contractor for your next project, you want to find a licensed and certified company to work in your area. You also want to look into all references, ensuring the satisfaction of former customers. Finally, you want to vet their experience working on projects of a similar size to your own.

With a solid reputation and over 50 years serving the Cincinnati, Ohio, area, Neyra Paving should be your go-to choice. Contact us online or call (513) 733-1001 to speak with a representative about your project assessment and quote.

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Image Credit: Shutterstock/ Konstantin L