Commercial parking lot paving isn’t an afterthought or a DIY experiment.

It is the first point of contact for clients and customers and an integral part of your business.

How it looks and functions affects your bottom line and a clean, even, and well-maintained parking lot creates an inviting property.

When paving a parking lot in Riverside, CA you will need an experienced paving contractor. If you’re looking for a parking lot expansion or upgrade, it can be helpful to familiarize yourself with the basic parking lot paving process.

Parking Lot Surface Options

The three most common surface options for a parking lot are asphalt, concrete, and permeable gravel.

  • Asphalt Paving – This is the most popular type of parking lot. It’s dark black in appearance, cheaper than concrete, and can be installed in a couple of days. There are many types of asphalt you can choose from.

Asphalt paving is the most popular amongst parking lot paving options.

  • Concrete Paving – Concrete parking lot paving is a traditional paving method that costs more upfront but requires less maintenance over time. Concrete is better suited for warmer climates than asphalt and is less likely to crack.

Concrete parking lot paving is a traditional paving method that costs more upfront but requires less maintenance over time.  

  • Permeable Paving – This includes pervious concrete, porous asphalt, and permeable interlocking concrete pavers. This parking lot paving option is a newcomer on the market but is less expensive and more environmentally friendly than concrete. It has a rough surface texture, and allows for better runoff, reducing your risks of flooding or pooling water.

Permeable paving includes pervious concrete, porous asphalt, and permeable interlocking concrete pavers.

How To Choose the Right Material for Your Parking Lot

All three parking lot paving materials can provide a beautiful, finished product.

So how do you choose which one is best for you?

Three main factors will determine the type of material you will choose for your parking lot: cost, environment, and your contractor.

  • Cost – Parking lot paving is an investment. Your budget may determine the type of materials you choose. Using concrete is the most expensive option but doesn’t carry the same maintenance requirements as other pavement options. Asphalt is the best option if you don’t want an initial high cost and don’t mind a little upkeep every few years.
  • Environment – Consider the annual climate changes where you live. If you live in a cold region prone to snow and ice, asphalt is a better option because it thaws faster. Concrete parking lots work better in warmer climates because it reflects sun rays and doesn’t absorb heat like dark asphalt. Gravel parking lots work well in areas where water drainage is a concern, and you don’t mind giving up the smooth surface.
  • Contractor – Always choose a contractor who has proper experience working with the parking lot paving material you choose. You should also hire a contractor who is knowledgeable and up to date with the latest ADA ramp requirements and permits.

Choosing the Right Parking Lot Contractor

After you decide on which type of parking lot paving material you want for your property, the next most important step is to hire the right contractor for your project.

Remember, constructing your parking lot is a big project and shouldn’t be handed to just anybody.

  • Get Recommendations – Ask your friends, colleagues, or neighbors for recommendations. If possible, pay a visit to the parking lot installed by the contractors they recommend so you can assess the quality.
  • Get Multiple Quotes – Don’t be pressured to sign a contract with the first contractor you contact. Even though you may not be constrained by budget, it is good to get multiple quotes from multiple contractors before you make a choice.

Parking Lot Paving Process

While the specifics may differ based on the type you choose, the general steps for paving a new parking lot, or expanding an existing parking lot, are almost the same.

  1. Preparation and Permit – The first step is to call for any permits and to get a full utility mark-out on the property. Your contractor should help you with these to ensure there are no surprises or hold-ups once your parking lot paving begins.
  2. Demolition and Removal – Anytime you’re doing a new installation, the existing pavement should be removed. Installing a new material over existing damaged pavement is not a good idea, and will likely lead to further damage.
  3. Grading – After demolition and removal of the existing pavement, the next step is to grade and level your surface to the desired slope. This allows for effective water management and prepares the surface for the sub-base.
  4. Sub-base Design – This is the most important part of your parking lot design. The sub-base serves as the foundation of your parking lot paving. An unstable sub-base design will lead to an unstable parking lot. After the sub-base is installed a binder layer may also be installed in the case of asphalt.
  5. Installation of New Material – After the sub-base is prepared, you are ready to install your new material. Whether you choose asphalt, concrete, or gravel, this is when your new parking lot takes shape.
  6. Final Touch – Once the material is installed, your paving contractor will add the finishing touches like parking lot striping, ADA requirements, curbing, etc. These finishing details give a good impression and ensure optimal use of parking lot space.

Importance of Parking Lot Striping

Professional striping is a part of parking lot paving for any public building.

It has to be done right to give an improved first impression, improve efficiency, and meet ADA handicap requirements.

In addition to being a requirement of public businesses, parking lot striping carries several additional benefits.

  • Safety – In addition to improved efficiency, properly painted parking lots also improves the safety of vehicles and humans to prevent accidents.
  • Improved Curb Appeal – A clean and properly painted parking lot looks beautiful and gives a professional first impression.
  • Compliance With Regulations – Every state has regulations that ensure that parking lots and businesses are accessible to all. Parking lot striping is one of the ways to stay compliant with local codes on accessibility.

When it is time to stripe your parking lot you have to consider the design. It’s important to consider the purpose of your parking lot. Different parking spot angles and sizes are best for certain types of scenarios.

It’s important to choose the best design for your business for these two reasons:

  • Space Optimization – A properly painted parking lot will maximize the space available. A parking lot that is not properly marked leaves visitors confused.
  • Increases Efficiency – A clearly painted parking lot increases traffic flow saving people energy and time. It also enhances the user experience for both staff and customers.

What is the Cost of Paving a Parking Lot?

The total average cost of parking lot paving in the US, including labor and material, is between $2.50 and $7.00 per square foot.

This will vary depending on the choice of material.

Expect to pay between $10,000 to $700,000 for a 10-car space to a 300-car area respectively.

  • Asphalt Parking Lot Cost – The total average cost to pave a new parking lot using asphalt ranges between $2.50 and $4.50 per square foot.
    • Average asphalt material cost ranges from $1.00 to $2.50 per square foot.
    • Average asphalt labor cost is usually between $1.50 and $2.00 per square foot.
  • Concrete Parking Lot Cost – The total average cost to pave a new parking lot using concrete ranges between $4.00 to $7.00 per square foot
    • Average concrete material costs range from $3.00 to $4.00 per square foot.
    • Average concrete labor cost is between $2.00 to $3.00 per square foot.
  • Permeable Parking Lot Cost – The total average cost to pave a new parking lot using permeable materials ranges between $2.00 to $4.00.
    • $2.00 per square foot for porous asphalt.
    • $3.00 to $4.00 per square foot for interlocking pavers.
    • $0.50 to $40 per square foot for labor depending on design and material.

This chart details the various paving options and their respective prices.

ADA Ramp Requirements for Parking Lots

In the US, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was enacted to make public places accessible to people who use wheelchairs, walkers, or strollers.

If you don’t have ADA ramps and handicapped stalls in your parking lot, this can be interpreted as discrimination against people with disability under the law.

When paving a new lot, be sure to follow ADA guidelines and build a ramp such as this.

NOTE 1: When door swings onto landing 42′ min. plus door width.
NOTE 2: Maximum horizontal distance of each ramp and run vary

  • Dimensions – The ratio of the running rise to the length slope should be 1:12. ADA-compliant ramps must have a minimum of 36 inches between handrails. The maximum run or length should not be more than 30 inches. A break or platform should be added if it exceeds 30 inches.
  • Landing – This is the area at the top and bottom of the ramp. The landing should be flat and at least 60 inches long. It should be constructed to prevent the buildup of water.
  • Handrail – Ramps that are 6 inches or higher require handrails on both sides of the ramp.
  • Edge Protection – Where necessary, edge protection should be installed to keep users from falling.  
  • Signage – International symbol of accessibility should also be placed. The sign must be placed in a visible position. The minimum size requirement for signage is 12 inches by 18 inches.

How To Maintain Your Parking Lot

These strategic plans and techniques can be adopted for proper maintenance and to ensure that your parking lot maximizes its service life.

  • Crack & Pothole Filling – Due to weather conditions and heavy use, cracks are a common occurrence in asphalt paving parking lots. While it doesn’t always call for alarm, it’s better to fill and seal cracks early before they get worse. In freezing temperatures water can seep through and expand the cracks.

Pothole filling and patching is a common paving trick used to fix minor damages.

  • Routine Inspection – When was the last time you took a walk around your parking lot? Take the time to perform a routine physical inspection of the property for any signs of damage. Look for cracks, standing water, potholes, or harmful oils. It will usually cost less to repair damage when it is spotted early.
  • Regular Cleaning – Regular cleaning removes dirt and debris that may trap moisture. You should also clean any oil and gasoline that dripped on your parking lot as soon as you see them. They attack the glue that holds concrete and asphalt together causing deterioration.
  • Sealcoating – If you want to maximize the life of your asphalt paving parking lot, sealcoating is a strategic maintenance practice that should be done every few years. The frequency will depend on weather conditions and the amount of traffic.

Sealcoating is a strategic paving maintenance practice that should be done every few years. The frequency will depend on weather conditions and the amount of traffic.

  • Reroute Traffic – Another paving maintenance technique is to reroute the traffic where feasible to spread the wear.
  • Resurfacing – Resurfacing adds a fresh layer of asphalt without completing a brand-new install. This is best completed when your parking lot starts to show serious signs of damage like several potholes, distortion, cracks, and fault lines.
  • Striping – We recommend re-striping your parking lot every 18 to 24 months. Not only does this enhance your curb appeal, but it also improves safety.

Navarro recommends re-striping your parking lot every 18 to 24 months. Not only does this enhance your curb appeal, but it also improves safety.

Pave a Good First Impression

In a world of innovation and technology, parking lots haven’t changed a lot in the last 50 years.

To ensure your parking lot paving reaches its full potential, choose the best materials for your area and a reputable contractor.

At Navarro Paving, we help our clients develop strategic plans for installing and maintaining their parking lots for generations to come. Give us a call today!