Commercial Construction & Contracting Resources

Cost of Concrete vs Asphalt Parking Lots

Posted by Tom Owings on October 1, 2018
Tom Owings

concrete vs asphalt parking lot

When choosing a material for parking lots, one of the primary considerations is cost.

Appearance and maintenance are two important concerns as well -- and can play into costs in sneaky ways you might not think of up front.

Most property owners weigh the choice between a concrete vs asphalt parking lot, and each has their pros and cons.

Here's what you need to know about each surface, including cost.

What Are the Benefits of a Concrete Parking Lot?

  • More visually appealing
  • Long term maintenance costs are lower than asphalt
  • Stands up well to heavy vehicle, large trucks, and lots of traffic
  • Has a 30 year life span

Many building owners consider concrete to be the more visually appealing option, especially with many color and texture options available, but that comes down to taste and the surroundings of the area.

Concrete typically has a higher cost of installation, but long-term maintenance costs are lower than asphalt as they do not require as much maintenance.

Concrete also stands up to heavy vehicles, large trucks, and lots of traffic better than its asphalt counterpart, and has an average lifespan of 30 years.

What Are the Benefits of an Asphalt Parking Lot?

  • Easy to repair
  • Durable
  • Quicker to install than concrete
  • Has a 20 year life span

Asphalt parking lots are durable, easy to repair, and have an average lifespan of 20 years.

If a portion of the lot becomes damaged, fixing that area is much simpler, whereas broken concrete needs to be removed and replaced when cracks or other damage occurs.

Asphalt is also much quicker to install and can usually be used just a day or two after completion. Concrete can take twice as long to install and curing can take significantly longer and varies depending on the season.

Environmental Concerns

Asphalt is almost completely recyclable. When an old parking lot is removed, it can be ground up and made into materials used in a new lot.

Concrete can also be broken up and recycled, but not to the same degree.

The climate in your area will also affect your choice of material. Asphalt will hold up to the harsh conditions in colder climates, especially areas with a heavy freeze/thaw cycle. When the weather does cause damage, cracks and holes are easily filled.

Concrete will perform better in extremely hot environments, but repeated freezing and thawing may cause you to replace the lot sooner than average and drive up your overall costs.

Making the Right Decision

Asphalt is generally considered a good choice for most applications, especially areas with freezing winters and warm summers. The costs to install are low, but routine maintenance is necessary.

Concrete is the right choice if your building is located in an area with scorching summers and mild winters, if you need your lot to stand up to continuous heavy-duty traffic, or if you have the budget and the extra time for installation.

To learn more about choosing asphalt or concrete for your parking lot or to get your project started, contact us, and don't forget to download your guide for tips and tricks to keep your asphalt lot looking better for longer:

Asphalt Maintenance Guide

Topics: Parking Lot, Asphalt Paving, Ohio construction