What makes a good parking lot? You probably aren’t in the habit of asking this question unless you just ran over a pothole, and are worried that you knocked something loose under the hood of your vehicle. Parking lots are an important part of everyday life, but we all tend to take them for granted. A lot of people might even think that all parking lots are the same, and that pavement is pavement. How could there really be differences in quality between different parking lots or different types of pavement?
The answer might surprise you. There are actually drastic differences in quality between different parking lots and different pavement mixtures. Sometimes when you see an immaculate (or not-so-immaculate) parking lot, you’re seeing these differences. Other times, you’re simply seeing differences in age. No matter how well a parking lot is constructed, it will eventually age and erode. Repairs and even milling/replacement work will ultimately become necessary.
But even a ten-year old parking lot — provided it’s been professionally installed with a quality mixture — will be in better structural shape than a two or three year old parking lot that’s been incorrectly installed. This is saying a lot. It means that choosing the right or wrong contractor can make a huge difference in how long your parking lot lasts and what kind of maintenance/repair costs you can expect in the long term.
All of this leads back to our central question: What makes a good parking lot?
The answer is fairly straightforward. You start with a high quality asphalt mixture and a fleet of modern equipment that’s been well maintained. Those are essential ingredients if a parking lot is going to work.
But this in itself isn’t enough. The quality asphalt mixture, and the fleet of modern tools, has to be in the hands of a professional who has enough knowledge, training and experience to execute a high quality installation. Without that level of expertise, all the best tools and materials in the world won’t be enough to produce a quality parking lot.
Generally speaking, the experience and reputation of the contractor takes care of all the other details. In other words, you generally aren’t going to see a skilled contractor use second-rate materials and tools to install a parking lot. The only case where this might happen if the contractor is skilled, but is working in a disreputable way and is trying to cut corners. This will always catch up with them, however, as their reputation eventually suffers on account of faulty parking lot installations.
Finding a reputable parking lot builder who is going to bring all the essential ingredients for a quality result shouldn’t be that hard. Depending on where you live, there will be multiple parking lot specialists in your area. The key is to find one who has left a trail of satisfied clients, and who communicates clearly about how and why they can give you the best result. A great parking lot isn’t something that happens by accident, but through meticulous planning and a highly selective process.