By Kelly Combot, Commercial Estimator, Marketing Manager
Asphalt. Bitumen. It’s a wondrous petroleum product that has a multitude of uses, but you probably know it best as roads, parking lots, walkways, and other pavement.
Though concrete was once the material of choice for many applications, asphalt has taken over as the preferred choice — here’s why.
What is asphalt?
Asphalt, concrete, cement: many people probably use these terms interchangeably, but they’re distinctly different. Asphalt, like concrete, is made using aggregate (sand, gravel, crushed stone, etc.) and a petroleum-based binding medium called bitumen. That’s what makes asphalt black and gives off that sort of motor oil odour.
Asphalt is used for roads surfaces, flooring, roofing, wood coating, to line autobody parts, and much more. But here’s why you should use it for your residential or commercial parking lot.
Go with asphalt and save in more ways than one
If you have a residential or commercial parking lot to install and maintain, yes, concrete may be considered a durable option, but it’s also far more costly up front and takes longer to lay down.
For all intents and purposes, asphalt paving is the way to go for the following reasons:
Depending on the time of year, an asphalt parking lot can be ready for use in a couple days, while a concrete lot can take up to a week.
Asphalt goes down very quickly, and it has to, since contractors have to work quickly before the mixture solidifies.
Asphalt goes down hot and cures as it cools. Unlike concrete, which takes days to install and even longer to set and cure, asphalt can be driven on as soon as it’s cool, which helps minimize downtime for your business.
Concrete can cost 25% to 50% more than asphalt, per square foot, so choosing asphalt can save you thousands depending on the size of your parking lot.
Though there are maintenance costs associated with maintaining asphalt, they are minor when you think about what you’ll pay up front for an asphalt parking lot.
It’s easy to repair and maintain
Crack in your parking lot? A quick asphalt crack sealant application and you’re good to go. Worse than a crack? Fresh asphalt can just be laid over the old stuff, and a steamroller can smooth it out into a new-looking lot. Adding new asphalt also bolsters the overall structure of the pavement, making it even more durable than before.
Though maintenance is required, if done properly, it can last for 20 years or more. And when it comes time to resurface, usually only the top layer is repaved, which is affordable and quick.
It can stand up to Winnipeg’s extreme temperatures
The constant freezing and thawing of the ground in the city means constant expansion and contraction, which can wreak havoc on our road ways and parking lots. Since the bitumen in asphalt has an elastic quality, it can stand up better to temperature changes and the shifting earth.
Asphalt is also more resilient to road salt, which can damage concrete. Since parking lots see much more salt that the average roadway (which is usually sanded rather than salted), asphalt is the better choice here. Since asphalt is so dark, it absorbs heat from the sun and actually helps ice and snow melt more quickly.
Need your parking lot repaired or replaced?