Did you know the average parking space takes up 180 square feet? Size requirements are often laid out in local law, and those laws may also set out minimums for the number of spaces you’ll need for different types of businesses.
You’ll then have to factor in the space requirements for driveways and more. All that space adds up!
Your parking lot may be taking up a lot of space in your mind, too, especially if it needs repairs or replacements. You may be wondering about installing pavers or using concrete.
Selecting pavers vs concrete can be a difficult choice, and people often have many questions about which is right for their project.
Which is best for a commercial parking lot or residential driveway? This guide will help you compare these two options so you can make the right choice.
Pavers vs Concrete
Before you do anything else, you’ll want to think about the characteristics of both paving materials. Concrete and paving stones alike have pros and cons. Considering them carefully can help you make a better choice for your business.
Both paving stones and poured concrete can have excellent durability. Once you install them, you shouldn’t need to worry about resurfacing your parking lot for some time. Paving and concrete should both last decades.
The weather and even the ground can affect the longevity of your parking lot. That’s true, no matter what material you choose.
Poured concrete doesn’t perform well in cold climates. If your area is prone to extreme temperatures, then a concrete parking lot is more likely to crack or heave.
Why? Concrete is a strong material, but it doesn’t have much ability to expand and contract. As the mercury dips, the material undergoes shrinking, which leads to unsightly cracks.
Concrete pavers are a little different. Since there’s space between the interlocking stones, your lot can expand and contract. This means you’re less likely to see cracking or heaving.
As an added bonus, if an individual stone happens to crack or heave out of place, you can simply replace it. The same isn’t true of the poured concrete slab, which takes much more effort to repair.
Consider Ease of Repair
Speaking of repairs, it’s a good idea to compare the ease of fixing both pavers and poured concrete.
As mentioned, it can be relatively easy to make repairs to a parking lot with paving stones installed. If an individual stone moves out of place or cracks, you can replace it without too much trouble.
The same isn’t true of poured concrete. Cracks can be filled, but colors can be quite difficult to match. That means you’ll still be able to see where the crack was. If heaving occurs, then you’ll need to replace the entire slab.
It’s worth considering the strength of both materials here. Concrete is strong, so it might surprise you to know that pavers actually outperform it. Under heavy traffic, paving stones are even less likely to crack than concrete.
They’re also more difficult to damage. If you expect plenty of impacts, then pavers could be the smart choice.
Maintaining Pavers vs Concrete
Repairs are just one type of maintenance you may find you need to perform for your parking lot. Good maintenance may reduce the need for costly repairs.
Of course, all the good maintenance in the world can’t prevent bad weather or impacts, so repairs will be needed. Nonetheless, providing good care for whichever paving material you choose is important.
So, how easy is it to take care of concrete?
Concrete is relatively low-maintenance in the grand scheme of things. You may need or want to seal the lot. Some people recommend sealing concrete on a regular basis.
This can help prevent damage and unsightly stains from forming. Concrete is prone to staining. You can wash some stains out with a power washer or other means, but others may be more stubborn.
Concrete stains can be difficult to hide. As mentioned, colors can be tough to match, especially if you have a custom color. If you want to hide stains, you may end up resurfacing the entire lot.
Paving stones, by contrast, are less prone to staining. They also tend to hide stains better. Patterns of alternating colors in the installation can help you mask stains.
Weeds are likely to be a bigger concern with paving stones. The space between the stones is often filled with sand, and plants often grow up between the stones. High-traffic areas may not see as much growth, so it’s worth considering how busy your parking lot is likely to be.
Weeds can also be a problem with poured concrete too. If the concrete heaves or cracks, plants may grow up in these spaces.
All in all, paving stones are even less maintenance than concrete, as well as easier to repair.
Installing Pavers vs Installing Concrete
Another question you’ll likely have is how easy it is to install either paving stones or concrete.
Installing concrete is most definitely a job for the professionals. Excavation and grading must be performed before you can lay the foundation for the concrete parking lot. Improper installation makes your parking lot more likely to crack or heave.
Setting forms and pouring concrete is also best left to the professionals. Once the pouring is complete, the concrete must be left to dry and cure. This process can take several days, so you’ll need to make sure no one needs to use your parking lot for a week or so.
Is installing paving stones any easier? You’ll see plenty of people searching “how to install pavers” or “how to lay pavers,” so you might think this is a great DIY job.
Much like concrete, though, installing pavers is a job best left to the professionals. The process for installing concrete pavers includes even more steps than pouring concrete.
You’ll need to excavate and grade the parking lot, just like you would with concrete. Then you’ll need to compact the sub-base. That’s followed by preparing the base, compacting it, and preparing the sand.
Once all that work is complete, you can finally start laying the pavers themselves. Border-cutting can be tricky, especially if you want your lot to have a nice, clean look.
There are still a few more steps in the process, such as compacting the stones and sealing the pavers. Given how much work is involved, it’s easy to see why you’d want to hire the professionals.
Cost Pavers vs Concrete
When people compare options for paving, the first thing that comes to mind is often the price.
Budget plays a big role in deciding the material you use to pave your parking lot. You may be tempted to choose the material with the lowest price.
Concrete and concrete pavers come with higher price tags than options like asphalt. They’re also more durable and have a longer lifespan.
In fact, that may be one reason you’re even considering these two materials as options. Maybe you’re tired of repairing an asphalt lot. The maintenance for this material can also be more intensive, which can mean higher costs in the long run.
To that end, you’re thinking less about the price point of installing concrete or pavers. You’re thinking about the value. With lower maintenance costs and more durability, you’ll get more value out of either concrete or pavers.
Given the lower maintenance costs and the ease of repair, installing pavers is usually the option with the highest value.
How Much Do Pavers Cost to Install?
Even if you’re putting emphasis on the value of the material you choose, budget is likely still a concern. Pavers offer the highest value, but they also tend to be more expensive to install.
Think about all the extra steps in the paver installation process. All that work translates into higher costs for installation. In turn, you have a more durable parking lot with lower maintenance costs.
So, what do pavers cost to install?
It depends a little bit on who you hire and where your lot is located. On average, costs start around $15 per square foot. They can run quite a bit higher though.
It depends on how much area you’re covering, the type of pavers, and even the amount of work the installation team needs to do. For example, if they have to remove trees and boulders or tear up old material, the costs will rise accordingly.
How much can you expect to pay? Remember the average parking space is 180 square feet. For a single space, you might be looking at a cost of $2,700 or more.
Always talk to the professionals about pricing. You may be able to find a qualified team who can also offer you a price that fits your budget.
What Are the Costs of Concrete?
If pavers seem out of reach for your budget, you don’t need to turn back to asphalt just yet. Concrete offers a more economical solution than pavers.
Costs for concrete depend on your area and how much work is involved in the process.
In many cases, concrete is far more economical than pavers. While it is often more expensive than asphalt, it can still be a good option for parking lot owners looking for a high-quality material on a budget.
That makes concrete a great alternative for someone who wants to get away from an asphalt parking lot. Of course, it does have its downsides, such as higher maintenance costs.
There’s another factor you should consider when you’re debating between concrete slabs and pavers for your parking lot. That’s the appearance of the lot.
Most people prefer the look of concrete pavers over poured concrete. If you’re trying to increase curb appeal to attract renters or shoppers, then it might be worth investing in pavers instead.
This is also true if you’re trying to increase the sale price of an attached building.
Other Benefits of Concrete Pavers
There are a few other benefits to concrete pavers that are important to note. The first is that they’re more environmentally friendly than either asphalt or concrete.
Since the pavers interlock, there’s space between them. This makes them much more permeable to rainwater and other precipitation. This means the water actually makes it down into the ground, instead of running off into the street or sitting in puddles on the surface of your lot.
That’s good news for both local water reservoirs and for storm and sewer drains. Always check local laws to see if there are rules about choosing permeable materials for paving. You might also want to see if there are any incentives for businesses and landlords to “go green.”
Pavers may also be safer than concrete when they get wet. They offer more traction, which can help people using your parking lot stay safer.
Which Should You Use?
Every parking lot is different, and every owner will have different needs. If you’re most concerned about budget, then concrete could be the right choice. If you want to increase curb appeal or go green, installing paving stones might be your best bet.
If your lot is located in an area where snow and freezing temperatures are common, then pavers are probably a good option.
By carefully considering the information in this guide, you can make the right choice for your parking lot. Either way, you’ll get a durable paving material that will serve you well for years to come.
Get Started on Your Parking Lot Project
Now you may have a better idea of whether you’re installing pavers or opting for another material. No matter what you choose, you want to be sure you’re working with the right team.
If you’re ready to discuss the finer details of your parking lot paving job, get in touch. By working with the experts, you can rest easy knowing the job will be done right.