On the list of things we use almost every day — yet rarely give much thought to — parking lots definitely earn a top spot. Whether you’re pulling up at work, the grocery store, or your local shopping mall, you are likely to leave your car in one. If you think about it, we don’t tend to notice parking lots when they do their job well. A well designed and expertly installed parking lot is something that’s easy enough to overlook. Conversely, everyone can think of at least a few parking lots they frequent that are a nightmare. A poorly planned and poorly made parking lot is frustrating. It can make you want to avoid a destination altogether.

So how exactly are parking lots made?

Parking Lot Construction

The basic premise behind parking lots is that they must endure more weight than other roads, but at a much lower speed. This means that it is imperative that a parking lot has a strong base and traction. A perfectly smooth surface is less important, since driving on parking lots is much slower.

The first step in constructing a parking lot is to dig deep enough to test the subgrade soil. On top of the subgrade soil, contractors will lay a base made of dense graded aggregate. On top of the base will go the chosen pavement.

In determining how thick the pavement should be laid in a parking lot, it is important to consider what types of vehicles will primarily be using the parking lot. While cars are fairly light weight, if larger trucks or buses will be parked in the lot, much thicker pavement is necessary. Pavement will be laid at the predetermined thickness, and compacted to ensure strength and durability. Asphalt is traditionally the most popular material for paving a parking lot, but concrete is also a viable option depending on your budget and needs.

Another important consideration that must be taken during the paving process is drainage. Water accumulation can be detrimental to the structural stability and longevity of a parking lot, so it is essential that proper drainage structures are installed while paving. This often requires a parking lot to be sloped in areas to ensure that water will run to installed drains instead of pooling which could cause damage to the pavement.

Choosing a Parking Lot Specialist

If you are a business owner or commercial developer and need a parking lot for your property, it is in your best interest to hire the most qualified pavement specialist you can find. Don’t assume that the same contractor you are using for your construction or landscaping needs has the expertise necessary to install a parking lot.

Search online for experienced parking lot specialists in your area and read any reviews that are available to ensure you are choosing a contractor with plenty of experience and high levels of customer satisfaction. The last thing you want is a poorly constructed or designed parking lot that drives customers away from your business.