Whether you manage an apartment complex, retail center, office building, or government facility, the parking lot is a vital element in allowing your guests and visitors to access your property. It needs to be both functional and attractive while making the best use of the flow of traffic. 

Every year, Bituminous Roadways, Inc. (BR) produces over half a million tons of asphalt for paving new roadways, athletic surfaces, trails, and parking lots. We work closely with our clients on every project. This way, we can help our customers avoid common mistakes costing them extra time and money. Allow us to help save you both! 

Here’s a quick guide from BR on how you can prepare for your upcoming asphalt paving project.

Selecting Materials: Why Asphalt vs. Concrete for Parking Lots?

In most cases, asphalt is used to install parking lots, but concrete is another option. Both of these hard-surface materials have distinct features and benefits. 

Let us walk you through the top considerations for asphalt vs. concrete for a parking lot surface. 


For parking lots, the asphalt mixture should be fine-graded. This prevents moisture from penetrating the surface and provides a much smoother, better-looking pavement. 

BR can manufacture asphalt using a variety of combinations of aggregates, liquids, and additional materials. This allows for flexibility in different applications. 

Parking Lot Renovation

Removing and replacing a parking lot at Michael Foods in Chaska.


Here are some asphalt features to consider:

  • Asphalt costs an average of $2.50 to $4.00 per square foot. 
  • You can resurface asphalt without having to replace all of it. 
  • Asphalt is ideal for cold climates because it allows easy snow removal and can be modified with different oils to withstand the colder temperatures. 
  • If the surface is designed correctly and with proper maintenance, asphalt can last up to 30 years. 


Before asphalt paving, it may be necessary for concrete to be repaired or replaced. Or, some project stakeholders may opt for concrete over asphalt for parking lots. 

Concrete parking lots are essentially exterior slabs of concrete on the ground. The upfront cost is nearly always much greater, as this is a more expensive material. Its low maintenance can compensate for the initial investment over time for some applications. 

Consider concrete for your project:

  • Concrete costs an average of $6.00 to $8.00 per square foot.
  • Concrete is ideal for warmer, sunny climates. 
  • With proper maintenance, concrete can last up to 50 years. 
  • For major repairs, you have to replace the concrete completely. 

So, Which Mixture Is Best for Your Project? Probably Both!

When installing a parking lot, many situations require both asphalt and concrete applications. 

If the building will have heavy equipment or tractor-trailers using a loading dock, it may be best to specify concrete in the area where those heavier vehicles will be driving or parked. The rest of the parking lot could be asphalt. 

Asphalt Overlay

Mill and overlay for the parking lot at an apartment complex. 


Working with professionals like our team at Bituminous Roadways, Inc. will help guide you to the right materials for your project’s requirements. BR’s expert concrete crew can perform flatwork for sidewalks, repair curbs and gutters, and install proper ADA slope requirements, offering value-added services that make working with us a one-stop shop!

Once materials have been selected for your parking lot, there are many additional factors to consider. 

First Impressions

Making a positive impression with a parking lot means your guests or visitors don’t even have to think about the parking lot. What does this mean from a practical standpoint? 

  • The parking lot is logically and clearly marked. 
  • The parking lot is smooth and level. 
  • Potholes and depressions are minimal.
  • There are clear markings and signs for pedestrian crossings. 
  • There is plenty of space between the cars for passengers to enter/exit their vehicles. 
  • Curbs and gutters appear intact, and there is no standing water during rain storms.
  • There are convenient spaces for visitors with disabilities (Check with the ADA guidelines). 


Water is the number one asphalt killer. This is especially true when it is being placed. To avoid the issues resulting from moisture, it is best to schedule your project during the time of year when it rains the least. 

It is also important for your asphalt pavement to have the proper drainage (slope) to allow the water to run off the surface, avoiding pooling or standing water. 

Our paving crews at BR excel at checking and maintaining the drainage on all our projects. 

Parking Lot Removal and Replacement

Removing and replacing a parking lot.


Although most of our clients may not think about parking lot maintenance until after the project is paved, it is actually prudent to do it beforehand. At BR, we review our maintenance plan before the project begins, so our clients have a full understanding of what it will take to ensure a quality surface that performs well for up to 25 years.

Asphalt maintenance may include cracksealing, pothole repair and patching, and sealcoating.

Anticipate Vehicle Weight/Traffic Loading & Flow 

When building a parking lot, it is crucial to consider what types of vehicles will be using the space. Unlike concrete, asphalt can be blended differently using specific aggregates and oil to create an asphalt mix to address traffic flow. 

What types of vehicles can you expect to roll across your parking lot? Traffic loading is also critical to the pavement design and longevity of the asphalt.

  • If it’s a small facility, we recommend asphalt layers thick enough to handle small cars and trucks. Since your parking lot will primarily be for personal vehicle use, aka light traffic, you can specify a more basic asphalt blend. 
  • For parking lots handling large commercial vehicles, buses, and other large trucks, we will pave a thicker section to withstand the weight of the heavy vehicles. Since your parking lot accommodates medium to heavy traffic flow, the asphalt mix must be designed to withstand heavier loads.

A functional parking lot design will also direct traffic clearly from the moment a driver enters the property. Drivers will know where to enter the parking lot, which direction to drive in the lanes, where pedestrians are walking, and where to exit the lot. 

Parking Overlay

Mill and overlay for the parking lot at St. Louis Park Community Center.


To accomplish this, your parking lot must contain clear markings (or single-word instructions, if necessary) and properly placed signage to indicate where drivers enter, park, and exit the lot. 

If your parking lot contains diagonal parking spaces, then you need to mark your lanes with arrows that indicate which direction the driver should go to easily access the spaces. 

The Best Way to Prepare the Site

A solid subgrade foundation is the first step to supporting an asphalt pavement structure. Weak subgrades or subgrades with poor drainage can reduce the life of your pavement by causing distress to occur earlier than expected. 

Additionally, in Minnesota, the cold winter temperatures make frost-susceptible soils a significant issue. 

Our grading crews can excavate any unsuitable soils and replace them with high-quality subgrade soils for extra strength, drainage, and resistance to frost damage. 

Lighting Options 

Don’t forget the lights! The most important element to consider in parking lot lighting is providing adequate lighting so drivers and pedestrians can clearly see pavement markings, walkways, parking bumpers, or signs. 

LED bulbs have become the industry standard for parking lots because they save energy, emit almost no heat, last several years, require little maintenance, and provide plenty of directional and scattered lighting. 

Before you install parking lot lighting, check with the local city or county utility office to find out about lighting and electrical regulations in your area.

Hire Bituminous Roadways, Inc. for Your Next Paving Job in Minnesota

Bituminous Roadways, Inc. has more than 75 years of asphalt paving experience in Minnesota, both designing and maintaining asphalt surfaces in extreme climates. We offer competitive pricing using the latest technology, equipment, and materials for all asphalt-related jobs. 

Parking Lot Renovation in Arden Hills MN

Removing and replacing a parking lot at City Hall in Arden Hills, MN.  


Property managers and business owners in the Twin Cities Metro and surrounding areas recognize BR as the leader in industrial and commercial asphalt paving. Our award-winning paving company has decades of combined industry experience in all types of asphalt paving applications. 

Request a consultation here to learn more about our services, or please call us today at 651-686-7001.