Parking lots are typically paved with either asphalt or concrete. Because the qualities of asphalt make it best suited to cooler climates and it is easier to de-ice, asphalt parking lots are more commonly spotted in northern states. Concrete parking lots, which won’t soften up in hot weather but can crack in cool climates, are frequently seen in warmer southern states.
Not all parking lots use these two common materials, however. Gravel parking lots are often used as temporary solutions, and with the right subgrade and preparation, can even serve as permanent parking lots.
So-called tar and chip parking lots combine liquid asphalt with a layer of crushed stone, and they will be a less costly option compared to concrete. Paver parking lots are paved with hard blocks. Now often made of concrete, pavers can also be manufactured with other materials, such as clay. Paver parking lots are more pliable and less prone to cracks.
When considering the construction of a parking lot, the material used to pave the space is not the only consideration. Parking lot design should consider shade, thickness (based on the kind of vehicles you are expecting), and drainage, as well as proper subgrade preparation.