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Concrete car park and maintenance
Concrete parking lots are a potentially lucrative market for concrete contractors and make good economic sense for building owners. Today, about 90% of parking lots are paved with asphalt, but improved equipment and rising prices of asphalt have made concrete more competitive.
A concrete parking lot is really nothing more than an exterior slab on ground (or slab on grade). Perhaps what defines it as a parking lot, and what makes it a little different to design and build, is the sloped surface for drainage, the ability to handle heavy vehicular loads, and severe environmental exposure.
Why concrete is better
Let's look at how to design and build concrete parking lots and also why concrete parking lots are preferable to asphalt. Contractors need to understand the advantages of concrete parking lots in order to clearly justify them to their customers.
While the initial cost of installing asphalt is still less than that of concrete, rising asphalt prices have narrowed the gap some. For years, contractors have emphasized concrete’s lower life-cycle costs based on its longer life span and lower maintenance needs. When these factors are considered, concrete wins the race.
Even structurally equivalent asphalt pavement that is designed to have the same load-carrying capacity as concrete and has an initial cost that is comparable to concrete, will still need to be resealed and resurfaced. Over its lifetime, the most expensive pavement is a typical asphalt pavement which is cheaper to build initially, but is under-designed in load-carrying capacity and ends up with high maintenance costs.
Here are a few of the reasons why a building owner should pave his parking lots with concrete:
Asphalt is similar to concrete except that it uses liquid asphalt as the binder rather than portland cement. Liquid asphalt is a residue left over from refining crude oil to make gasoline. Improvements in refining techniques have led to asphalt shortages.Maintenance costs for concrete are nearly zero—only some joint sealing and annual cleaning. Asphalt parking lots need to be coated with liquid asphalt every few years and be completely resurfaced every 10 years or less, causing interruptions of use of the parking lot for the business.Concrete surfaces are much lighter colored, meaning that lighting costs can be reduced—you can eliminate 3 of 10 light fixtures and still have the same level of lighting..
This creates a safer parking lot and also reduces energy costs.The lighter color also results in a lower temperature for the parking area during the summer, reducing the heat-island effect and lowering cooling costs for adjacent buildings. According to Pool, ambient air temperatures above a concrete parking lot can be as much as 10° cooler than an asphalt lot.
Concrete pavements can carry heavy loads without rutting or developing potholes. With concrete's rigidity and high strength it only takes 5-inch-thick pavement to provide the same load-carrying capacity as 8 inches of asphalt.Concrete parking lots can be colored and textured to meet the owner's desires.Concrete parking lots are green—runoff is low toxicity and cooler than from asphalt surfaces. Also, concrete can contain recycled materials such as fly ash, slag, or recycled concrete aggregate, which can yield LEED . Maintenance for an asphalt lot can be as much as 80% of the initial construction cost; and on one project, asphalt was shown to be twice the cost of a concrete lot over 20 years. #To be continued……………………………
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