Parking lots are typically quite black. This is because they are asphalt poured over concrete, just like the roads that run in front of your store. Sure, you could have just a concrete parking lot, but you would be repairing it two to four times as often than an asphalt-covered lot. Once you have asphalt on your lot, you will want it to remain as black and striking as possible. Here is how to do just that.
Just when you thought your parking lot could not get any blacker, along comes the sealcoating. Sealcoating is a black, sticky substance that runs like honey, spreads like icing, and smells like tar. It is completely waterproof, which makes it ideal for this job. It also hardens into a nice rich, slick, black shell for your asphalt. Surprisingly, even with the way it looks, it provides a non-skid surface for your customers and the wheels on their vehicles. Sealcoating only needs to be reapplied once a year, although touch-ups may happen more frequently.
Fresh asphalt is about as black as your parking lot can get before you apply the parking lot sealcoating. You can do this one of two ways. One, you completely rip out your worn-out, tired parking lot and lay down fresh asphalt. Two, you apply a thin, restorative layer of asphalt to your parking lot every other year.
Most consumers opt for choice #1. After twenty years, this parking lot would be several layers of asphalt higher than the road, which would be a major disservice to customers. One or two extra layers over the span of five to eight years is okay, but then you would just have to rip the parking lot out again.
If you need the entire parking lot repainted, start with black paint. Paint over all of the faded stall lines and all of the worn out black asphalt. Now the very black paint makes your parking lot appear new. Once the black paint dries, your parking lot painter returns to paint the bright yellow-orange lines of parking lot stalls, thus making the black paint really stand out against the yellow-orange of the stall lines.
Contractors or DIY
If you choose to have more asphalt or an overhaul on the asphalt you have, you will need to hire a concrete and asphalt contractor. Asphalt is not something you can do on your own, no matter how small your parking lot is. The same goes for a painting contractor, since you are having a very large, reasonably flat space painted all the same color. Because you already have to hire a contractor to paint the yellow-orange stall lines, it just makes sense to have the same person paint the entire lot.
As for sealcoating your parking lot, you could this on your own. It may take several buckets of sealcoating and a long-poled squeegee from your local hardware store, but you could do it. Many homeowners sealcoat their own driveways, and this works out just fine.
However, you should remember that you are taking on a much larger and potentially messier project with the parking lot than your home driveway. It is something worth considering when you want the job done correctly the first time and not have to redo it because it dried and hardened into an uneven mess. The professionals can apply a sealcoat in just a couple of short hours, and they can do it on a weekend when your store is not open. This gives you time to focus on other things and then enjoy the sight of the professional job on Monday morning.
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