Asphalt vs. Concrete Parking Pads (for cars): Which is better?

My park does not currently have parking pads, and residents park their cars on the grass or dirt in front of their homes. I am considering installing standard 20’x20’ pads that will be large enough accommodate two vehicles.

There are cost benefits to asphalt over concrete, but concrete tends to last longer in certain weather conditions. Asphalt is cheaper to repair, but needs to be repaired more often.

My park is located in a sunbelt state, so salt, snow, and ice are not issues. There is a gravel road in my park that I am planning to cover with asphalt. The other road fronts on a public street that is asphalt.

I’m on the fence about asphalt vs. concrete parking pads. Does anyone have a preference?

I have a paved road on my community. Residents are responsible for there laneways if they want anything other than a gravel laneway. No way I am paying for upgraded laneways. Many have upgraded to paved, no concrete. I do not like concrete as it generally looks very rough if it cracks. It is too expensive for the tenants to pay for and replace so upgrades are all asphalt.
For those tenants that stay with gravel they are responsible for keeping the weeds and grass out of it.
In your situation I would put in gravel laneways and when paving the streets try to negotiate a discounted price to pave laneways for any tennat willing to pay for the upgrade.

If you’re already planning to asphalt the main road the incremental cost of the parking pads with that crew and their equipment on site is the right way to go.


I would price out both options in order to get an accurate comparison.

Unless asphalt is a lot cheaper I’d lean toward concrete:
-It will need significantly less maintenance
-Maintenance will be difficult to implement, since no one can be parking on their pads when you do maintenance, so less maintenance is extra good
-I’m no chemist, but unless you have a very classy park many of your residents will likely be leaving oil leaks and stains on their parking pads. To my (limited) knowledge oil stains are pretty bad for asphalt, but fairly benign for concrete.

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I am opting for asphalt pads because if there is ever any reason to dig under that area they are easier to break up than concrete pads. I have concrete streets in half the park and will finish out the street in concrete. I think adding 20x20 concrete pads is just too much concrete if by any chance a pipe goes underneath it or tree roots etc. We are just finishing replacing all the water lines in the park and installing submeters but I am not upgrading the sewer lines at this time so I will go with the lowest amount of concrete possible.

Thanks to all for the good points. I will have to price it out, but right now am leaning towards asphalt due to the likely cost savings and ease of future repairs.


Have you considered asphalt millings? If you are unfamiliar with them they are asphalt ground off city streets or highways. This is done prior to repaving.

Locally I can get them for $25 per yard delivered for a 20’x20’ pad 4" thick you are looking at 5-6 yards per pad materials ($150). I would triple that number if you are hiring outside labor and doing less than one or two pads at a time.
Depending on your soil type site prep work can be more important than the actual finish surface and can lead to additional costs. For areas that already being used at parking areas I normally would level out the ruts that form using a loader blade, then compact the area. Top soil usually is not a issue.

After digging out top soil and then compacting the subsoil you place 4-5" of loose milling and then compacting them into a relatively hard and durable surface. Ensure parking pad has positive drainage with no ponding. If this does happen add more milling till solved. An easy way to QC a job is with a garden hose. If pools form the job is not done.

It will then take one warm summer till the asphalt in the milling solidifies in an asphalt like material. If the area has people turning slowing over the new milling you will have problem areas. This is due to the car tires turning on the road surface and tearing up the millings.

If/when pot holes do form you can use cold patch that you can buy at any home Depot or use asphalt milling mixed with a little drive way sealer. The second solution is by far cheaper. You can rent a compactor for roughly $100 per day.

Depending on the quality of the milling you can get a surface indistinguishable from asphalt. Quality depends on how old and dried out the source asphalt the milling came from. This in my experience is a crap shoot. I just put a coat if driveway sealer on milling I find sub par.

As for life of the product… This all depends on too many factors to give a honest answer. Quality of milling, subsoil, thickness of millings, quallity of workmanship, climate, weight of vehicles driving on the roadway, etc. That being said, with yearly maintenance and upkeep you should be able to get 20 year before any major issues. Just fill in any pot holes in each spring and put a sealer coat on tired sections as needed.

For more information try:

Make sure to read the comments.


Thanks for this tip. I am going to look into asphalt millings.

Pardon me, as I am trying to understand this. You own the property, the ground , and all fixtures of the park. But you make the renters pay for permanent fixtures like parking pads? Which they cannot take with them upon moving and you own? Forgive me if I got this wrong. I really want to understand this.

I do not make tenants pay for paved laneways, it is their choice to upgrade from gravel. They also cannot take gardens or patio’s with them when they move but are also at their expense. Having a paved laneway in theory increases the resale value of their home. Whether they own or rent the land they are the beneficiary of upgrades. It does not increase my income therefor of little value to me.
In my market we do not charge a higher rent for a lot with a paved laneway, if we did there would be value in me paying for it.