Asphalt is the most common material for driveways and parking lots in Massachusetts, and the entire northeast. You may wonder why that is, and the answer is pretty simple, but also pretty interesting. Simply put, asphalt is better suited to the freeze and thaw cycles in the northeast than other materials such as concrete.
The reason asphalt is a better option is because it has space to expand and contract with the temperature. Asphalt is made of stone aggregate held together with a refined petroleum binder (which is actually called ‘asphalt’– the end product is properly called ‘asphalt concrete’). The space between the aggregate is filled with the sticky binder, which can expand and contract without cracking the entire parking lot.
Concrete, on the other hand, is less pliable. While it is also made up of stone aggregate, the whole product is bound together by a cement, which hardens as it cures. This cement is great for certain applications where structural strength is of utmost importance. But it is less than optimal where temperature fluctuations cause the block to expand and contract, since the cement turns into a solid with zero ‘give’ in it.
Concrete lots are more common in the southern United States, where it stays warmer most of the year. Massachusetts does not, as we all know. With summer temperatures sometimes breaking the 100 degree mark, and winter temperatures falling well below zero in some areas, every piece of pavement in the state experiences significant expansion and contraction on a yearly routine.
There is one smaller advantage to asphalt pavement for your parking lot: since asphalt is black, it absorbs heat from sunlight, and emanates it slowly. This aids, a little bit, in snow melt, which keeps your lot usable more often that it would otherwise be.
Driveway Specialists is a third generation asphalt paving company, specializing in asphalt driveways and parking lots. We have a longstanding commitment to excellent work and friendliness, and use only the best equipment in all of our projects. If you’re considering installing, repaving, resurfacing, or replacing an asphalt driveway or parking lot, consult us first for an experienced evaluation of the demands of your project. If you’re in Boston or Norfolk County, call us at (508) 818-7685; for Middlesex County, call (844) 244-4249. We can also be reached via email at email@example.com, or via the contact form in the sidebar.