Asphalt Paving Monticello, IL

Asphalt Considerations When Paving a Mall Parking Lot

Your new mall needs high-quality asphalt paving for the parking lot, but you aren’t sure where to begin. The following information will help you understand the paving process and make it easier for you to get the asphalt parking lot that your mall needs to succeed.

Understanding Paving Layers

When you get any asphalt paving for your mall, the design is typically done in an aggregate-based layered system to improve the strength of each slab. Each layer utilizes a slightly different set of materials to increase the support and function of the pavement structure. Understanding these layers will make it easier for you to understand the design of your parking lot and what materials you should choose when building one.

The first layer – the one on the bottom of the lot – is the subgrade soils. This layer is the dirt on which you place your pavement, and it varies according to a variety of factors. For example, some soil may be densely packed clay that doesn’t allow water to flow smoothly. Sand-packed soil will typically be looser and allow water to move through the soil. However, the strength of the earth will be much lower.

On top of the subgrade is your subbase. This layer is designed to compensate for the type of soil underneath of your pavement while supporting the asphalt at the same time. Typically, the subbase includes a variety of soil types, like sand. It is then layered at a range of thickness to make your pavement stronger. After this layer is laid, your pavement is placed on top.

However, you will also have a few layers of asphalt to pour. The subbase may also be called the aggregate layer and includes stones and other types of materials. The first asphalt layer is the base and is designed to support the weight of all of your pavement and the items on top. Finally, the surface layer is laid, which is usually designed for both strength and aesthetic appearance.

Traffic Analysis Helps Improve Pavement Strength

All pavement is designed to withstand a variety of different traffic weight. Analyzing the amount of traffic expected is critical for every type of asphalt, but particularly for mall parking lots. You’re going to have a lot of vehicles driving over your pavement and parking there for hours at a time. As a result, you need to carefully calculate how much weight you anticipate on your asphalt paving at any given time.

This level is evaluated based on a measurement known as Equivalent Single Axle Loads or ESAL. ESAL indicates the amount of distress caused to the pavement by a single 18,000-pound axle load. Gauging this level is something that you’re going to need a professional to calculate, but you can still help by estimating the maximum number of vehicles you anticipate on a parking lot.

For example, you can calculate the full size of your parking lot and the number of spaces. Through your parking lot is unlikely to be fully packed at any time, you should prepare your asphalt for this weight to avoid issues. You also need to calculate how many vehicles are likely to be driving on your lot during the day, as moving vehicles impact pavement differently than parked ones.

Typically, the busiest shopping hours in a mall on weekdays are around 6:00 – 7:00 pm. That’s because people have left work and are heading to the mall to do a little shopping. Calculate how many people you anticipate coming to your mall during this time and prepare for this maximum amount. Don’t forget to also calculate visitors on the weekends, which will typically be your busiest times of the week.

Materials to Consider for Each Layer

Before you start pouring pavement, you need to gauge what kind of subgrade materials you’ll need for your parking lot. A professional asphalt paving expert can measure the strength of your subgrade and help you decide if the content is good enough. If they find that your parking lot subgrade is too weak, they may have to replace it with stronger materials to keep your lot as secure as possible.

Then they’ll decide what kinds of materials to use in your asphalt, which will vary depending on the ESAL and other factors. For example, they will choose to use stronger bits of asphalt and stone if your parking lot needs a heavier weight load. These decisions can influence whether cracks appear on your pavement, particularly if you try to use lower-density asphalt to save yourself money.

Another important consideration is the type of layered system utilized for your asphalt. As mentioned, layers with aggregate bases or subbases are the most common type because they are usually less expensive and more supportive of various types of traffic. However, you may also want to consider full-depth asphalt paving, as this method does provide many benefits for your parking lot.

For example, full-depth pavement loses the granular-base or subbase and pours the pavement throughout the whole length of the parking lot. This step provides you with a stronger and more stable slab of asphalt and may be a good choice if your parking lot needs a strong layer to support your traffic. However, there are a few drawbacks of this method.

First of all, you’ll have to rely on your subgrade materials to provide it with support, which may result in shifting if the soil is affected by massive exposure to water. Also, these slabs are typically a bit less flexible than aggregate slabs, which means they may be more prone to cracking. However, various types of maintenance and repair methods can avoid this problem.

Professional Help is Always Wise

If you’re struggling to choose the best asphalt paving for your parking lot needs, please contact us at Elite Paving & Sealcoating to learn more. Our professionals will work with you to create a high-quality asphalt job that will look great and which will support your Monticello, IL and Central Illinois mall traffic for years without problems.

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