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Car park surfaces - our complete guide

Tuesday 15th October 2019 by Anthony Abbott

Car park surface options – our complete guide


We weigh up the materials, designs, options and pros and cons of each car park solution.


Whether it’s a residential driveway or a commercial car park, deciding what surface is best can be something of a conundrum.

Clearly, individual taste must play a part. You want something that looks aesthetically pleasing, whether it’s at home or at your business premises.

A great looking driveway in a residential setting adds kerb appeal – and may also add value to your property. At a business premises, clearly you want it to be practical, but if it looks great too, it will certainly enhance the perception of your brand to both existing and potential clients.

Clearly, budget will be a key factor too, for both home and business owners alike – but alongside all these considerations, there is one that is absolutely fundamental.

You want a solution that’s tough and durable, one that’s built to last with minimal maintenance requirements. Spending a little more at the start, may save you a lot further down the line.

So what are the options – and what makes each one worth considering?



A hardy and traditional solution, concrete is tough and long lasting, built to withstand regular traffic use and easy to maintain.

 It is easy to mark out parking bays, making it a great choice for commercial premises and you can choose from a variety of textures and colour options too. If you are looking to reduce your carbon footprint, it’s the greener option too as it is a totally recyclable material.

Cost is a factor though, particularly if you have large commercial premises. Installation is expensive in large settings and it is not a quick option either. Concrete can take up to a week or more to cure so you need to think carefully about how this could impact on your business operations. Bear in mind too that concrete isn’t a permeable surface so drainage/water run off must be factored in. it also fairs well in hot weather, but can be susceptible to damage by extreme cold.  



Gone are the days when Tarmac was restricted to one colour choice, black. Modern developments now mean you can choose from a range of colour options that best suit your environment and/or taste.

Tarmac surfaces are made up of a combination of crushed stone layers bonded together with tar and the main benefits are that it is both durable and aesthetically pleasing. On the negative side though, diesel can damage the surface causing it to dissolve and/or melt, while it is also difficult to combat weed growth where there are gaps in the surface.



Quick and easy to lay and extremely cost effective, gravel still has a big role to play in car park surfaces, particularly if you only have a modest budget to play with. Again, a range of colour and texture choices are available, and it adapts to the contours of a surface quickly and easily.

Gravel is high maintenance though and requires regular weeding, which can soon become a chore if it is covering a particularly large surface. This maintenance requirement is likely to increase as the surface beds down further, so if you have a large car park area to cover, this need to be considered. While there is still something highly aesthetically pleasing about gravel, it requires a lot of upkeep.



Tough and long lasting, as well as low maintenance, asphalt has a lot going for it as a car park surface – particularly as it is also virtually waterproof. With its smooth and clearly defined finish, it looks classy and is also much quicker to lay and use. Whereas concrete can take a week to prove, your asphalt surface is ready to take traffic in two days.

It’s very low maintenance too and easy to repair if it suffers surface damage. On the downside, while asphalt performs well in cold temperatures, the heat can cause it to shrink. It is also more suited to smaller areas, as it has tendency to crack if laid in large areas. It is very important to take into account the size of your parking area when considering asphalt.


Resin bound

It’s the modern car park surface solution that is attracting more and more interest from consumers.

There is a long list of benefits if you opt for resin bound, in which aggregate is mixed with resin to create a smooth and porous surface. Not only is it tough and durable there is a wide range of colours and textures to choose from.

Resin offers great flexibility and versatility, is highly resistant to both cracking and chips, and has excellent anti-slip qualities. It also benefits from UV protection against both colour fade and discolouration and you can even personalise it by incorporating logos/company brands.

Cost effective and quick and easy to lay, resin is a highly low maintenance option too. Just a quick hose down or jet wash occasionally will keep it looking good for many years to come.


Block paving

Bock paving creates a highly aesthetically pleasing finish, making it still one of the most popular choices for a car park surface, particularly in a domestic setting.

They don’t tend to be as costly as traditional finishes like concrete or tarmac, and there many colour options to choose from. Design options are limitless with block paving too. You can mix block sizes, colours and shapes and finish it off with stylish edging.  

On the downside, it does take a bit of time to keep it looking its best, with regular weeding and washing down required. Be careful with a jet washer though, particularly where blocks are a bit loose.


Choose car park surface options from Harbron

As the recognised South West specialist for driveways, Harbron Home Improvements offers the full range of car park solutions – resin bound, tarmac, block paving, gravel and concrete.

Our specialist in-house installation team not only deliver brand new driveway/car park surfaces, we also carry out repairs and extensions to existing surfaces too.

We also have maintenance and aftercare packages available too. We do all the hard work looking after your car park surface, so you don’t have to.

Find out more at www.hhigroup.co.uk or call us on 01626323523.