Making The Grade: How Paving Contractors Take Land And Turn It Into A Parking Lot

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If you need a new driveway, sidewalk, or walkway for your home or commercial business property, we're here to help address your concerns. Our educational blog covers paving topics ranging from small residential jobs to large commercial concrete projects. Because most big paving jobs aren't for "do-it-yourselfers," you won't find instructional tutorials on our site explaining how to excavate your backyard or pour a cement driveway. You might, however, discover blog posts providing you with helpful tips on maintaining your concrete driveway and removing oil stains from your newly paved garage floor. You might even find a post or two on the types of municipal permits you or your paving contractor might need if you're planning on undertaking a small paving project at home.

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Making The Grade: How Paving Contractors Take Land And Turn It Into A Parking Lot

20 January 2020
 Categories: , Blog


If you have never watched a paving contractor's crew take a wooded lot and turn it into a parking lot, you have missed a lot. Contractors have been doing this for decades, and you should see what they can do. Just to get an idea of what to expect, here is how your wooded lot turns into a perfect parking zone. 

Trees and Brush Are Cleared

The first thing the contractor and his or her crew will do is clear the trees and brush from the landscape. This typically takes about a week or less, depending on the size of the area you are turning into a parking lot. The stumps have to be removed completely too, because grinding them down will not be enough to clear the ground for the next step in this process. All wood is either chipped or sold as logs to a lumber company. 

Grading the Lot

The next thing the pavers do is grade the lot. This is where several construction trucks begin moving mud around to get a flatter surface. Then more construction vehicles come through to really flatten and even out the dirt area. This is necessary to pave the way for adding gravel and concrete. If the soil is not flat, even, and level, the gravel placed over the top will not be level enough to create a flat concrete surface either. Grading the soil alone takes a few days. 

Adding Gravel and Concrete

Gravel covers the dirt so that the concrete is well supported by a harder "surface" and does not sink into the ground or shift and crack when the soil shifts. The gravel also has to be graded, which usually takes another day or two. After the gravel layer is well established, the concrete can be poured. The area is roped off and framed in to keep the concrete from leaking in pools all around where the paved area is supposed to be. The concrete layer is poured and smoothed and then left to dry and cure. This takes a few weeks. 

Asphalt/Blacktop

The technical term for the bitumen layer added to concrete is asphalt. However, there are regional terms commonly used, and blacktop is one. Whatever you call it, this is the last layer the paving contractor does before painting the parking stall lines on the lot and installing speed bumps at the head of each parking stall. Asphalt can generally be poured, smoothed, and left to cool and harden in about two to four days. Painting lines and installing the speed bumps takes another day or two, and then you have a bona fide parking lot. 

Reach out to companies like RD's Paving Inc to learn more about paving processes.