Car park surface: pros and cons of various materials explained

One of the first steps in designing a car park is choosing what type of surface you want to lay. The various different surface materials come with their own set of pros and cons, and suit some car park projects better than others.

Whether you’re comparing car park surface asphalt vs concrete, or wondering just how much maintenance a resin-bound car park requires, we’ve created a handy table explaining the advantages and disadvantages of different surface materials – as well as the best use cases for each type.

Tarmac Asphalt  Resin Bound Gravel Concrete
Initial price Mid Mid Mid Low High
Maintenance Level Mid Low Low High Low
Curing time Mid Low Low Low High
Different colours available? Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Permeable? Yes Yes Yes Yes No


Tarmac is a durable and long-lasting car park surface material that looks similar to asphalt. Our tarmac surfacing contractors at A&MT can supply the material in a range of colours – great if you’re designing a car park with a particular colour scheme.

What’s tarmac best for?

We recommend using tarmac for larger open car parking spaces where it’s less likely to crack.


With fewer external materials than tarmac, asphalt will last for a long time and is infamous for its great durability. A knowledgeable asphalt contractor will also explain how asphalt is very resistant to weeds.

What’s asphalt best for?

We recommend choosing asphalt surfacing if your car park is frequented by heavyweight vehicles or attracts high traffic.

Resin Bound

Resin bound is the most versatile surface for car parks. Its high durability and aesthetically pleasing qualities mean that resin-bound car parks have recently skyrocketed in popularity. It’s a great material for blending in with the surrounding environment – or designing something unique and colourful.

What’s resin bound best for?

The many benefits of resin bound make it a great surface choice for the majority of car park designs.


Cheap and quick to lay, gravel is another popular choice for car parks – largely due to its affordability. It’s also an easy material to blend in with the surrounding environment.

What’s gravel best for?

We think gravel works best for car parks without too much traffic, since busy sites will likely need to be relayed frequently.


Concrete is extremely hard-wearing, will last for a long time, and barely needs any upkeep. This surface can also withstand hot and cold temperatures, and a good contractor can easily add line markings for your car park to make designated pedestrian zones and individual parking bays.

What’s concrete best for?

The impermeable quality of concrete means we recommend the material for sites that are either undercover or sheltered from the elements.

Once you’ve chosen which surface material you want for your car park, the next step is choosing the right contractor. At A&MT, we’ve got over 40 years of experience as car park surfacing contractors, helping some of the UK’s largest companies to design flawless car parks like Tesco, McDonald’s, and Sainsbury’s.