Car Parking Surface Materials: What Should You Go For?

car park surfacing and line marking

Adding a car park to your business premises is a big investment, and you’ll doubtless want it to last for many years to come. Choosing the right surface material, then, will be pivotal. The surfaces explored below have their own sets of pros and cons, and a surface which is ideal for some may be inappropriate for others.

If you still can’t decide on a surface after reading this blog, why not get in touch with us? Based in Peterborough, Lincoln and Romford, we have over 40 years’ experience as car park surfacing contractors.

Not only can we lay the surface for your new car park, but we can also carry out parking bay paint marking too, providing a complete start-to-finish service. That’s why we’ve been selected by some of the UK’s largest companies to construct car parks – including McDonald’s, Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Waitrose and Matalan.

No matter the size of your company, we deliver the same high level of service and attention to detail time after time. Whether you want one parking bay adding or a whole car park constructing from the ground up, we can help.


Similar in appearance to asphalt, tarmac is made using tar as opposed to bitumen, but remains durable and long-lasting. While asphalt is often considered to be the tougher of the two materials when laid over a small area, tarmac is typically king for larger open areas as it’s less likely to crack.

Tarmac surfacing contractors can supply the material in a variety of colours, making it a great option if you want to tie your car park into an existing colour scheme. It requires occasional maintenance – particularly when weeds manage to find their way through the surface – but is still a low-stress option which usually looks after itself.


Constructed using bitumen instead of tar, asphalt looks similar to tarmac but is tougher when it’s used in smaller car parks. As with tarmac, asphalt surfacing contractors can lay the material in a variety of colours, which is a major plus point. Combine that with limited maintenance requirements and high resistance to freezing temperatures (and therefore cracking), and asphalt emerges as a solid choice. It can take just 48 hours to set, too.

The only major downside to asphalt is its high heat performance; when the temperatures skyrocket on summer days, the surface can become a little oily and even shrink – something to watch out for.

Resin Bound Surfaces

This more modern material is fast becoming the surface of choice for car parks across the UK. Why is that? Well, much like tarmac and asphalt, there’s a range of colour options to choose from. It’s also extremely weather-resistant, not softening or cracking in the same ways that tarmac can be prone to doing; plus, the surface is permeable, so it drains rain water very effectively.

A remarkably low-maintenance and long-lasting option, resin bound surfaces look the part and go the distance. They’re formulated using a mixture of natural aggregate stone and clear resin, resulting in a smooth, attractive finish. Comparable in price to tarmac, resin bound car parks are becoming a common sight as the years roll by.


Gravel has numerous advantages. It can look really attractive but is comparatively affordable and straightforward to install, and the surface doesn’t have to be totally level either.

It does also have its disadvantages, however. It can begin to look untidy as the loose gravel moves around, and weeds can more easily make their way through the surface. You’ll need to carry out regular maintenance to keep it looking its best, including sweeping up gravel that’s been dragged onto the road and applying weedkiller.


If it’s durability you’re after, concrete is hard to match. It won’t crack, shrink or expand in hot or cold weather, and it requires very little maintenance. A number of colour options are available and it’s 100% recyclable, making it an environmentally friendly choice.

So, what’s the catch? The main one is the price, which is steeper than any of the other surfaces mentioned here, but it also has a long curing time. While some of the surfaces listed above will be ready to drive on within a day or two, concrete can take up to a week to fully cure – not ideal for high-traffic businesses. It’s not permeable either so will require additional drainage, adding to the cost.

Car Parking Surfacing

Whichever surface you go for, at A&MT we’re here 24/7 to help you maintain it and keep it looking its best. We even offer an emergency 48-hour pothole repair service. So, whether your car park is in need of a little remedial work or you’d like to totally revamp it, our expert team of car park surfacing contractors has you covered. Contact us today to find out more and receive a free, no obligation quote.