When to Open a Parking Lot After Paving

When to Open a Parking Lot After Paving

Knowing when to open a parking lot after paving helps to protect your investment. No business owner should underestimate the importance of a parking garage or lot. Still, it’s easy to forget about with everything else on their plate. Since a commercial parking lot is your property’s first impression, it’s important to properly care for it. 


When you need to replace or repair a parking lot, the big question always comes to mind, how long before I can open a parking lot after paving? No one wants to lose business to a closed lot. So knowing the duration helps you schedule the project with as little disruption as possible. 


Let’s take a look at when it’s safe to open a commercial parking lot after paving. Moreover, let’s examine the different timeframes for concrete and asphalt projects as well as other factors to consider. 

Asphalt Parking Lot: When You Can Open

Brand New Lot

When you need a new parking lot with a new base and fresh blacktop, it requires more time. To properly prepare and execute the project may require several days. So the question is, after we install the top layer, when can you open the lot? 


Typically, it’s safe to open a parking lot after paving in about 24 to 48 hours. If the weather is hot, it may be closer to the 48-hour mark. While hot weather is ideal for new asphalt installation as it helps to avoid cold seams and raveling, additional time is needed to allow it to properly cool.  “Power steering marks” is the commonly used term for marks left on the surface from car tires turning on asphalt that is still soft.  However, once the surface has been allowed to properly cool, you will have a parking lot that is not only beautiful, but is very sturdy. 

Milling and Reclaiming

Whether performing a mill and overlay or reclaiming and stabilization, these processes involve an additional step before the asphalt paving is done.  After allowing the proper time for this prep work, you will once again need to allow the 24-48 hour cooling time after installing the asphalt based on weather conditions.  


Sealcoating, unlike asphalt, is a spray-on material that protects the existing asphalt surface and gives it the fresh new look similar to a newly installed asphalt surface. Proper cure time for sealcoat material varies with the weather conditions.  Typically, 24 hours is all that is needed during warm weather months, while 48 hours may be needed during cooler temperatures.  Also, consideration needs to be given to humidity levels and rain, as these can lengthen cure times.  Allowing a freshly sealcoated lot to properly cure will ensure a durable surface that will give it the “new” look for a long period of time.  

Concrete: When to Open a Parking Lot After Paving

Across the country, parking lots and parking structures use concrete for its longevity. Eventually, though, there will be a time when you will have to repair or replace it. As concrete work requires many steps to properly perform, careful planning is key to a smooth job. 


So, after the work is done, when is it possible to re-open your parking lot?  Generally, most new pours require 3-5 days before opening to vehicular traffic. However, it is often safe for foot traffic to access the area within 24-48 hours. It’s a good idea, however, to avoid anything with wheels moving across the lot during the initial curing period. That includes bikes and skateboards as well as shopping carts. 


In certain circumstances where the cure time needs to be shortened, concrete with higher Portland cement content or special accelerators can be used.  This is why careful planning and consideration of all variables is key when undertaking a concrete restoration project. 

Curing Times: Parking Lots vs Parking Garages

Do parking garages and parking lots cure differently? Typically, there’s no significant difference between the cure times of either. Compared to parking garages, lots have more exposure to wind and sun. This may result in speeding up the curing project by only a few hours.


Generally, the main factor affecting cure times is the material you use. Concrete cures more slowly than asphalt. As such, you can expect a concrete parking garage to take far longer than an asphalt parking lot to sufficiently cure before opening it up to traffic. 

Tips from a Paving Company

When you work with an experienced paving company, they have the needed expertise specific to your area. With their knowledge of available materials and the local climate conditions, they can advise you on when it’s safe to open a parking lot after paving. Generally, your paving company will offer a timeframe to help you plan and execute the new installation with as little disruption to your business as possible. 

Know with Clarity When to Open a Parking Lot After Paving

Before you shut down your parking lot, talk to the professionals at A1SP. We are happy to lend our insight and expertise to your paving project. With decades of experience on our side, we have the knowledge necessary to execute your project efficiently and effectively. 

When you want to get the job done right the first time, call on the paving company Houston trusts. 

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