When you own a vehicle you need a place to park. For cars, this might be a driveway, for specialty vehicles like boats and RVs, this might be a dedicated location that needs to withstand sustained weight over a long period of time.
Below are some questions to ask yourself when first beginning the process of looking for parking solutions, how to identify your needs, a comparison of popular materials, and some resources on where to look next.
Do I Need Added Parking Support?
Any time you regularly use a surface, there is the risk of shrifting substrate, sagging, and cracks. For parking locations, the heavier or longer a vehicle is parked, the worse the problem gets. When asking if you may need added ground support, there are a few considerations to make:
- Whether its primary use is as a RV parking pad
- Whether its primary use is as a Boat parking pad
- Whether you are going to park for an extended period of time
- Whether your main concern is protecting your garage floor
If your intended use falls anywhere in the above list, reinforcing your drive is a must– saving you money and inconvenience as time goes on.
And so comes the issue of buying the right support.
Assessing your Parking Pad Needs
Geocells are a versatile material that have a multitude of uses based on their depth. When using a shallower geocell, the high quality design makes for perfect parking mats, protecting your garage whether parking your car or parking your RV.
Deeper geocells are made to reinforce the base of a driveway or parking space. Because of the added support, a geocell drive will help protect and reinforce a parking pad for RV owners– saving your tires from sitting in the mud and reducing the displacement of substrate from the weight of your vehicle.
Because of their varied uses, geocells can be added to almost every project to that added level of durability many strive to achieve.
Gravel vs Asphalt: How Geocells Change the Game
If you are looking to add or refurbish a parking spot, there is an age old question that has likely come up: should I just use asphalt?
The short answer? No. Learn why in the categories below.
As a material, asphalt has gained popularity for two main reasons: it’s more cost effective than concrete and is relatively easy to install. However, with materials like geocells on the market, neither of these statements remain true.
Gravel is one of the most cost effective materials to use when building a driveway. Gravel also allows for water to drain naturally into the ground and can be replaced as needed with very little cost.
The issue with gravel is that it is prone to shifting. In fact, this weakness is one of the main deterrents for building gravel driveways. This doesn’t have to be the case as geocells add enough support to completely eradicate this problem.
Because geocells have a pocket-like design, they vertical support to the base of a gravel drive– holding your substrate in place and maintaining your slope. As geocells themselves are also cost effective, it allows you to build a fully reinforced parking pad out of gravel. This means you are spending nearly 50% less per square foot than opting for an asphalt alternative.
While gravel drives are a common use for geocells, they can be used as base reinforcement for a variety of materials– even concrete. This allows you to account for your budget in addition to any drainage concerns you might have. Simply put, geocells offer you the flexibility to choose materials that are not only right for your budget, but right for your location.
When using asphalt, there are only two materials available– “regular” asphalt and “coarse” asphalt. While coarse asphalt is more porous and promotes better drainage, because of its composition, it will never provide the same water solution gravel will in climates where heavy rain is regular and expected.
Asphalt installation is a hassle. It produces noxious fumes, requires heavy machinery to install, and takes time to set. Even with all this work, asphalt is ridden with potential structural problems such as cracking, sagging, and the need for regular sealcoating.
The installation for geocell support is, by contrast, much simpler. In fact, since geocells fold to a fraction of their size, the only installation needed to to bring them to site, unfold them where support is required, and then fill them with the substrate of your choice.
Durability and Maintenance
Asphalt is marketed as a cheap concrete alternative. Unfortunately, this is rarely the case. Asphalt, when used on a regular basis, is prone to cracking and sagging. This naturally occurs over time as it settles under the weight of the vehicle parked on it and is regularly exposed to the elements.
This creates the need for frequent maintenance.
While routine maintenance for asphalt includes regular cleaning, it also includes sealcoating every 2-5 years. If your asphalt drive wears poorly however, the maintenance could include filling holes and complete resurfacing.
Generally speaking, geocells provide a nearly maintenance free experience. Once they are placed and filled, they take care of themselves.
When you make an investment, it’s important to know your purchase will do its job in both the short and long term. While asphalt initially seems to be a top contender in this, its need for regular maintenance and potential issues with support just don’t pan out.
With geocells, almost any material will retain its structural integrity with minimal or inexpensive maintenance for years to come.
Park Smart: Where to Get Your Final Parking Fix
We think the case is clear– geocells are the solution to almost any parking surface. We know because we use them ourselves.
Performance Footing is a family business created to use our equestrian knowledge to help others build the sturdiest arenas and driving surfaces they can. Providing geocell solutions is part of how we make our passion a reality. Call for a quote at (877) 835-0878 or to inquire about what geo-solution is right for you.