OverviewIf you are responsible for a parking lot outside of a business you own or manage, you already know just how important quality lot striping can be. The lines and other markings that you place down on the pavement in front of your business actually say a lot about the experience that a customer can expect when they come inside. A well-striped lot makes a good first impression, and it gives off a sense of professionalism that reflects well on your business. To make sure your lot looks nice for all of your guests, have the pavement striped by a contractor who is experienced in exactly this kind of work.
The Finishing TouchIn many ways, you can look at the striping in your lot as the finishing touch that was needed on a nice piece of asphalt or concrete. You obviously want the structure of your pavement itself to be in good condition so drivers don’t have to deal with pot holes or other dangers, and then you want to finish off the lot with a beautiful striping job. Striping is about both aesthetic appeal as well as functionality, so it is important that you take this project very seriously. It won’t matter if you have a beautiful piece of pavement out in front of your business if that pavement is poorly striped – the end result will still be a poor reflection of your operation.
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A Great DesignGood lot striping starts with a logical, sound design plan. All parking lots are unique to some degree because they have to take into account a number of factors as part of the design. There really is no one-size-fits-all approach to lot striping as the needs of each individual lot are simply so different. Among the many elements that need to be kept in mind while designing a lot striping plan includes the following –
- The amount of traffic. Obviously, you need to think about how many vehicles you expect to be handling on a daily basis. More specifically, you need to consider how many vehicles are likely to be present at the business at any one time. This topic should have already been considered when installing the lot originally, but it should be visited again as you figure out how to lay out the lines. Do you need to maximize the number of stalls, or can you sacrifice capacity for convenience and design? The answer to that question will be different for each business.
- Handicap space. You are required by law to include handicap spaces within your parking lot design, and you should be doing so anyway as a service to those customers who have physical limitations. Determine how many handicap stalls you are required to have and then be sure to include at least that many in your layout.
- Average vehicle size. The average size of the vehicles visiting your lot is going to depend greatly on where you are located and the kind of customers that you attract. For instance, a grocery store in the middle of the large city is likely to see mostly small cars throughout the day. On the other hand, a home supply store in a rural area will be visited mostly by large pickup trucks. These two locations have significantly different needs in terms of parking lot design, so each should cater to their likely clientele.
Quality StripesThe design is only one element of the lot striping process. The other element, of course, is the stripes that are going to go down on the pavement. Once the plan is in place and the design has been accepted by all involved, the next step is to put paint to pavement. The quality of the work that is done at this point is going to determine how successful the project is as a whole. Lot striping work isn’t going to be worth much to you if it is done poorly without proper attention to detail.
As the stripes are being applied, the contractor needs to be focused on perfectly matching the design that has been created. Not only does the design need to be followed, but measurement needs to be accurately taken out on the lot while it is being striped. It is not acceptable to have parking stalls wind up with a variety of different widths, for instance, which is something that an experienced contractor would never allow to happen. Also, straight lines are an absolute must, and it takes a team with both experience and the right equipment to bring straight lines to life in your lot.
Ongoing CareEven the best lot striping is going to fade over time. If it has been many years since your lot was last striped, you may notice that it is getting harder and harder to see the lines – especially at night. Not only is this an inconvenience for your visitors, but it is also a safety issue. You certainly don’t want to have an accident on your property because you have failed to restripe the lot in a timely manner, so stay ahead of the game on this point.
A great lot striping job brings together design and proper application beautifully. In the end, you are really looking for a striping project which is done well enough that visitors don’t notice it at all. In other words, the striping and design of the lot don’t get in the way of what the customer wants to do – which is park safely, enter the business, and leave safely without any trouble. As long as you work with an experienced contractor, and you take time to develop a logical design, you should come away happy with the final appearance of your freshly-striped parking lot.