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How Can You Ensure Optimal Parking Lot Drainage?

Key Takeaways

  1. Poor drainage is a leading cause of pavement failure. It can create safety hazards, making it essential for commercial businesses to ensure their parking lots have optimal drainage.
  2. Common problems with poor drainage are puddles & ponding, sinkholes & lowering ground levels, water damage & corrosion, and potholes and cracks.
  3. Factors that affect parking lot drainage are elevation, design, asphalt, and maintenance.
  4. Solutions for achieving optimal drainage include elevating low areas, installing pipes or channels, routine maintenance, proper slope & grading, and installing storm grates & catch basins.
  5. Repaving a commercial lot offers many benefits, such as enhancing aesthetic appeal, increasing property value, reducing maintenance costs, improving safety, and optimizing drainage.

Parking lots are essential to commercial businesses, providing convenience and accessibility for customers and employees. Research indicates that poor drainage is one of the leading causes of pavement failure and deterioration, which can lead to costly repairs and safety hazards.

With heavy rainfalls and unpredictable weather patterns becoming increasingly common, commercial business owners must ensure their parking lots have optimal drainage systems. Standing water can form without proper drainage, creating several pavement defects and increasing the risk of accidents and damage to vehicles in the commercial lot.

Fortunately, there are solutions to achieve optimal drainage. Atkins Paving will share expert insights on preventing parking lot floods and damage, including the benefits of working with parking lot repaving services. Keep reading to discover how to protect your property and provide a safer, more welcoming environment for your customers and employees.

Common Problems with Poor Parking Lot Drainage

Before we try to understand the solutions for optimal drainage, let’s first look at some problems that help identify existing drainage issues in your parking lot.

Puddles & Ponding

One of the most common problems with poor commercial lot drainage is puddling or standing water accumulating on your pavement. Usually caused by an improper slope or grade, these puddles can quickly become deep and cause damage to vehicles, as well as potential slip and fall for pedestrians.

Sinkholes & Lowering Ground Levels

Sinkholes, the abrupt and sudden sinking of the ground due to a drainage issue, are often caused by incorrect lot design, erosion, or soil compaction. The most common cause is an inadequate stormwater management system that fails to channel water away from the property and can quickly damage the pavement and create a hazard for pedestrians and drivers.

Water Damage & Corrosion

Poor drainage often leads to water seeping through your pavement and causing significant deterioration of your property’s foundation. Puddles can also cause vehicle corrosion, leading to expensive repairs or replacements that could have been avoided with proper drainage design.

Potholes and Cracks

Potholes are a significant issue for parking lot owners, as they can create hazards for drivers, decrease your property’s value, and increase the cost of resurfacing. Experts suggest that U.S. drivers face $3 billion annually in damages from potholes alone. If there are cracks in your pavement due to water seeping through and undermining it, those must be addressed first.

Factors That Affect Parking Lot Drainage


The elevation of the parking lot can have a significant effect on how water will drain off it. If the parking lot isn’t level and has several slopes, this can create “catchment areas” where water will accumulate. These catchment areas can then hold onto the water and cause it to pool, leading to flooding.


Your parking lot design is also essential in how it will drain. If you have curved or sloped areas, they can cause water to pool and collect in certain areas. Additionally, the size of the drainage pipes and the number of drains need to be considered when designing a parking lot.


Asphalt is an essential factor in draining your parking lot. Properly mixed asphalt should form a smooth surface, allowing the water to flow quickly and easily. If the asphalt is old or damaged, it can develop cracks and crevices that trap moisture and cause flooding.


The parking lot needs to be regularly maintained to drain effectively. It includes filling potholes, repairing cracks, and occasionally repaving the lot. Regular maintenance also helps to reduce the risk of flooding in nearby areas.

Solutions for Achieving Optimal Parking Lot Drainage

Now that we know what causes poor drainage let’s look at some solutions to ensure optimal parking lot drainage.

Elevate Low Areas

Low areas in the parking lot should be elevated as this will help improve the slope so that water can flow away from the site and prevent water pooling, which can lead to flooding.

Install a Drainage System

Installing a drainage system, such as underground pipes or channels, can enable the water to flow away from the parking lot and reduce flooding.


Routine Maintenance

Routine maintenance is essential for promoting proper drainage in any parking lot. It includes filling potholes and cracks, removing debris, and repaving or resealing the surface.

Proper Slope and Grading

The parking lot should be properly sloped and graded to promote good drainage. It will ensure water is directed away from the parking lot rather than towards it, preventing flood damage and standing water.

Install Storm Grates and Catch Basins

Installing storm grates and catch basins can help collect runoff water from the parking lot. It will allow it to be piped away correctly and reduce the risk of flooding.

Why Should You Consider Parking Lot Repaving?

Parking lot repaving can offer many benefits, such as:

  • Enhancing the aesthetic appeal of your parking lot and business.
  • Increasing your property value.
  • Reducing maintenance costs in the long run.
  • Optimizing safety for customers and employees entering and leaving the premises.
  • Improving drainage and reducing.

Related: 10 Mistakes To Avoid In Parking Lot Layout Design


Improving parking lot drainage is always an excellent investment for any business. Proper drainage and repaving can improve property value, reduce maintenance costs, enhance safety, and optimize aesthetic appeal. With an effective plan and professional services, you can ensure optimal drainage and enjoy these benefits in the long run!

Ensure Optimal Commercial Lot Functionality with Quality Paving Solutions in Charleston, SC

If you are based in Charleston, SC, and looking for quality paving solutions to ensure optimal commercial lot functionality, Atkins Paving can help. With 26 years of experience serving the local community, We provide top-notch asphalt parking lot repaving to commercial businesses. Contact us today for a free quote!