Parking blocks are an essential safety item for public parking lots, churches, school campuses, business parks and shopping centers. The device – also called parking curbs or parking stops – is relied on in densely packed, head-on parking slots to prevent drivers from rolling onto sidewalks or into other parked cars. It is also used to protect fixed objects including shopping carts, garbage receptacles, signage and utility poles. Parking curbs are installed as barriers for sidewalks, pedestrian pathways and bike lanes, providing additional protection from moving cars.
Learn more about the benefits of Plastic Bumpers and Rubber Blocks
Traditional, precast parking blocks are made from concrete. That’s the oldest option available. Thanks to technological advancements, we now have alternatives that are safer and frequently perform better.
If you do choose concrete, you should be aware of several factors:
- Concrete parking blocks are extremely heavy. A 6-foot block weighs approximately 275 lbs. Not only does this make concrete parking blocks very expensive to ship, it also makes the product difficult to transport and install. You will need to seek professional advice or labor to avoid injuring yourself.
- If you have access to in-house labor, please be advised that concrete parking blocks require special knowledge to properly install. Due to their significant weight, the product can put workers at risk of injury and put you at risk of a worker’s compensation lawsuit.
- Concrete blocks are heavy because of they are made from mixed stone. This does not guarantee the product’s performance. In fact, concrete can chip or break if a vehicle strikes it too hard. The material can also damage a vehicle – particularly low front-end vehicles.
- Because concrete blocks are heavy and unable to absorb shock, they can damage or dislodge anchor hardware — which can also crack the pavement’s surface — if struck by a vehicle.
- Bare concrete blends with the pavement so drivers frequently have difficulty seeing it. The best way to keep drivers from hitting a concrete parking block is to paint it bright yellow or another high-visibility color. If the parking spot is reserved for handicapped parking, you will need to paint the block a standard blue in order to comply with the American Disability Association (ADA). Repaint the parking stop regularly in order to maintain a professional appearance and minimize fading.
- In order to keep concrete from breaking on impact, many manufacturers add an internal piece of steel hardware called a rebar. As the concrete begins to crack and chip with regular environmental exposure and vehicle impact, the rebar becomes exposed, creating additional safety hazards. For example, the rebar can rust which can poison a person or child who trips and falls or touches the surface.
- Concrete cannot be recycled. Once the product is damaged or unusable, it must be carefully removed and disposed of at a licensed waste facility.
- Concrete parking blocks are ridged, so they won’t lie flat on the surface of gravel or older asphalt. That separation makes it difficult to properly anchor the product, which weakens its stability and effectiveness.
- Viable alternatives to concrete include 100 % recycled plastic and 100 % recycled rubber parking blocks. These products are inexpensive, more durable and easy for an untrained person to install and maintain. The technology has improved tremendously from the stone age days of concrete – safety products made from recycled rubber and recycled plastic often exceed the safety and value standards set for traditional parking blocks.