The benefits are more than a pretty face

By Jeff Winke

One has to wonder if the Munchkins from the Wizard of Oz may be the best “spokeskins” for decorative paving? They definitely make a compelling case for a yellow roadway that promises to lead to a better life.

Decorative paving can open new pathways (pun intended) for paving customers. It can offer customers a creative, new look for their grounds, define safety hazards, modulate traffic flow, and create a stronger affinity to a company or organization.

“To the end customer, depending on the coating, the benefits can range from visual enhancement of a space to significantly extending the life (and therefore reducing the total cost of ownership) of their pavement,” stated Sean Markin, director of marketing for StreetBond, GAF Materials Corp., Parsippany, New Jersey. “For example, many of our coatings include solar reflective technology that can reduce the amount of UV light hitting the asphalt, slowing its degradation. Additionally, our coatings can act as a barrier reducing the amount of water entering pavement defects and, in the North where water freezes, it can help minimize cracking.

“Additionally, the benefits include enhancing the organization’s relationship to their end-customer. These benefits might include attracting their attention through a colorful display, increasing engagement via a mural reflecting the history of an area, or conversion via wayfinding indicators (e.g., arrows indicating the direction of a checkout register).”

Creative uses for decorative coating and stamped asphalt paving are restricted only by imagination.

“In the past few years, high traffic applications are seeing more decorative coating projects,” stated Gerry Oliver, president of Pattern Paving Products, Fort Mill, South Carolina. “We are seeing applications in school grounds, and hardscapes that allow colorful artistic projects using nothing but color.”

Janie Gallagher, StreetPrint sales and project manager for Gallagher Asphalt Corporation, Thornton, Illinois sees many sales opportunities for touting the benefits of decorative pavement.

“Customers need to appreciate that with decorative asphalt pavement they can receive beautiful crosswalks and can slow traffic to create safer environments. They can define separate lanes for bikes and busses with brightly highlighted lanes to ensure safety and awareness. With creative uses it can bring more traffic to the area as it is a ‘drawing in’ feature of the town. It can spruce up a tired-looking area and even give a sophisticated look. Decorative pavement can send a powerful message to children, their schools, and the local residents that even the ground they walk on matters!”

Gallagher continued with additional selling tips: “It can help your sales to educate civil engineering firms of your services regarding decorative coating and stamped asphalt paving and working with them to spec your product. Also, you should connect with cities to understand what their needs may be and provide solutions. And you should build relationships with other contractors so that they know the services you’re able to provide for decorative coating and stamped asphalt paving.”

Currently, the decorative paving market appears to be experiencing growth.

“Colorful hardscapes and municipal crosswalks appear to be growth areas for new decorative asphalt paving business,” Oliver said. “First, the right product has to be chosen for the application, which depends on the traffic counts and geographical location of the decorative project. Also, you should have a maintenance program setup with the customer to address aging of the product.”

Oliver offered advice to asphalt paving contractors interested in adding decorative paving to their service mix: “Ensure you are in a market that has interest in the products. It is important to have crew members that have an eye for detail. Start small with the minimal amount of equipment and grow as you build the market.”

Stamped or textured asphalt has become more popular and affordable.

Brian Rodill, owner of Absolute Asphalt, LLC, Manakin-Sabot, Virginia offers the following benefits on their website:

  • Can last a lifetime. Asphalt is more durable and lasts longer than concrete.
  • Easy maintenance. Stamped asphalt can be added to existing asphalt and can be refurbished.
  • More durable than brick or stone. Stamped asphalt is flexible pavement that resists cracking and can handle high vehicle traffic.
  • Many style options. You can choose from brick, slate or other designs in a variety of colors.
  • More cost-effective. Since stamped asphalt is faster and easier to install, it requires less labor which cuts on projects costs.
  • Improves aesthetic appeal. Stamped asphalt can be customized to showcase logos or other eye-catching designs.

Decorative paving has many pluses that can be sold to customers. It is more than just a color accent.

Jeff Winke is a business and construction writer based in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. He can be reached through