A complete guide: Restriping your parking lot

June 7, 2024
Hannah Michelle Lambert
Content Writer

Imagine pulling into a property where the parking lot is clearly marked, clean, and welcoming. On the flip side, imagine pulling onto a lot where the spaces are cramped and you can hardly see the lines to begin with. 

As a property manager, you know that first impressions are crucial. The state of your parking lot can significantly influence a prospective tenant's perception of your property.

Beyond aesthetics, though, a well-striped parking lot is essential for safety, efficiency, and compliance. 

In this guide, we'll walk you through the key considerations for effectively restriping your parking lot, making sure it not only looks great but also leads to a better experience for staff, residents, and guests. 

Here's what we’re going to dive into:

Why it’s important to restripe your lot

Restriping includes repainting all of the lines in your parking lot, as well as any other markings, like numbers, fire lane designations, curb paint, and one-way arrows. Sometimes, a restriping job may also involve installing wheel stops and safety bollards.

Restriping your parking lot is more than just a maintenance task. It’s a strategic upgrade that can significantly boost the functionality and appearance of your property. 

Here’s how you stand to benefit from restriping:

Enhance curb appeal

A freshly striped parking lot makes a positive first impression. Clean, vibrant lines signal to prospective residents that the property is well-cared for and managed with attention to detail. 

This initial visual appeal can be a powerful deciding factor when someone is choosing their next place to live. 

Improved organization and efficiency

Properly marked parking spaces and clear directional lines reduce confusion and improve the flow of traffic in your lot. This helps you use the space available most efficiently, making sure you can accommodate as many cars as possible without overcrowding. 

Reduced liability

A poorly maintained parking lot can be a liability risk. Faded or nonexistent marking can lead to accidents, especially if critical instructions like stop signs or directional arrows on one-way lanes aren’t clearly visible. 

In cases where faded markings lead to accidents, your property could get sued

Increased resident safety and satisfaction

Even if you’re not on the hook legally or financially, you don’t want faded or improper stripes to risk the safety of your residents. Clear and visible parking lot markings are essential for guiding both drivers and pedestrians in preventing accidents or injuries. 

With faded stripes, the confusion may cause someone to literally park in the middle of the parking lot, like this example from Reddit

Faded stripes can also make it difficult to see designated zones, like handicapped spots, guest parking, and no parking zones. 

In addition to the impact on safety, striping can affect overall satisfaction. Poor striping can lead to confusion, people parking in someone else’s spot, and a whole slew of other potential problems. Regular restriping can help to significantly reduce these complaints and frustrations.

Compliance with regulations

There are certain requirements that all multifamily properties have to comply with when it comes to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and fire safety codes. These areas must be clearly marked to remain compliant, and failure to do this could result in fines or legal challenges. 

How do you know it’s time to restripe?

There are a few key indicators that it’s time to restripe your parking lot. 

Poor visibility

The easiest way to determine that you need to invest in restriping is simply by looking at your lot. A quick visual test can help you determine if it needs a touch-up. Lines that are hard to see at night or numbers that are faded and difficult to read are easy indicators. 

Typically, properties need to restripe their lot every year or two. If you live in a place with more extreme weather, though, whether that’s a lot of rain and snow or extreme heat, you may need to do this more often. 

If you’re planning to seal coat your parking lot, you will also need to have it restriped. 

Although maintenance is often the most common reason for restriping, and it involves simply painting over the existing lines to make them more visible, restriping may also involve changing the layout of existing spots or even adding new ones. 

Here are some of the indicators that you may need to pursue a more overhaul-style retriping. 

Your lot isn’t compliant

There are many regulations associated with parking lots. One of these regulations, which varies from state to state, dictates how many spots you must have for the property. 

Although restriping won’t happen when developing a new building (this would just be striping), certain changes to the regulations you have to follow may happen when you make modifications to the property. For example, if you increase your building size by 25%, you’ll also have to bump up the number of parking spots. 

Accessible spots are also required by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Below you can see the minimum requirements for accessible spaces, as determined by the total number of parking spaces. 

Improper parking

Another indicator that your current striping system isn’t working is if people are constantly parking improperly. 

One common scenario is if your spots are too small for many of your residents’ cars. This can lead to people hitting other cars if they have difficulty pulling in or out of spots. Or it could lead to people taking up multiple spots so that they don’t have to squeeze. 

These habits could be a sign that your current spots aren’t cutting it. 

Switching to reserved parking

Sometimes, restriping includes painting or repainting numbers on your spots. Many properties have to do this when they make the switch from unreserved to reserved parking. In order to easily dictate which resident parks where, you’ll need to paint unique numbers on each spot. 

For other kinds of spots, like staff parking, visitor parking, or future resident parking, you could either paint an indicator on the spots or use signage. 

Space shortage

If you’re constantly facing issues with not having enough parking, restriping is a potential solution. If you have many larger spots and lots of residents with smaller cars, you may be able to get a few extra spots by turning regular spots into compact spots. For example, you may be able to create 4 compact spots out of 3 regular spots. 

You do want to be careful here, though, so that you don’t create a new problem with overly-tight spaces like we talked about above. 

Restriping is a pretty big expense, as we’ll talk about later in this guide, so you want to make sure that if you’re restriping to resolve a space shortage, you’ve explored all other options first. Many properties find that they’re more than able to make do with the current amount of spots they have if they simply adopt the right parking management system. Often, this includes a solution like Parkade that digitizes parking records and unlocks idle spaces for short-term use, boosting capacity as a result.

Dimensions

If your restriping job is going to be more of an overhaul, the dimensions of spots you choose are one of the most important things to consider. 

Not only are the dimensions relevant to make sure you’re being compliant to regulations, but it also impacts the resident experience. 

To illustrate how the wrong spot sizes can impact your residents, we’ll just let this quote from a San Francisco resident tell you how he felt about the parking lot situation in his apartment complex:

"The parking lot is designed by a madman tripping on LSD. My car was in near-perfect condition when I started here and I was excited to keep it that way by having underground garage parking. Nope! The design of the parking lot itself has ensured my car is maimed. And yet I pay $475/month for a spot." - Gabriel S.

We put together an in-depth guide on picking the right parking space dimensions if you want to dive deeper into the topic, but we’ll sum it up at a high level below. 

Common parking spot dimensions

  • Standard U.S. parking space = 18 ft x 8 ft 6 in
  • Standard Canada parking space = 17 ft x 9 ft
  • Large standard U.S. parking space = 20 ft x 9ft
  • Compact spaces = 16 ft x 8 ft
  • Standard parallel spaces = 23 ft x 8 ft 6 in, with 3 feet of safety on the side and at least 12 feet for traffic flow between parallel parking spaces.
  • Compact parallel spaces = 19 ft 6 in x 6 ft 6 in, with 2.4 feet of safety on the side and at least 11.5 feet for traffic flow between parallel parking spaces.
  • Tandem parking spaces (for two cars) = 9 ft x 36 ft

Angled parking space dimensions

Angled parking spots are often used as a space-saving method in especially tight parking lots. Although the size of the actual spots will remain the same, the space for traffic flow will differ based on the angle of the spot.

The average angled spot is at a 45-degree angle, which requires 14 feet for traffic row between the end of two rows of spots. For a 60-degree angle, you need 20 feet of space. 

Accessible parking space dimensions

Like we mentioned above, you’ll also need to include a certain number of accessible parking spaces. 

Per the ADA guidelines, one of every 25 conventional spaces needs to be handicap accessible. And one of every 6 of the accessible spots needs to be van accessible. 

The dimensions for these different spots can vary slightly. 

For car accessible spaces, they must be at least 96” wide with a marked access aisle that’s at least 60” wide. It’s important to note that two handicapped spaces next to each other can share a single 60” access aisle between them. 

For van-accessible spaces, you have two options. You can have a spot that is 132” inches (11 feet) with an access aisle that’s at least 60” wide, or you can have a spot that’s 96” wide with an access aisle that’s 96” wide. 

How to pick the right size spots

In addition to making sure that your lot is in compliance with all local regulations, you’ll want to match the spot sizes with your residents’ needs.

For example, if you have many residents with large trucks, switching too many of your spots from standard to compact spots is going to cause some issues. On the other hand, if you see that many of your residents have very small cars and you’re short on spots, consolidating a handful of larger spots into compact spots may work out in your favor. 

If you’re looking to take advantage of angled spots as a space-saving strategy, you’ll want to consider the change in experience that it will cause for people parking, such as potentially having to navigate trickier parking spaces and switching from two-way to one-way parking lanes. 

How long restriping takes

For the average apartment complex parking lot, you can expect a restriping job to take about a day, but for really large complexes, especially those with garages that have multiple levels, this could span into a multi-day operation. 

Once the paint is on the pavement, it usually takes about 30 minutes to dry to the touch and about 2 hours until it’s safe for cars to drive on. And of course, weather can affect the drying times as well. Summer tends to be the most ideal season to paint since the warm, dry weather helps the paint dry quicker. 

If you are sealcoating your parking lot, your timeline will be a bit longer since you need to wait for the sealant to dry before applying the paint, which takes about 24 hours

Consider where you will send people when they need to vacate your lot

Something that many people don’t consider from the outset of planning a restriping is that all residents need to vacate the lot or garage for several hours if not the whole day. 

You could restripe section-by-section so that only small chunks of your residents need to park elsewhere at once. 

If you are choosing to tackle the whole lot at once, you’ll need to communicate with residents ahead of time to avoid any delays, the need to tow, and frustration for both staff and residents. While you could simply tell people they are not allowed to park there for a certain period of time and leave it up to them to find alternative parking, you’ll typically have more success by handing them a clear solution.

One of Parkade’s client had a similar experience recently when they had to clear their lot for a few hours, although it was for a garage cleaning, rather than restriping. Since they were using Parkade as their centralized parking management solution, they were able to make it really easy on themselves and on their residents by simply booking all residents a temporary reservation in their neighboring property’s lot across the street. 

Even if you don’t have a neighboring lot as a solution, you could use a solution like Parkade to make it easier to move people elsewhere. For example, you could restripe one section at a time and make automatic reservations for the parkers who have to relocate in empty spots in other areas of the parking lot. 

Costs associated with restriping

The price tag associated with restriping your parking lot can vary pretty greatly depending on a variety of factors. On top of the difference you can expect to see in different geographical locations, here are some common factors that affect the price:

The size and number of spaces

The average cost per linear foot for striping can be anywhere from $0.25 to $1 for each linear foot, depending on the width of the line, and there are often other fees associated with the job. Typically, a parking lot with 50 spaces can cost anywhere between $350-800. For parking lots with 100 parking spaces, you can expect costs around $700-1,600. 

However, restriping is typically around 20-50% less than a brand-new paint job, so you could save some money if it’s a simple repaint, rather than an overhaul. 

Additional markings like arrows, letters, numbers, handicapped logos, car stops, and curb paintings are typically not included in this cost, due to the additional paint needed as well as the more complex application processes. 

Quality of paint

We’ll touch on which types of paint are best for certain scenarios in the final section below, but it’s important to note that the paint you choose will affect the price. Some paints are generally cheaper, but since they’re often not as durable, you have to weigh these cost savings with the cost of more frequent repainting. 

Prep work

Additional preparation like cleaning, removing old lines, and repairing cracks increases the overall cost. Cleaning and preparation can cost around $0.10 to $0.20 per square foot, and line removal can add $0.50 to $1.50 per linear foot.

Frequency of maintenance

Regular maintenance may qualify you for discounts from some service providers since frequent upkeep will generally make the job easier and quicker.

The best paint to use

Thermoplastic paint

This is the most durable option. It contains plastic, which has to be heated and melted down before applying it to your lot. 

This durability helps it hold up against bad weather, leading to less need for restriping since it lasts a long time. It has a higher price tag and is more time-consuming to apply, but given the reduced need to touch it up, it often ends up balancing out. 

Water-based paint

This is the most affordable and eco-friendly option. It’s also quicker to apply. However, this comes at a cost since it doesn’t stand up to the harsh elements very well. If your property is in an area that frequently has rain or snow, this may not be the best option. The benefits can quickly be canceled out by a need to constantly touch the paint up. 

Oil-based paint

If you live in a climate with a lot of cold winters, oil-based paint is probably the best option. It’s a bit more affordable than thermoplastic paint, but still delivers durability, at least when it comes to withstanding freezing temperatures. It’s not eco-friendly like water-based paint, but given its long life span, this may end up being less relevant.

Support restriping efforts with a seamless parking experience 

While having clear and well-planned stripes for your parking lot is extremely important in making it easier for your parkers to navigate your lot, that’s just one piece of the puzzle. 

If you’re looking to really optimize parking at your property, you need to zoom out just a bit more. Think of the system that you’re using to manage your overall parking operations. Is it easy to reserve and pay for long-term parking? Can guests get parking easily? How effective is enforcement? Do you have a reliable record of who is supposed to park where? Or is your team wasting hours every week wrangling parking and everything that comes with it?

If you’re ready to explore a tech-powered parking solution that creates a better experience for residents, guests, and staff alike, Parkade is your all-in-one solution

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