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How to Determine When to Repave a Parking Lot

Your parking lot speaks volumes about your business. So if your parking lot is bumpy with faded striping and full of potholes, you can only guess what this says about your business to current and potential customers. But your parking lot is much more than a reflection of your business – it’s also the surface that your clients and customers will be driving through, parking on, and walking across, and that means that the safety of those people depends on how well your parking lot is maintained.

Fortunately, asphalt is an extremely strong and durable surface. But at some point, after the surface has been there for a period of time and been exposed to a certain amount of wear and tear, it’s possible that it will need to be repaved. Here are some indications that your parking lot may need to be repaved in the near future:

  • The parking lot floods and/or collects water in some areas. This can be an indication that the sublayer of your pavement has been damaged, causing areas to cave in, crack and/or buckle. In these instances, repaving is often the only option.
  • Your parking lot is faded and cracked. When asphalt is cracked and faded, it’s often an indication that the integrity of the surface has been compromised. This typically means that the asphalt has not been regularly maintained and will have to be repaved.
  • Your parking lot surface is uneven. This is especially obvious in areas where the parking lot surface integrates with another paved surface, such as a walkway or an adjacent road. If you notice that your parking lot is uneven, it may be a sign that it needs to be repaved.
  • The pavement is buckling. This is typically the case when the paved surface undergoes heavy vehicle traffic. But it may also happen if you don’t have an adequate gravel base underneath the pavement. In either case, if your parking lot is buckling, it usually means repaving.

While these are good indications that your parking lot may need to be repaved, the only way to know for sure is to contact a reputable paving contractor to visit your site and assess the damage.

Even if your parking lot does need to be repaved, we have good news: your contractor can provide you with information about how to better care for your paved surface in the future. Asphalt is incredibly strong, and when it’s properly cared for, it will last for many, many years.

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Good Reasons Not to Choose Gravel for a Driveway

If you’re looking for the right material for your new driveway, you may be tempted to choose gravel. After all, gravel is a less expensive option than many other pavement choices, and some people actually like the more rustic appearance of rocks. But before you make your final decision, we have information that may change your mind about using gravel, and we can sum it up in three words: gravel damages vehicles! Here are a few ways that it happens:

  • Gravel “takes flight.” Remember that gravel is made up of pebbles and small rocks. You know what happens when you drive down a gravel road – those pebbles and small rocks take flight as your vehicle tires churn up the surface. What you may not realize is that exactly the same thing can easily happen on a gravel driveway, and that can mean cracked windshields and mirrors, paint scratches and scrapes, and even damage to the undercarriage. This type of damage may sound minor, but replacing glass and repairing paint is expensive, not to mention repairing the undercarriage!
  • Gravel means holes. Indentations in gravel surfaces are common. And the more you drive over these indentations, the easier it is for ruts and holes to form in the surface. In fact, holes in gravel driveways can happen before you even realize it, and driving on rough uneven surfaces – even if it’s for a short distance — can wreak havoc with your vehicle. That wear and tear can compromise the suspension of your vehicle and that can add up to damaged shocks and struts.
  • Gravel collects water. Water does not run off gravel surfaces. If you have a gravel driveway, irrigation water and/or rainwater will sink below the gravel, softening the dirt underneath and creating holes where water collects. Once those holes form and water collects there, it’s virtually impossible to remove it. Remember that this is where you park your vehicle, and the longer it sits in pools of water, the greater the chances are for corrosion and rust to form.

There’s no doubt that gravel can be an attractive landscape element, and might even be adequate for short lengths of a walkway. But if you need to park and/or drive any sort of vehicle on a surface, the best choice you can make is pavement. And you may be surprised to learn how inexpensive some pavement choices are! For more information about your driveway pavement options, contact a local, reputable paving contractor.

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How to Fix Poor Drainage Problems to Protect Asphalt and Concrete

One of the most common causes of damage to asphalt and concrete surfaces is water. Virtually every paved surface has tiny cracks – often so tiny that they’re difficult to see. But those cracks are large enough to allow water to seep through the surface. Once that happens, the cracks expand. Eventually, potholes form in the pavement. Worse yet – the sublayers underneath the pavement can be compromised, and that can leave your surface in need of some serious – and costly – repairs. While it’s true that a certain amount of damage can come as a result of heavy rains falling directing onto the paved surface, most damage comes as a result of poor drainage, misplaced irrigation emitters, and runoff. Fortunately, there are some steps you can take to resolve these issues and prolong the useful life of your paved surfaces. Here are a few of those precautions:

  • Gutters and downspouts – If you don’t have gutters on your home or business, you have no doubt seen the sheets of water that run off your roof during heavy rains. That water comes down with such force that it can very quickly cause damage to whatever pavement is on the receiving end – whether that’s a sidewalk, driveway, or parking lot. But this kind of extreme runoff can also compromise the integrity of the foundation of your home or business. The answer is simple: install gutters and downspouts that direct water away from your foundation and all paved surfaces. Ideally, downspouts that are directed at nearby landscaping can not only save your pavement; they can also help your plants at the same time.
  • Proper irrigation – Most of us enjoy landscaping around our homes or businesses. But when the irrigation needed to keep those plants alive is misdirected — ending up on your parking lot, driveway, and/or sidewalks — it can quickly damage those surfaces. The solution is, once again, a simple one: Make sure that sprinklers are actually watering your plants instead of your paved surfaces, and that your irrigation isn’t left running for hours on end. Better yet, install drip irrigation, which will not only keep your landscape healthy, but will also save your pavement and conserve water.
  • Proper drainage – Most skilled paving contractors understand the damage that can result when water doesn’t drain properly away from paved surfaces. They typically address that issue when installing the pavement by making sure that it slopes away from your foundation and toward a street/gutter so that the runoff is directed away from the asphalt or concrete. But over time, depressions may form in the pavement, creating areas where water can collect and damage the surface. If you believe that you have poor drainage, contact a local paving contractor. Many times, these issues can be resolved without having to replace the entire surface.

Protect your paving investment by following these simple steps to avoid water damage.

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Spring To-Do List for Paved Surfaces

Spring will be here soon, and that means it’s time to prepare your paved surfaces for the upcoming warmer months. Winter can be hard on pavement. Whether you live in the frozen north with constant freeze-thaw cycles, or a milder climate where most of the winter weather consists of rain, it’s all hard on your pavement. Fortunately, you can repair much of the damage done by winter weather by following this spring to-do list for paved surfaces.

  • Clean off debris and check the surface for damage. When leaves and other plant matter collect on paved surfaces, it can trap moisture and even cause mold to form on the surface of the pavement. Now is the time to clean off all debris and take a good look at what damage has occurred to the surface over the winter months.
  • Have cracks and potholes repaired. It’s natural for pavement to develop cracks and potholes over the winter. Even the smallest crack can allow water to seep into the pavement and cause damage. Having these cracks repaired now can not only leave your pavement in better shape to withstand the warmer months; it can also save you from having to make much more costly repairs later on.
  • Make sure the surface of your pavement is level. Indentations can collect rainwater and/or irrigation water, either of which can cause damage to the pavement. A local reputable paving contractor can level out the paved surface, making it less susceptible to water damage in the upcoming months.
  • Have your pavement sealcoated. Applying a layer of sealcoat in the spring will make it easier for your pavement to withstand the hotter weather. Asphalt can not only be damaged by winter weather; intense sun and heat can also harm the surface when it fades and oxidizes. Sealcoating will help to prevent that from happening.

Fortunately, you don’t have to tackle these spring chores on your own! In fact, it’s best to contact a professional paving contractor to handle these tasks for you. A trusted local contractor can assess the condition of your pavement and recommend the appropriate maintenance and/or repairs to get your pavement in tip-top shape. A local contractor will also be familiar with your weather conditions, which means he or she will be able to recommend the best ways to protect your paved surfaces for the next several months to come. And remember – you’re not the only one with a spring pavement to-do list, so the sooner you call, the better!

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How April Showers Damage Asphalt Surfaces

Most of us have heard that “April showers bring May flowers.” But when it comes to asphalt surfaces, April showers bring something quite different. In fact, exposure to rainwater, misplaced irrigation and poor drainage are some of the biggest causes for asphalt damage. It’s inevitable that tiny cracks will form in your asphalt surface – it’s just the nature of pavement. And while you may think that this type of minor damage is no big deal, even the smallest crack can allow water to seep below the surface of the pavement. Once that happens, the cracks expand into larger ones and potholes form. Large cracks and potholes allow even more water to seep below the surface of the pavement, and that leads to damage of the sublayers of the pavement. When that happens, it can ultimately lead to destroying the asphalt altogether. And nobody wants to replace an asphalt surface unless it’s absolutely necessary. But that’s not all. Water can also cause the edges of pavement to erode, and once that erosion starts, it can quickly escalate.

Fortunately, there are some simple steps you can take to protect your asphalt from April showers – or rain at any other time of the year. Although the exact precautions may vary depending on the condition of your asphalt, here are some ways to prevent water damage from occurring:

  • Repair drainage issues – Make sure that water drains away from your asphalt properly. While the contractor that initially installed your pavement should have planned for adequate drainage by sloping the asphalt, there are steps you can take to improve the situation as well. Make sure that gutters and downspouts direct water away from your pavement.
  • Keep the surface clean – Here’s a DIY tip to protect your asphalt: keep it clean! Debris that is left on the surface of pavement collects and traps moisture. And anytime water sits on top of asphalt, it can quickly damage the surface.
  • Have repairs made promptly – Remember that even the smallest cracks in asphalt can allow water to enter the pavement. That leads to larger cracks and an increasing amount of damage. To prevent this from happening, ask your paving contractor to make repairs on an as-needed basis.
  • Sealcoating – Periodic application of a good quality sealcoat is an excellent way to protect against water damage.

For more information about how water can damage your asphalt surface, and to determine the best ways to maintain and protect your pavement, contact a local paving contractor today.

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Why Right Now is a Great Time for Parking Lot Maintenance

The coronavirus has taken a devastating toll on businesses throughout the U.S. In fact, in many states, companies that are considered to be “non-essential” have been instructed to close their doors for the next few weeks in an effort to prevent spread of the virus. But there is a glimmer of good news: if your business is closed right now, it may be a great time to catch up on maintenance tasks that you haven’t had the opportunity to do recently. And one of those is parking lot maintenance. The exact steps involved in maintaining your parking lot will depend on the age of the pavement, but generally speaking most paving contractors will recommend the following:

  • Cleaning – The most basic type of maintenance for any parking lot is one you can do on your own: keeping it clean. Make sure to sweep or blow off any debris that has collected, and to do this on a regular basis throughout the year. Anytime leaves, trash or other debris is left to collect in areas on the pavement, it can trap water. And water can very quickly damage the pavement.
  • Filling of cracks and potholes – If you have potholes in your pavement, that’s a pretty obvious indication that you need repairs to be made. But cracks should also be filled promptly. In fact, even the smallest cracks can allow water to seep through the surface of the pavement, and that can quickly lead to more extensive damage.
  • Sealcoating – After asphalt is initially installed, most contractors recommend applying a protective layer of sealcoating within 6 months or so, then every 2 to 5 years thereafter. It all depends on the amount of heavy traffic that the surface is exposed to every day, as well as what kind of climate you live in. A local paving contractor can provide specific recommendations for your parking lot based on these variables. A good quality sealcoat will not only make your asphalt look brand new; it will also guard against water and sun damage, both of which can prematurely age asphalt pavement.

Here’s some good news: this pandemic won’t last forever, and before you know it, you’ll be back open for business. And there’s more good news: most paving companies are considered to be essential businesses, particularly since they are responsible for taking care of our municipal, state and federal roadway systems. So if you haven’t done so already, now is a great time to contact a reputable paving contractor in your area and schedule a time for your parking lot maintenance.

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How Heavy Rain Affects Freshly Poured Concrete

Just imagine: You finally saved enough for that beautiful new concrete patio, waited weeks in your paving contractor’s queue until it was finally your turn, your new patio was just poured that morning, and by mid-afternoon it was pouring down rain. We have good news and bad news. The bad news is that heavy rain can, in fact, damage the concrete. The good news is that there are steps you can take to prevent that from happening. We’ve compiled some helpful information for you about how heavy rain affects freshly poured concrete.

In a perfect world – and optimum conditions for new pavement – freshly poured concrete should be allowed to dry out for 24 to 48 hours. This is called the “curing period,” and it’s important in order to allow the concrete material to reach its maximum strength. Most contractors won’t pour concrete if rain is in the forecast, but as we all know, it’s hard enough for our local meteorologists to accurately predict if/when it will rain, much less your local paving specialist! And it’s those unexpected showers that are cause for concern.

Fortunately, there are some precautions that your contractor can take to protect your freshly poured concrete from damage due to heavy rain. If you live in a rainy area, or if your concrete is being poured during thunderstorm season, it’s a good idea to ask your contractor about either of the following options for protecting the new pavement:

  • Plastic sheeting – One simple precaution that your contractor can use is to build a wood frame around the newly paved surface with a layer of plastic sheeting spread across the top. This is an effective way to keep rain off of the freshly poured concrete.
  • Permeable concrete – Some paving contractors prefer to use permeable concrete, which is a type of concrete mixture that allows rainwater to pass through the surface. This is particularly useful in rainy climates and for large-scale concrete installation projects.

If adequate protection is not put in place, heavy rain can negatively impact a freshly poured concrete surface. Not only can rain exposure lessen the durability of your concrete; it can also mar an otherwise smooth finish on the surface. If you’re concerned about the possibility of rain on your new concrete, talk to your paving contractor ahead of time so that adequate precautions can be taken to protect the surface.