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Parking Lot Safety In the Winter

Regardless of where you are in the US, winter is usually a colder, wetter season. This poses various risks for safety on just about any type of pavement.

Whether you live in the Southern US, where winter is mild but wet, or the North, where freezing temperatures and feet of snow can grind life to a halt, winter poses its own unique set of challenges. One of the biggest challenges paving contractors face is handling winter damage and preparing asphalt for bad weather. At Reliable Paving, we are experts on how winter weather affects asphalt paving. We’ve seen it all, from water damage to potholes to frost heave. We’ve compiled a set of guidelines to make it easier to handle winter weather, both this year and next.

What to do before winter

You can prepare for the oncoming inclement weather and low light in advance. It will help you deal with winter’s other challenges.

Inspect your lot

Walk around the parking lot. Check out the premises. Look for various things that are out of order. Look for areas that can be improved.

  • Check for debris that is on the lot. Things already cluttering the lot will only be more problematic under a covering of snow and ice. Clear up what you can.
    • If you notice certain areas always seem to collect debris, it may be worth upgrading your drainage system. Another idea would be to do more frequent maintenance/cleaning to remove detritus.
  • Check for areas where visibility is bad. Things like faded signs, light-up signs whose lights no longer work, faded lot striping, etc. make it harder to get around the lot. When people are confused and don’t know where to go, they are more distracted. Distracted drivers are more prone to accidents.
    • Legally, you don’t want someone possibly suing you because they were hit by a driver who couldn’t see where he/she was going because of damaged signage.
  • Look for existing damage. Cracks, potholes, depressions, uneven ground, and more are usually attributable to liquids getting inside the pavement. The number one reason that parking lots get damaged is liquids inside the paving. When any liquid, but especially water, gets inside of asphalt or concrete, it expands and contracts as the temperature changes. Asphalt and concrete are not particularly flexible, so that’s where the damage really happens. This problem is exacerbated by winter’s freezing temperatures. Small cracks now can lead to big structural damage later on.
    • Patch up your potholes and cracks before winter starts. A lot of paving work can only be done when the temperature is above 50 degrees Fahrenheit (10 degree Celsius). This means that even autumn isn’t a good season for repairs in many places.

Protect your parking with preventative maintenance

  • Sealcoat your parking lot. This is something you should do every few years anyway. Not only will it prevent damage from water, but it also protects from one of the most damaging things in nature – UV light from the sun. Sealcoating prevents the pavement from turning gray and developing cracks, a sign of oxidation (more commonly known as rust). Most paving is already sealed from water to a certain extent. But, a parking lot is different, from striping paint to leaking car fluids, parking lots are hit by many strong solvents. Dripping brake fluid, oil, and the like can easily build up and cause damage, especially when a leaky car is parked overnight or longer. Sealcoating is your solution to this. It protects you from water, UV, and leaks from various cars. A good sealcoating, combined with maintenance, can make your lot last 20 to 30 years.
    • How often should I sealcoat? You should do it every 2-4 years. But this depends on your location. In places with harsher climates, freezing weather, more intense sun and/or precipitation, every 2 years might be best. In dry, cool locations with moderate climates, every 4 years will suffice.

What to do during the winter

  • Stay on top of cleaning and clearing. Winter is a time for storms, snow, and heavy wind. Things like tree branches will blow into your lot, and it’s up to you to make sure they don’t stay there. Debris in a parking area is dangerous because it can cause flat tires, other car damage, and pedestrians can trip over it. It’s all made worse if it snows over the existing debris. Don’t forget to have a snow plow company on-call if it snows by you. On top of clearing snow, you should have some kind of salt or other mechanism to clear ice and prevent slippage.
  • Make sure your lot is well-lit. Winter is darker, and when snow/debris covers the lot, stripes may not be visible. Inspect the lot frequently to make sure your lights are working, things are clearly visible, and any lit signs are still lit. Clearly-lit signs are also a legal requirement in many lots. Not only is it more dangerous for pedestrians and motorists to not have them, but you also risk legal action.
  • You may need to change the traffic flow in the parking area. Nobody wants cars skidding around on ice/snow, so you may need to put some entry only/exit only signs up to have a clear and simple flow of traffic in the parking lot.

Winter isn’t the only time maintenance is important

At Reliable Paving we are experts on all kinds of ways to take care of your asphalt, concrete, and paving of any kind. Whether it’s pothole repair, laying new asphalt altogether, or crack sealing, we are ready. Our 35+ years in the industry combined with our large, professional team means that no project is too big for us to complete on-budget, and on-time. Visit our website and take a look at our services and past projects, and if you think we fit the bill, send us a message today. We look forward to providing you with the best paving and asphalt work that money can buy.

The Asphalt Paving Market in 2021

The asphalt paving market has been surprisingly resilient during the tumultuous year of 2020. Despite a global pandemic putting a hamper on the world’s economy, the paving and asphalt market grew. It’s expected to be even larger in 2021. However, the damage done by the pandemic was big. Even with global economic growth predicted at 5.4% in 2021, it would still leave the economy a full 6.5% lower than the pre-COVID January 2020 projections. Of course, there is much uncertainty about any projections, as the majority of them base assumptions COVID responses. Lockdown, vaccine roll outs, and surging cases make predictions more uncertain than ever.

Fortunately, the asphalt and paving industry seems to be weathering this uncertainty better than most.

What do market trends say?

The demand for materials is expected to grow to 27.6 million tons in terms of asphalt used for paving products. This is a represents total demand for asphalt, used in roofing, paving, and various products, and it is up 3%. Growth has been spurred two large factors. Demand for asphalt in paving alone is expected to rise 3% as well, to about 22 million tons by the end of 2021.

A good federal highway budget

The US government is currently undergoing a massive infrastructure repair and maintenance drive. The American Society of Civil Engineers recently gave the US infrastructure a D+ rating. This means it is at or near failure. In order to improve it, money has been earmarked to be spent on infrastructure and transportation. The INVEST in America Act has seen a massive increase in federal spending on infrastructure. For the fiscal year of 2021, the bill includes $158.3 billion dollars of infrastructure spending. Of that money, $78.7 billion is marked for surface transportation programs, I.E. the highway system. Another $75 billion is for economic recovery from the coronavirus pandemic. This $75 billion is to be spent on housing and transportation infrastructure.

The pandemic and mortgage rates

2020 Gave home buyers at least one good thing — low mortgage rates. The average 30 year mortgage rate dropped from March to December. They aren’t predicted to stay low through 2021, but that means enough home buyers have made their purchases already, and some will take advantage before mortgage rates get too high again. For the asphalt and paving market, this is a boon. New home buyers need work done on their houses, this means roofing, driveway paving, and waterproofing. All are renovations well-suited by the use of asphalt.

Other 2021 predictions that will affect the market

What will happen with COVID-19?

The main story of 2020 has been the coronavirus pandemic. After jumping from animals to people in late 2019 in Wuhan China, the virus has made its way around the world. The virus is an extremely contagious bio-aerosol, meaning it is spread via water droplets, some small enough to be carried in the air. In order to halt its spread, people need to avoid congregating closely, touching the same things, sharing food and beverages and much more. Unlike the similarly-spread flu virus, COVID has a mortality rate ranging from 0.3% to over 6% depending on the health infrastructure of the country. Yemen has a death rate of 29%. Office spaces and other workplaces are some main points of adult congregation, so it has left millions unemployed or working remotely. Various countries have had to impose lockdowns and other strict rules to control its spread, with varying success. Some countries, like New Zealand, have celebrated beating the virus altogether. Meanwhile, countries like the UK. have had to use intermittent lockdowns once cases start surging. The virus has affected pretty the life of pretty much every single person on the planet.

Any predictions about market activities in 2021 are going to be heavily based on what happens with the coronavirus.

The vaccine roll-out

A vaccine is predicted to be readily available to every American at least by the late summer or early autumn of 2021. It is already available to front-line healthcare workers and those most at-risk. Obviously, if large-scale vaccinations are happening, then we can get back to life (mostly) as usual. A large portion of the population will continue to work remotely, which will shrink demand for future roads and transport infrastructure. Most people however, will get back to work. This will increase demand because businesses and people will be, well, back in business. Workers making money will also need roads, and infrastructure to return to their workplaces, further increasing demand. Businesses that have been shuttered since the pandemic began, like some restaurants, hotels, and gyms, will again have the clients and income to support renovations.

The biggest economic spurt of 2021 will no doubt be the final defeat of COVID-19 and a return to life as normal. Hopefully, we have learned a bit about caution on the way, like frequent hand washing and avoiding touching our faces, to avoid another economy-halting pandemic in our lifetimes.

Although market numbers are going up for construction and paving regardless of coronavirus, the big boom in the market expected in 2021 is going to come from beating this disease.

Meeting your 2021 paving needs

If you are preparing for your business to open back up and need some work done on your parking lot, sidewalks, or garage, Reliable Paving has got you covered. Our experienced team of over 200 paving contractors can handle a job of just about any size on time and on budget. Our services include paving, repairs and maintenance for concrete and asphalt, ADA compliance, striping, sealcoating, and more. As 2021 rolls on and the economy picks up, don’t put off the renovation your business needs. Contact us today, and we can get started on getting your business ready for when life gets back to normal.

 

Reliable Paving Company Update

2020 Has been an historic year. From wildfires to a pandemic to mass protests and civil unrest, a lot has happened. Despite the tumultuous craziness of this year, Reliable Paving has striven to be a bastion of stability and of course, reliability.

So, to begin this new year, we would like to look at some of our accomplishments, company ethos and culture, and our capabilities. Looking at our present and past, we can get an even better idea of what the future is in store for us.

A bit of company history

We started in 1984 with a simple idea that the best asphalt and pavement maintenance meant preventative maintenance. We worked on not just performing the best asphalt paving for our clients, but keeping them well-informed so they can make the best choices.

As we approach four decades in business, we continue to offer the best craftsmanship with a strong emphasis on customer-first priorities.

Our Service Method

Our service method can be summed up in two words: relentless cooperation. Paving projects require an enormous amount of troubleshooting, detailed planning, and the ability to work as a team and to integrate and work with other teams. Our team provides the project management to keep everyone accountable and work on time and on budget.

Our services include:

  • Quick responses to bids.
  • Managers assigned to each job.
  • Attending all meetings.
  • Being committed to cooperation with your staff and all other contractors.
  • Your managers and owners are guaranteed access to our Senior VP. of Sales.
  • You, your managers, and owners are encouraged to take an active role in every part of the construction process.
  • A licensed engineer on-site to guarantee quality control.

We aren’t just another paving contractor company, we strive not only to give you the best quality results, but also the best service possible. Like we said, relentless cooperation is the name of our game. If you are curious about what working with us is like, and want to try before you buy, contact us here for a free estimate on your project.

Company Culture

Reliable Commercial started out as a family business, and it remains a family business. We have grown to be a large company, with over 200 employees over time. Nonetheless, wee make sure that each person working for us knows they are part of a bigger picture, a working part of a much larger whole.

Our services

Asphalt paving

The vast majority of paved surfaces in this country are made of asphalt. Asphalt is 100% recyclable, in fact, it is one of the most recycled materials in the US, and 81% of asphalt is recycled. Our asphalt paving services include hot mix, cold mix, porous asphalt, and course graded asphalt.

Asphalt repairs

If you want your asphalt to last, it will eventually need to be maintained. Our services include crack filling, pothole repair, and resurfacing. Resurfacing is when a new layer is poured over the existing asphalt surface, which not only makes it look new, but makes it last longer. If you really want your asphalt to stand the test of time, you should consider sealcoating. Sealcoating is the process of weather-proofing the surface of asphalt so water can not get inside between the aggregate.

Concrete repairs

Concrete, unlike asphalt is often used in industrial situations. This means it is often subject to extreme heat, cold, corrosion, and stress. As it ages, it cracks, blazes, and blisters. These signs of age can range from inconvenient to dangerous. We pride ourselves in meeting and exceeding all industry safety standards when it comes to repairing your concrete.

 Sealcoating

On top of asphalt sealcoating, we also offer various other sealcoating services.

  • Concrete sealcoating
  • Blacktop sealcoating
  • Pavement Sealcoating

Sealcoated surfaces are safe to drive on just 2-3 days after the coating, and they are protected for years afterwards.

Striping

Ensure your lot is clearly-marked, ADA compliant, and nice looking – make sure its stripes and markings are clear and bright. We have established a process to perform parking lot striping while using as little space and time as possible. That way, your business can continue as we do ours.

Crack sealing

We perform crack sealing on pavement, concrete, asphalt, and blacktop. Crack sealing can be a small task or a big one, untreated cracks lead to asphalt disintegration and distortion if left untreated. We treat cracks before they become big problems.

ADA compliance

We will help your organization avoid fines and legal troubles with our nuanced understanding of the Americans with Disabilities Act. We provide consulting services for your business to help ensure ADA as well as our work with parking lot striping and marking.

Speed bump installation

We provide speed bump installs for parking lots and driveways. Perfect for keeping traffic safe at your business place.

Our accomplishments

All Storage Paving Project

We performed the massive paving project for the All Storage Fort Worth McCart. For pictures and an idea of the massive size of the project we took on, visit the web page for the storage facility. This behemoth of concrete and asphalt is a testament to the nearly 40 years of experience and our highly-skilled ant amazing crew.

Projects in 2021

Now that we are turning the leaf of a new year, you may be thinking about your own projects. Do you have a parking lot that needs resurfacing? Perhaps you are opening a business that will need a driveway and parking. Whatever your paving related needs, Reliable Paving has you covered. We would be happy to relentlessly serve you and ensure that you put the best foot forward with the projects you start this year. Contact us today, and we can get started with whatever asphalt, paving, and/or concrete project you have in mind.

Must Ask Questions For Any Paving Contractor

Find out what the right questions to ask are, and what the right answers to those questions are.

Heading into the new year, you might have some overdue asphalt paving needs. Well, let the new year be a time to make the changes you want to see in your life. If you are anxious, or unsure about where to start, we have made a convenient list of questions you should ask any paving company before you hire them. Follow this handy guide, and you will be confident and ready to start the projects you need done.

This guide is designed to help you choose the best asphalt paving contractor for the job.

How long have you been in business?

This question is something you should ask just about any contractor before you have a big job done. This is the general litmus test of how good a company is at what it does. It helps you get a clear impression of how successful they maybe with your project. Would you order a product from an Amazon or Ebay seller with no previous good reviews?

Ideally, a good paving company should have at least 2+ years of experience in your area. That indicates that their product has enough quality to continue selling.

What services do you provide?

This question gets a bit technical in the answer, but it’s important. The services provided by a company lets you know how long your paving job will last. Now the answer depends on what you need done, for example, if you just want something paved, you should look for a company that does paving and sealcoating. If you need something repaired, you should find out what kind of repairs are offered.

Paving and sealcoating

Any paving job should be followed by sealcoating. Sealcoating is the preservation of the pavement by coating the top level with a weather-proof binder. This determines whether you will need your pavement worked on every several years or every several months. If a company does not offer sealcoating, it should make give you pause.

Repairs and pothole filling

The answer to the question “What kind of paving repair do you perform?” might get a little technical, but it boils down to some important results. There is patching, removal and replacement, milling, full-depth repair, crack filling, and more. You are looking for an answer that includes as many methods as possible. Why? Because the more methods a company has to repair asphalt the more knowledgeable they are, and the better the repairs they are capable of. Long story short, there is absolutely a right and wrong way to fix asphalt problems. You don’t just want a hole filled in, you might need a whole section replaced, and you need to know that the company you are hiring is capable of the best repair job possible.

How much do your services cost?

This question has a lot of different answers, but the answer you are looking for is a question in return. Any company worth its salt should need to know a few things before they can give you a cost estimate. So here are the kind of things that a company should ask before they deliver a quote:

  • What is the area to be paved/repaired?
  • What kind of/amount of traffic will there be in this area?
  • What is the location/climate of the area?

After these questions, you will want to ask some follow-up inquiries yourself. They will help you ascertain the costs to a better degree. Questions you should ask to follow up:

  • What materials will you use? (this is a big determiner of cost)
  • What is the complexity of the project? This is a difficult question to answer objectively, but it can really help you get the hang of costs.

Make sure to ask this questions of a few different companies. It will give you an idea of the general cost for the services you are requesting. It will also let you know a bit about the company’s level of professionalism — some companies will claim that a complex project is very simple because they have limited experience in the field and don’t know the job’s full depth.

Is the company licensed and insured?

Ask this question right away to avoid wasting your time on unlicensed companies. You absolutely want a company that is insured, so that you don’t wind up paying an arm and a leg in settlements if someone gets injured working on your property. If the company can’t answer what licenses or insurance they have immediately, they are probably stalling and hoping you forget you asked.

Who will be working on my driveway?

Make sure that the company you hire will actually have its own employees working on your driveway. This will save you time and money, and avoid companies that just pick up a paycheck by acting as middlemen and finding other contractors to do the work. It’s best to hire a company that has the skills to work on your asphalt itself.

Find a company with a good portfolio

Of course one of the best ways to perform due diligence is to figure out what work the company has done in the past. Luckily, Reliable Paving has what you are looking for. Not only do we have a history of doing quality work, but our 35 years of experience and large team mean no project is out of our capabilities. We also provide a host of different paving services, from crack sealing to sealcoating to ADA compliance. If you have been dragging your feet on getting some much-needed paving or asphalt repair, now’s the time to act. Ring in the new year by getting that job done instead of letting it hang over your head. Contact us today and see how Reliable Paving can help. Start off the new year the right way, and get your paving job done.

Best wishes, and happy 2021!

Asphalt Services for Healthcare Facilities

Just like any place with a parking log, healthcare providers need their paving done as well. Unlike other buildings, places that provide healthcare often have much stricter requirements for their facilities. These include everything from bathrooms to accessibility requirements to their parking lots and paving.   Many people recognize the importance of a hospital or clinic’s facilities. Power supply should be regular and absolutely dependable. Imagine the amount of lab samples, blood and organ donations, and data that could be lost if a hospital lost power/refrigeration for a long period. Without doubt, a hospital needs to have accessibility features for everyone. People will often be injured going in and out, with many people whose mobility is limited using either crutches, scooters, or wheelchairs.

One thing that might slip a lot of peoples’ minds though, is the importance of asphalt paving for these healthcare spaces. A hospital needs a clean, accessible, well-lit parking lot at all times. Having a good parking lot means better accessibility for your patients. It also means that they are not put in danger on the way to get treatment. 

Hospitals, nursing homes, clinics, and emergency centers need facilities that are as good in quality as the care they provide. The parking lots and other pavement structures be built to the most exacting specifications. On top of that, they need regular maintenance that keeps them up to their high standards.

Accessibility Compliance

One of the most important aspects of any building is accessibility. For a lot of small businesses, this isn’t a problem. Storefront businesses with a small parking lot can put a handicapped parking space right at the front of their building. Then a slight ramp leads to the sidewalk, where another leads to the business. That works for places with a maximum occupancy of no more than 50. But nursing homes often accommodate hundreds. Hospitals can accommodate thousands. And these facilities often have a much higher percentage of people who require disabilities accessibility than most of the population. 

Healthcare facilities still face the same constraints in money, space, and resources as other clients. They also have to provide access and safety to their clients at a level the vast majority of other locations don’t. 

Hospitals need to ensure that they are compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), and other guidelines. Thus, it is important to have a plan worked out for disabled parking and accessibility on a large scale.

Safety and accessibility

Because hospitals often deal with people who are injured or otherwise disabled, safety is of utmost importance.

  • Line striping must be clear and maintained to prevent accidents.
  • Lighting should make everything easily visible for the elderly and patients undergoing eye treatment or with bad eyesight. 
  • Exits and entrances should be clearly marked.
  • Signage should be clear and easy to read.
  • Damage to pavement must be dealt with quickly to prevent tripping hazards.
  • The parking lot should be cleared of debris to avoid safety hazards.

Emergency accessibility

Another important part of a healthcare facility’s parking lot/access features is emergency access. Large emergency vehicles like ambulances often need immediate access. Whether its a hospital or nursing home, the parking lot/building access area needs plenty of space. This enables emergency vehicles to quickly get in and out without being blocked by people or cars. Not only must the lots be bigger to accommodate emergencies, there must be quick and effective accessibility to and from the roads nearby.

Volume

One of the other major considerations for hospitals and clinics in particular is volume. Large hospitals can deal with thousands of patients in a day, as can busy clinics. Add to the patient volume the amount of workers at a hospital. Nurses, doctors, techs, administrators, and everyone else who works at a healthcare facility needs to have a place to park. The takeaway is that a hospital parking lot will be under pretty much constant, and often heavy use.

When a parking lot gets almost no empty time it becomes extremely difficult to perform maintenance. Repairing potholes, restriping, and crack repair can not be done during off seasons. This means that there need to be solutions that let a hospital perform maintenance and maintain volume.

Regular inspection and maintenance is key.

  • Check for the beginnings of cracks and potholes so they don’t become bigger problems that take more time and money to solve.
  • Seal coat your paved surfaces to prevent weather damage. Coating takes far less time and money than replacing pavement.
  • Clear debris from surfaces and ensure drainage areas are clear.
  • Ensure that signage, striping, and lighting is clearly visible at all times.
  • Check to make sure that accessibility features such as wheelchair ramps and lifts are clean, debris-free, and in good working order. 
  • Ensure that liquids like water, oil, and other solutions from cars are not pooling anywhere on the pavement. 

An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. It’s better to have one small area of a parking lot sealed off to fix a crack than a giant chunk of it cleared to completely replace seriously degraded pavement.

One way to ensure that you don’t ever have a non-functioning lot is to build one that is much larger than your largest expected volume. This way, you can alternate between parts of the lot that are in use and parts that are under repairs.

Use a paving contractor that works for you

So, now you know what to do to build and maintain your healthcare facility’s pavement properly. Now you need to find a contractor who can do it on time and budget, and to the highest specs. That’s where Reliable Paving can help you. Let us know how we can help today. With over 35 years of experience, we can both build you the best parking lot, and keep it in pristine working order. 

How To Deal With Tree Roots Growing Under Asphalt

Just about anyone who has a driveway, parking lot, or uses a sidewalk is familiar with how tree roots can destroy asphalt paving. Tree roots can grow tens of feet away from the trees, and of course, they grow underground. Now asphalt is famous for being pretty tough, it takes a lot of punishment – that’s why it’s used as a surface for multi-ton vehicles to drive on. However, they are particularly susceptible to damage from below. Frost heave, expanding and contracting earth, and of course, tree roots, are very dangerous to asphalt.

If there is a tree growing near your driveway or parking lot, it’s a pretty good bet that it’s roots will get under your paving eventually. It can start simply, with the pavement becoming uneven. After some time, the dirt that the pavement is built on can buckle, like a small fault line, and cause the pavement serious damage. The pavement itself can collapse or develop enormous cracks from tree routes.

Fortunately, we are here to let you know the several ways in which pavement-destroying roots can be handled. Handling this problem can help the survival of your tree, and of course of your paving.

Plan ahead

Don’t pave by trees

An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. The best way to avoid tree root damage to your pavement is to simply not put the pavement nearby trees. This surefire method will 100% guarantee that no tree roots will damage your property. 

However, that’s not always a great option. Maybe you want a shaded patio. Maybe your house already has trees on it and your driveway is just going to have to deal with roots. Either way, simply not building nearby trees isn’t always an option.

Don’t pave by young trees

If you have a lot of tall old growth trees on your property or business, it’s actually safer to build by them than it is by younger trees. The older trees have much slower growth, and they usually have an established root system. This means that there won’t be quick-growing roots breaking up your pavement over the course of a few years. Paving nearby young trees is much riskier. Small trees may seem harmless at first, but they grow quickly. A root system that starts small can get bigger and work its way under your asphalt in just a few years. Once the roots are underneath, they will continue to grow and do damage. 

Use a smart drainage system

Most asphalt paving is built on a very slight incline so that water doesn’t build up on top of it. Tree roots also have a tendency to seek out where water goes. If you are building your blacktop by trees, make it so that the incline goes towards them, that way the roots will go to where the most water is. If the incline is going down in the opposite direction of the trees, then the tree roots will cross under your pavement in order to get to the earth with the most moisture. Use a drainage system that will hopefully result in trees roots not crisscrossing beneath the paving.

Know how trees grow roots

Do your homework about trees. Know that roots can grow to the crown edge (diameter of the top branches/foliage), and plant trees an appropriate distance from your pavement or put your pavement the correct distance from your trees. 

Another option is to plant trees that don’t have surface-level roots, or trees that have smaller root systems that stay deep underground. 

Root removal

Digging and cutting

OK, so the root is becoming a problem and needs to go. What can be done about it? Manual root removal is the process of digging out the tree root and cutting it. It can be done with a shovel and a chainsaw or ax. Another option would be getting a gas-powered auger, digger, or small excavators. Most excavators you have seen are probably for construction sites, but small ones for trail building are perfect for root removal. 

Copper sulfate

The chemical way to remove damaging tree roots is copper sulfate. Copper sulfate is a toxic chemical however, so unlike digging and chopping the root yourself, you will want to have a professional apply this one. 

Although it is a dangerous and toxic chemical, copper sulfate is used because it does not travel far along the tree root. This prevents it from reaching the whole tree or other roots, and only kills the offending part of the root. 

Be careful with use of copper sulfate though, as overuse can contaminate the environment. Copper sulfate is a heavy metal that is toxic to microorganisms that treat sewage water.

Building a Barrier

After the root that’s been hurting your pavement has been handled, it’s time to set up some defenses. A root barrier can be established between the pavement and the tree. These barriers be physical, made from sheet metal, or some other substance that simply prevents the root from coming in. They can also be softer materials soaked in copper sulfate to create a chemical barrier. Of course, root barriers don’t always work, as persistent roots will definitely find a way over time.

Know what to do to keep the roots at bay

In general, in life, as well as paving, have a plan. If you have had to deal with root damage before, then be prepared for it again on your pavement. There is no substitute for regular maintenance and inspection. If you suspect tree roots are causing your pavement troubles, then that’s all the more reason to engage in preventative maintenance. Fortunately, Reliable Paving is here for you. We are paving contractors with over 35 years of experience, and we know how to install, rebuilt, repair, and maintain asphalt of all kinds. If you think tree roots are causing your parking lot some problems, contact us today, and we will see what we can do.

Dealing With Winter Asphalt Damage

Winter is a tough time of the year on asphalt pavement. Not only are the usual problems of water seepage still an issue, but the changing temperatures can cause all sorts of damage. The most wonderful time of the year can be great in plenty of other ways, but your asphalt will pay the price. Here is a list of ways that you can assess, prevent, and repair the specific types of damage your asphalt will be facing in the winter. In particular, the Midwest is known for it’s bad winter roads. When the weather can go from a pleasant 60-70 degrees down to sub-freezing in a week or two, asphalt is in for a world of hurt.

The freeze/thaw cycle

The changing temperatures of winter can have a lasting effect on asphalt. Paving will often have some liquids that seep into them any time of year, these can come from rain, leaking cars, and more, but in winter the changing temperatures make them much more volatile. 

The process is very simple. During a thaw cycle, liquid water can seek into the body of asphalt paving. It gets in small cracks in the binder and and for the most part isn’t too dangerous. However, when the weather cools, the water expands. This expanding water forces the asphalt apart, pushing against it, causing rutting, cracks, and potholes. The cycle continues, and the water becomes liquid again when the weather warms. This process can even happen in the same day. Once the water is liquid, it seeps further into the asphalt, on account of the cracks it made bigger when freezing. When the temperature drops again, the water expands, making deeper cracks bigger and destroying more of the pavement. This cycle can occur daily, weekly, and/or monthly over the winter months, adding up to huge damages inside the asphalt. 

Dealing with the freeze/thaw cycle

Set up a drainage system

One of the best ways to have a simple drainage system is to make sure that your asphalt is set at a slight slope. The slope lets gravity do the work for you. Water can simply follow the slope down and not accumulate on top of the asphalt, where it seeps into it causing damage. Other drainage systems, like drain tile piping, can help ensure that water doesn’t build up on top of your asphalt and damage it. Learn more about proper asphalt drainage from this article

Crack sealing / seal coating

You’ve probably heard of asphalt seal coating. Seal coating is the process of putting a layer of weather-resistant material on top of your asphalt. It can extend the life of the pavement by decades, and prevents costly repairs in the future. Sealing cracks is another great option, as it prevents small problems (the existing cracks) from getting much, much worse. In general, you should be doing crack sealing at least once every year or two, as an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Sealing cracks has the added bonus of preventing water seepage into the pavement subgrade. If water does get into the lower sections, a total replacement of the asphalt might be the only repair solution.

Frost heave

If asphalt already has seepage issues, or the ground beneath it has a high water content, it may be subject to frost heave. Frost heave occurs when the water in the lower layers of asphalt or in the ground below it freezes and expands. Just like in asphalt that has water freezing and expanding, Frost heave results in major damage and causes big changes in the level of the parking lot. Entire sections can rise inches or feet above others, resulting in a more dangerous lot and significant damage. 

Dealing with frost heave

Clear standing water

Do your best to keep your pavement clear of standing water. Make sure your drainage is adequate, and clear off snow and ice that builds up on the asphalt during the winter. 

Re-set the asphalt

In cases with intense damage, it may be necessary to heat the asphalt so it is workable again, and then lay it. This helps you start “fresh” with a  new layer of asphalt that does not have water in it or below it. 

Snow

Snow poses various threats to your asphalt. One is that previously seen bits of debris will become invisible when snow is on the ground. Another is that snow often necessitates plowing, which can be harmful to your asphalt as well. 

Dealing with snow

Use a quality snow-removal surface

If you need to have a parking lot or road plowed, make sure that the plow isn’t going to damage your pavement. Do so by checking whether the plow is coated in polyurethane or rubber, rather than only steel. Of course, make sure to use a licensed and reputable snow-removal service.

Use salt sparingly

Salt is a classic for snow removal. However, the salt can mix with melted water and create more solvency that will do damage to your lot. Additionally, the saltwater runoff can be harmful to the local environment. A good option is to use salt mixed with sand if necessary, or to avoid salt altogether if possible. 

Ensure your asphalt stands up to the winter

If your asphalt looks like it needs some work before winter weather hits, let Reliable Paving help you. We can inspect your lot for damage, fix existing damage, and take preventative measures. Whether you just want your lot checked to make sure it can handle the winter, or you need last year’s winter damage fixed, we can certainly help. Perhaps your lot needs to be repaved altogether. Either way, Reliable’s team of over 200 people and 35 years of experience means that we know how to handle paving in the winter. Let a paving contractor do the work for you, contact Reliable Paving today.

Trails And Walkways: Paving Projects That Improve Lives

Not all asphalt has to go into roads and parking lots.

The vast majority of asphalt paving in the country goes into roads and parking lots. Well, 94% of the roads in the US are made from asphalt, so the number is must be pretty high. About 85% of all asphalt produced is used as a binder in road asphalt concrete. That’s a lot. The rest of the vast majority (10%) is used in roofing – the sealing and weatherproofing in many roofs comes from asphalt binder. That leaves just 5% for other uses. Almost all of the rest is used in sealing and insulating. 

So most asphalt is accounted for in building roads and waterproofing…but what else is it used for? Believe it or not, asphalt, as simple as it seems, can be used to benefit communities in non-traditional ways. Some of the best ways to benefit a location aren’t always massive infrastructure projects. Sure, installing a sewer system/water treatment, internet and phone lines, and building roads are important for developing any community. However, there are some much more subtle and easy ways to spur development and improve people’s lives. And one of those things require asphalt.

Trails, also known as greenways, are paths built for people o enjoy. Usually these paths are in natural areas, by beaches, in forests, or across prairie. They can also go through parks and nearby neighborhoods. These paths typically don’t allow motor vehicles, but they do allow foot traffic, bicycles, roller blades and skates, and other self-propelled means of transportation. 

Why build a trail system?

Good question. What benefits do trails provide that roads don’t? In fact, most people could probably think of the problems that trails don’t solve more easily.

  • Vehicles can’t ride on them, so they can’t be used to transport too many people or things.
  • They are often windy and indirect, so they don’t get people where they want to go efficiently.
  • They tend to be in remote areas, so they don’t take people where they want to go.
  • Trails are for leisure, not utility. 

These are all fair points, but they miss the main point of trails: they are good for people. Trails benefit people’s mental and physical health, and thus provide an over all benefit to the communities that they are in. 

Let’s take an in-depth look at the benefits of trails and greenways. Asphalt and paving is for more than just cars.

Health benefits

Across all ages and other demographics, when people are nearby trails, they get out more. The benefits to leading more active lives results in happier people and a more productive population. Additionally, the lower medical costs of dealing with healthy people as opposed to unhealthy people means trails can pay for themselves over time. 

  • Trails help control weight and diabetes, as well as cholesterol levels and bone loss associated with aging.
  • The low-impact exercise that is easy to find on trails helps decrease risk of cancers, and helps reduce anxiety and depression. 
  • Easy access to nature is enables people to relax. Studies have shown that spending time in nature does wonders for the mental health of everyone across the board.
  • Short trails enable people to easily get some exercise while going to and from work, school, and or shopping.
  • Trails provide pretty and accessible locations where children can play. Children’s health around trails is improved because they can find places to exercise and play more easily and in nicer settings.
  • A study cited in this in-depth look at trail benefits from the Rails to Trails Conservancy showed that 70% of trail users reported being more active thanks to trail systems nearby.

 

Economic benefits

Trails also provide a boon of economic bonuses to wherever they are. Some of them are in savings (such as lower medical costs in the area because the population is healthier), but many come in the form of increased spending. The ways trails benefit the economy are myriad.

  • Trails increase the property values of nearby homes and businesses.
  • Trails influence business locations and other decisions. As cycling has grown in popularity across the US, numerous restaurants and bars have opened up in otherwise tiny towns. Where did they open? Where cyclists from nearby communities pass through their towns. On longer trails, shopping centers (for trail supplies), and hotels open in order to serve those on long trips.
  • Trails boost spending at local businesses. People come to enjoy trail systems. Along the way, the need to eat and drink too. 
  • Trails provide alternative transportation options. This means people can live happily without cars sometimes. Benefits include:
    • Fuel expenses are lower.
    • Reduced levels of carbon emissions in communities with trails.
    • Less traffic/traffic jams.
    • Less space required for parking and roads.
    • Less environmental impact (fewer roads, traffic, fuel consumption, and parking space required) over all.
  • Trails create higher demand for the areas they are in. They do so because trails make an area more attractive for people to visit and live in. This has several effects:
    • Revitalizing depressed areas. Low income individuals without cars can more easily get around, have jobs and more.
    • Increase property values (as mentioned above). By creating more demand in an area, buildings that were once vacant can be brought back and the whole neighborhood will see the benefits.
  • The money saved from lower medical expenses is also an economic benefit to a community.

 

Trailblazing the way to healthier communities

Here at Reliable Paving, we are interested not only in doing the best jobs we possibly can do on your paving project, but also benefiting your community. We are socially responsible paving contractors who keep up with the ways in which we can benefit you, ourselves, and the world around us. If you are interested in improving your community by bringing in some extra money and making people healthier, contact us for your trail paving project today.

Parking Lot Asphalt Alternatives

Most commercial parking lots are asphalt. But there are a host of new – and old alternatives that can be used. Why might you want to try a different paving material? Maybe you want to minimize your environmental impact. Maybe you’d rather use something that just looks different. Maybe you’d just like to find something more cost-effective. Either way, asphalt actually has quite a few competitors for parking lots.

Permeable solutions

These solutions basically allow drainage right through the parking lot itself. Many traditional lots made from asphalt paving require storm gutters. Benefits of permeable pavements include not needing water drainage gutters, not requiring frequent maintenance, and not requiring the gutters be cleared of debris. Permeable surfaces don’t need seal coating like traditional asphalt either.

Gravel

Gravel is a cost-effective and easy solution to your paving problems. It’s cheap, easy to lay, and pretty low maintenance. But what about lost rocks? Won’t they need to be replaced over time? There are very simple and cheap solutions to maintaining your gravel parking lot. Lattice systems like the Truegrid Paver provide a honeycomb like structure what the asphalt can rest in. This keeps it from loosely being kicked around by vehicles. 

Gravel’s advantages include that it is porous- water pooling, seeping into cracks, and eventually potholing and cracking your pavement won’t be a problem anymore. With asphalt, the water just seeps right through it into the earth. The fact that potholes won’t be a concern anymore is great for vehicles, pedestrians, and business owners looking to avoid lawsuits.

Grass

Grass is great for parking lots that don’t see a too many vehicles, but what about ones that do? Well, it is a viable alternative for busy parking lots thanks to pavers like the one mentioned above. The lattice keeps the grass in place so it doesn’t quickly wear off, rut, or become otherwise damaged. Just like concrete, with grass lots you won’t have to worry about costly maintenance. Potholes, liquid seepage, and more will become a thing of the past. 

Read more about the web-like lattice material used in green alternatives to asphalt here.

Porous/permeable pavements

These types of pavements function like grass and gravel. They provide environmentally-friendly management of water. Storms, rain, and more aren’t problems because the water can work it’s way through the pavement, the pavement’s base, and into the ground below. 

Typically the base of this type of pavement is a spaced out stone bed. The stone bed let’s any liquid make its way back to the earth. The trick is to make the stone bed the right depth so that the water never rises to the asphalt level.

Alternatives to asphalt coating

Asphalt requires seal coating, which is a weatherproofing made for asphalt, concrete, and black top. This coating needs to be re-applied every few years (more depending on weather), and prevents liquids from entering the asphalt. Liquid is the enemy of asphalt, it causes damage by getting inside and then expanding as the temperature changes. In places with freeze-thaw weather cycles, this is devastating to tarmac of any kind (it’s one of the reasons that the Midwest has perennially terrible roads).

Solar reflectivity coatings

Solar reflectance is the ability of a substance to reflect the sun’s light and thus stay cool. Black has a rating of 0, while white has a rating of 100. There have been ideas posited that making every paved surface (in the world) white would help reduce or even reverse some of climate change’s effects. 

Why is it a good thing? It helps reduce the “heat island effect” that a lot of traditional black top gets on hot days in the summer. Not only is this better for the planet, it’s more comfortable for your business’s clients who visit during the summer. This coating can also be placed on walkways, trails, patios, sidewalks, playgrounds, and more to cool the surrounding area. It could even be placed on building roofs that are paved in order to reduce cooling costs.

Bio rejuvenators

Bio-based rejuvenators are an asphalt healing balm. They are derived from waste wood. When applied to asphalt, they sink deep into it, permeating beneath just the top surface. They also preserve parking lot line striping, as they are mostly transparent. Bio-based rejuvenators reduce harmful oxidization of asphalt components (rust). Bio oils also improve an asphalt’s rheology. Rheology is the how material moves/acts when under stress. Basically, this means that they help the asphalt maintain it’s form when thousands of pounds of car weight is on it without breaking or cracking. They also reduce the stiffness of aged asphalt. They are environmentally friendly, so there is not dangerous runoff after application. Additionally, bio oils dry after application in only 15-30 minutes! This means that a road being treated with them has very little down time. 

Asphalt recycling

One of the best alternatives to asphalt paving is…well… asphalt paving. Rather than have completely new pavement installed, old damaged asphalt can be pulverized. This is the process of breaking it back down into it’s component aggregate. Then, the aggregate can be reapplied with new binder and voila, a brand new asphalt surface without new materials. Aggregate makes up 90-95 percent of asphalt by volume, so the ability to recycle the vast majority of your parking lot into your new parking lot is nothing short of fantastic for the environment. Additionally, recycled asphalt is cheaper too – money doesn’t have to be spent on new paving materials.

Get your parking lot paved right

Whether you want a green, cheap alternative, or traditional asphalt, Reliable Paving can help you out. Our 35 years of experience and team of over 200 means no job is too big or too difficult. We keep on top of green paving trends, an recycle a good deal of asphalt ourselves. If you want your paving done right, on budget, on time, and in the best way for yourself and the world, look no further. You need paving that is reliable, and you need a paving contractor that is reliable. Get started today, and let’s see how we can help you.

The Ultimate Guide to Parking Lot Inspection

Your business probably has a parking lot. It’s an important and useful part of every business. It’s the first thing most clients see before they even go in the building, so it’s important that it makes a good impression. Not only does it create a first impression, it needs to be a reliable and safe place for vehicles to stay. It’s thus of utmost importance to keep your parking lot in good working order. Regular maintenance, upkeep, and inspections are a must. In order to help you keep your parking lot in the best shape it can be, we’ve compiled a helpful guide for checking your lot and keeping it up to spec.

Why is parking lot inspection important?

It may seem like the kind of thing that you can do only when you have problems – when a problem in the lot becomes apparent, inspect the rest of it and find whatever other issues need fixing, right? Not exactly. There are actually quite a few reasons to keep your lot regularly inspected.

Avoid costly repairs

If you find a problem early, you can nip it in the bud. Small repairs are cheaper, faster, and easier than massive restoration projects.

Maintain the value of your lot

Not only will the parking lot continue to make a good impression on clients, but your lot and adjacent business will continue to be a positive investment. 

Liabilities

A regularly-inspected lot can stay safer. This means you won’t have to worry as much about potential injuries and lawsuits. A safer lot is better for business.

Keep your business going

A well-maintained lot is able to accommodate more cars. This means more business for you. A lot that isn’t properly maintained will need huge repairs down the road…meaning you will have to close of part of your lot. Inspection followed by small repairs keeps your lot working for you.

Ensure legality

Permits and licenses change periodically. The last thing you want is to get your business and/or parking lot shut down because you have an out of date parking lot. Make sure that you are on top of your certificates/licenses/permits so that you can stay in business. Frequent inspection helps to ensure total legality in your business’s parking lot.

Parking Lot Checklist

An official checklist, like this one can be complicated and confusing to follow. Fortunately, we’ve simplified it and provided a nice checklist that gives you guidelines for what to do.

Entrance

  • Are points of ingress/sidewalks unobstructed? Is there debris on them that needs removal?
  • Can gates/doors open even in the case of power failure? Do they open when there is an alarm?
  • Are all gated points of entry clearly visible? Points of entry include doors, gates, lever arms (semaphore), and more.
  • Do automatic gates work correctly?
  • Do automatic gates function smoothly and without mechanical disruption?
  • Are plants near walkways trimmed and under control?

Signage

  • Is all signage in good repair and clearly visible?
  • Are entry and exit signs clear? 
  • Can the entrance be seen easily from passing vehicles?

Markings

  • Are stop signs at appropriate areas?
  • Are there mirrors at blind spots?
  • Are pavement lines, arrows, and signs clearly visible?
  • Are signs well-lit and easily visible?
  • Are parking spaces spaced appropriately? Are parking space lines clearly visible?
  • Are pedestrian walkways easy to see? 
  • Are signs pointing to pedestrian walkways visible and accurate?
  • Are handicapped parking spots clearly visible?
  • Are handicapped spots the correct size? (Sizes can vary from place to place).
  • Are there areas designated for various types of vehicles?
    • Bicycles
    • Motorcycles
    • Electric Cars
  • Is signage for electric car charging visible and accurate?
  • Is all interior marking/signage accurate? As construction/renovation happens, it may need to be changed.

Security

  • Are appropriate safety signs in place? (fire exits, emergency exits, etc.)
  • Are fences/walls free from holes/damage?
  • Is there a routine security patrol?
  • Is night-time lighting adequate?
  • Are all lights functioning and in good condition?
  • Are there dark areas of the lot?
  • Is there CC TV camera recording?
  • Are there emergency stations, do they work properly?
  • Is the lot clear of abandoned vehicles?
  • Is there a fire hose/hydrant near by? Can the fire mitigation equipment be safely accessed?
  • Is the lot kept clear of debris, trash, and dangerous materials?

Entry and exit

  • Pertaining to stairs, elevators, and walkways:
      • Are they clearly lit?
      • Are they unobstructed?
      • Are they clear of water, ice, snow, oil, and slippery material?
      • Are handrails in working order?
  • Are elevators in good working order and up to date on certification?

Surfaces/Asphalt conditions

  • Is the asphalt paving smooth and easily to traverse?
  • Are pavement damages controlled/fixed? (potholes, cracks, etc.)
  • Are ramp slopes at the correct ratio?
  • Is there slip-resistant surfacing on ramps and other appropriate areas?

Water drainage

  • Is there storm water control?
  • Are drains/grates clear of debris?
  • Is the lot clear of standing water?
  • Is snow plowing/salting/sanding regular and adequate?
  • Is snow plowed to designated areas?
  • Are gutters unobstructed?

Pay stations

  • Are pay stations in good working order? Do they accept multiple forms of payment?
  • Are pay stations well-lit with proper signage?

Workers/staff

  • Are workers trained properly?
  • Is there a first-aid kit available?
  • Are staff rooms/restrooms clean and unobstructed?
  • How are records kept? Records include:
    • Maintenance
    • Vehicles/accidents
    • Equipment
    • Work logs
  • Are staff properly certified in safety/job function?
  • Is fire-safety equipment maintained and available?
  • Do staff adhere to schedules?
    • Cleaning
    • Maintenance
    • Inspections
    • Safety

Need help maintaining your lot?

We’ve given you a pretty big list of stuff to keep track of, and that’s just for your parking lot, not even your business! Fortunately, Reliable Paving is a full-service paving contractor. We can perform the whole range of necessary tasks to keep your lot up to date. We do striping, repairs, paving, and much more. Send us a message today and we can ensure your lot is its absolute best.