Pavement Advice for the Freezing Cold

How to handle unusually cold weather when you are on the pavement, and what to do about your asphalt when the weather subsides.

Texas has had some wild weather these last few weeks. The Lone Star State is known for its sprawling deserts and plains, as well as extreme heat waves blowing in out of Mexico and the Pacific. This winter though, things have been a bit different. Much of the state is seeing, or has seen record cold, as in record-breaking cold. Some places were colder than they have been in 30 years, while others broke records from more than a century ago. Check out this BayNews9 article for a full list of broken temperature records. Needless to say, it has caught a lot of people off-guard. Windchill dipped places like Houston and San Antonio into 11F and 9F respectively. Other places dropped into negative double digits thanks to the wind chill.

The energy grid in Texas has seen a large failure, with a dip of 46,000 megawatts (that’s 46 gigawatts) of production. This left people and businesses unable to act in the freezing weather. Everything from deliveries being delayed to frozen pipes bursting to rolling blackouts hit during this time.

We can’t help with everything happening in Texas, but we can help you keep safe on the roads, and help you figure out what to do after.

Staying safe on frozen asphalt

Asphalt paving is famously slick in the winter time in cold climates. Ice clings to it and snow gets impacted into it, leaving it slippery and dangerous for pedestrians and commuters. Fortunately, it’s not all bad, as people living in the midwest deal with it yearly, more or less without serious problems. A few pieces of simple advice will go a long way.

Go slower

This probably is a no-brainer for you but it’s still worth a mention.

  • Go even slower when on a slope. Your breaks will not work as well driving downhill on an icy hill.
  • Increase your follow distance to 3 times what is normally is. We’ve all seen videos of big pile ups on the roadways in blizzards. Increasing your follow distance is how that sort of thing can be prevented.
  • Go especially slow when there are pedestrians around. Not only do you need to be more careful, but they can slip on the ice too.

It’s not all bad though, thanks to the weight of a car, you are less likely to slip in one going at low speeds than you are on foot.

What to do if you start skidding

  • Don’t keep your foot on the brake, try pumping it, or easing off.
  • Get your steering wheel going in the direction of the skid, so you are ready to move when you regain control.
  • Going slowly in the first place helps prevent skidding.
  • When you do brake, brake gently, this helps decrease your momentum in a way that won’t lead to sliding.

Keep your lights, windshield, roof, and windows clean

  • Other people need to see your lights.
  • Hopefully, we don’t have to explain why you need to keep your front and back windshields clear.
    • Make sure that you clear them both off fully! A small 10×10 inch window in the front is not enough.
  • Keep your windows clear for the same reason as your windshield.
  • Clear off your rooof so that if you stop suddenly or if heavy wind occurs you won’t have roof snow falling and blocking your windshield.

Keep a shovel, matts, and/or 2 by 4s in your car

  • This is for digging out of deep/slippery snow. Matts or 2 by 4s under the tires will help you get some traction.
  • The shovel will be useful for digging out yourself and others. It doesn’t have to be a big one, a hand shovel will work just fine.

Stay at least 200 feet behind snow plows

  • Give snow plows and sanding/salting trucks their distance. Not only might they stop suddenly, but the amound of snow they kick up could be a hazard to you.
  • Do not pass them unless they are pulled over and stopped.

Be extra careful on bridges, overpasses, and ramps

  • These areas often freeze first, and will have ice before other parts of the road will.
  • These areas are often curvy and on inclines, making slipping more disastrous. Exercise caution.

Watch out for black ice

Many people have heard of this phenomenom, not many know what it is though. It is the product of snow/ice initially freezing in place, then unfreezing over the cycle of a day, and refreezing at night. This happens again and again throughout the winter. On the road, it becomes a mix of oil from cars and pavement and refrozen ice.

  • It’s harder to see and often much more slippery than normal snow and ice.
  • It can be lurking under new snow, making the surface even more dangerous.

Keep some emergency precautions in your car

In case you get stranded, keep a blanket, heater, some food, and water in your car so you don’t freeze while waiting for help.

What to look for when the weather subsides

When the freezing weather turns to spring, your pavement will be in dire straights. You will be dealing with wear and tear the likes of which you haven’t seen in Texas in a long time.

Expect the following:

  • Existing problems/faults will be worse. Cracks and potholes will be bigger and deeper thanks to water getting inside and expanding when it froze.
  • Asphalt paving will become uneven as that subsurface water expands in the cold.
  • Parking lot marking wearing off. You can expect the salt, sand, and winter weather to have an effect on paint too. Parking lines, handicapped signs, and pretty much everything painted on asphalt will be harder to see.

If you need your asphalt repaired, come to us! Reliable Paving is an experienced team of paving contractors ready to help you and your business recover from this winter. Contact us today to let us know how we can help you get your pavement ready for spring weather.

 

Asphalt and Carbon Sequestration

Greenhouse gasses and carbon dioxide

If you are a little bit familiar with the greenhouse effect, you probably know how it works and what the main culprit is. In case you don’t, here’s a quick breakdown: heat gets trapped in the atmosphere according to the level of greenhouse gas currently present. More greenhouse gasses equals more heat trapped. The heat builds up and the climate gets hotter over all.

Carbon comes from natural and human causes. All decaying material, especially plant matter, releases carbon. That is the biggest factor in adding carbon to the atmosphere. Usually it is added as CO2, or carbon dioxide. Now carbon dioxide itself isn’t so bad, and is a natural part of the Earth’s environment. Humans, and nearly every other animal breathes in oxygen, and breathes out CO2. However, it is currently being overproduced, and this is one of the main factors worsening climate change.

Slash and burn deforestation creates enormous quantities of decaying biomatter that in turn makes vast amounts of carbon dioxide. Industry also belches out carbon dioxide on…well, and industrial scale. Cargo shipping alone accounts for about 3% of the whole world’s CO2 emissions. Factories do their damage by releasing tons (literally) of CO2, and other worse gasses, like methane. Finally, agriculture also releases vast amounts of greenhouse gasses. Carbon dioxide isn’t even the worst one, methane, nitrous oxide, and fluorinated gases are much worse. However, carbon is our focus because it accounts for over 81% of greenhouse emissions.

So what does this have to do with asphalt?

Asphalt plays a big role in carbon sequestration. What is that? It means removing carbon out of the atmosphere and putting it somewhere where it won’t get back out. This in turn reduces carbon’s greenhouse effect, and reduces the effects of climate change. There are two ways to do this right now.

  • Biologic carbon sequestration. This is the storage of atmospheric carbon in vegetation, both land-based and aquatic. The carbon is stored in roots, tree trunks, and the bodies of plants. This is useful, as much vegetation also breathes C02 and helps filter air in general.
  • Geologic carbon sequestration. This is the process of storing C02 in underground geological formations. The carbon dioxide is pressurized until in liquid form, then stored in rock formations. It fits well into porous formations, and can even be used for oil and gas extraction.

This is where asphalt comes into the picture.

Asphalt and the environment

We’ve already mentioned how asphalt is actually not nearly as harmful to the environment as one might think, and how it’s improving its footprint over time. Asphalt is primarily something called aggregate. Aggregate is what it sounds like- a collection of small stones, crushed rock, and little, hard things. It is all kept together by a glue. This glue, or binder, is an oil product. Now, the oil industry is famously bad for the environment. Extraction is awful for local ecologies, and accidents can result in crude oil covering huge swathes of the ocean and land. Fortunately, asphalt is mostly recycled, seriously reducing the need for new oil products. This in turn decreases carbon emissions from extraction. Future carbon is also not but into the atmosphere by the extracted oil later being burned.

But how does asphalt sequester carbon?

The first and main way, is by covering a surface. A surface covered in asphalt has that asphalt trapped inside of it. One thing people may not know about plants is that during the night, their roots absorb oxygen and they expel carbon dioxide. This means that the soil can become loaded with that carbon gas, which gets released into the atmosphere. With asphalt covering the surface of the soil, that gas stays underground. It may seem a bit extreme, but the more of the Earth’s surface we cover in asphalt paving, the more carbon we keep out of the air.

So we should pave as much of the Earth over as possible right? Well…it would have some pretty bad effects in the short run. In the long run though, a 100% paved planet would have a very stable, predictable climate.

Fortunately, asphalt has a few other tricks up its sleeve.

Asphalt-porous carbon

New developments in paving technology have led to more porous types of asphalt. This asphalt works just like underground porous rocks that hold carbon. This new material can capture carbon and store over 100% of its weight in carbon. When it is applied to high pressures, of 30 times the atmospheric pressure at sea level, it absorbs CO2. What this means is that it can be used underground at “wellheads.” Wellheads are places where carbon is released in large tubes, often from factories and other big polluters. When the material is released from the pressure, it releases the carbon. This enables it to be “pumped” so that the CO2 can be liquidized and brought to permanent storage. This cheap and easy-to-use material was discovered by Rice University, and you can read all about the specifics here.

The possibilities are endless. Parking lots and roads could be paved with asphalt-porous carbon. It then absorbs underground emissions, preventing thousands of tons of CO2 from entering the air we breathe.

Find out what else asphalt and pavement can do

At Reliable Paving, we believe in more than just doing the best job we can for you. We want to do our work, efficiently, cleanly, and in a way that benefits as many as possible. We make sure to stay on top of the best, most resource-efficient ways to pave and lay asphalt. We are paving contractors with a purpose – unrelenting good service, and a mission to be greener, more efficient, and the best we can be. Contact us today to learn about our environmentally-friendly paving methods, and what we can do for you.

Present and Future Developments in Asphalt Paving Materials

The US asphalt market has been on a steady incline and seems poised to be improving into the future. With a 3% annual improvement and nearly 28 million tons being used in 2021, with about 22 million tons for paving projects, asphalt’s future looks bright. Federal highway funding improvements and general construction market expansion are the main fuel for this. But what about the next decades? Sure, there will be more asphalt in use and in construction, but what materials will actually be used?

According to the trends and the market, we can expect some important changes to the asphalt market over the next several years. Most of the trends are in the direction of sustainability and the environment. Additionally, efficiency and quality material are some other big trends of the future. Let’s take a deep look into what and how the asphalt paving market will change in the coming years.

More recycling

Asphalt paving is already one of the top recycled products in use. This trend is definitely here to stay, and poised to increase. It’s already easy and often simpler to use recycled asphalt than to bring in new asphalt for a paving project, and the recycling process will only get more efficient as technology improves. What are some other materials that will make it into the asphalt recycling process?

Recycled plastic waste

Recycled plastic is finding its way into paving. Single use plastics like water bottles, bags, are pressurized into pellets that can then be used as part of the aggregate that forms the vast majority of the body of asphalt. Aggregate is the collection of small stones and crushed rocks that typically makes up 90% or more of asphalt. It is kept together by a petroleum-based binder, a sort of glue. This poses numerous benefits, as well as a few cautionary drawbacks.

Benefits of using plastic waste include:

  • Less plastic in landfills, rivers, and the ocean.
  • Cheaper than using traditional aggregate.
  • Recycling on-location saves time, money, and emissions by obviating the need to transport pavement.
  • It’s as durable or more than traditional pavement.

What about the cons of using recycled plastic waste?

The main con is that it poses the risk of introducing microplastics to the local environment. As the recycled plastic pavement degrades and is exposed to differing temperatures, the small pellets will break down and fall apart. This process sheds microplastics, which can damage local soil and water quality. As the plastic moves through the ecology, it winds up in farmed food, animals, and people.

Fortunately, by controlling the extreme heat exposed to the recycled material, the companies who use recycled plastic road can prevent the release of microplastics.

Self healing pavement

This porous material uses inductive heating to “heal” damage that it accrues through usage. The asphalt repairs its own cracks when it is heated meaning that a lot of maintenance and care is no longer needed. The mixture uses some steel wool in the bitumen that holds the aggregate together. This reduces cracks, potholes, and graveling (loose aggregate breaking free from the surface).

The green and sustainable movement

There are quite a few ways that asphalt is going green, which we will talk more about later. But the main way for any industry to become more sustainable is to simply use less. Remember the three Rs? Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle. The first one is to reduce, and that is the best way to benefit the environment, and save costs.

Buying an electric car might save in the long run on greenhouse emissions, but it’s nothing compared to not using a car at all. The same goes for industry, especially the paving industry.

Warm mix asphalt

As of now, most asphalt is either hot mix, or cold mix. Hot mix means that the asphalt must be mixed at high temperatures (surprise), and cold mix means it doesn’t have to be heated. But new technologies are allowing for warm mix asphalt. It uses a water and a chemical additive to create a mix that can be placed on roadways at lower temperatures.

Warm mix asphalt is similar to hot mix, but is uses temperatures between 212 and 275 degrees Fahrenheit. These temps require less energy and result in fewer emissions. Basically, warm mix asphalt is a way to pave like hot mix, but reducing the amount of energy and waste throughout the whole process.

Solar and geothermal paving

A lot of the roadways in the US see intense sunlight, especially in the high desert regions of the Southwest. Solar panels can be incorporated into the roadways in order to generate passive electricity from miles and miles of empty highway.

Geothermal technology can be added to the bottom layer of the paving in many places — including those without constant sunlight, to generate passive electricity as well.

Ultra smooth roads

Less gravelly, smoother roads are a benefit as well. The smooth roadways produce much less noise pollution and have less friction. This results in higher fuel-efficiency for the vehicles on them.

Efficiency, sustainability, and improvement

The road to improvement is paved by progress. The above mentioned technologies are already in-use in various places across the world, and they will no doubt see continued and expanded demand.

Here are some other technologies still in the works, but not used yet.

  • Bio-bitumen (binder) made from household waste, paper, textiles, and other organic material.
  • Bio-asphalt made from plant cells (lignin) as the bitumen. Lignin is a by-product of the paper industry, so this technology doubly reduces waste from one industry and reduces demand from paving.

Whatever new tech come our way, Reliable Paving will be on top of it. We are a team of paving contractors who keep on top of the newest trends, most efficient methods, and the best ways to render service to our customers. We aim to provide the best paving services available, while minimizing environmental impact and striving for utmost efficiency. Message us today to find out about our methods, and how we can sustainably work on your paving project.

Paving a Road From Start to Finish

5 Steps

Many people think that asphalt paving is a simple process: pour it and let it harden. It’s actually not nearly that simple, but it doesn’t need to be overly complex either.

Whatever needs paving, there will be the same basic steps in each paving project. Maybe you are a commercial developer working on a new lot, or a city street nearby needs paving, whatever the circumstances, we can give you a detailed outline of how the project should look. This can serve you in several ways: you can make sure your paving contractor is doing the job right, you can also communicate more effectively by asking the right questions through each part of the process. Finally, if it’s a small project, you might get the knowledge you need to do one or more of the steps without any outside help.

Planning

This is an often overlooked step. You, the business owner or developer, will need to ensure you have the following:

  • Approval for the city for paving the area you choose.
  • Environmental issues with the area need to be addressed, such as drainage.
  • The location needs to be clearly defined. If it is a busy thoroughfare, there will need to be some kind of alternate route for people to get around it. Even if it isn’t a place that sees a lot of traffic, there will need to be alternate routes around the location for pedestrians and commuters.
  • The goal of the project should be clearly defined. What are you paving? What is its function? Is it a road, driveway, or parking lot? Is the space being paved for vehicles, pedestrians, cars, cyclists, or heavy machinery? Who is using it, the public or some private individuals? How much use will it see? This is a difficult thing to figure, as many variables need to be considered. Ultimately, you need to know how much use it will get, what kind of use it will be, and who will be using the new paved area.
  • What is the timeline of the project? How long will it take from breaking ground until it can be used?
  • What is the budget?

Preparation and Excavation

The difficulty of this step varies significantly according to what was there before. Was the site location another road? It may be easier to prepare. Was the site an old building that needs to be torn down? Well, there will be a lot more work. You should also check what is under the site to make sure the new paving can handle the load from use.

During this process, grading and sloping of the site is also incredibly important. This determines drainage. Water is the main factor in asphalt/concrete damage, so ensuring that your site will have proper drainage will save a lot of repairs, money, and headaches later on.

Finally, the ground to be built upon will have to be compacted. This is a technical process that usually involves special equipment and skill. It’s something you will almost certainly need a professional paving contractor to perform.

Building the sub base

Now that the ground beneath is ready, it’s time to lay a sub base. This is the material upon which the actual pavement will lie. It can vary from compacted soil and loose rocks in home/residential construction to much more complex layers of increasingly-small aggregate. Aggregate is a combination of small rocks, crushed rocks, and stones that. In many roads, the sub base layers has 4 layers.

  • Bottom layer: compacted soil, also called sub grade.
  • Layer 2: Sub base aggregate material. This can be loose rocks or stones compacted tightly.
  • Layer 3: Base course. Usually a finer aggregate material than the sub base, like sand.
  • Layer 4: Paver base. This final base before the pavement usually is the finest aggregate. Rock is finely crushed into a powder that the pavement can lay smoothly upon.

Laying the asphalt

During this process, paving contractors will use heavy equipment to pour hot mix asphalt onto the top layer of the sub base. Asphalt, unlike the other layers, is not just an aggregate material. It also includes a binder, which is usually made from petroleum. The petroleum binder makes up a tiny portion of the asphalt, usually around 5%. As you may have guessed from the name, the binder is essentially the “glue” that holds the asphalt together as one contiguous piece.

After pouring, the asphalt will be leveled and compacted after pouring. Additionally, joiners will be built to connect the asphalt to other pavement. Roads connect to other roads, driveways, sidewalks, etc. Special attention should be paid to ensure transitions are smooth.

Finally, asphalt will be checked for final smoothness. The contractor will make sure there aren’t bumps or small build-ups, and a roller truck or some other piece of heavy equipment will fully flatten the new paving.

Despite its use of petrochemicals, asphalt does not actually have a terribly powerful environmental impact. It is one of the most recycled materials, and it sequesters vast amounts of carbon dioxide.

Hardening

Once the asphalt is poured in the right location, all you have to do is wait. It may be safe to walk on once it has cooled and hardened initially, in the first few days after pouring. Complete hardening may take weeks or up to a month, depending on the ambient temperature.

When this part of the process is done, the asphalt is good to go.

Pave your projects the right way

At Reliable Paving, we know what we are good at. We ensure total care and proper procedure during every stage of the paving process. Not only do we take care to do our best work, but we communicate proactively and are present to answer questions, and provide recommendations throughout each step of paving. If you want a project done well, to exacting standards, and reliably, then don’t hesitate to contact us today and get the best paving you can.

Is Winter a Good Time to Repair Asphalt?

Winter may not be the ideal time to get those crucial asphalt repairs. When is the best time to do it? What repairs can you do in the winter?

Winter weather is one of the main killers of asphalt. When any water gets inside asphalt paving, it expands and contracts with temperature changes. This causes existing problems like cracks and bumps to get worse. Fortunately, there are solutions for fixing your pavement in the winter. It may not be the ideal time for any type of road/parking lot work for various reasons, but it is possible.

Types of asphalt repair

Whether you are getting asphalt cracks sealed, potholes filled, or sections of asphalt replaced, there are two main ways it can be repaired: hot and cold mix.

Hot mix

Hot mix asphalt must stay compact in order to perform properly. If the temperature is too low, it won’t set right. If the outside temperature is too low, it might not even make it to the location without cooling enough to no longer be effective. Hot mix asphalt should only be used when the temperature is going to be consistently above 55 degrees Fahrenheit for at least several days.

Cold Mix

Cold mix asphalt is designed to work in just about any temperature, so it is a great solution for emergency winter fixes. Unlike hot mix, it can’t be paved, so it won’t work for replacing an entire driveway, parking lot, or large swathe of pavement.

Infrared

Some repairs that involve removing damaged asphalt for repairs involve heating. The existing asphalt is heated technology, and then removed in its hotter, more pliable state. Now, this of course is not possible, or prohibitively difficult during winter months. So sometimes just getting the area to be filled ready is not possible when the weather is inclement. Fortunately, infrared can be done just about any time of the year. Its technology enables sub-surface heating that is independent of the ambient temperature.

Other winter conditions to look out for

Besides temperature fluctuations, there is also frequently precipitation during the winter months. Rain, ice, sleet, hail, snow, whatever, it will interrupt your repair work. Be sure that when you  are getting your repairs done, the weather is expected to be clear and dry for enough time for the asphalt to set and be safe for vehicles and pedestrians.

One problem with precipitation, is that even in mild climates, it happens. In the Southern United States, from Florida to Arizona, freezing temperatures are fairly uncommon. Especially persistent freezing temperatures that last more than a few days. This is great for getting hot or cold mix repairs done. However, these states often see higher degrees of precipitation in the winter, putting a hole in your hole-patching plans. Even if the weather isn’t freezing, the application of water to uncompacted asphalt can ruin the patching and prevent compaction.

When is the ideal time to repair asphalt?

Since winter seems like it’s not an option for large-scale repairs and replacement, when is? The ideal time for asphalt repairs are when the temperature is in the mid 70s F. This means that mid-March through early/mid October or November is ideal, as the steady/warm weather enables the pavement to become compacted, smooth, and good to go.

So what can we do when we need repairs in the winter?

If emergency repairs during the winter are non-negotiable, there are still some options.

Wait for good weather

Even in the northern states, it’s not always freezing during the winter. This means that if you have a week or so of temperate weather, you can schedule repairs for this time. Of course, be sure to talk to a trusted paving contractor to ensure that things should go according to plan, and that the repair plan is a good one.

Other options include using technology that works in the winter. Infrared and cold mix asphalt are great options, but of course they have their limitations. Whole parking lots and driveways can’t be paved during freezing weather, so you are best scheduling those bigger projects for the following spring.

An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure

This phrase is a cliché, of course, but it’s a cliché because it’s true. The absolute best thing you can is protect your asphalt pavement in advance.

  • Get your paving seal coated. Seal coating is covering the pavement with..well, a seal. The seal prevents water seepage and further water damage. Doing a seal coat every few years will make your parking lot or driveway last for decades.
  • If you use de-icer, make sure it isn’t too caustic. Salt and other de-icers can act as solvents that break down the binding of asphalt. Don’t continue to use them if you have noticed damage after previous uses. Find something that plays nicer with your pavement.
  • Clear debris. Clearing debris makes further maintenance and cleaning easier. Debris can not only lead to damage, but it is a hazard for people and cars on paving.
  • Fix small problems early. A crack sealed early on is going to be easier to deal with than one that has expanded into a network and requires pavement to be replaced. Potholes should be filled before they grow into giant gaping eyesores.

Here’s a great list from Main Infrastructure in Canada about ways to protect your paving before and during the winter months.

Get the best winter asphalt treatment and maintenance you can

Reliable Paving is ready to help you prepare for winter, and perform winter repairs if you need it. We use hot and cold mix repair methods, and we are happy to schedule spring, summer, and fall work if the job is too big to be done in cold weather. If you want a job done right, get it done by someone who’s reliable. Contact us today, and we can help you with your winter asphalt repairs.

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.