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Asphalt Stabilization

What is asphalt stabilization?

To begin with, we need to know what it is. Base stabilization is often performed on new road, or when full-depth repairs are being performed on an older road. Stabilization is the process of preparing a base for proper asphalt stabilization.

Why is it needed?

Asphalt stabilization may be required when the earth beneath asphalt-to-be-laid is not strong enough to support the new asphalt paving. For example: sandy soil, soil high in clay, soil prone to erosion, and weak, soft, non-compacted soil often need asphalt stabilization measures.

Types

Physical stabilization

The stabilization process is performed when the bottom layers of asphalt and the soil beneath it are pulverized. The pulverization process is something familiar to anyone in the asphalt paving business- it’s the process of grounding big rocks and pebbles into smaller ones. The tools used in this step are typically jackhammers, steamrollers, pavement shredders, tampers and more. Don’t be surprised if a few good old-fashioned shovels and sledgehammers make it into the mix. 

After the pulverization is complete, the tools mentioned above will be used to shake and compress the base into settling. This stage is known as compaction. In cases where the soil beneath the asphalt isn’t too terrible, this may be all that’s required to set up a stabilizing base.

Chemical stabilization

Sometimes, after pulverization, additives are added to improve cohesiveness and stability. Depending on the soil type beneath the asphalt, different additives will be used. Cement is often used in sandy locations (as an additive to the stabilized asphalt). High-clay content soils will require lime as an additive because it reduces plasticity. Cement, fly ash, asphalt emulsion, and foamed bitumen can increase weight-bearing capacity. Additionally, more than one type of additive may be used. Lime may first be added to reduce clay-heavy soil’s plasticity, followed by foamed bitumen to improve its load-carrying capacity. There may be different stabilizing additives used in different locations on the same project as well. This happens when the soil varies in composition beneath a construction. The percent composition of stabilizer is usually in the 2-4% rage, based on requirements, authorities, and/or project owners.

After the additive or additives are used and thoroughly mixed with the asphalt, the process of compaction can begin. 

Soil vs Asphalt base stabilization

Sometimes, the only thing (or primary thing) being stabilized is the earth the asphalt will rest on. Sometimes it’s a combination of existing asphalt (that must be repaired) and soil. Other times it’s a combination of soil and a special material used as asphalt subgrade/base that is brought in by the paving contractor. Depending on the material being pulverized, the type of stabilization changes.

Soil stabilization

This is primarily earth beneath the asphalt. There may be some other stuff, such as an added subgrade or preexisting asphalt, but the majority is earth beneath asphalt.

Asphalt base stabilization

This is when more of the material being stabilized is the subgrade material/preexisting asphalt. Of course, some soil will no doubt be part of this process, but the majority is base/soil.

The process

Regardless of which type of stabilization you are doing, there are a series of steps you must follow. Ensuring that your asphalt is stable requires careful planning, engineering, and know-how, doing things wrong, forgetting steps, or going out of order will result in big problems.

  • Step 1: Testing and planning. First you will check out the soil you will be building on. Make sure it can support asphalt. If it can’t, analyze it to figure out what needs to be added. 
  • Step 2: Pulverize that asphalt.
  • Step 3: Additives (if necessary)
  • Step 4: Compaction.
  • Step 5: Further testing. Once all of the tests are passed and the base is deemed stable enough, we are ready to lay some asphalt. This is an extremely important part of the process, it must be ensured that too much moisture isn’t trapped in the soil. Also, it must be determined that there are no irregularities that can damage the asphalt later.
  • Step 6: Surface treatment. A thin seal may be applied, it will protect the surface while letting out any residual trapped moisture. Common surface treatments include chip seals, slurry seals, micro surfacing, cold and hot mix overlays, and cape seals.

Check out Asphalt Pro Magazine’s in-depth how-to on asphalt stabilization.

Why should you stabilize asphalt?

Another way of asking this question is as follows: what happens if you don’t stabilize asphalt? Well, no doubt you’ve seen damaged asphalt before. That’s what will happen. The majority of major asphalt damage, such as potholes, heaving, major cracking, etc, comes from the asphalt not being stable below the surface. Even asphalt that is laid well and surfaced/sealed will have those problems, while avoiding smaller issues.

If you don’t stabilize your asphalt pavement, you can expect the following:

  • Surface unevenness/sunken asphalt. If not stabilized, entire slabs of asphalt/concrete can sink. 
  • Potholes. Smaller areas of uncompacted base can lead to potholes.
  • Cracking. Moisture in the base can expand when the weather changes and make it so that it comes out of surface, leading to cracking. The moisture can also seep into the paving from the base, leading to expansion and cracking.
  • Pavement drift/moving. An unstable base will lead to unstable pavement on top of it. 
  • Chipping edges. Pavement that is laid without a solid base or wider than its base will see its edges weaken and chip off. 

Ensure your paving is done right

If reading this has scared you a little, we understand. Not doing something – especially paving – right is a huge mistake. Not only will it cost you money in repairs/replacements in the future, but your clients and visitors will have a bad impression before they even go into your business. If you want to ensure that your pavement is high-quality, and stands the test of time, then go with Reliable Paving. Reliable has been in this business for over 35 years, and knows how to get the job done right the first time. Contact us today for high-quality paving in the Dallas Fort-Worth area.

Preparing Your Parking Lot For Winter

Winter weather can be devastating on parking lots. At Reliable Paving, ensuring that businesses have quality parking lots and driveways is our bread and butter. Our list of 6 guidelines will help you ensure your parking lot avoids major winter damage and goes into the spring looking and feeling new.

1. Have plan for when the snow comes

Planning is the first step in success. One of the best ways to ensure your parking lot is usable when winter weather hits is to be ready for it. 

  • Have a snow removal plan. Contact a local snow removal company to ensure that you are covered when the snow touches down. There are plenty of private companies that can handle snow-covered parking lots in the wee hours of the morning. This is good for removing before it freezes over, or before work hours begin.
  • Have a back-up snow removal plan. In the case that the weather is extreme, or your first choice for snow removal fails, you should have a secondary plan. 

2. Clean the parking lot before winter

Fall weather often sees lots of rain and storms. This can leave the parking lot looking quite the mess. Of course, you should be doing regular parking lot maintenance, involving inspection and debris cleaning. However, it’s even more important to do so before winter. Getting rid of debris will make the lot safer, as things like fallen tree branches and broken glass sometimes can’t be seen under snow. It will also make other maintenance, such as fixing cracks and repainting, easier.

  • Clean solid debris off of the surface of the parking lot. Make sure there aren’t any fallen signs, tree branches, broken  glass or plastic bits on the lot. 
  • Clean up liquid debris. Liquids like pooling water or oil can be signs of much worse issues, such as unevenness caused by previous damage. Our article about what causes asphalt damage lists water and liquid seepage as one of the worst offenders.

3. Repairs

Just like cleaning, basic repairs are something that you should do every few months as part of normal maintenance on a parking lot. Just like cleaning, basic repairs are especially important before winter weather sets in. As we mentioned, water seeping into a parking lot is the main cause of damage, so fixing any openings will protect you from winter water damage. It’s a fact of life that some water, whether in liquid or solid ice form, will be sitting on top of your asphalt paving at some point over the winter. 

  • Seal cracks. 
  • Fill potholes. If the weather is not warm enough, you can use a cold mix asphalt to patch potholes.
  • Check for bigger problems such as sinkholes, and uneven parts of the pavement. These can point to much bigger problems with foundation and subgrade.

The sooner you address these issues, the longer your surface, and pavement as a whole, will last.

4. Check the gutters and drainage

Yet another part of general maintenance that is more important during the winter is ensuring your drainage is up to snuff. If you don’t clear out your gutters and drains before winter, you will have a hard time with snow melt and rain, both of which are common during the colder months. This leads to water pooling on the pavement, which in turn leads to seepage, which in turn, leads to deeper water damage.

  • Is water pooling on your parking lot? This could be a sign to do a deeper inspection. 
  • Look in the drains themselves. Are they blocked? Is water draining out of them correctly?
  • Check the gutters for debris. Is there anything blocking the water flow?
  • Is the parking lot’s incline slight enough to not be noticeable to vehicles and pedestrians, but enough to let water roll off?

5. Re-painting time

This is especially important if you plan on doing the next tip as well. You may think that over the winter, the lot will be barely looked at, as ice and snow will often cover it, and people will not check that closely as they hurry from their cars to your business in the cold. When you are having the parking lot repaired anyway is a great time to get it re-striped and spruced up so it looks good. It’s not just looks, quality markings in a lot do wonders to improve safety.

  • Ensure that the car park stripes are clearly visible.
  • Ensure pedestrian walkways are just as visible as any other markings.
  • Handicapped parking spots should also be clear and noticeable.
  • Any other marked areas on the lot, such as time-limited parking spots, valet locations, and anything else can be repainted during this time.
  • Now is also a good time to check lighting and signage in your lot. Good lighting keeps the lot safe and is one of the first steps in making your business look more inviting.

6. Seal coating

If you are already re-painting, cleaning, and fixing cracks and potholes, think about when the last time you seal coated was. Seal coating is the process of covering your lot in an extra layer that seals out water and other solvents. You should have your parking lot seal coated at least once every few years, as it dramatically extends the lifespan of just about any asphalt. If you aren’t sure about whether you need it or not, here are some signs:

  • Loss of dark asphalt color.
  • Large cracks.
  • Last seal coating was 2-3 years ago.
  • Ravelling (disintegration of the top layer of asphalt into tiny rocks and pebbles).
  • Winter is on the way. Yes, prior to winter is the best time to get your lot seal coated.

Reliable Paving can help you prepare for winter

Fortunately, Reliable Paving can provide each and every one of the services listed above. We are a paving contractor with nearly 4 decades of experience, and a team of over 200, no project is out of our scope or skill set. Contact us today to get your parking lot ready for the winter weather.

Why Is Asphalt Temperature Important?

Any paving contractor knows that you need to pay close attention to asphalt’s temperature while it is being installed, or undergoing repairs. There are a few different aspects of the asphalt’s temperature that you need to keep in mind in particular. Keeping these at the right temperature will improve asphalt’s strength, required maintenance, life span, and resistance to weather.

What happens when the temperature is off?

The ideal range for asphalt is 290-220 degrees F. When applied to the job site, it should be in the 275-300 degrees range. This ensures that it doesn’t become too cool while being laid to prevent compaction. Ambient temperatures, below 50 degrees will ensure it is too cold to fully compact. Some companies, however are able to lay thinner layers of asphalts at slightly cooler temperatures. But it is important to note that this is for a specific purpose: asphalt being laid in 1.5 inches or thinner, by companies with the right experience. Laying asphalt too thin can also cause problems, due to the layers cooling much more quickly than they would when laid in much larger quantities and thicknesses. As for general purposes though, go for 50 degrees minimum. 50 Makes for a pretty good bottom limit, as a rule, when it comes to asphalt laying temperatures.

What about the high range though? Usually anything over 90 degrees is considered too hot, and it will result in the asphalt melting, bruising, sloughing, and curing improperly.

Basically, the rule of thumb is this: keep it between 50 and 90 degrees. 40 Degrees is a good limit for a 1 and a half inches or less, 50 is a good limit for anything more, and always lay asphalt in sub-90 degree weather.

When the temperature is off, the asphalt will not be compacted enough and that prevents the aggregate from fully bonding with its surrounding pavement. This leads to nooks and crannies in the asphalt which allow in water. When water gets in, it expands and contracts with weather changes, starting the pothole and cracking process all over again. Additionally, when the asphalt cools too quickly, the entire surface will ravel. Raveling is asphalt deterioration through the loss of aggregate- the loose rocks and stones that compose most of the asphalt. You’ve probably noticed it when walking through a parking lot, and you start kicking around loose pebbles.

In the end, asphalt paving that is installed at the wrong temperatures will incur damage more quickly. This will shorten the entire life of the asphalt, and may create serious repair bills for the owner along the way.

What temperatures do you need to keep in mind?

Temperature of the asphalt mix itself

As we mentioned before, the asphalt mix temperature should be 275-300 degrees when it reaches the job site. This only becomes an issue when there is an extremely long travel period between the asphalt plant and the job site, allowing cooling during transit.

Temperature while it is being laid

As the asphalt is coming out of the paver, check its temperature with an IR thermometer. This ensures it is the right temperature during laying and compaction. It also makes sure that the environment isn’t changing the mix directly prior to application.

Base temperature

This is the temperature of the ground. Once asphalt is laid, it will start cooling to match the ground temperature quite quickly. Fortunately, the base temp is easy to monitor. Buy an infrared thermometer from any tool store, and check a few points in the areas the asphalt will be laid. Make sure it’s between 90 and 50 degrees, and you are good to go.

Ambient temperature

This basically means the weather. For the day of paving, check the forecast. We are going for that ideal condition with a high below 90 and a low above 50. Fortunately, that shouldn’t be too hard during large swathes of the year, particularly spring and autumn.

Wind speed

Check wind speed when you look at the forecast as well. The higher the wind velocity, the more quickly the asphalt will cool.

Precipitation

Also be on the lookout for precipitation, rain, sleet, or snow can stop your paving project in its tracks.

What seasons should you be careful of?

Summer and winter are the seasons to look out for. During both (even on milder days) the temperature can cause thermal segregation in hot mix asphalt. This essentially means that different parts have different temperatures. Thus, you will have the same problems mentioned above when the temperature isn’t right will occur.

Cold mix asphalt can be used at a wider temperature range

Cold mix asphalt uses special polymers in the aggregate bitumen mix. These polymers cause a chain reaction when it is laid, hardening the asphalt and bonding it to the surrounding surfaces.

Cold mix asphalt is applied at under 175 and 50 degrees Fahrenheit for construction.

When it comes to repairing damage, such as cracks and holes in asphalt paving, then cold mix asphalt works for all seasons. However, remember that cold mix is typically only used for temporary or smaller repairs.

Ensure your asphalt is installed in all the right ways

If keeping track of weather, ground, and mix temperature seems like a lot for your paving project, you aren’t alone. Fortunately, that’s why companies like Reliable Paving are here for you. Our team of over 200 asphalt paving contractors are professional, experienced (35 years plus!), and adaptable. Our services range widely, from repairs and re-striping to whole new paving installations. If you want to get your paving project started on the right foot, then don’t hesitate to contact us today.

Construction Equipment For Snow Removal

In Texas, we aren’t used heavy snow. Winter of 2020 brought some interesting weather, and with climate change, who knows what to expect. In order to handle dangerous cold in the future, it’s good to have a plan in the case of unexpected intense or dangerous icy weather. Southern states are much less used to freezing weather and snow. Thus they don’t often have the same infrastructure that northern states have set up. For example, numerous power generations stations froze over last year. This left everything from oil wellheads to wind turbines encoated in ice and becoming non-functional. The result was Texas losing about 45 gigawatts of energy generation capacity in a matter of days. A good way to prevent things from becoming dangerous and unusable in the future is to have some plan ready for when the snow and ice comes. This is especially true of construction sites, where a layer of snow can prevent work from being done for days, weeks, or even more. So what can you use to keep your property free of snow and ice? Believe it or not, a flamethrower isn’t your best choice. Read on for a list of ways to get rid of snow and ice with non-traditional equipment. Have a back up plan to prevent your businessplace from freezing to a halt.

For large-scale snow removal, construction equipment is the way to go

If your business is having a new building built, or a parking lot paved, or any other major construction, then have the contractor leave some equipment there. This is efficient for a variety of reasons, namely that equipment doesn’t have to be delivered to the site in the case of extreme weather. All that’s needed is a professional operator to make it to the site, and use the equipment that’s already there. It decreases the response time and helps get the project rolling sooner. With a few attachments, numerous construction vehicles are ideal snow removal tools.

Now, many construction and paving contractors don’t like the idea of leaving big, expensive equipment on mall parking lots or city streets. That’s understandable, but most machines can be set up with telematics. Telematics are a set of tools for locating equipment using GPS, this makes someone making off with equipment less of a worry.

Lighting is crucial

One of the benefits of using construction equipment for snow removal is visibility. Compact wheel loaders, bulldozers, and much more can be outfitted with floodlights for night work. The good news is that they make the equipment visible not just during the night, but during other low visibility circumstances as well. Heavy rain, and of course snow will be much less of a problem when your equipment is outfitted with top-mounted floodlights. 

It won’t just make it easier for your operators to see what’s around them while clearing snow. It will also make it easier for pedestrians and event the most distracted drivers to see. 

Other good options for increasing visibility are back-up cameras and beacons. Beacons are those small lights that go on top of vehicles, often police or other emergency vehicles. Beacons can also be mounted around the areas to be cleared. This perimeter lets drivers know what is off-limits and the contractor clearing the snow what his area of operations is. Mounted cameras on construction vehicles can give the operator an in-cabing view of their surroundings. Surroundings which might be otherwise difficult to see due to the snow and ice build up around them.

Prepping your equipment for cold weather

Any construction or asphalt paving equipment used for snow removal or winter building will need to adapt its equipment to colder weather. This involves not only attachments for actual snow removal, but also adapting hydraulic equipment for sub-freezing operations. Last but not least, don’t forget your workers! They need to have the right PPE for winter as well. It’s importnat to have cold weather clothes. Gloves are of special importance because the hands need to be protected while in use in equipment.

It’s a good solution for the off-construction season

As we know, winter is typically not the busiest season for builders. Fortunately, there is a great niche for construction equipment repurposed as snow removal gear: commercial and construction sites. These sites need clearing just as much as city roads, and they don’t always have existing contracts with snow-removal companies. A great way to ensure client confidence in your services is to do what we mentioned earlier: leave your equipment at the areas to be cleared of snow. This can be key to help ensure contracts. It can also result in a great client-customer relationship where the customer is completely assured of the performance of your snow removal services. 

Another benefit is the associated lower fuel costs. Construction equipment often operates at lower RPM and higher torque than plows and traditional vehicles. The benefit of this comes in lower fuel requirements. These substantial savings are yet another bonus that construction companies can pass on to their clients when clearing snow.

Asphalt paving in the Dallas Fort-Worth Metroplex

Before you need your asphalt cleared of snow, you will need it paved in the first place. Fortunately, that’s where Reliable Paving comes into the picture. We are a full-service asphalt paving contractor. Our many capabilities inclue asphalt and concrete paving, resurfacing, seal coating, restriping, and ADA compliance, and more. We don’t know what winter will have in store this year in Texas, but if and when the storms come, we will be ready. Contact us for our asphalt paving, asphalt and concrete repair, and striping services today. We don’t know what the future has in store for us, but if winter weather hits Texas again as hard as it did last year, we will be ready to do our part to keep our state going.

Using Asphalt To Patch Concrete

Over time, any asphalt paving will wear down. A combination of the water cycle (cooling and heating and expanding and contracting) and the pressure from vehicle tires will cause damage to any driveway, parking lot, or road. Weather and use will necessitate one thing: repairs. Asphalt, fortunately, can be repaired in various types of ways. From sealing cracks and plugging surface holes to full-bore repair, asphalt is easy to work with. Concrete on the other hand, is a bit tougher. Often, concrete can only be repaired by replacing entire slabs of it, meaning huge chunks of concrete must be removed and then new ones laid. This process is costly, time-consuming, and a main reason concrete is not the preferred road material. 

How it works

Fortunately, asphalt and concrete are very similar substances. That’s why they have so much overlap in their applications. Both concrete and asphalt are made primarily from aggregate. Aggregate are small rocks, pebbles and stones. They form the main body of asphalt and concrete. If you’ve looked at most concrete, and compared it to the asphalt in the road, you’ve probably noticed how much larger the aggregate in asphalt is. Concrete is composed of smaller particles in general, the size of grains of sand. Sometimes the size of the particles ranges up to a few millimeters, but usually it is under 1. Asphalt however is typically composed of a much coarser aggregate. Pieces of asphalt particulate range from under one millimeter up to under 10. In general, asphalt’s aggregate averages out to a larger size, of 1 or more millimeter in diameter each.

The other main ingredient in both asphalt and concrete is binder. Binder is a type of glue that holds everything together. In asphalt, binder is petroleum-based. It is made from refined oil, and it composes about 5% of the total body of the asphalt. In concrete, the binder is 10-15% cement, 15-20% water, and 65-75% aggregates. The cement is the substance that creates the glue –  functioning as a binder – in concrete. It is made from various different ingredients, such as lime, silica, sulfur trioxide, alkaline, iron oxide, alumina, and calcium sulfate. When water is applied, these ingredients form a tough and resilient binder that holds together concrete’s aggregate.

Due to the higher content of binder, and the smaller aggregate size, concrete has different uses from asphalt. Asphalt is often used for roads and other asphalt paving, like driveways, parking lots, and trails. Concrete can be structural, composing columns, walls, and more. 

Can asphalt be used to patch and repair concrete?

Simply put, the answer is yes. Now using asphalt patches to repair concrete isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution, but it is very common, and easy to do. Concrete actually makes a fantastic base material for asphalt. It allows strong compaction, and, every year, miles and miles of concrete roadway are paved over with asphalt. 

Laying asphalt on concrete provides several benefits:

  • Asphalt is highly weather resistant, especially when seal coated. Asphalt seal coating is the number one choice for durable and efficient protection.
  • Asphalt is much cheaper to lay than concrete. Rather than replacing huge slabs of concrete for repairs, you can work on the new layer of asphalt for much cheaper. Asphalt is also 100% recyclable, making it an environmentally friendly choice.
  • Because asphalt is 100% recyclable, it is easier to come by than concrete. Paving contractors can tear up existing asphalt, re-pulverize it, and lay it as new asphalt. Not only that, but they can do it all on location with the right gear.
  • Asphalt is more durable. It can handle weather and temperature fluctuations much better than concrete.

Patching concrete with asphalt

When it comes to patching holes and cracks in concrete, asphalt patch kits work great. Just follow a few steps:

  • Clean up the hole to be patched. Clean up any loose gravel or rocks, or other debris that may have made their way there. You can use a brush or broom to do so. 
  • Apply the asphalt patching material. Be sure to read instructions on the patch kit first. You may need a polymer sealant applied in the hole between the two.
  • Once the patch is applied let it set. You may need to blow hot or cold air on the patch depending on the kit you are using.

Why NOT to patch concrete with asphalt

Although it makes a good surfacing substance, there are some reasons not to use asphalt in tandem with concrete.

  • The concrete under your asphalt can crack. This can make the asphalt weaker, and be a real headache to fix. Now you have to repair two layers of different material. If you aren’t sure about the concrete you will be laying your asphalt on, then don’t do it!
  • Expansion joints. Because concrete handles temperature fluctuations differently, it has something called expansion joints. These will move over time and can cause the asphalt above to develop cracks along those lines.
  • When there is already a foundation for asphalt, the base underneath is unknown. How strong is the earth below the concrete? How many years will it last before totally new paving is required? Changes in the ground below concrete can cause the asphalt to shift, heave, and crack. This lowers the lifespan and necessitates more frequent repairs.

Figuring out how to repair your concrete?

Whether your paving conundrum is concrete, asphalt, or anything else, Reliable Paving, can fix it. We have been in the paving industry for 35 years, and offer a wide range of services.

  • Asphalt seal coating
  • Asphalt paving
  • Concrete paving
  • Concrete seal coating
  • Repairs, such as crack filling and patching
  • Re-striping
  • And much more!

Send us a message today to see how we can lay new pavement, repair damaged pavement, or see what our full range of services is.

5 Tips On Parking Lot Maintenance

When anyone comes to visit your business, they are most likely arriving by car. That means that the first interaction that a person will have with your institution is the parking area. If your business has its own parking lot, then that is what will leave the first lasting impression on you clients, business partners, and workers who visit. It’s paramount to keep your parking lot in tip-top condition.

Not only does it make the first impression, but there are various other reasons to keep your parking lot in good condition.

  • A parking lot in bad condition can cause damage to cars and be hazardous to pedestrians.
  • Severe damage will require more heavy-handed repairs. Letting your parking lot get into a severely bad state will result in more expensive repairs and renovation later on.
  • The city may fine you or take other action if the parking lot gets bad enough.

Tip 1: Perform a regular visual inspection

This can’t be stressed enough. Checking on your parking lot is the best way to make sure that no damage has got out of control. It’s also a good way to look for non-damage problem areas. Perform a visual inspection at least once every two weeks, possibly more often during bad weather seasons.

  • Check for damage to asphalt and concrete. Asphalt paving can get cracks, ruts, and develop areas that aren’t level.
  • Check for other potential problem areas, that aren’t just damage.
    • Look for areas that need better lighting and signage.
    • Are there any trees growing nearby whose roots could be problematic?
    • Ensure that drains and runoff gutters are free of debris.
    • Look for pools of oil, solvent, water, or other liquids. These can cause massive asphalt damage over time. Check for liquid buildup in your runoff areas as well.
    • Are there any large bottlenecks that cause problems for drivers/walkers?
    • Do you need a bike rack anywhere?
    • How is the handicap space (or spaces)?

Tip 2: Keep it clean

Adding to what you may see when following tip 1, clean up the debris you find. Parking lots build up grime over time. It needs to get removed. Cleaning makes the paint and signs look better. It also ensures that people can see important markings, such as directions and parking space lines. Clean up oil and liquid puddles. Clean off debris from tree branches, car parts, broken glass, and anything else that doesn’t belong on your parking lot. Remember to check the drains too. They can fill with debris, leading to clogging and improper drainage. Remember the big three:

  • Clean drains
  • Clean of oil/liquid build up
  • Remove debris

 

Tip 3: Seal coating

When you have new asphalt paving of any kind, you should have it seal coated. Make sure to reach out to a quality paving contractor to get your paving and seal coating done as well as possible. The frequency of how often you seal coat it will vary according to traffic and weather conditions. Here’s how to ensure you are seal coating properly, and often enough:

  • A new parking lot should be seal coated 6 months after the asphalt is first laid.
    • In the case you don’t know when the asphalt was laid and/or if it has been seal coated in the past, then get it seal coated when it first shows signs of damage.
  • After the first seal coating, do it every 2-4 years. Whether it’s every 2 years or 4 years depends on weather, traffic, and any other conditions.

Seal coating helps extend the lifetime of asphalt into multiple decades. Basically, seal coating is providing a layer of weatherproof material on top of the asphalt. This prevents leakage into the asphalt, which only results in worsening damage over time. We’ve extensively gone over why you should seal coat.

Tip 4: Fill in cracks and potholes

If you nip smaller cracks in the bud, then they won’t become bigger cracks. Handling cracks can also help potholes from developing as well. Now, filling in cracks and holes can be a complex and painstaking procedure. It doesn’t have to be, but it can be if you don’t have the right tools and know how. It’s a good bet that this is something you will want a paving contractor to do for you. Cracks and potholes filled in improperly can look unsightly and unprofessional. They can also not actually provide the benefit they should be if they aren’t done right.

 

Tip 5: Paint/re-striping

Remember way back in tip 1 when we mentioned looking for worn paint? Over time, with many vehicles passing over, paint will wear off. Other factors that wear down your paint will be rain, UV rays from the sun, and other repairs to the lot. It may seem like a no-brainer, but business owners often forget to re-stripe their lots often enough. This leads to confusion for motorists who may not know where to park or drive. It can also be confusing for pedestrians who don’t know where the walkways are in the lot. Re-striping improve:

  • Professional appearance of the lot
  • Safety for those using it
  • Acquiescence with the law
  • Easier entry and exit

 

Have a professional paving contractor get your parking lot up to snuff

If you are worried about the state of your lot (why else would you be here), then you happen to be in the right place. Reliable Paving has been in the business for over 35 years. We are professional paving contractors, with a long history, advanced techniques, and a large team. We have the skills, tools, and personnel to fix parking spaces of just about any size and scale. Our services range from laying new asphalt to assisting you with any of the tips mentioned above. Contact us today to find out how we can help you.

When To Use Asphalt Instead of Concrete

If you’re reading this, you are probably trying to decide whether asphalt or concrete is right for your project. We hope that after reading this article, you will be ready to make the best-informed decision about which material to use. 

In order to understand which to use, you should know what they are.

Both asphalt and concrete are composed primarily of something called aggregate. Aggregate is a mix of small rocks, stones, and particles. It makes up over 90% of asphalt and the vast majority of concrete as well. If you’ve ever walked across a blacktop parking lot or seen a large concrete structure, you’ve probably noticed that the loose sand, pebbles, and stones in concrete are much finer and smaller than those in asphalt paving. 

Asphalt binder

Asphalt uses a petroleum-based binder, which glues everything together. It also gives asphalt it’s black appearance. Despite using oil-based products, asphalt is still relatively environmentally friendly because it is so heavily recycled.

Concrete Binder

Concrete on the other hand, uses water and (most often) Portland cement. Water mixes with the cement to create the glue that holds it together. You can read in more detail about concrete composition here.

Making your choice

You paving project probably has a great number of input factors. In order to choose the right construction materials, you will need to carefully consider each one. So we will break down each factor you must consider, and then analyze which product is right in the situation and for your priorities.

 

Environmental impact

Recycling

Both asphalt and concrete are highly recyclable. This means that whichever product you choose, you will be contributing to the circular economy instead of acquiring new resources from the Earth. Asphalt however, does use a petroleum-based binder. This means that making new asphalt has a much greater negative environmental impact than making new concrete. Asphalt however, can be recycled indefinitely, and is 100% recyclable. Concrete can not be recycled as many times, and only certain parts of it can be recycled anyway. 

Longevity and location

However, the environmental impact of laying it is not based on recycling/making new materials alone. Other factors to consider include longevity and climate where it will be laid. 

  • Concrete with proper maintenance can last 40-50 years. Used in roadways, it can last 20-40 years.
  • Asphalt with proper maintenance can last 30-40 years.
  • In extremely hot environments (such as the US Southwest) asphalt can soften and is prone to damage. When it softens its integrity can be damaged, and poisonous runoff can be created.

Color

Although this may not seem important, it actually is quite. Concrete has a gray/white hue, while asphalt is famously dark, and is also called blacktop. 

Concrete’s lighter color confers several benefits:

  • Reflects heat back to the atmosphere. It contributes less to urban heat islands that asphalt creates.
  • It’s reflectivity means it requires less light at night. This saves taxpayers on paying for electricity, and decreases emissions from creating that electricity.

Upkeep

One of the biggest reasons asphalt is usually the choice for roadway paving is maintenance. Concrete may last longer, but both materials will develop holes, cracks, and deform over time. To repair concrete, entire slabs of concrete must be replaced. Asphalt, on the other hand, can be patched. Asphalt repair kits that fill cracks and potholes can be purchased at just about any hardware store. Of course, there are concrete repair kits too, but they are typically for residential sidewalks and non-structural surfacing.

Even when significant repairs are needed with asphalt, it can be resurfaced completely or to a very deep layer. These repairs are still much cheaper and less time consuming than replacing entire concrete blocks.

Roadway pros and cons

Although both materials can be used for roads, asphalt has won out in most locations. 

Concrete pros/cons

Pros

  • Long-lasting.
  • Strong.
  • Environmentally-resistant.

Cons

  • Doesn’t provide good tire grip.
  • Less absorption. Gasoline, oil, and other chemicals that spill on concrete will not soak into the same way they do with asphalt. This creates runoff problems with asphalt.
  • Expensive and time-consuming to repair entire blocks.

Asphalt pros/cons

Pros

  • Smoother drive for motorists.
  • Better traction.
  • Quieter driving than concrete.
  • Cheaper.
  • Can be repaired.

Cons

  • Requires more repair because it wears out faster.
  • Heat can damage asphalt and surrounding environs.

 

Setting

Both materials are made from a combination of aggregate and glue-like binder. These compounds need to be mixed and poured, after which, they harden. The process from which they turn from liquid to solid is called “setting.” This is a process that they share with many different composites, from fiberglass to Pyrex. Another one of asphalt’s advantages over concrete is that asphalt poured for a purpose similar to concrete will set much faster. Asphalt can go from an input material to a usable surface for roads in less time, and at lest cost than concrete. This feature is one of the many things solidifying asphalt’s use as the primary roadway material.

Making the right choice

Although concrete is by and far the world’s most-used building material, asphalt seems to win for roadways. However, the specific benefits and drawbacks of the use of each is understood best by professionals. If you are trying to figure out which is best for your construction, then you are in the right place. Reliable Paving has been in the paving contractor game for nearly four decades. We know how to get our paving projects done on-time, on-budget, and keep our standards to the absolute highest quality. If you aren’t sure whether concrete or asphalt paving is the right way to go, then let us know what you need. We will provide you with the best material possible for the job, and deliver the best service along the way.

Why Do Roads Get Cracked And Damaged?

If you’ve ever driven on a road in the US before, you’ve probably had that uncomfortable shaky-bump experience of going over a crack or pothole. These cracks and damage may seem like inconveniences or eye sores, but they can cause serious harm. Car accidents and damage can happen when vehicles hit or try to avoid potholes. Pedestrians can also trip over them when crossing roads or in parking lots.

What causes that damage in a road? Fortunately, at Reliable Paving, asphalt paving and concrete is what we do. We are deeply familiar with how paving and asphalt are laid and installed, how they age, and eventually degrade. Continue reading our guide to the various types of cracks that appear in roads, and what makes them occur.

Non-crack damage types and their causes

Potholes

The most infamous of road damage types are potholes. They occur when the area directly beneath the pavement’s surface has been damaged, not repaired and fails. This causes a surface depression. These are responsible for some of worst damage (barring car crashes) that vehicles receive on the road.

Causes

Potholes are often caused by a combination of factors. Most often, moisture seeps beneath the pavement’s surface. This sub-surface water will expand and contract naturally as the temperature fluctuates over the day/night and over the seasons. As it does so, it degrades the pavement beneath the surface. Add to this the pressure of vehicles passing over, and the pavement easily collapses into a pothole.

Read more about this pervasive pavement issue here.

Blowouts/ shallow sinkholes

These are potholes but on a much bigger scale. 

Causes

The reasons for blowouts are the same as potholes, but often coupled with road neglect. 

Sinkhole

These are the most dangerous types of damage that can be found on the road. They occur when the subsurface of the pavement has eroded. This often includes not only the pavement under the surface, but the subgrade has eroded as well. Subgrade is the courser material often put under pavement such as larger (3-5 inches) loose rocks and stones. Earth beneath the subgrade can also erode to further worsen the sinkhole, making it even more dangerous.

Causes

These occur from improper drainage or sewer/plumbing leaks. Basically, when the water that should be draining outside the road is draining into it, especially on a large scale, it can cause sinkholes. Areas that are prone to flooding are notorious for sinkholes.

Raveling

Raveling occurs when the gravel in asphalt begins to loosen because of weakening binder. It weakens the surface by making it less sealed to outside elements. It appears as a crumbling on the surface.

Causes

Raveling usually occurs when asphalt has been oxidized. This is a natural process that occurs when asphalt is laid. It is a chain chemical reaction in which the asphalt bonds together and becomes much stiffer. With stiffness it is also more brittle, hence the raveling.

Peeling

Peeling usually occurs several years after the asphalt is laid. It becomes dried out and the top surface begins to flake or peel away. This reveals the subsurface and makes the asphalt more easily damaged by water and the elements.

Causes

Asphalt becoming overly dried out is a big cause. This is common in places with dry climates and heavy sun, with little rain and atmospheric moisture. 

Heaving

Sometimes called frost heave or upheaval, heaving manifests as large raised, broken areas of asphalt or road. It can be dangerous depending on the level of heave, and lead to car damage and/or accidents.

Causes

Heaving is caused by a change in the soil beneath the asphalt. Typically, when the soil absorbs moisture and then freezes, it expands, hence the term frost heave. However, there are other causes, such as nearby construction, root growth underground waterways movement, and geological activity.

Shoving

Shoving appears as little raised areas or bumps. It is annoying, but typically not threatening.

Causes

Shoving is usually caused by heavy trucks or equipment that start or stop frequently. The distress on the asphalt causes small bits of asphalt to be pushed in one direction and make a small mound.

Rutting

Rutting is a minor depression in the roadway along the lines of vehicle tire tracks. 

Causes

Repeated vehicular traffic in the exact same location.

Types of Cracks

All cracks will lead to worsening damage if untreated. They allow water into asphalt and thus further, more serious damage.

Fatigue cracks

Also known as alligator cracks because they resemble alligator skin.

Causes

Repeated pressure from vehicles.

Reflection cracks

These are cracks that form over other types of asphalt cracks.

Causes

They are formed when asphalt is laid to simply cover existing cracks. The existing cracks come through on the new layer of asphalt, and are aptly called reflection cracks.

Block cracks

These appear as an interconnected network of diamond or block-shaped asphalt pieces separated by cracks. 

Causes

They happen as asphalt ages and begins to shrink, so it cracks into blocks, rather than creating a network of fatigue cracks.

Line cracks

AKA longitudinal or transverse cracks. Longitudinal cracks form going in the same direction as traffic, transverse cracks form perpendicular to traffic’s direction. 

Causes

Much like fatigue cracks, these are caused by heavy traffic on a roadway.

Handle your asphalt damage reliably

If you’ve noticed any of these problems, or a combination thereof, on your property, the Reliable Paving has a solution for you. We are an experienced, professional, and highly capable paving contractor who is sure to have a solution to your paving damage woes. Whether its damage you need repaired, new paving laid, or preventative maintenance, Reliable knows how to get it done. Send us a message today and find out why we are one of the most trusted names in paving in Texas.

Self-Consolidating Concrete

What is self-consolidating concrete?

Self-consolidating concrete (SCC), or self-compacting concrete, is known for low yield stress, high deformability, and good particle separation resistance, as well as mid-range viscosity. Now, unless you are already a paving contractor or in the asphalt/paving industry, you are probably wondering what all that stuff means. Don’t worry, at Reliable Paving, concrete is our bread and butter, and we are happy to walk you through what it all means.

Low yield stress

Without getting into the specific mathematics of yield stress, yield stress level basically means the force required to permanently deform something. When many materials, namely metals, are submitted to force or pressure, they will bend. At a certain force level, the bending is “elastic.” This means that the material will revert to its original shape. The low yield stress of SCC tells us that it takes relatively little force to permanently change its shape.

Deformability

High deformability, like low yield stress, sounds like a bad thing for concrete right? Deformability is the ability for something’s shape to be changed without breaking it. For example, iron is much more deformable than asphalt. And aluminum is much more deformable than iron. We will later get into how high deformability and low yield stress is a good thing.

Segregation (particle separation) resistance

Segregation resistance is how much an aggregate material — like asphalt or concrete — resists separating. Paving materials are made with binder and aggregate. Asphalt paving, for example uses a petroleum-based binder, which glues everything together, and various aggregate. The aggregate particles are made from small rocks and stones of various sizes. Basically, segregation resistance is the ability of the material to prevent the particles from coming apart in the mix. This can be during transport, placement, and as it sets.

Viscosity

If you’ve ever worked with oil, you know what viscosity means. It’s essentially the “thickness” of a fluid. The more viscous it is, the more resistance to flow. The moderate viscosity and segregation resistance of SCC means that it’s suspended particles are uniformly-distributed.

What are the uses of self-consolidating concrete?

Although it can be used much like normal concrete, SCC’s unique characteristics open it up to more advanced uses.

  • Highly-complex formwork. The nature of this work make it a good candidate for SCC. It doesn’t require compaction, so it can simply be poured, and then it sets. Unlike normal concrete, it doesn’t develop honeycombs when setting in formwork. This makes it a great solution for architectural concrete as well, which often needs to have smooth surfaces.
  • Locations where reinforcing rebar is not available. In some complex work, or crowded architecture, it may not be possible to use reinforced concrete. In comes SCC. It’s ability to resist particle separation helps keep it extremely strong throughout.
  • Columns and beams. These structural concrete pieces often have to be shaped specifically, and can’t always accept reinforcing steel. Thus, SCC is a good solution, it is structurally robust and can be shaped variously. This is where its deformability and low yield strength come in handy.
  • Pumped concrete and foundations. Because it compacts itself, SCC is great for solutions requiring concrete to be piped or pumped to a location. Unlike traditional concrete which must be laid and compacted, SCC can simply be pumped into an area, and will set itself. This means that no heavy compacting equipment is needed, as well as the space to perform compacting. The moderate viscosity helps it flow into compact and complex places and shapes, where it sets and becomes extremely strong.

What are the benefits of self-consolidating concrete?

Thanks to the section above, we can see where it is a useful addition to a construction. But what about the specific benefits to construction and paving contractors? How about benefits to the end users, who put this material in their buildings?

Savings on labor, time, and equipment

Because the concrete can simply be pumped into a location where it will set, it is faster and easier to install. Traditional concrete must be laid in segments, compacted with heavy equipment or screed. Screeding is the process of using a long tool (sort of like a car windshield wiper) on newly-poured concrete. The process removes excess concrete, flattens it, and ensures that the concrete is the right grade. Some concrete must be heavily compacted with heavy equipment. SCC is simply poured or pumped to a location, formed, and it does the rest. Vibrators are another tool used in setting concrete that ensure air bubbles come out and that the concrete is uniform. The vibrations from them though, can be deleterious to other newly-built structures at a job site.

  • Less labor required.
  • Less time required to place and set.
  • Less equipment needed.
  • Elimination of vibrations at the job site.

Easier to fill restricted areas

Viscosity level promotes it being pumped into small areas that traditional concrete is not feasible for.

Better properties when hard

Because it has deformability and low yield strength, it will change shape rather than break. This is good for finishing touches, and for repairs. It also makes it structurally more sound. SCC is simply a better structural material, with a smoother surface than traditional concrete. It’s improved uniformity helps it stay stronger and smoother.

You can read more about its benefits, construction, and its notable disadvantages in this article from NY Engineers.

Not sure which concrete is right for you?

If you aren’t sure what to use for your building project, leave it up to the experts. Reliable Paving has been in the industry for over 35 years. We know the best ways to do concrete and asphalt paving traditionally, as well as the newest trends and innovations. Come rely on our large, experienced, and professional team. Contact us today about what we can do to help you.

How To Move Large Pieces Of Concrete Safely And Effectively

If you’ve ever done a large paving project at your house or business, you’ve probably had to deal with moving massive chunks of concrete and/or stone. Pavers are a functional, and pretty addition to a building exterior. They are not poured in place like much paving. They need to be brought to their final resting location. These materials can range from large rocks that will be in landscaping/pavement to giant blocks/slabs of concrete. 

Large chunks of paving material are difficult to move around because of their size and heaviness. The fact that they are rough, stiff, and hard increases the likelihood of them damaging the things around them as they move as well. The ground, such as a carefully paved walkway or manicured lawn can be ripped, scraped, and dug up by awkward concrete block corners. Other stacks of materials can be knocked over, scraped, and damaged as well. You also run the risk of spilling knocking over chemicals/paints that may be in the area while it is moved and causing damage and hassle. Finally, the paving block yourself can also be hurt during movement. If it rubs against anything else hard, it can get it’s own scratches, cracks, and broken corners. 

What is the safest way to move large slabs or blocks of pavement? Fortunately, there are a few different solutions that will help you figure out what to do. Each movement tactic is useful in a given context, so there isn’t really a one-size-fits-all answer. 

Biophysical force

You got this. Don’t get intimidated by the size and weight of what you are working with. Even if it’s a couple hundred pounds, you can probably handle it. Remember, to simply move something, you don’t need to dead lift it or pick it up cleanly from the ground. You (and maybe a few others) have all the strength you need to move massive concrete. Here’s how to do so safely, and with minimal contact with surroundings.

Roll/flip the pavers

Flipping concrete blocks over and over again to get them where you want is time and energy consuming. Be ready to sweat. Also make sure you have some tough work gloves for this task.

If you are dealing with something more cubic, like chunks or blocks of concrete, this solution is viable. It’s also best when the ground you are rolling it across is incomplete and soft. Because the pavers are hard and tough, they will dig into soil and scratch other pavement. Be sure to NOT do this on a nice looking lawn or finished pavement. Use the flip method on ground that still needs work, so you can cover any torn up areas after. If flipping is your only solution and you have a mostly finished lawn/courtyard/outdoor area, you can put down mats or other layers to protect surfaces.

Walk the slabs/blocks

This method takes a big more finesse than rolling. It also tends to work better with more oblong or slab-shaped blocks. When you walk the blocks, you will balance them on a smaller face (the flat side of a block/slab/paver). Once the concrete is balanced on a smaller face, tilt it onto a corner, and then swivel the other corner in the direction you want it to go. Land the other corner gently, and then tilt up the concrete on the just-landed corner. Now, swing the opposite corner in the direction you want to go, safely land it, and repeat. This process is much faster than rolling, but is associated with more damage to the ground.

As the corners will dig into the ground below them, make absolutely sure that you have some protection laid down. Rubber mats or padding, like those shown here, are ideal ways to protect your land. You will also want some heavy duty gloves for this activity, and some back-up, to prevent dropping anything.

Using equipment

These solutions come closest to providing a general solution that will work in most situations. The ground may not always be level or sturdy enough for wheeled or heavy equipment use. However, most construction areas will allow at least one of these methods.

Use a dolly

Use a dolly with two or four wheels for the following reasons:

  • A dolly doesn’t require you to lift the whole paver off the ground.
  • Cost effective. 
  • A dolly will have other uses in a construction site too.

You can use a four-wheeled dolly or even a cart when the area is flat and wide. Use a two-wheeler when you are moving things up and down slopes. Honestly, you should have a dolly at just about any construction site. It will pay for itself on day 1.

PVC piping

Get higher schedule (higher wall thickness) PVC pipes. Lay them down in the area you wish to slide your concrete. Slowly roll the concrete across the pipes. As the concrete rolls off the pipes in back, move them to the front, and continue until you get it where you want it to go. The ancient Egyptians used this same method with logs to move the blocks that the pyramids were made from. Just be sure to use thick enough walled pipe so it doesn’t collapse. 

Just like a dolly, PVC piping is easy to get, cheap, and inherently transportable.

Heavy equipment

If the pavers or concrete blocks you have to move really are beyond your means, then bring in the big guns. Unless you are a trained professional with cranes, bulldozers, or boom trucks, then you will want to get a professional construction or paving contractor to handle this for you. Fortunately, that’s where we come in.

Choose a reliable contractor for your paving needs

If you are in over your head paving your house or business, then reach out to Reliable Paving. We are an experienced and large team of professional paving contractors, with a whole range of service capabilities. Whether you need asphalt paving, repairs, painting/striping, ADA compliance, or anything else related to the pavement and asphalt industry, we can help. Let us do the heavy lifting so you can focus on what’s important to you.