Guides

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.

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.

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.

Preventing Urban Heat Islands

On a hot sunny day, the sun heats dry, exposed surfaces. In shady or wet areas, this effect is drastically reduced. In urban areas where the most surface area is roofing, asphalt, and concrete, temperatures can be 60° hotter than the air. Not only does this mean that you should watch your skin and watch out for your pet’s skin when outside, but these temps raise the surrounding heat as well.

Heat islands contribute to higher daytime temperatures in urban and suburban areas, which has a whole gamut of negative effects.

  • Higher energy costs. When it’s hotter in cities, more people use air conditioners. If you’ve ever been near an AC unit’s exhaust, you know how much hotter that makes the outside. This results in a negative feedback cycle of people making the atmosphere warmer in order to stay cooler inside. It also puts a higher stress on the power grid. Heat waves in Europe and the US kill people when the power goes and people can no longer use AC or fans.
  • More greenhouse emissions. With higher electricity use comes more greenhouse emissions. This also contributes to the negative feedback loop. People use more electricity to stay cool, thus more greenhouse gas is produced, which exacerbates the greenhouse effect. This heats up the entire globe slowly but surely. Not to mention the negative effects of impaired air quality on peoples’ health and well-being.
  • Extreme heat is bad for human, animal, and plant health. As we mentioned earlier, extreme heat waves have been a reason for many deaths in the US. When the local environment is negatively affected by the heat, plants and animals die off. As shade trees and the animals that help support and propagate them die, the negative feedback loop continues.
  • Worse water quality. Warming bodies of water can not support ecosystems as well. Marshlands and other wetlands play a huge role in filtering and cleaning water of contaminants. Even a few degrees increase in temperature of a body of water can kill off the animals and plants living in it. We are already seeing this effect with coral reefs throughout the ocean.

What causes heat islands?

The main culprit here is paving. Asphalt and asphalt paving gets much hotter than other materials. Partly, the black color of asphalt absorbs more light and thus produces more heat. Partly paving can simply withstand more heat than other sources. Paving is a poor conductor of heat, so when it finally does get hot, it retains that heat for some time, and it’s difficult to dissipate.

The most commonly-used asphalt and paving materials can reach summer heat of 120°-150° F.

How to reduce heat islands and their effects?

Green parking lots

As asphalt is one of the main reasons for heat islands, parking lots are one of the worst offenders. These huge, black, paved areas simply absorb and radiate heat. Fortunately, a good solution is to use more environmentally friendly parking lots. Green parking lots are essentially a pavement grid with growing plants between the pavement. Obviously reducing the paved surface area helps mitigate heat islands, but there are other benefits too.

  • Better water drainage. The plants growing between the paving (usually grass) will suck up rain and runoff water.
  • Cost-effective. It’s often cheaper to put some pavement in the soil than completely pave a new area.
  • Easy to repair. Replacing some parts of concrete is much easier than doing a full asphalt paving replacement.

Light colored concrete/roofing

White pavement and roofing reflects more light than it absorbs. This helps to keep the surfaces, and thus the surrounding air cool. In fact, one part of climate change is that the polar ice caps bright whiteness reflected a lot of the sun’s light back out of the atmosphere. As they melt, the darker ground absorbs the light and thus builds more heat. We can mimic the ice caps reflectivity in urban areas.

Green roofing

Growing plants on rooftops rather than using shingles made with asphalt has many benefits.

  • Less heat absorption. Green areas are less hot than pavement in the sun.
  • Benefits the local ecology. Often, the plants grown on rooftops are low maintenance and natural to the area. This means that they can support local pollinators and other wildlife. Additionally, natural plants that may be pushed out by invasive species in some locations can have a chance to thrive.
  • Water absorption. This reduces runoff and helps to improve water quality.
  • Plants cool the surrounding areas and act as insulators. Thus, they reduce high-power demands such as air conditioning.

Cool pavement

Cool pavement is a relatively new technology that shows a lot of promise. Of course, the easiest way to cool pavement is to paint it a light color, as we mentioned before. However, there are more advanced ways to lessen pavement’s heat impact in development. Different technologies can be used to make pavement more reflective rather than just a lighter color. Of course, it has some hurdles too. Pavement exists primarily to be walked and driven on. This means the reflective coating will eventually wear off as well as get covered in black marks from vehicle tires. Nonetheless, cool paving is still a great way to go to reduce the urban heat island effect.

Want to pave to reduce heat?

Looking for a paving contractor who is environmentally aware? At Reliable Paving, the vast majority of our asphalt is already recycled. We also keep up to date with the most recent developments and innovations in the industry. If you want to resurface your parking lot, build a driveway, or get something paved while beating the heat, then give us a call today.

Inspecting Your Parking Lot After Severe Weather

Severe weather is a fact of life. It happens all over the United States and pretty much everywhere else in the world. Some states get hurricanes, others get tornadoes, some get scorching heat, while others severe cold….some states get just about all of those things. Severe weather isn’t going away either, as our planet’s climate fluctuates, severe weather is on the upswing in most places as well. It seems every year, there is a new severe weather phenomenon. Polar vortexes over Canada and the Northern US, the Derecho that hit the Midwest last year (a kind of inland hurricane), and larger, more frequent wildfires in the West are all facts of life.

Anyone in the construction field needs to know how to deal with these things. Some contractors are making more resilient buildings. New construction methods are popping up that are resistant to extreme heat, cold, wind, and flooding. But what about paving contractors? What can we do to adapt to severe weather? Fortunately, there are plenty of ways to make asphalt paving tougher against the forces of nature. One of the best ways is frequent maintenance. Part of good, regular maintenance is parking lot inspection. Read on for our guide to parking lot inspection for the after effects of severe weather.

Severe storms

Inspecting your lot after heavy rain and wind is important. Removing debris and looking for areas where water gets in makes the lot safer and more inviting. After any severe storm you will want to do a full lot inspection.

Clear debris

Obviously removing foreign objects from your lot is important; it clears up space for commuters, helps make the area safer for cars and pedestrians, and makes your business look cleaner and more professional.

  • Clear out branches, sticks, and leaves on the pavement.
  • Get rid of standing water.
  • Be sure to clear out your drains so that future rain will be able to make it to the sewers and out of your lot.
  • Look for other hazards like fallen power poles, signs, and building parts that may have been knocked into your lot. Have a plan to safely removing them (often paving contractors or construction contractors can do this).

Look for other possible future damage points

  • Is there a dead tree with big branches that tend to break off and fall in your parking lot in heavy wind? It may be necessary to remove that tree altogether.
  • Look for areas where water has pooled. These areas will frequently be where water gets the chance to get into paving and cause further damage.
  • Examine cracks and potholes. These are the main areas of water ingress. Other fluids can also enter by these means.

Extreme cold

Cold is a major reason for asphalt damage, because water inside or under the asphalt expands when it gets colder, and it expands more when it freezes. Not only can ice do damage to your lot, it creates a huge safety hazard. Icy driving paths and walkways are a major threat in cold temperatures.

Check for/remove ice and snow

You may have noticed a theme: water on a parking lot is bad. This is true whether the water is in liquid or solid form.

  • Clear snow off of your lot immediately. It poses a hazard for various reasons. It makes it harder to see markings, it is slippery, and it can cover even more slippery ice. Finally, snow will eventually melt….and that meltwater will make its way into your paving and cause damage. Snow may also cover other debris which can injure people and damage cars.
  • Check for ice and remove it. You can do so by applying salt or other mixtures that will mix with water and lower its freezing temperature. Ice is a hazard for the same reason snow is, but it is worse. It’s harder to get traction, and it is harder to spot.
  • As always, look for cracks/potholes that may have been covered by the ice and snow. Without treatment, these will only get worse.

Look for large uneven parts of the paving

Unevenness that appears in the winter is known as frost heave, which occurs when water is in your lot and goes through the freeze-thaw cycle. It causes chunks of asphalt or concrete to lift and break. It can also be caused by tree roots, but if you notice it after freezing, then you have frost heave.

Extreme heat

Heat causes expansion in paving. This leads to cracks. These cracks may start out small, but untreated, they will get larger over time and eventually become unsightly and dangerous.

  • Look for worn/faded striping. UV rays can damage painting and even melt it away. This makes your lot harder to navigate and more dangerous. Bright and clear paint also makes your lot more attractive and professional looking. This can also be a sign of oxidation- when UV rays make the entire structure weaker over time.
  • Small networks of cracks/uneven surfaces. A lot may not change temperature at the same rate, causing one area to expand while another may not. This can exacerbate cracking and potholing.
  • Tracking is when little bits of the asphalt aggregate become loose from the lot. They will stick to tires and shoes. Tracking happens when extreme heat melts the binder enough that parts of the asphalt become loose.

How to handle damage after extreme weather

If you have noticed any of the above-mentioned problems in your parking lot, then you are in the right place. Shoot us a message at Reliable Paving, we will be happy to fix damage and clear debris, any time of year. Regardless of the weather conditions, holes and cracks should be addressed immediately. Fortunately our services include:

  • Re-striping/painting.
  • Asphalt repair and pothole filling.
  • Laying new asphalt.
  • Full-depth repair.
  • We also use both hot and cold mix, so we can pave regardless of the time of year.

Keep you parking lot safe and looking good year round with Reliable Paving.

parking lot

Designing a Safer Parking Lot

7 Guidelines for making parking lots less likely places for accidents.

Parking lots are all over the US. Although they are generally considered safe and relatively uninteresting places, they are more dangerous than most think. In fact, a large amount of car accidents in the US happen in parking lots, especially to children, according the NHTSA (The NHTSA is the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration). Many of these accidents are backovers. These are accidents occurring between pedestrians and vehicles, in which a vehicle reverses into the pedestrian. Other factors that contribute to parking lot dangers are that drivers are more likely to be distracted or at ease while in a parking lot than they are driving. This means there are more drivers in lots who are on their phones, their GPS devices, or otherwise not paying attention to where they are going.

There is no accounting for drivers acting unsafe. But what can be done to make parking lots less likely places for accidents to happen? Particularly, what can be done from the side of business owners to make parking lots safer? As consummately professional paving contractors at Reliable Paving, we are always looking for ways for our work to make people safer.

1. Ensure that the whole parking lot has proper lighting

This one is pretty obvious. When pedestrians and motorists can see better, they are less likely to get into accidents. There are also a few less immediately noticeable benefits. They include the fact that people simply feel safer in well-lit parking lots. People tend to avoid walking through or using poorly-lit parking areas. This means that businesses will pull in more customers at night if their lots have good lighting.

Additionally, not all lighting is created equal. Many businesses skimp on lighting so they don’t have to foot another bill. LEDs can be used to provide cheaper lights. Ensure that the entire lot is uniformly-lit, so there aren’t shadowed areas and corners. Uniform lighting applies to color too, it can be visually confusing to be in a lot with differing colors of light source. A nice, soft color also determines how well your eyes see in the dark. Finally, protect your investment by choosing corrosion-resistant fixtures.

2. Use 90° two-way parking aisles

As backovers are one of the main causes of parking lot-related injury these make sense. Letting people pull through spaces (two-way parking) reduces the need of cars to back up when they exit a space. Additionally, 90° aisles usually provide more room between them for maneuvering. Unfortunately, the added space makes motorists feel safer, so they tend to drive faster in lots with 90° aisles. Make sure to have plenty of speed limit signage as a complement.

3. Improve building frontage roads

These are the spaces between the parking areas and the store where pedestrians walk in and cars drive through. These are the main areas that connect the parking area to city streets. There are plenty of things that can improve safety in these areas.

Add bollards. Those yellow poles you see outside of big stores serve a purpose. They keep vehicles from driving into them. It’s estimated around 60 accidents of this type occur per day around the country.

Widen frontage roads. When cars are parked too closely to the storefronts, it’s harder to see where other vehicles and pedestrians are coming from.

Add speed bumps. These serve to remind vehicles that pedestrians are in the area.

Pedestrian crossings with signage should be included.

4. Raised islands at parking row ends

Even if the spaces are two-way, raised islands at the ends is a good idea. They prevent illegal parking at row ends, thus ensuring more room to drive and better visibility. Both of the benefits from raised islands are conferred to pedestrians and drivers. 

5. Place parking behind buildings

This enables pedestrians to walk right up to the business without having to go through the lot. Simply taking out or decreasing the driver-pedestrian interaction makes the lot safer for everyone.

6. Control traffic in the lot

Keep things simple and running smoothly, and accidents will decrease. There are a few things we can do to ensure that traffic flows safely. Not only is controlling traffic good for safety, but it also results in vehicles and pedestrians entering and exiting more quickly. This frees up parking spaces more quickly for new customers, and can lead to a faster rate of business.

Have clearly marked, separate entrances and exits.

Speed bumps (not just on frontage roads).

Ensure your lines/painting on the asphalt is clear and not degraded.

One-directional traffic lanes between parking aisles.

7. Excellent signage

One simple improvement that can be applied to just about every step in making parking lots safer is to add or improve your signage. Proper signs and directions don’t just apply to painting on the asphalt paving, but also everywhere else.

  • Have signs for walkways.
  • Ensure your asphalt lines and painting are clear.
  • Speed limit signs posted at entrances and throughout the lot.
  • Disabled parking spaces are clearly posted with signs and painted spots.
  • Entrances and exits are clearly marked.
  • Driving directions are from signs.
  • Signs telling you where you are not allowed to park.
  • Signs should be clear, undamaged, and well-lit.

Pave smart, pave safely

At Reliable Paving, we’ve been doing this for a long time. With over 35 years of experience under our belts, and a large, professional team of over 200, we are up to just about any asphalt paving job. Our services include not only paving, but also lot maintenance and care. We can re-stripe, repair asphalt, ensure ADA compliance, and much more. Your business is an investment, and the parking lot is often the first thing that customers will experience when they come to you. Ensure it’s as safe and as good of shape as it can be with us. If you want to build a safe parking area, or you want to modify yours to be safer, don’t hesitate to call us today.

What Are Commercial Property Managers Responsible For?

11 Responsibilities of commercial property managers.

A property manager for a commercial space has quite a few different responsibilities. Commercial properties vary in nature, but a manager for these areas still has a fairly similar set of jobs to do. Generally, a commercial property is defined as a place where renters pay a landlord to either live or conduct business. Commercial properties include retail and apartments, as well as businesses providing services. As a rule, you can expect commercial property managers to do much work with renters.

An owner hires a commercial property manager when s/he wishes to outsource the day-to-day work of dealing with renters and the property. The manager will thus take care of the property. S/he will handle problems between renters and other renters, as well as the landlord. Finally, the manager will ensure everything is in accordance with the law.

1. Property maintenance

Taking care of the property is one of the main responsibilities of a commercial property manager. This job ensures that the property stays in good condition and is safe. The job includes not only making sure that the property itself retains its high quality. A manager must also make sure renters are observing occupancy laws such as the number of people and the cleanliness of a space. In some climates, maintenance also includes snow removal, flood mitigation, and fixing storm damage.

Tenant-related responsibilities

Of course, nearly everything a property manager does is tenant-related. However, the jobs that s/he must do specifically for and regarding tenants can be broken down into a few different and important categories.

2. Rent

One could argue that this is actually 3 separate responsibilities. The property manager must set, collect, and adjust rent. Collecting rent is arguably the main responsibility of any landlord. Without rental income, there is no budget to maintain the property. A property manager must set up a system to collect rent, such as a website for paying or simply and address to send checks. Also, they must include deadlines as well as punishments for late payments. Finally, s/he needs to have some system in place to know who has paid rent and when.

A good property manager will also need to know the market to set rental rates competitively. This may include increasing or decreasing rent according to property values.

3. Tenant screening

Before a tenant can move into a commercial property, the manager must perform some due diligence. This can include a credit check, employment confirmation, past work experience, and more. Screening is done to prevent frequent tenant turnover.

4. Managing tenant turnover

Regardless of how good the screening is and how favorable the property is, there will be some tenant turnover. It is the property manager’s job to ensure a smooth transition of one tenant out of the property and the next one into it. This means having a rental agreement with clear moving in and out dates. It also means ensuring the apartment is clean, safe, and ready for the next tenant to move in.

5. Managing tenant complaints

When tenants complain, it’s the property manager who gets to figure out a solution. It could be a broken vending machine in the building, or an apartment having loud parties. Either way, it’s the property manager’s job to listen to complaints from tenants, and solve them. These complaints may usually be banal, but they also may involve handling emergencies. If tenants lodge a complaint about an unsafe part of the property that goes ignored, someone could be hurt or killed. That accident would then be the property manager’s fault.

6. Bringing in new tenants

Property managers, especially in residential buildings, are expected to bring in new renters. This means s/he should know the basics of marketing a property. This involves a bit of everything. The job involves keeping the property clean, well-kept, and attractive, advertising, a setting a competitive rental price.

7. Landlord-tenant law management

The property manager is responsible for knowing the latest laws for landlords and tenants. S/he must make sure that the tenants know and abide these laws as well. Laws that are important include lease contracts, property safety standards, and the laws regarding rent and complaints. Handling tenants who violate the laws is also a property manager’s job.

8. Managing the budget

Collecting rent isn’t the only thing the property manager does with money. S/he must balance the income with the expenses. They also have to spend money on maintenance, security, taxes, and insurance. Budget management is the main factor deciding whether a commercial property stays in business or not.

9. Building security

This can be as simple as making sure that each door has a working lock and each tenant has a working key. It can also involve managing a security company, and other built-in security measures.

Supervision

General supervision of the other workers at a property is another responsibility.

10. Supervising employees at the building

A property manager’s job is also the monitoring of building employees. Security, maintenance contractors, landscapers, and more are all under the supervision of the property manager. The property manager has to ensure they are doing their jobs professionally, while legally adhering to their contracts.

11. Vendor management

A good property manager needs to network. S/he will require an extensive network of suppliers, contractors, and tradesmen. This ensures the property can be maintained and supplied properly at all times. Even the most dedicated manager won’t have time to perform all renovations by hand.

For concrete details on a commercial property manager’s responsibilities, take a look at this job description.

Why hire a property manager?

Hopefully, after reading this, you can see the value in having a good property manager. Their job is to do the everyday stuff of building management that you, the owner, don’t have time or skill to do. At Reliable Paving, we focus on asphalt paving, ADA compliance, asphalt repairs, maintenance, and seal coating. We know how valuable it is to make sure your property is in good shape. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. We are more than just paving contractors, feel free to contact us for advice on how to manage your property.

Guide To Speed Bump Types

You’ve probably seen — and felt, all kinds of different speed-reducing surfaces on the road. They all function differently, but have the same goal: getting drivers to slow down.

Bumps, humps, and those things that make your car vibrate when you drive over them are all found on the road these days. You’ve probably seen and driven over quite a few different ones yourself. As you have probably noticed, they all have a different look and feel. Maybe you are thinking about having some installed in your businesses parking lot or driveway, but don’t know what the best choices are. Well, then, you are in luck, read on for Reliable Paving’s guide to speed bumps.

Speed bumps definition

Speed bumps are defined as a “traffic-calming” measure designed to slow down vehicles. They are oft used in residential and school zones, but they will also be found in some commercial/medical areas, construction sites, and anywhere that needs cars to go slowly. They exist to make life easier and safer for pedestrians, cross traffic, drivers themselves, and everyone in general.

In the US, they are about 2-6 inches high and placed crosswise in front of oncoming traffic. Speed bumps vary in wide according to their type and uses. Smaller portable ones will be a few feet up to 6 feet (1.83 m) wide. Some asphalt-poured speed bumps will be dozens of feet wide if they are designed to cross an entire road or parking lot. The length of a speed bump varies as well. On a highway, you might see much longer speed bumps, designed to have an effect on large trucks with more wheels.

Materials

Rubber and plastic Speed Bumps

Many speed bumps are not made of concrete or asphalt paving. They are actually high-density rubber or recycled plastic. You have probably seen that type, as they are noticeable thanks to their bright yellow/black color in contrast to the brownish grayish black of the road’s paving.

Ultra-dense rubber speed bumps serve the same purpose of calming traffic with some other serious benefits:

  • They are cheap. They can be ordered online from specialty traffic stores as well as larger sales sites like E bay and Amazon.
  • They can often be installed quite easily, without professional assistance.
  • Rubber and plastic speed bumps are durable. They will last just as long as poured asphalt or concrete speed bumps.
  • Rubber and plastic speed bumps are also versatile, they come in various types.
  • Rubber and plastic speed bumps are a good environmental choice. They are made from either recycled plastic or recycled rubber. The rubber itself often comes from tires, resulting in more efficient fabrication using less resources.
  • Noise is reduced when using plastic and rubber speed bumps. They have a much finer surface than asphalt and thus result in lower frictional noise with the tire.
  • Speed bumps made from rubber and plastic do less damage to cars than asphalt. They won’t scrape or dent the undersides of car that hang low or hit them too fast.

Asphalt

Of course, probably the most common type of speed bump is made from asphalt or concrete. They are typically poured and set on-site, by professional paving contractors.

  • Asphalt speed bumps are easy to install when having the road paved the first time. They can receive the benefits of care for the newly installed road, such as seal coating. Additionally, asphalt speed bumps can have maintenance and repairs performed on them when the road is being cared for as well. They will degrade at about the same rate as the road, making proper maintenance for both quite simple.
  • Because they can be set when the road is constructed, they are often more economical than rubber and plastic, which have to be installed later.
  • Asphalt speed bumps are also often made from recycled materials. Asphalt is one of the most recycled materials on the planet. Almost all new asphalt paving in the US is made from at least partially recycled asphalt.
  • Asphalt speed bumps are easy to customize. Rather than having a single type that can be ordered from the store, they can be made to fit various different dimensions or tailored for specific road conditions.
  • More durable than other types of speed bumps. Obviously, asphalt is harder than rubber and plastic, thus, they will last longer on average.

Types of speed bumps

Temporary/portable speed bumps

These plastic and rubber bumps can be attached to the roadway at the tips and unattached when needed. Because they are usually placed somewhere that doesn’t have them, they are usually brightly colored to alert drivers who will not be expecting speed bumps in that area. These speed bumps also can either be made to fold up or roll up to be more easily transported when not in use.

Reflective speed bumps

Exactly what the name says, these are speed bumps with bright reflective striping. These of course are designed with the goal of slowing traffic and getting the attention of drivers. Places where drivers need to be extra careful, like hospital emergency room driveways, will often employ these traffic-calming measures. Some speed bumps are simply brightly painted over, others may have a reflective plastic element installed.

Oversize speed bumps

Larger speed bumps are often used in slower traffic areas to ensure that the traffic goes down to 5-15mph. They will be placed in alleys or in driveways to make absolutely certain that the driver knows that they need to slow it down.

Black speed bumps

Designed to blend in with the road, black bumps are often made from asphalt, but can also be rubber.

Heavy-duty speed bumps

These 6-inch high bumps are designed for maximum stopping power.

Paving professionals here to help you

If you are on the fence about what speed bumps you need, then why not ask the pros? Reliable Paving has been in the paving contractor business for over 35 years. We know everything from repairing and paving new road to re-striping, maintaining, and of course, speed bump installation. If you aren’t sure what bump is best for slowing traffic in your area, contact us today.

 

Parking Lot Angle Guide

Parking lots can have cars placed at 30, 45, 60, 75, and 90° angles. The following is our guide on which is best for your parking lot.

There’s a surprising amount of forethought that goes into parking lots. They need to be ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) compliant. They need to have visible and maintained painting/striping. Signage and lighting need to be absolutely clear and visible as well. Additionally, they need to take into considerations things like how fast people will be going, how many pedestrians there will be, and much more. One thing many business owners forget is that the parking lot is the first thing most customers see when they come to that business. It sets the tone for what the interaction will be like. A rutted, damaged lot will immediately put people off and make them more on-edge than a well-maintained visually appealing parking lot. You should keep your lot looking its best, because it leaves a good impression on people.

This guide is about what angle your parking spaces should be at. Parking angle may seem like a minor detail, something that only paving professionals and city planners care about, but it makes a difference.

What does parking angle affect?

Parking angle makes a big difference on a few aspects of your lot.

  • How many cars can you fit in an area? This determines how many cars can fit either in a parking lot or on a street.
  • Are parts of the parking lot one-way? This will be really important depending on the parking angle….in fact, one-way might be the only option with certain parking angles.
  • How much room do you need to leave for other cars to get by? If there is two-way traffic between the parked cars, then you need at least two lanes worth of space. If there is one-way traffic only, you can get by with less space.
  • How much space do you want to give pedestrians/non-motorists? People need to leave their cars eventually and go home or into your business. Parking angle and the lot design in general will affect their experience doing this.
  • What about safety? Parking angle effects how people are backing out of spaces, either into traffic or into the parking lot.
  • Is holding up traffic an issue? If traffic around your business shouldn’t be slowed down, this also affects what parking angle is best.

Important Stats

When we talk about parking lot angles, we will also throw a few numbers in.

  • Stall width/length- This is how wide/long the area the car will park in is.
  • Row- this is a row of spaces together. Its area is a function of the stall width, length, and angle.
  • Aisle- this is the area nearby the parking space for cars to drive in when they enter and exit the space.
  • Single/double rows and aisles- single/double refers to one-way or two-way vehicle traffic.

Of course, there are plenty more stats about each angle of parking space, but we figure this should be enough for a basic guide to the various angles.

For each of our parking stalls, we are assuming the following:

Stall Width: 9 feet.

Stall Length: 18 feet.

The aisle width will vary with each angle.

30° Angle

This is the tightest parking angle that most lots use. It’s often used because it provides better maneuverability and reduces delays of cars getting into and out of the spot. The tight angle to the road simply allows for easier access. Of course, the trade-off is fewer cars can fit in the lot total.

Aisle width: 12 feet.


45° Angle

This is one of the most common angles you will see in lots. It’s often in grocery stores, malls, and anywhere where a lot of cars are parking and moving. It can accommodate more vehicles than a 30° spot and thus is better for high-concentration areas. 45° is a great balance of fitting the maximum parked cars in a space while keeping things moving and ensuring that there aren’t major bottlenecks.

Aisle width: 13 feet.

60° Angle

60° Is usually the middle ground between 45° spaces and 90° spaces. It packs more cars in than lower angles, at the expense of requiring more space in the aisle and taking more time for cars to get in and back out. Because vehicles are at 60°, they still can get into and out of spaces with relative ease.

Aisle width: 16 feet.


75° Angle

Much like the 60° angle, this angle choice is for businesses who want cars to have an easier time getting in, but want to balance that with higher lot capacity. The trade off is that more space is needed for the aisle because more turning radius is also needed for the cars at a wider angle.

Aisle Width: 20 feet.

90° Angle

One of the most common angles, this is the best for maxing out how many cars can fit in a parking lot. There is no space lost at the beginning or end of a row due to the angle. Of course, the major trade-off is that a flat 90° angle is much slower to get in and out of. This means traffic in the lot will be slower, and pedestrians will have to be more careful when walking through the aisles. 90° Stalls also require the largest Aisle Width.

Aisle Width: 24 feet.

Need help building your parking lot just right?

Everything that goes into a parking lot’s design can be complicated and lengthy. The legal requirements alone are intimidating. So why not let a professional get it done for you? Reliable Paving is an experienced, quality-focused, and dependable paving contractor. Don’t let the cheapest bidder do your parking lot’s asphalt paving, you will just wind up spending a fortune in damages/repairs down the line. Let us pave your business’s parking lot right. We can also do re-striping, ensure legal compliance, install speed bumps, seal coat, and much more. Drop us a line today to find out how we can make your parking lot the best it can be.