Installing Electric Vehicle Charging Stations

Like it or not, the world seems to be moving towards electric vehicles (EVs). Fossil fuels won’t last forever. Fossil fuels also often have to be imported from nations with massive reserves. All sorts of issues come up from this, from price gouging to oil tanker spills. Every nation can produce electricity, meaning electric vehicles are a good way of making countries more energy independent. Finally, fully electric vehicles don’t produce carbon dioxide during driving. A full switch to all electric vehicles will seriously decrease the world’s greenhouse gas output. 

One of the biggest challenges facing drivers who wish to switch to electric vehicles is range capability. There simply aren’t many electric charging stations in the US right now. Doing things like intercity or interstate travel become impossible if you can’t charge along the way. 

Many commercial property owners are now considering adding electric vehicle charging stations. It makes sense if you own an apartment, a garage, a parking lot, or a business. But what are the best ways to put in EV chargers? What should you keep in mind while you do so?

Planning 

How many do you need?

The ideal amount of electric charging stations is 1 for every 4 electric vehicles. That means we have a serious shortage, and will for the foreseeable future. Even if the amount of EV chargers being built starts to seriously increase, a shortage will remain for years to come. Either way, assess how many EV chargers you need. How many people in your apartment complex have electric vehicles? How many cars at any given time in your parking garage are electric? If you run a gas station, how often do you get electric vehicles driving or stopping by? For business owners, how many people who work at that business have electric vehicles? The way to figure out how many chargers you need will be different for every property. Of course, expect the number of people using electric vehicles to go up as time goes on.

Where should they go?

It’s usually a good idea for EV chargers to be visible when someone pulls into your parking garage, driveway, business, or gas station. That way, they know immediately where to go with their vehicle and they know they can charge its battery. If the charging outlets are somewhere harder to find, then you can put up some signage to let passers by, patrons, and workers know you have them.

Can you support them?

Make sure to check your building codes to ensure absolutely that you can supply enough electricity for EV charging stations. Not every building has the same power capacity.

You may be able to get some benefits

Certain communities offer tax credits for install EV charge stations. There are also insurance credits in some places that can be taken advantage of. Utility companies may even pay for the station all together if you participate in an EV demand response program. Find out what benefits your community – and the federal government – offer.

Choose a contractor for installation

Just about any licensed electrical contractor should be able to install your EV charging station for you. Regardless of who you choose, make sure to do a few things with the contractor you hire.

  • Do a site walk through.
  • Discuss how many EV charging stations you want to install. This determines your electrical demand.
  • Ask what the contractor knows about tax credits, insurance rebates, and other financial bonuses.
  • What other work might you need to do? Renovating, remodeling, etc.

Talking with your contractor about the above things will possibly alter your existing plan. It’s important, so make sure to go over the details. Information you get from the contractor may change where you will put your charging stations. Will you need to install electrical junctions? Pave more area for cars to sit while being charged? Will you need to install additional electric infrastructure in order to put more charging stations in later?

Finalize your plan

Compare your initial plan with the newly-revised plan you made with your contractor. Figure out what solutions are best and what your business/property is capable of. While finalizing the plan, be sure to contact any other contractors you need as well. If you need remodeling, try a construction contractor. If you need underground wiring worked on, then you may need to remove and repave existing paving. In that case, you might want to keep us in mind for your paving contractor needs. Finally, figure out what the total cost should be,. Try to calculate electric vehicle use (presently and predicted) to get a sense of how long it will take you to start turning a profit. 

Use the new plan to create a proposal. 

Get started!

Once the proposal is approved, it’s time to start construction. When all of the work is done, then the last thing you have to do is register your charging stations. 

Register your EV charging stations

Once you register them on a network, they will show up on maps for EV drivers. You can also do things like assign certain stations as public stations or to specific cars. Additionally, during registration with whatever company provides the charging station, you will decide on payment rates/methods.

Ready to start building for the future?

Electric vehicles will be the mainstream in the next decades. You should be ready for it. If you are ready to get some work done on your property, from installing EV chargers to any kinds of repairs, then Reliable Paving can help. We do full-depth asphalt repairs, concrete paving and repairs, seal coating, restriping, and of course, asphalt paving. Get your EV charging stations built and in working order, and make sure you have the extra spaces for the vehicles that need them. Contact us today for a free quote, and to find out all about our services and rates.

Innovations In Asphalt Production

Asphalt production in the late 19th and early 20th century was unregulated, dirty, fast, and profitable. Firstly, there were fewer regulations in general, on any industry at the time. Second, there was a serious lack of regulations. Both in emissions and materials sourcing had few laws, so it was easier to produce asphalt. Three, the nation as a whole was less developed, so there were simply more roads to build. As the 20th century progressed the automobile became the norm. More roads were needed. With the demand for roads came driveways and parking lots. This demand was coupled with relatively low resource constraints and regulation. Thus, it created a boom in the asphalt industry. Pollution and environmental degradation went on to become a major source of health risk during the 20th century. It led to some serious environmental disasters. The Cuyahoga River in Cleveland caught fire over a dozen times. Eventually, there was the formation of the Environmental Protection Agency, emission level controls, and other regulations regarding pollution. These new laws were passed to control what people and corporations could put in the earth, air, and water.

Asphalt is already sustainable

The asphalt industry, fortunately, stood to benefit from requirements on efficiency and cleaner production. As of now, asphalt is surprisingly green.

  • It’s the world’s most recycled material, leading even steel and aluminum in total quantity recycled. This means that new asphalt significantly easier to produce. Also, old asphalt winds up in land fills less often. The recycling rate is over 80%. This recycling has some serious benefits including (data from 2019):
    • 2.4 million metric tons of C02e (carbon dioxide equivalent greenhouse gasses) spared from atmospheric release.
    • Nearly 90 million tons of reclaimed asphalt used each year. As opposed to new asphalt.
    • 94 % Of asphalt mixture reclaimed from old asphalt paving and put into new pavements.
    • 921,000 tons of recycled asphalt shingles put into new mixes.
    • 24 million barrels of virgin asphalt binder replaced by recycled binder.

These numbers are nothing to scoff at. However, new developments in asphalt manufacturing plants are making it even more efficient, and greener.

Systems and technologies that are making asphalt cheaper and better

A great improvement in efficiency comes from the machines that process recycled asphalt

New machining systems help produce larger quantities of recycled asphalt faster. Recycled asphalt pavement (RAP), is what makes up the majority of new asphalt. Amann, an industrial technology company, has a new machine, the RSS 120-M RAP, which processes large amounts of RAP more efficiently. Using a strategy that doesn’t tear apart RAP, it can produce up to 120 tons per hour when using milled cuttings of RAP. It can produce up to 80 tons per hour when processing slabs of RAP. The machine is also relatively small and lightweight compared to other recyclers. Therefore, it is easier to move to various sites. The machine’s slow rotating process shreds RAP while keeping the grain structure and coating. A magnetic separator removes iron and steel. Meshes of varying sizes can filter out the aggregate according to the producer’s requirements. Materials too big for the mesh/new asphalt can be recirculated into the machine, or used as the new asphalt’s sub-base.

All-in-one aggregate preparation systems

E-MAK’s Megaton is an all-in-one system that prepares aggregate efficiently, quickly, and is almost entirely automated. Aggregate is the small rocks and stones that make up the majority (about 95%) of the asphalt. The remaining “glue” that holds it together is the binder.

The E-MAK system uses a recyclable, environmentally-friendly, and energy saving system to produce aggregate on site. It can work for 24 hours a day. It can provide for asphalt, concrete, and other aggregate needs. The machine has 3 tons of storage and a daily production level of 10,000 tons. Furthermore, it is environmentally friendly and highly productive thanks to several main innovations.

  • It contains an internal recycling system, recycling over-sized aggregate back into the mix until it is the right size.
  • A filtering system seriously reduces dust emissions.
  • An improved sieving system optimizes aggregate flow.
  • Adjustable and modular, so it can be quickly engineered for different sizes of aggregate.

Full recycling technology mixing plants

The Marini company’s plan to keep up with ever-rising asphalt demand is a full recycling technology (FRT) mixing plant. You can read more about their recycling policies and strategies here. With a combination of a plant that can make aggregate/binder batches with 100% RAP and an advanced filtration system, they are expected to have the lowest emissions of any asphalt production facility.

Read about other company’s specific developments/inventions/innovations here.

WMA improvements

WMA is warm-mix asphalt. It is leading the way in energy reduction, because it requires less fuel. Hot-mix asphalt (HMA) is the standard, and requires substantial fuel in order to be made. WMA removes this fuel requirement.

Specific innovations in warm-mix asphalt are as follows:

  • The addition of organic and synthetic additives in the mixing process.
  • Hard-foamed and soft binder used at various stages in production.

These innovations allow the WMA production process to use less fuel. Emissions from burning are therefore lower. The additives enable the binder to be viscous at lower temperatures. This enables it to coat the aggregate with less heating, and thus less fuel usage.

Pave your way to a cleaner future

If you want a paving contractor with efficient and sustainable practices, then look no further than Reliable Paving. We have 35 years of experience paving in and around the Fort Worth area in Texas. Not only do we do new paving with asphalt and concrete, we use reycled material. In order to help you get the most out of your paving, we also re-stripe and seal coat pavement to ensure it lasts a long time. Finally, one of our specialties is ensuring ADA compliance. Our business is built on integrity. Come see why by sending us a message today. Come see why we are Texas’ most trusted paving contractor, you won’t be disappointed.

Zero Carbon Concrete

Concrete is affordable, durable, recyclable, and strong. It resists water and extreme weather, provides foundations, and is one of the building blocks of climate-resilient infrastructure. Concrete is key for meeting various sustainability goals throughout the world.

Concrete is the second most consumed material in the US. The only substance in the world that is consumed more than concrete is water. Concrete is also one of the most consumed materials throughout the world, and the use of concrete and cement is expected to go up. This means that finding a way to make concrete less destructive for the world we live in can have massive benefits. Concrete is not great for the environment, it is responsible for 4-8% of the world’s carbon dioxide production, and uses 1/10th of the world’s industrial water. If we can decrease the environmental impact of concrete production, then we can significantly decrease climate change, pollution, and environmental degradation. As the world urbanizes, we can expect the amount of concrete used to grow up. In modern cities, concrete is the foundation as well as one of the primary building blocks.

Why bother decreasing carbon dioxide emission?

Carbon dioxide, or CO2, is a greenhouse gas. This means that when the sun’s light enters the atmosphere, it CO2 and other greenhouse gasses trap it, causing a heating effect. CO2 is not the most dangerous greenhouse gas, others, like methane, are far more effective at trapping the sun’s heat. However, CO2 is vastly overproduced. Yes, almost every breathing animal (including people) inhales oxygen and exhales CO2. Yes, decomposing plants emit CO2. But, human interaction with nature has resulted in too much CO2 being produced. The natural world has had ways of balancing its own CO2 production. But as 80% of the greenhouse gas emitted by human activity is CO2, that production over the years has been enough to tip the world’s ability to handle the gas. This is why you will find CO2 reduction as a major goal of climate change.

How concrete can become CO2 neutral

What parts of the concrete production process produce the most carbon dioxide?

In order to understand exactly how concrete can not be a producer of carbon dioxide, we need to know how it produces the stuff. What parts of the concrete manufacturing process produce CO2? What parts produce the most, and how can they be improved?

Turning limestone into cement

The process of making limestone into cement involves a chemical reaction at extremely high temperatures. It must be heated to 1500° F, which requires immense amounts of fuel. This is the main factor in cement CO2 production, and the area where it can best be made more efficient. Some estimates deduce that as much as 2/3 of the CO2 produced during the cement-making process happens during this chemical reaction.

Transportation

Of course, raw and finished materials have to be transported. As the main engine for moving around our world is internal combustion, this means more gasses are produced in moving concrete.

The challenges

Reducing the carbon footprint of transportation is the easy part

Fortunately, transportation is already moving in a greener direction. More and more electric cars, trucks, and trains are being produced and used. Electric and wind-powered shipping vessels are moving things across the oceans as well. The US is already — slowly but surely — on the way to making all of its transportation carbon-neutral. As battery technology and electric motors improve, it will only get easier.

It’s the cement production process that poses the real problems

Most of the cement made in the US is Portland Cement. It is effective, durable, and has all the other positive qualities that makes cement so ubiquitous. The problem with it is that it was invented nearly 200 years ago. As such, it’s manufacturing process hasn’t changed much since.

Besides the manufacturing process requiring huge amounts of fuel, the chemical reaction used to make cement leaves behind calcium oxide. When the other substances exit limestone to make calcium oxide, where do you think they go? Into the atmosphere, as CO2.

The main greenhouse emitting agent in cement is called clinker. Clinker is a nodular substance used in the kilning stage of cement and is also a binder in many cement products. It is produced by heating limestone and clay to liquefaction in a kiln (around 1400-1500° F).

The solutions

  • Electric kilns for heating the cement are beginning to be implemented. These use lower carbon or renewable energy sources for heating cement to its required temperature.
  • Alternative fuels and electricity-powered vehicles are already driving CO2 out of the transportation process of cement.
  • Clinker is being substituted with alternative materials in some cases. It can be replaced with recycled byproducts like chemically treated steel slag and fly ash.
  • Concrete can be made from upcycling, that is captured CO2 from other industrial activities. This “Co2ncrete” shows much promise in creating carbon-neutral (or even negative) concrete.
  • Concrete itself naturally absorbs CO2. So the longer concrete lasts, the more CO2 it sucks out of the atmosphere. Longer-lasting concrete is a great way to facilitate this process.

Of course, there is a lot more work to do in order to decrease concrete’s global emissions. The Global Cement and Concrete Association even has a climate ambition plan. Concrete, may be one of the worst construction materials for the environment. However, the production of concrete is slowly moving towards reducing, or even neutralizing it’s greenhouse emissions.

Paving the way for a better future

If you have a paving project in mind, but would rather keep it lower-emission, then Reliable Paving has got you covered. We are am experienced, professional, and large paving contractor, who already recycles the vast majority of the asphalt we use. Our asphalt paving and concrete is built to last which saves our clients time and money. It also decreases the strain on the Earth from constant material consumption. If you’d like to get started on your paving project, let us know today.

Asphalt Damage: Repair, Reseal, Replace, Or Resurface

Asphalt restoration can be a costly and time-consuming process. Knowing when to repair, resurface, or completely replace asphalt is key to saving time and money.

When your asphalt is damaged, you should do something about it. Damaged asphalt will only get worse. Once cracks, rutting, and holes appear, it’s easier for water to get in. Water is the main culprit of asphalt damage, causing destruction beneath the surface as it expands and contracts as the temperature changes. So, which solution is right for you and your blacktop? In order to help you better decide how to treat your asphalt paving, we have broken down the common ways it can be repaired, replaced, resurfaced, and resealed.

Resealing

Resealing is also known as Sealcoating. This is a very useful technique for improving your paving’s longevity. It is done by applying a thin layer or layers of asphalt to the surface of existing blacktop. These special layers, also called sealant, do exactly what they sound like. They fill existing cracks and make your asphalt more resistant to the elements. Regardless of where you live, you should have your asphalt resealed at least every 3-5 years. If you live somewhere with extreme weather conditions, including a freeze-thaw cycle, then it may be necessary to do more often.

Resurfacing

This process is a little more in-depth than resealing. During resurfacing, the top few inches of your pavement is removed. Then, a completely new layer is applied to the top. This basically creates a new top layer of your asphalt. Resurfacing can only be done if your asphalt was installed correctly to begin with though. If the substrate/foundation is off, severely damaged, or incorrectly set, resurfacing won’t work.

Repairing

Resurfacing and resealing are forms of repair, in fact, just about every method listed in this article is a type of asphalt repair. However, repairs can go deeper than the first few inches. There are numerous ways to repair, each being effective at differing depths. Some methods can be done by a single worker with hand tools. Some repair techniques involve patching individual cracks and potholes, and some even involves adding new material under the surface, like reinforcing fabric. If your repairs are more than crack/pothole filling, then you should probably get a paving contractor to do the work for you. Deep repairs require specialized tools, knowledge, and experience.

Replacing

This is the nuclear option. Asphalt replacement is simply the total removal of existing asphalt followed by laying new paving. You will definitely want to hire a paving contractor if the asphalt to be replaced is in a place of business and/or covers a wide area. There is some overlap with repair here, as your damaged asphalt may be excavated, re-pulverized, and laid with new binder as new asphalt.

When is each one right for you?

Now that you know the difference between the various types of asphalt renovation, you need to know what is right for your paving.

When to seal coat and not to seal coat

  • Seal coating should be done soon after installing new asphalt.
  • Seal coating should be repeated every 3-5 years.

Seal coating won’t help you if:

  • Seal coating should only be done on asphalt whose surface isn’t extremely damaged. Wide/deep cracks, large potholes, and an uneven surface indicate a seal coat will just cover up your existing problems without treating them.
  • If the asphalt is 15-20 years old, seal coating may not help. At that age, especially if improperly maintained, the asphalt should be replaced.

When resurfacing is right for you

Resurfacing will help if the following conditions are met:

  • The foundation/base was built right the first time. If your base was correctly installed when the asphalt was first laid, you might not have to place at all. A resurface every 5-10 years depending on use and weather conditions can be sufficient.
  • Under 30% of the asphalt needs repairs. If you look at your driveway and see that less than one third is damaged, resurfacing can probably handle your problems.
  • Cracks are shallow and narrow (less than a few inches deep, and less than one quarter of an inch wide).

When replacement or repair is the right choice

As replacement/repair are very similar, we decided to group them together. To clarify, we are talking about replacing the asphalt to a serious depth, not just the first few inches or less. Our reasoning is that a huge portion of the asphalt is removed, and then replaced with new/recycled aggregate. This could be full-depth repair or complete replacement.

  • More than 30% of the asphalt needs repair. If you can tell that over one third of your blacktop needs fixing, then it may be more efficient to simply replace it rather than fixing each pothole/crack.
  • The foundation is not good. Whether the foundation was installed incorrectly, or weather/climate changes have made it unstable, if the base is bad, it’s time to repair or replace.
  • Is the asphalt over 20 years old? If so, a replacement may be easier than dealing with all the problems on and lurking beneath its surface.
  • Cracks are over one quarter inch wide and several inches deep. When your cracks are larger, it’s a sign of trouble below. A full-depth replacement or repair will get right to the root of the issue.

Call us today to renovate your asphalt

If you aren’t sure which paving repair solution is right for you, then you can rely on us. Reliable Paving is a Texas-based paving contractor with over 35 years of experience. Our team of 200-plus can handle big jobs, small jobs, and anything in-between. Whether your asphalt needs a simple resurface or a full-depth repair, we can help. Contact us today so we can take a look and find out what’s best for you.

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.

Repair Or Resurface Your Concrete?

When pavement gets damaged it causes with all sorts of problems. 

  • It looks unappealing.
  • It can be a danger to people and vehicles. Cracks and potholes damage tires and the underside of cars, and pose a tripping hazard.
  • It lowers property values of both businesses and homes.
  • Damage will only get worse over time, exacerbating all the above problems, and costing more to repair later on. 

Whether it’s concrete paving or asphalt paving, damage isn’t a good thing. When it becomes immediately obvious, the property owner needs to take action. But the question remains: how? Should you completely replace the paving? Repair it? Or maybe it just needs some surface work. Replacing it is a lot easier to figure out, and should be saved for the most damaged pavement. But figuring out whether to replace or repair is quite a bit tricker.

The rules are a bit different for asphalt and concrete. Thus, we are starting with our guide on concrete

Concrete repair or resurface

If you aren’t sure if your concrete needs work, look for the following signs:

  • Sunken areas of pavement.
  • Cracked and crumbling slab edges.
  • Divots and pockmarks.
  • Large Cracks.
  • Areas of uneven concrete, or places where the slabs are tilting up/down.

Concrete can get damage from a wide variety of sources. Some of the more common ones have less to do with environment, and more with how it was built in the first place. If you can visually assess where the damage is coming from, then that will make a big difference in whether you should resurface vs repair.

When to repair

As a rule, repairs are required when deep parts of the concrete show signs of damage. Read on for how to spot when that is the case.

Sunken parts of concrete

This indicates a bad subgrade was used in the initial construction. There isn’t much you can do about it besides starting over. Make sure you use a reputable paving contractor — someone who will prepare the concrete mix correctly as well as set up the subgrade and install everything right.

Frost heave

This occurs when large quantities of water have got into/under the concrete slabs. It causes the slabs to rise up above others, sort of like continental plates. Sometimes they will break where the rise is especially prominent. 

Deep cracking

This problem is also usually caused by water in the concrete. It’s made worse in climates with freeze/thaw cycles. When the cracks become especially large, or large parts of concrete starts chunking out, resurfacing won’t help anymore. Also be on the lookout for spreading or spider webbing cracks. This means a network of cracks starting at a central spot and quickly spreading. This indicates a serious problem at the center of the “web.” Almost always, water is the culprit.

Tree roots

Tree roots can grow fast and far, so they aren’t always easy to spot as the culprit of damage. Obviously, if a tree is right next to your pavement, then it’s a pretty good guess what the cause of unevenness is. Tree root damage is characterized by steeply slanted broken concrete slabs. Another thing to look for is whether your concrete is between a tree and a water source. If so, a tree that’s far away may be growing its roots towards the water, and through your concrete.

Age

Nothing lasts forever. Even with the best care, no concrete driveway or surface paving will last more than a couple of decades. Thousands of tons of steel driving over it every day combined with water and heat takes its toll. If you notice your concrete is old it should probably simply be replaced. Signs of age include crumbling, an overly-porous surface, brittleness, general (if not severe) unevenness.

Here is Lowe’s helpful concrete repair guide if you’d like to take matters into your own hands.

When to resurface

As you might guess, the general trend for resurfacing is when the damage doesn’t go deep. In the case that your damage appears to be superficial or light, resurfacing is probably right for you.

Small cracks

Are the cracks in your pavement less than a quarter of an inch wide? If so, then filler will probably handle them. Filler does one simple job of taking up space, it makes it so that water can’t get inside those cracks and expand/contract to make them worse. The other benefit is that the filler helps the sides of the cracks adhere to one another, hopefully preventing the cracks from widening.

A faded surface or paint

This is a sign of age right? So a repair is what you need right? Not always. UV damage from the sun is a killer too. Besides being responsible for skin cancer, UV fades paint, weakens surfaces, and generally ages things. If your concrete is new, and it’s getting faded, then most likely it’s just the sun and a paint job/resurfacing will fix it right up. Be especially on the lookout for this in desert climates like the South West.

When the damage is widespread but not deep

If your concrete is covered in a network of cracks, marks, and divots, it may seem like repair is the way to go. However, it may be that resurfacing is all you need to get rid of the superficial damage. Widespread damage is difficult to assess, so you may want to get professional help inspecting it.

For details on resurfacing your concrete yourself, here’s a guide.

When to get professional help

If your concrete is beyond the pale, then it’s time to call in the pros. Fortunately, at Reliable Paving, that’s our bread and butter. We specialize in paving repair and surfacing of all kinds, including concrete. Our experienced team of paving contractors can assess, repair, and resurface your damaged pavement. Not only do we keep the highest standards on repairs, but we can finish the surface too, to ensure your paving lasts for years. Contact us today for our services and rates.

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.

workers laying asphalt

Why Is Asphalt Quieter To Drive On Than Concrete?

When it comes to paving for roads and driveways, there are quite a few choices. Everything from marble to synthetics to recycled materials make for good composites that can handle pedestrian traffic and vehicle traffic. However, when it comes to high-vehicle traffic areas, namely parking lots, roads, and driveways, concrete and asphalt are the main choices. 

Deciding between asphalt and concrete can be tough. Applying the right materials will result in a longer life for the paved surface, less necessary maintenance, and lower costs in the end. Ultimately, asphalt usually wins, especially for outdoor scenarios, and for lessening noise pollution. 

Road noise is one of the biggest complaints about urban and suburban living in the US. Not only do people get irritated by the sound of cars driving around constantly, but it can even lower property values. Have you ever compared the cost of housing next to a highway versus housing a few miles (or even blocks) away? You will notice that the proximity to loud traffic is a major reason people live where they do, and a major factor in home prices.

Why asphalt is superior?

Asphalt paving is almost always better. Why? Various reasons combine to make it more versatile, durable, and easier to maintain.

Asphalt can withstand climate variances more

If you live in an extremely hot, or extremely cold seasonal place, you know what kind of damage can happen to paving. Both asphalt and concrete show these signs. Rutting, cracking, potholes, and the like appear and take ages to repair…the other option is replacing the paving altogether, which is neither cheap nor fast. 

Asphalt is still better at withstanding the weather though. Different asphalt can be made to be porous, so water flows through it and doesn’t cause damage. Asphalt also absorbs heat and has less contraction in cold than concrete. When snow accumulates on a paved surface, asphalt contributes to melting faster than concrete does. In general, moisture evaporates faster from asphalt than concrete. Additionally, asphalt can be seal coated, so it can withstand the weather even more. 

Asphalt is usually cheaper

Asphalt is one of the US’s most recycled materials. Even when a road is replaced, it can simply be pulled up, re-pulverized, and laid again as new asphalt. This makes replacing and laying it in the first place much cheaper. 

Asphalt takes less time to pave

Asphalt paving simply takes less time to set and become usable than concrete. On a busy road this saves people time, money, and inconvenience. 

Asphalt is safer

Higher traction leads to better skid resistance and vehicle handling for asphalt than concrete. This makes everything safer for everyone: cyclists, drivers, pedestrians, wild animals, and anyone else on the road.

What exactly makes asphalt quieter than concrete?

In order to understand the why, we need to know a few terms.

Rigid pavement

This uses concrete to form a stiffer foundation. It has high flexural strength (think force divided by area). It is great for parking lots that are indoors. Cracks or damage often can not be repaired, and become permanent. Additionally, the hardness of it means that it can not absorb sound. You may have even heard your own car engine or breaks echoing in a concrete indoor parking lot.

Flexible pavement

This is made with bituminous – AKA asphalt – materials. The material is laid in multiple layers. As a result, it has some flexibility which can absorb the impacts of fast-moving vehicles extremely well. Its porous nature has many benefits, among them sound reduction.

Bituminous pavement is quieter because of the air bubbles inside of it. These air bubbles absorb sound by up to 3-5 decibels. Decibels are measured on an exponential scale, so this may not seem like much, but it is. For example, 40 decibels is 1/8 as loud as 70 decibels. 

Not only is flexible pavement good at lowering noise, it’s so good that it’s more effective than sound barriers. Those are the big walls you see separating residential neighborhoods from highways. 

So, what’s the takeaway?

  • Flexible pavement is made from bituminous material, AKA asphalt.
  • Asphalt is full of little holes that absorb air and sound waves, making it quieter as cars pass on it.

Developments in quiet asphalt

Quiet pavement is a relatively new development that is being studied all over the US. California and Washington have both been doing extensive research on it. These studies have pointed to asphalt’s ability to absorb sound much better than other paved surfaces, namely concrete. 

In the future, we can expect asphalt to become more flexible by being more porous. It will also use more layers, which will help with decreasing impact stress. 

Are there any advantages to concrete?

So why use concrete at all?

  • Concrete roads can last 20-40 years, 2-4 times longer than asphalt.
  • Vehicles can get 1-7% better fuel efficiency on concrete roads.
  • Lower chances of potholes forming.
  • Better suited to high volume of large vehicles, such as semi trucks.
  • Concrete can be recyclable. 
  • Production of NEW concrete roads is somewhat more environmentally friendly than new asphalt roads.

Concrete isn’t all bad, but it certainly has its limitations

  • Entire slabs need to be replaced because repairing it is so difficult.
  • Costs more and takes longer than asphalt to repair and install.
  • Bumpy rides come from differently-leveled slabs.
  • Can be more dangerous for some vehicles, because there may be space between slabs.
  • Surface does not absorb liquids, chemicals, and other things like concrete does. 

Needless to say, we can safely say it makes more sense to use asphalt as your road paving surface.

Unsure what to pave with?

If you don’t know what paving material is the best for your road, parking lot, or driveway, send us a message. We are a professional, experienced, and multifaceted group of paving contractors, who are ready to provide the best paving surfaces at the best prices. Reliable Paving can help you lay new pavement, repair the old, repaint, and even help with ADA compliance. Save yourself time and money by choosing the right paving.

Freeze-Thaw Cycles in Concrete

The effects of the freeze-thaw cycle in concrete and how you can prevent them.

The freeze-thaw cycle is one of the main catalysts of erosion. Yes, water and wind impact can also slowly wear down even the toughest rock over millions of years. But one of the fastest and most efficient ways to break stone, rock, asphalt, brick, and concrete, is the freeze-thaw cycle. In fact, water penetration/expansion is the primary cause of concrete and asphalt degradation.

What is this cycle?

The freeze-thaw cycle is something we have covered quite bit, and is the primary reason to get your asphalt seal coated. Basically, what happens is that water gets inside and below the surface of the asphalt. From there it naturally expands and contracts as the weather changes. Normally, this change in water volume damages concrete, but doesn’t totally destroy it. The weather change from night to day, or spring-fall is not too serious. It’s when the water that’s inside concrete starts to freeze that it becomes a serious problem.

When water gets into concrete at all, you are going to have a bad time. It will bleed into small cracks, and then get into smaller and smaller crevices, all the while creating more. Basically, water gets in through a crack system and then extends and deepens that same crack system. Imagine it like a network, or the shape of a spider web.

Once water that’s inside your concrete freezes, then you have an even bigger problem. Freezing water takes up significantly more volume than liquid water, whether the liquid water is hot or cold. This seriously expands the cracks, making existing ones much larger and creating new ones for the water to get deeper inside. Untreated, freezing and melting water can completely destroy concrete or asphalt paving in just a few years.

What to look for

Crack propagation

Unfortunately, freezing water may cause internal cracking, which is hard to notice. If you notice cracking that looks like it originated from its interior, or beneath it, then you may have damage from the freeze-thaw cycle. Here is a good guide for identifying various types of concrete cracks.

Surface spalling

This happens when chunks break off of the surface of the concrete. It is a problem that gets worse over time, because when the surface breaks off, the aggregate beneath is exposed. The concrete below the surface is not usually sealed against water, so once it is exposed, expect the damage to come in even faster. Spalling can even reveal the rebar/structure at the core of the concrete. If this happens, you may need a replacement if the concrete is structural.

Heaving

Heaving, often called frost heave, is when the ground below the concrete lifts many inches and the concrete can not move with it. This causes the concrete to lift and break. Frost heave is one of the main ways that concrete is damaged. It’s incredibly difficult to make sure that moisture stays out of the ground below concrete thanks to groundwater and seepage from underground pipes.

The problem may not be due to water though. Tree roots beneath the concrete can cause the same issue.

Preventing freeze-thaw damage to your concrete

Deicing

One of the best ways to ensure your concrete doesn’t get water in it is the use of deicing chemicals. These chemicals work by lowering the temperature needed by water to freeze. When these chemicals, like sodium chloride (you know, salt), are placed on the concrete surface, they mix with water that falls on that surface. When the water does penetrate the concrete, it is unable to freeze and will (mostly) harmlessly drain out. If you live in a place that gets snow, then keeping all moisture out of your concrete is a lost cause, and you need to adapt to what does get in. Here’s a great list of other deicing mixtures.

Applying a sealer

Just like asphalt, you can apply a sealer to the surface of concrete. A hydrophobic coating will help make the concrete resistant to water penetration. Apply a sealer only after the concrete has fully-cured, and before you use an deicing agent. It also needs to be used before a freeze-thaw cycle has occurred on the concrete, usually in warmer temperatures, so before autumn has set in.

Good construction practices

One of the best ways to ensure your concrete isn’t damaged in the first place is to make sure the construction is done right from the get-go.

Controlling environmental water

Before beginning a paving project, you should make sure that the area is well-irrigated. Gutters, drip edges, and slightly inclined concrete planes help ensure that water drains away from and off of concrete.

This goes for groundwater as well. Before concrete is placed, the earth around it should be well-drained. Earth around concrete should also slope away from it a little to prevent groundwater from flowing toward the concrete. Flashing can also be used to ensure water flows away from the wall structures.

Concrete slabs need to have some wiggle room

No matter your best efforts, water will sometimes get into and under concrete. This will cause expansion and if the concrete has nowhere to expand to, it will break. Make sure that concrete slabs are able to move a little bit with the earth below them. If they can do this, then heaving will cause significantly less fracturing and cracking of concrete than it would otherwise. You can place small barriers between slabs of concrete, using asphalt, wood, or rubber to give your concrete expansion joints. These joints provide some cushion so the concrete can expand without breaking.

Is your concrete damaged?

Do you have freeze-thaw damage on your concrete? Would you like to get it fixed or prevent future damage? If so, you’re at the right place. Reliable Paving, is a large, experienced paving contractor company with the skill and professionalism to get your paving fixed, or done right the first time. Our concrete services include (but are not limited to): repair and sealing. If you want to make sure you can resist the frost, then let us know today, and we can start weatherproofing your concrete.