Guides

What is Hempcrete and How is it Used?

Over the last century, the science of concrete and asphalt paving has seen numerous improvements. Many of these improvements help the environment, for example, asphalt is the most recycled material in the US. Other changes in concrete and paving are simply due to efficiency. Breathable concrete lets water filter through it and out, which prevents cracking and damage down the road. 

One of the more interesting developments in concrete in the last few decades has been a rise in hempcrete. Hemp is the cousin of the famously psychoactive marijuana plant. As drug legalization occurs throughout the US, the government’s stranglehold on the plant is lifting. This has led to a surge in hemp usage as well.

What is hemp?

Hemp is a fibrous leafy plant. Unlike marijuana, it has extremely low levels of THC. THC is the active ingredient in marijuana, and the primary drug synthesized from the plant. Like marijuana, hemp also grows as a weed, meaning that it doesn’t need pesticides or a costly watering regiment. The plant also grows thickly enough to block out other plants – and weeds – from growing nearby. 

Hemp has been used throughout the world for millennia for a variety of purposes. 

  • Hemp rope is strong, cheap, and easy to make.
  • Hemp makes canvas/clothing.
  • It can be made into paper.
  • Hemp can be grown as a natural buffer zone around crops to prevent invasive plants and insect attacks.
  • Hemp is used in the production of CBD, an oil that helps with pain and sleep. 

Hemp’s true value lies in its weed-like properties and it’s fibers. It grows quickly and with minimal management, thus, hemp crops can pop up faster than many other famed crops. It’s hurd, or stalk, is naturally strong and fibrous. The stalk is used in various ways that uses it’s fibers for strong, flexible material.

How is concrete made from hemp?

Hempcrete is a biocomposite. This means that it is made from both biological and non-biological materials. 

Essentially it is a mixture of three things: 1) hemp stalk 2) lime,sand, or pozzolana (a silica-aluminum mineral found in volcanic ash)  and 3) water. Combining the three into a type of slurry makes a versatile concrete-like substance. Hempcrete can also go by several other names. The lime,sand, or pozzolana makes the aggregate which is found in all concrete. The hemp itself is a binder, using it’s porous fibers and hardening water to keep the materials all together.

What are its benefits and drawbacks?

Benefits

Carbon-negative

Hemp is a fast growing plant that sucks up carbon dioxide. Using locally-grown hemp in hempcrete will keep the carbon footprint of your construction low. Of course, shipping it from other locations will hurt that footprint.

Light and easy to transport

Hempcrete is less dense than concrete, so it is much easier and cheaper to transport large quantities of the stuff. Additionally, the mix is not difficult to make, so a paving contractor could save money by bringing the hemp hurds (stalks) to a construction site and mixing it with the aggregate on-site.

Makes for good insulation

It is an air-tight and vapor permeable. This means that it can be used to keep buildings well-insulated and dry. It also is healthy, in that it’s natural properties mean no extra chemicals need to be added for its effect. Nothing is required as a coating for its insulating effects. Compared to asbestos or other insulation, it is a sturdy replacement.

It is great for filling in panels, and adding insulation to solid walls. Hempcrete is useful in renovating older homes and buildings to upgrade their thermal retention. 

Durable

Low-density means that hempcrete is resistant to cracking under movement. This is especially good for earthquake-prone locations.

Efficient

It takes very little hemp hurd mixed with binder to create a great deal of hempcrete. A whole field of hemp could possibly make enough total material to insulate an entire house. Traditional asphalt uses petroleum-based binder. Hemp stalk is also inexpensive.

Drawbacks

Hempcrete may be versatile and relatively low-cost. However, it does have some qualities that prevent it from being a replacement for traditional cement. 

It’s not very dense

The lack of density in hempcrete makes it a good insulation. However, it means that it can not be used as a structural material. Its density is only about 5% of regular concrete. Because hemp can not be used structurally, here is a list of things you can NOT do with it.

  • Hempcrete can not be used as a foundation. The foundation of your structure will need to be traditional concrete, as hempcrete will be unlikely to withstand the load.
  • It can only be used non-structurally. It must be set around timber, steel, or concrete. You can not build a house from hempcrete alone. 

Biodegradable

Hempcrete can biodegrade. This is great for avoiding pollution and waste, but not so good for parts of a building that need to interact with the environment. Hempcrete is bad as a foundation because it is not dense enough, and may begin to biodegrade after a time. If you have hempcrete on the exterior of your building, a weatherproof finish can be applied. Not so with foundations. You probably don’t want your building falling down because it’s foundation degraded.

Changing legality

As politicians play with laws, it effects our lives. Hemp may be a legal crop in 48 states now, but the right lobbyist from a big industry could change that. Over all, hemp seems to be on a general trend toward legality, but it is far from certain.

Considering hempcrete?

If you are thinking about getting some paving work done for your business, head to Reliable Paving. We will be happy to guide you. Our 35 years of experience and constant study of new developments in paving means we know all kinds of ways to minimize environmental footprint while paving on time, and on budget. If you want your paving done as well as possible, contact us today for a consultation.

 

Common Parking Lot Accidents And How To Avoid Them

Although highways take the cake for the most dangerous car accidents on average, one in five accidents happens in a parking lot. According to the National Safety Council, over 60,000 people are injured in parking lots every year. Additionally, 500 people die per year in parking lot accidents, and there are more than 50,000 crashes in parking lots and garages annually.

Although so many accidents happen in parking areas, people generally regard them as safe, and are not as on-alert in parking lots as they are during normal driving. But what are the most common types of parking lot accidents? What are the reasons that there are so many crashes in lots and garages? Finally, what can drivers and parking lot owners do to increase safety in parking locations?

The most common types of accidents in parking lots

When two drivers back up into each other

It’s hard to look behind you when driving. There are mirrors sure, but they don’t give a full range of view behind your vehicle. You might have to turn your head back to look through your rear window, but that doesn’t always help either, as it leaves a blind spot on the back driver’s side. 

When a driver pulls out of a space in front of another vehicle

It’s often hard to see cars in a densely-packed lot. Especially when a smaller car is pulling out of a space between two larger cars, like a sedan coming out from between to SUVs. This is a recipe for trouble, as the faster car that is already moving might not have time to react to the car pulling out.

The danger of this type of accident is compounded when the driver leaving the spot is backing up. When a driver is backing up out of a parking space, their field of vision is lower, meaning they are less likely to be able to respond to oncoming traffic.

Pedestrian accidents in parking lots

Pulling in and out of spaces is dangerous not only to drivers, but to pedestrians as well. Not only is it difficult to see a car pulling out of a parking space between two other cars, it’s also hard for the driver of that car to see pedestrians. The other cars on either side of the vehicle cut down the field of view, and pedestrians seem to appear out of nowhere. In a 2007 study from the National Center For Statistics and Analysis, there were over 5000 injuries to pedestrians from cars pulling/backing out of parking spaces.

This danger is especially poignant to children. The 2007 study also showed that over one-fifth of children ages 9-5 killed in crashes are pedestrians. Children are particularly at-risk because they don’t know the rules of the road, they are smaller, and they tend to run and move unpredictably compared to adults. 

When two cars crash trying to get into the same space

When two drivers are focused on the spot they want, and not traffic, accidents happen. People become fixated on their space and forget about other drivers doing the same thing. This poses a threat to pedestrians and other motorists.

Why are there so many parking lot-related accidents?

People are fixated on the space they want

As we mentioned earlier, people become fixated on a potential parking space. Even if the space is far away, they will forget the basics of checking for pedestrians and traffic as they get to it. This can obviously lead to accidents.

People are often driving while distracted in lots

Many people use their time in a parking lot to check their phones, or do otherwise non-driving activities. They do so because parking lots have much slower speed limits, and they feel safer in them than on the road. A CBS News article cited a statistic that 66% of drivers feel comfortable making calls in a parking lot, over half would text. About another 50% said they would be comfortable with other uses of their phone, like watching videos or sending emails. According to the National Safety Council president Deborah Hersman: “It’s just as dangerous to be distracted in a parking lot going 5 mph as it is going 50 mph.” 

Long story short, just because parking lots have slower speed limits, doesn’t mean it’s OK to drive distracted in them.

Traffic laws aren’t enforceable in parking lots

Traffic laws apply to the roads and highways, not parking spaces. This can lead to people driving more recklessly in them. You’ve probably seen parking lots with tire marks in a wide circle, where someone decided to do donuts. Reckless driving is a huge cause of accidents, whether in parking lots or on the road.

Parking lots are actually crowded

There can be far more cars in parking lots per square foot than there are on roads. When a parking lot is totally crowded with cars, visibility is low, there are more pedestrians, and more moving vehicles. People get a false sense of security in parking lots because they think that all the other cars are empty. This is an example of confirmation bias, as it’s just harder to see pedestrians and other cars due to the bad visibility in a crowded parking garage.

What can your business do to make the parking lot safer?

Fortunately, we can always make the world safer. 

  • Have clear signs clearly and visibly posted for drivers. Especially speed limit signs and directional signs.
  • Make sure the entire lot/garage is well-lit.
  • Clear the parking lot of debris like snow.
  • Fix potholes, cracks, and other damage.

Looking to make your lot safer?

If you want to ensure that your lot is as safe as it can be, then look no further than Reliable Paving. We are an experienced and highly professional paving contractor. Our specialty is in asphalt paving and maintenance. We can repaint parking lot stripes, fix cracks, fill potholes and much more. Contact us today and we will be happy to answer your questions and/or give you a consultation.

Alternative Uses For Parking Lots

For many reasons, parking lots are beginning to fall out of favor in American construction. The gigantic multi-story lots that used to dominate cities are falling by the wayside. You may have noticed a general decline in auto traffic at your business or maybe you are dealing with fewer customers thanks to the ongoing pandemic. Whatever the reason may be, you might be thinking about what to do with your now empty, unused parking lot.

Why are parking lots falling out of use?

The Rise of Cycling 

More and more people are cycling rather than driving now. Besides being cheaper than cars, bikes are smaller and easier to manage, have less upkeep, and provide exercise. They don’t need huge lots because they don’t take up as much space. Additionally, as cities are better designed now, it’s easier for people to get where they’re going with a bicycle. 

E-Commerce

Shopping online has revolutionized our economy in a few short years. Nowadays a consumer can get all manner of goods, including food and groceries from the comfort of home. Simply put, people don’t need to drive as much, so they don’t need parking. E-commerce has already critically wounded shopping malls, parking lots aren’t far behind. 

Car Ownership is Decreasing

It’s predicted that car ownership in the US will drop by 80% over the next 10 years. There’s already a glut of spaces compared to cars too. The US has about 2 billion parking spaces… and only 250 million cars. An oversupply of spaces and decreasing car ownership means it’s probably a good idea to think about other uses for vast parking lots.

Economic Instability

The COVID-19 pandemic popped a lot of economic bubbles. One of them is in-person shopping. Not only is it more convenient, it’s now often the only safe choice people have. 

Nobody knows what surprises are in store for the coming years. One thing is fairly certain though- when the economy hits hard times, people go out less. They shop less, go out to eat less, and go out for entertainment less often. With these changes, we will see even less use of already empty parking lots. You don’t need an enormous parking lot for a workplace when everyone is working from home. 

Autonomous Vehicles

The rise of self-driving cars is going to make a huge impact. Car ownership is already on the downswing, autonomous vehicles will only make it lower. A city with a fleet of self-driving cars can easily transport people for lower costs than traditional car ownership or taxis. If autonomous cars are used constantly, stopping only to recharge/refuel, the need for places to keep cars goes down. 

What Can We Do With Parking Lots?

Fortunately for business owners and developers, parking lots and garages provide plenty of opportunity. Parking lots can be remodeled into other businesses, or demolished and turned into something completely new. Let’s look at a few of the best options.

Food Truck/Pop-up Business

This is a great — and economical — option. Without making any major changes to your paved lot, a food truck can generate some income. In fact, all over the US, farmers markets are often set up on unused parking lots. All you need is a tent/cover, tables, and whatever you are selling. Let that unused pavement earn some extra money for you.

If you let a small vendor such as a food truck operate on your lot, it will generate more foot traffic. That might result in more business for your own workplace. 

Apartments and Housing

If the parking lot is old, dilapidated, and unused, it might not be worth keeping. It instead would be better to take it down all-together and build something new. Building houses over lots is great, as the land is already flat once the pavement is removed, and existing pavement can be kept for driveways, sidewalks, and other residential needs. 

In the case that the lot doesn’t need to be torn down, it can be renovated. Existing parking lots have already been used to make apartments and businesses. Parts of the lots can be maintained, so people living at the apartments can have a nice parking space right next to their abode. 

E-Commerce Centers

Dingy, dark underground parking garages might not seem great for anything. Fortunately, delivery companies always have their eyes peeled for the next opportunity. Underground garages, with a little remodeling, make great fulfillment centers for companies like Amazon. They are cool, dry, and don’t have much traffic. The fact that many garages are in cities means that goods can be stored en masse even closer to where people live. Unlike massive centers outside of cities, in-city locations will result in shorter delivery times.

Urban Farms

Remove the asphalt, and you have a smooth, flat area that’s great for a small farm plot. Many parking lots are also in open areas, so the new farmland can get plenty of sunlight. Another benefit of turning parking lots into farmland is that farmland can be flexible. A house or apartment building must be a certain size — not so with growing space. You can grow vegetables on various types of space, and many vines, like tomatoes and squash do great with vertical space.

The Sky’s The Limit

Why not free up this space in cities? Parking lots can — and already have — become parks, workplaces, businesses, apartments, and more. You can do so much with a parking lot because so many lots are already in prime spots in cities.

Interested In Re-purposing Your Parking Lot?

Reliable Paving is an all-purpose paving contractor. With over 35 years of experience and a reputation for integrity, we are happy to help with any asphalt paving-related solutions you might need. We can help with paving, demolishing, renovation and reconstruction. Contact us today to see how we can help you.

               

questions to ask your paving contractor

Questions to Ask a Paving Contractor

So you want to get some asphalt work done. Like most clients you should have a set number of questions to ask before you do so. In order to make the right choice, we’ve compiled a list of questions you should ask your paving contractor before starting any work. These questions include right and wrong answers. The wrong answers should be considered red flags that help you determine who not to hire. Right answers to the questions will help you make the best choice possible in getting the right company to do your asphalt paving. There are a whole host of questions you can ask, so we have narrowed them down to the most important things you should be asking.

What do their reviews look like?

Not only should you look at their reviews, but pay attention to their most recent reviews. Changes in management can make a good company go bad, so look for recent, positive reviews. Find reviews on websites like Google, the company’s own website, and other review sites. Angie’s List, Glassdoor, and Yelp are great places to start looking for company reviews.

Red Flags

Red Flags for reviews include a track record of bad reviews. If the company has overall bad reviews from clients, it’s probably not a company that does the best job possible. Other things to look for include reviews trending downward over time. If older reviews are good and newer ones are bad, then you know that their current work is not up to snuff. 

Green Flags

Green flags include over all positive reviews, of course. If the reviews from several years ago were OK, and they get more positive over time, then you know that this is a company that is trending on better work and improvement. Ideally look for reviews that mention good quality of work, legal compliance, and good feedback/communication. You can also look at reviews left by previous employees, as they will give you an idea of what company culture is like. Good employee reviews are always a positive.

Planning for Time and Materials

Make sure you get a direct idea of how much material and time the company will need to complete a project. This is important for getting the project done within budget and in a timely manner.

Red Flags

Red flags here are very important. A company that asks for unlimited time and materials is bad. Why? Because that means that they don’t have a clear plan for completion of the project. Without a good plan, it’s easy for the project to go way over budget. Some shady companies actually want this, as it is how they make more money.

Green Flags

Good things to look for are a concise budget and timeline. If the company can provide you with an accurate statement regarding how much time and materials they require, it means the have the right planning method and experience to get your job done.

References

Ask any company you work with for references. The references that are ideal are recent, and can be contacted easily. 

Red Flags

Outdated references. If a company gives you a previous client list, and the phone numbers don’t work, or the email addresses are no longer functioning, you can’t do your due diligence. You need to be able to contact current/recent references to find the best company for the job.

Green Flags

What you should hope for in answer to questions about references are recent or current contacts. You will want references that are easy to get a hold of to ask questions to. Don’t just look for positive references, look for up-to-date contacts.

How Much Money is Required Up-Front?

Every contractor will require some money up-front in order to start work. This is to secure a place in the calendar and start materials production. Beware of companies that ask for too much before work even begins.

Red Flags

Any company asking for more than 15% up-front is a red flag. Asking for too much up front means that the company lacks the expertise/experience in budgeting for its projects.

Green Flags

A company that asks for a reasonable amount up-front. 10% Or less is usually a good sign that the company knows what it is doing and can budget its work properly.

Permits

Permits are expensive and necessary. Any company that forgoes permits due to costs or red tape is not doing its job properly. Jobs being done without permits can be shut down by building officials or the government.

Red Flags

No permits. If the company is trying to do work without permits, then don’t hire them. Without permits, you don’t know that the job is done safely and properly.

Green Flags

A building company should of course be permitted. When talking to the company before hiring them, ask if they have the permits for the job. If they already have the permits, and know what permits are required for your job, it’s very good. Knowing which permits are required is good for two reasons: 1) the company has experience with this kind of work. 2) The company is up to date on its legal paperwork, so everything is above-board.

Responsiveness

When you are asking questions to a company about its work, you should get prompt replies. A company that doesn’t answer the phone or respond to emails in a timely way isn’t professional. You will want a responsive in case something unexpected happens during building. This way you are able to communicated quickly and effectively to solve problems.

Red Flags

No email responses, or responses take more than a week. Another bad sign is if doesn’t answer the phone, or only rarely answers.

Green flags

Timely responses in emails (usually 24 hours or less) and regularly answering phone calls are ideal.

Looking to Get Some Paving Done?

If you or your company needs asphalt work done, check out Reliable Paving. Our permitted, professional company has over 35 years of experience. Additionally, our crew of over 200 people is able to perform big jobs on-time and on-budget. Get in contact with us about any questions you might have about your job.

 

traffic cones on the street

The Science of Traffic Cone Placement

You’ve seen them a million times, because they’re all over the place: traffic cones. Whether it’s a minor inconvenience that makes you turn and take another street, or if you find a whole area of town is covered in them, you’ve been affected by those little orange cones more than once. There are an estimated 140 million being used at any point worldwide.

Even though we see them all the time, how much thought do you really pay traffic cones when you see them? If you’re like most people, the answer is: none.

In case you’re curious, or in case you need to know for your own paving project, here is an in-depth guide to traffic cones: what they are, what they are used for, and more.

How are cones used by contractors and pavers?

Also called TTC (temporary traffic controls) or safety cones, orange traffic cones are used to redirect traffic in a multitude of situations. They’re used to redirect drivers to avoid construction zones (such as when parts of pavement has recently received work or been sealcoated), and also to avoid road damage.

Traditionally, shorter traffic cones are 18-inches tall and used in lower-speed areas. Residential locations are where you are most likely to find these small, iconic cones.

Larger, 28-inch tall cones are used in high-speed areas like highways. They are more visible and can thus direct traffic from a further distance.

Basic usage guidelines include:

  • They must be orange and made of a material that can be struck by a car without causing major damage to the vehicle.
  • Day time and low-speed areas must use cones at least 18 inches high.
  • High-speed areas must use cones at least 28 inches high.
  • For nighttime use, cones must have reflectors. Cones 26-38 inches high must have 2 bands of white reflectors that measure 6 and 4 inches wide. 
  • They must be heavy or stable enough to withstand traffic and weather conditions. They can be doubled to increase weight in windy conditions. Ballast should be added minimally to keep them from moving while still preventing possible vehicle damage.

More details are available at the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices web page.

 

How do Drivers React to Traffic Cones?

Guidelines for acting Safety in Traffic Cone Areas

Remember, especially if you are driving a large truck or other heavy vehicle, cones don’t slow you down, your brakes do. Be sure to:

  1. Slow down with care near any cone zone.
  2. Stay alert: try to avoid any distractions like your phone, radio, or anything else.
  3. Think about any cone as though there were a person standing behind it.

 

Driving Safely in a Cone Area

Go Slowly

  • Always plan a route for extra travel time in the case of construction or other road blockages (i.e., expect the unexpected). 
  • Pay attention to the posted speed limits. Not only is it more dangerous to speed in cone zones, there are usually higher fines.
  • Allow extra space between vehicles. You can’t help being tailgated, but you can avoid tailgating the person in front of you.

Avoid Distractions

  • Don’t text or use any devices while driving. Just focus on the road.
  • Follow signs, flags, and worker directions.

Respect Roadside Workers

  • Slow down and pay attention in cone zones, even if you don’t see anyone working.
  • Be patient. 
  • Make eye contact with workers you do see, so they know you are aware of them.

Long story short: slow down, pay attention, follow the rules. If you do those things, you could save somebody’s life.

 

When to use Traffic Cones

Generally, individual drivers don’t carry any cones in their vehicle, and will be unlikely to use them. In fact, most people seem to think that cones are only for professional and construction purposes. However, there are times when they could be useful to you. For instance:

  1. Cones alert oncoming and passing traffic to your position. They are much more effective than a stopped car, even one with the emergency lights flashing. If people see cones around your vehicle, they are more likely to slow down, and even stop to help.
  2. If your car’s battery has died, the hazard lights might not work at all. Cones with reflectors can get people’s attention, not only to inform them to slow down, but to let emergency help know where you are.
  3. Cones can block off more area than just your car. In the case of a serious emergency like a traffic accident, you might need to place cones to protect car wreckage or an injured person. A stopped car only alerts other drivers to the car, whereas cones can block off and bring attention to a whole area.
  4. Cones can give advance warnings when there are sharp turns or hills that prevent long-distance viewing. This ensures safety by letting approaching drivers know what is coming up.

 

What are some other uses for traffic cones?

There are plenty of traffic cone uses outside of construction and roadside use. Obviously, cones are used to redirect traffic in the case of asphalt damage or construction, but they have plenty of other uses, some of which might surprise you.

They Can Warn of Indoor Hazards

Construction sites both outdoors and indoors can use traffic cones to warn people where not to drive or walk. Maybe the floor is slippery, or maybe it’s unstable; either way, traffic cones can be used for vehicular or foot traffic. They are also generally great ways to keep people out of remodeling or construction areas in general.

Controlling Foot Traffic in Crowded Areas

Cones are symbol of authority, too, since people think they’re only used by professionals. Therefore, they can be used both indoors and outdoors in crowded areas to cordon off areas for VIPs or simply to prevent overcrowding. You’ve probably seen some used in these situations and not even realized it.

 

Paving the Way for Better Cone Use

If you are looking for paving contractors who really know their stuff, including traffic cone use. Look no further than Reliable Paving. We are a high-quality paving contract with years of experience. We can do whatever job you have in mind when it comes to asphalt paving, asphalt repairs, and more, all while maintaining the highest level of safety standards—even down to our use of traffic cones.

parking lot

Parking Lot Maintenance for Lots that Receive Heavy Use

There are plenty of reasons to keep your parking areas well-maintained. First, you don’t want anyone’s car damaged if they use your lot. And second, the parking lot is often the first part of the business that a client experiences. A well-maintained parking lot reinforces the ideas of professionalism and quality. And third, well-kept asphalt degrades far slower and requires less expensive repair.

The level of use your lot receives complicates the maintenance of your asphalt. Places like grocery stores and restaurants have it easier, because they can do maintenance during closing hours. However, the case is not the same for airports, hospitals, and places that are used constantly—every day of the year. 

 

The Basics of Parking Lot Maintenance

Immediately after building your parking lot, start a maintenance routine

Keeping your lot maintained helps it in many ways. It saves money by being safer. A safe lot won’t have liability issues of customers injuring themselves or damaging their vehicles. It improves customer opinion of your business; a degraded and poorly maintained lot will give customers a negative impression before they even enter the building. And finally, a well-maintained lot won’t get seriously damaged as quickly, so you won’t have to fork over more money for serious repairs later on.

When your asphalt is installed, have it sealcoated 3-6 months later. A good plan for future parking lot maintenance is crack-filling and sealcoating every 3-5 years. You will want the lot treated more often depending on usage and weather conditions in your area.

Here is a good routine maintenance plan from Washington State University. 

Practice frequent visual inspections

An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Set up a routine schedule for taking a look at your parking lot. Small problems like cracks, oil/gasoline stains, and standing water can be identified early that way. Cracks can be filled, chemicals removed, and drains cleaned in order to prevent much bigger future problems.

Keep it clean

Dirt and debris can cause few serious problems. They can damage cars and then asphalt when cars drive over them. Debris and garbage can be dangerous to people using the parking lot—broken glass, rusty metal, etc. can severely injure people. Dirt and debris can also block drains, causing damage and water build-up. 

Remove oil and gasoline immediately

These chemicals cause serious damage, so the sooner you deal with them, the better. Solvents like gasoline break down the binder that glues the asphalt together. The binder is the most expensive part of asphalt, and the hardest to repair. If you keep it in good condition, your pavement will last much longer.

Fill/seal cracks

Simply put: small cracks can lead to big ones. If you deal with the small cracks immediately, you solve two problems. Sealing small cracks prevents them from radiating out and creating more cracks (and, eventually, potholes). Sealing the small cracks also prevents water from getting in them and turning them into big cracks.

Clean out drains

Cleaning the drains around your parking lot helps get water out of there. Water is the main force of degradation and erosion in parking lots, and in nature. Even if you don’t live in a place with freezing temperatures, water can cause serious damage. Small amounts of water get into cracks, and then expands when the temperature drops. In a place that freezes, this can cause huge cracks to form overnight. In arid climates, where the temperature changes a lot according to time of day, this causes a huge amount of wear and tear on your lot.

Reroute traffic after maintenance

In order to ensure that your repairs can set, make sure to block of the area that was just worked on. This can be as easy as setting up some orange cones, or even blocking off a whole section of a parking lot.

If you want an in-depth manual for parking lot maintenance, look here.

 

How to Perform Maintenance on Parking Lots that are Used Heavily

The rules change quite a bit when your lot needs to be used 24/7/365. However, a few guidelines can significantly help you maintain a constantly used parking lot.

Routine visual inspections are more important

Because you won’t be able to shut the whole lot down, inspection is of utmost importance. Having one or several people inspect the lot doesn’t cut down on parking space or business, and it helps find problems faster. 

Fix small problems first

Fixing small cracks, cleaning, and removing gas/oil drippings goes a long way to preventing expensive and time-consuming repairs. A simple filling and sealing of a small crack means you don’t have to do a deep pavement repair. Smaller repairs can take days and hours, while larger repairs will take days and/or months. Fixing the surface is far easier than the foundation. Cleaning junk off a blacktop’s surface is easier than pulling it out of drains.

Build more space than you need

When you first build your lot, make sure to build more parking space than you think you will need. You build more space so that you can alternate which spaces are used according to repairs and maintenance.  If you have twice as much parking space as your business can accommodate, you can shut down half of your lot for repairs and still do 100% business. Having more space to work with also makes it easier to do routine work like cleaning and inspection.

Routine is important

Sticking with a maintenance routine is key. On top of reacting to damage as it appears, regular maintenance will help prevent non-visible damage. Things like sealcoating and cleaning help increase the pavement’s lifespan and prevents deeper damage later on.

 

Ready to Start Working on your Parking Lot?

Get in touch with Reliable Paving. Reliable paving is the Texas paving contractor that provides high-quality, professional service at affordable prices. Our services include asphalt paving, maintenance, repairs, striping, sealcoating, and much more. Whether you want your customers to have a good impression of your business from the moment they park, or you just want to repair your parking lot, Reliable Paving is the option for you. 

 

How to Hire the Best Paving Contractor

Businesses face plenty of challenges. One of the biggest challenges is always deciding on who to use as a contractor when paving work has to be done. There are plenty of ways to pick out a good choice, from seeking a colleague’s recommendation to jumping on Google for a quick search.

The question will often boil down to this: do you want the cheapest serviceable work, or do you want to pay for quality? Is there a better way to ensure getting the best bang for your buck?

Choosing the right asphalt paving company for your business

Paving is a pretty specific, specialized industry. You should look for the right traits in a company to make your choice of paving contractor.

There are a few special things to look at when you make your decision, including:

  • Reviews
  • Licenses
  • Equipment
  • Workers
  • And previous work and company history

Reviews

Thanks to the internet, reviews are one of the easiest things to find. Yelp, Google, Yellow Pages, Amazon, the Better Business Bureau…the list goes on. A search on your choice of directory or search engine should get you what you want.

What to look for in reviews?

Remember, look for the average review, not the outliers. There will always be someone out there with an ax to grind. Maybe some client had a bad day and decided to take it out on the company they hired. Maybe the customer is always difficult, and uses online reviews as an outlet. Don’t get too bothered by the worst reviews.

Look at the vast majority of reviews, and look at the best reviews, too. What did the people who got the best service have to say? If an overwhelming majority of the reviews are positive (for example, 80%, a 4-star average or higher), then the company probably has good customer service and does good work.

Also, be aware that some companies will fill a site with fake reviews to look better online. This is an instant red flag, and without a doubt, you should avoid companies that fake their feedback.

Finally, be sure to check the dates of the reviews. Companies change over the years; they can go from bad to quite good…or vice versa.

Licenses

Insurance

Paving companies—and construction companies at large—often save a few dollars by skimping on the required (or prudent) insurance. The low price may look great to the end consumer, but your risk is greater. If any accidents happen, then your business’s insurance will be what covers damages. This could lead to a vast increase in premiums down the road. There could also be legal fallout.

You should look for a paving company that has general liability and worker’s compensation insurance. That way, any accident should be covered, whether it results in material or personal damage. They should also have insurance on all commercial vehicles for paving equipment, and an insurance umbrella policy.

How do you find out if the company has insurance? Ask them.

Professional licenses

Professional licenses are a strong guarantee of professionalism. A proper paving company should have business and contractor licenses. This helps you ensure that the workers are trained professionals, and it shows that the business is legitimate.

When vetting a company, be sure to ask what licenses they have.

Equipment

Obviously, you want to hire a company with good equipment. If you can, visit the company headquarters. What does the equipment look like? Is it old or in bad condition? You can ask about the makes and models of their vehicles as well, including what year they were built.

Do a little research and check out the average lifespan of their paving equipment. Find out when the paving vehicles become unreliable. Check out the online reviews again too, look for a lot of complaints from customers about old or damaged equipment.

Workers

You would prefer to hire a company that uses reliable workers. There are a few ways to check out how good the workers at a company are:

  1. Check online reviews again. See what other customers had to say about the employees. Were the workers helpful? Did they do a good job? Did they go above and beyond?
  2. Look at websites for rating employers, too. Glassdoor and Indeed are two of the biggest, but there are many. Use your favorite search engine to find worker reviews. What have current and former employers said? Did they like the managers? Did they think they were fair and were dedicated to good work? How did they feel about their coworkers? What was the climate at work like? If you see huge number of complaints from employees about it being a bad work place, then you can guess that the workers there don’t have high morale.
  3. Finally, ask about the longevity of employees when you are vetting companies. If many workers have been at the company for a long time, it’s a good sign. It means the company invests in its workers to improve them. It also means that workers like the company, so they stay. A company that treats its workers well and has high retention rate is usually more professional and has good employee morale.

Previous work and company history

Commercial paving companies often take big jobs, like airports, stadiums, and large entertainment venues. If the company did work on things like airports or other government property, then their work is public record. You can even go to these public places and see their work for yourself.

Looking back at a company’s history, you can see how long they’ve been in business. Usually, the longer a company has been in business, the higher the standards, and the better work you can expect.