Guides

Reliable Paving Company Update

2020 Has been an historic year. From wildfires to a pandemic to mass protests and civil unrest, a lot has happened. Despite the tumultuous craziness of this year, Reliable Paving has striven to be a bastion of stability and of course, reliability.

So, to begin this new year, we would like to look at some of our accomplishments, company ethos and culture, and our capabilities. Looking at our present and past, we can get an even better idea of what the future is in store for us.

A bit of company history

We started in 1984 with a simple idea that the best asphalt and pavement maintenance meant preventative maintenance. We worked on not just performing the best asphalt paving for our clients, but keeping them well-informed so they can make the best choices.

As we approach four decades in business, we continue to offer the best craftsmanship with a strong emphasis on customer-first priorities.

Our Service Method

Our service method can be summed up in two words: relentless cooperation. Paving projects require an enormous amount of troubleshooting, detailed planning, and the ability to work as a team and to integrate and work with other teams. Our team provides the project management to keep everyone accountable and work on time and on budget.

Our services include:

  • Quick responses to bids.
  • Managers assigned to each job.
  • Attending all meetings.
  • Being committed to cooperation with your staff and all other contractors.
  • Your managers and owners are guaranteed access to our Senior VP. of Sales.
  • You, your managers, and owners are encouraged to take an active role in every part of the construction process.
  • A licensed engineer on-site to guarantee quality control.

We aren’t just another paving contractor company, we strive not only to give you the best quality results, but also the best service possible. Like we said, relentless cooperation is the name of our game. If you are curious about what working with us is like, and want to try before you buy, contact us here for a free estimate on your project.

Company Culture

Reliable Commercial started out as a family business, and it remains a family business. We have grown to be a large company, with over 200 employees over time. Nonetheless, wee make sure that each person working for us knows they are part of a bigger picture, a working part of a much larger whole.

Our services

Asphalt paving

The vast majority of paved surfaces in this country are made of asphalt. Asphalt is 100% recyclable, in fact, it is one of the most recycled materials in the US, and 81% of asphalt is recycled. Our asphalt paving services include hot mix, cold mix, porous asphalt, and course graded asphalt.

Asphalt repairs

If you want your asphalt to last, it will eventually need to be maintained. Our services include crack filling, pothole repair, and resurfacing. Resurfacing is when a new layer is poured over the existing asphalt surface, which not only makes it look new, but makes it last longer. If you really want your asphalt to stand the test of time, you should consider sealcoating. Sealcoating is the process of weather-proofing the surface of asphalt so water can not get inside between the aggregate.

Concrete repairs

Concrete, unlike asphalt is often used in industrial situations. This means it is often subject to extreme heat, cold, corrosion, and stress. As it ages, it cracks, blazes, and blisters. These signs of age can range from inconvenient to dangerous. We pride ourselves in meeting and exceeding all industry safety standards when it comes to repairing your concrete.

 Sealcoating

On top of asphalt sealcoating, we also offer various other sealcoating services.

  • Concrete sealcoating
  • Blacktop sealcoating
  • Pavement Sealcoating

Sealcoated surfaces are safe to drive on just 2-3 days after the coating, and they are protected for years afterwards.

Striping

Ensure your lot is clearly-marked, ADA compliant, and nice looking – make sure its stripes and markings are clear and bright. We have established a process to perform parking lot striping while using as little space and time as possible. That way, your business can continue as we do ours.

Crack sealing

We perform crack sealing on pavement, concrete, asphalt, and blacktop. Crack sealing can be a small task or a big one, untreated cracks lead to asphalt disintegration and distortion if left untreated. We treat cracks before they become big problems.

ADA compliance

We will help your organization avoid fines and legal troubles with our nuanced understanding of the Americans with Disabilities Act. We provide consulting services for your business to help ensure ADA as well as our work with parking lot striping and marking.

Speed bump installation

We provide speed bump installs for parking lots and driveways. Perfect for keeping traffic safe at your business place.

Our accomplishments

All Storage Paving Project

We performed the massive paving project for the All Storage Fort Worth McCart. For pictures and an idea of the massive size of the project we took on, visit the web page for the storage facility. This behemoth of concrete and asphalt is a testament to the nearly 40 years of experience and our highly-skilled ant amazing crew.

Projects in 2021

Now that we are turning the leaf of a new year, you may be thinking about your own projects. Do you have a parking lot that needs resurfacing? Perhaps you are opening a business that will need a driveway and parking. Whatever your paving related needs, Reliable Paving has you covered. We would be happy to relentlessly serve you and ensure that you put the best foot forward with the projects you start this year. Contact us today, and we can get started with whatever asphalt, paving, and/or concrete project you have in mind.

Must Ask Questions For Any Paving Contractor

Find out what the right questions to ask are, and what the right answers to those questions are.

Heading into the new year, you might have some overdue asphalt paving needs. Well, let the new year be a time to make the changes you want to see in your life. If you are anxious, or unsure about where to start, we have made a convenient list of questions you should ask any paving company before you hire them. Follow this handy guide, and you will be confident and ready to start the projects you need done.

This guide is designed to help you choose the best asphalt paving contractor for the job.

How long have you been in business?

This question is something you should ask just about any contractor before you have a big job done. This is the general litmus test of how good a company is at what it does. It helps you get a clear impression of how successful they maybe with your project. Would you order a product from an Amazon or Ebay seller with no previous good reviews?

Ideally, a good paving company should have at least 2+ years of experience in your area. That indicates that their product has enough quality to continue selling.

What services do you provide?

This question gets a bit technical in the answer, but it’s important. The services provided by a company lets you know how long your paving job will last. Now the answer depends on what you need done, for example, if you just want something paved, you should look for a company that does paving and sealcoating. If you need something repaired, you should find out what kind of repairs are offered.

Paving and sealcoating

Any paving job should be followed by sealcoating. Sealcoating is the preservation of the pavement by coating the top level with a weather-proof binder. This determines whether you will need your pavement worked on every several years or every several months. If a company does not offer sealcoating, it should make give you pause.

Repairs and pothole filling

The answer to the question “What kind of paving repair do you perform?” might get a little technical, but it boils down to some important results. There is patching, removal and replacement, milling, full-depth repair, crack filling, and more. You are looking for an answer that includes as many methods as possible. Why? Because the more methods a company has to repair asphalt the more knowledgeable they are, and the better the repairs they are capable of. Long story short, there is absolutely a right and wrong way to fix asphalt problems. You don’t just want a hole filled in, you might need a whole section replaced, and you need to know that the company you are hiring is capable of the best repair job possible.

How much do your services cost?

This question has a lot of different answers, but the answer you are looking for is a question in return. Any company worth its salt should need to know a few things before they can give you a cost estimate. So here are the kind of things that a company should ask before they deliver a quote:

  • What is the area to be paved/repaired?
  • What kind of/amount of traffic will there be in this area?
  • What is the location/climate of the area?

After these questions, you will want to ask some follow-up inquiries yourself. They will help you ascertain the costs to a better degree. Questions you should ask to follow up:

  • What materials will you use? (this is a big determiner of cost)
  • What is the complexity of the project? This is a difficult question to answer objectively, but it can really help you get the hang of costs.

Make sure to ask this questions of a few different companies. It will give you an idea of the general cost for the services you are requesting. It will also let you know a bit about the company’s level of professionalism — some companies will claim that a complex project is very simple because they have limited experience in the field and don’t know the job’s full depth.

Is the company licensed and insured?

Ask this question right away to avoid wasting your time on unlicensed companies. You absolutely want a company that is insured, so that you don’t wind up paying an arm and a leg in settlements if someone gets injured working on your property. If the company can’t answer what licenses or insurance they have immediately, they are probably stalling and hoping you forget you asked.

Who will be working on my driveway?

Make sure that the company you hire will actually have its own employees working on your driveway. This will save you time and money, and avoid companies that just pick up a paycheck by acting as middlemen and finding other contractors to do the work. It’s best to hire a company that has the skills to work on your asphalt itself.

Find a company with a good portfolio

Of course one of the best ways to perform due diligence is to figure out what work the company has done in the past. Luckily, Reliable Paving has what you are looking for. Not only do we have a history of doing quality work, but our 35 years of experience and large team mean no project is out of our capabilities. We also provide a host of different paving services, from crack sealing to sealcoating to ADA compliance. If you have been dragging your feet on getting some much-needed paving or asphalt repair, now’s the time to act. Ring in the new year by getting that job done instead of letting it hang over your head. Contact us today and see how Reliable Paving can help. Start off the new year the right way, and get your paving job done.

Best wishes, and happy 2021!

How To Deal With Tree Roots Growing Under Asphalt

Just about anyone who has a driveway, parking lot, or uses a sidewalk is familiar with how tree roots can destroy asphalt paving. Tree roots can grow tens of feet away from the trees, and of course, they grow underground. Now asphalt is famous for being pretty tough, it takes a lot of punishment – that’s why it’s used as a surface for multi-ton vehicles to drive on. However, they are particularly susceptible to damage from below. Frost heave, expanding and contracting earth, and of course, tree roots, are very dangerous to asphalt.

If there is a tree growing near your driveway or parking lot, it’s a pretty good bet that it’s roots will get under your paving eventually. It can start simply, with the pavement becoming uneven. After some time, the dirt that the pavement is built on can buckle, like a small fault line, and cause the pavement serious damage. The pavement itself can collapse or develop enormous cracks from tree routes.

Fortunately, we are here to let you know the several ways in which pavement-destroying roots can be handled. Handling this problem can help the survival of your tree, and of course of your paving.

Plan ahead

Don’t pave by trees

An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. The best way to avoid tree root damage to your pavement is to simply not put the pavement nearby trees. This surefire method will 100% guarantee that no tree roots will damage your property. 

However, that’s not always a great option. Maybe you want a shaded patio. Maybe your house already has trees on it and your driveway is just going to have to deal with roots. Either way, simply not building nearby trees isn’t always an option.

Don’t pave by young trees

If you have a lot of tall old growth trees on your property or business, it’s actually safer to build by them than it is by younger trees. The older trees have much slower growth, and they usually have an established root system. This means that there won’t be quick-growing roots breaking up your pavement over the course of a few years. Paving nearby young trees is much riskier. Small trees may seem harmless at first, but they grow quickly. A root system that starts small can get bigger and work its way under your asphalt in just a few years. Once the roots are underneath, they will continue to grow and do damage. 

Use a smart drainage system

Most asphalt paving is built on a very slight incline so that water doesn’t build up on top of it. Tree roots also have a tendency to seek out where water goes. If you are building your blacktop by trees, make it so that the incline goes towards them, that way the roots will go to where the most water is. If the incline is going down in the opposite direction of the trees, then the tree roots will cross under your pavement in order to get to the earth with the most moisture. Use a drainage system that will hopefully result in trees roots not crisscrossing beneath the paving.

Know how trees grow roots

Do your homework about trees. Know that roots can grow to the crown edge (diameter of the top branches/foliage), and plant trees an appropriate distance from your pavement or put your pavement the correct distance from your trees. 

Another option is to plant trees that don’t have surface-level roots, or trees that have smaller root systems that stay deep underground. 

Root removal

Digging and cutting

OK, so the root is becoming a problem and needs to go. What can be done about it? Manual root removal is the process of digging out the tree root and cutting it. It can be done with a shovel and a chainsaw or ax. Another option would be getting a gas-powered auger, digger, or small excavators. Most excavators you have seen are probably for construction sites, but small ones for trail building are perfect for root removal. 

Copper sulfate

The chemical way to remove damaging tree roots is copper sulfate. Copper sulfate is a toxic chemical however, so unlike digging and chopping the root yourself, you will want to have a professional apply this one. 

Although it is a dangerous and toxic chemical, copper sulfate is used because it does not travel far along the tree root. This prevents it from reaching the whole tree or other roots, and only kills the offending part of the root. 

Be careful with use of copper sulfate though, as overuse can contaminate the environment. Copper sulfate is a heavy metal that is toxic to microorganisms that treat sewage water.

Building a Barrier

After the root that’s been hurting your pavement has been handled, it’s time to set up some defenses. A root barrier can be established between the pavement and the tree. These barriers be physical, made from sheet metal, or some other substance that simply prevents the root from coming in. They can also be softer materials soaked in copper sulfate to create a chemical barrier. Of course, root barriers don’t always work, as persistent roots will definitely find a way over time.

Know what to do to keep the roots at bay

In general, in life, as well as paving, have a plan. If you have had to deal with root damage before, then be prepared for it again on your pavement. There is no substitute for regular maintenance and inspection. If you suspect tree roots are causing your pavement troubles, then that’s all the more reason to engage in preventative maintenance. Fortunately, Reliable Paving is here for you. We are paving contractors with over 35 years of experience, and we know how to install, rebuilt, repair, and maintain asphalt of all kinds. If you think tree roots are causing your parking lot some problems, contact us today, and we will see what we can do.

Dealing With Winter Asphalt Damage

Winter is a tough time of the year on asphalt pavement. Not only are the usual problems of water seepage still an issue, but the changing temperatures can cause all sorts of damage. The most wonderful time of the year can be great in plenty of other ways, but your asphalt will pay the price. Here is a list of ways that you can assess, prevent, and repair the specific types of damage your asphalt will be facing in the winter. In particular, the Midwest is known for it’s bad winter roads. When the weather can go from a pleasant 60-70 degrees down to sub-freezing in a week or two, asphalt is in for a world of hurt.

The freeze/thaw cycle

The changing temperatures of winter can have a lasting effect on asphalt. Paving will often have some liquids that seep into them any time of year, these can come from rain, leaking cars, and more, but in winter the changing temperatures make them much more volatile. 

The process is very simple. During a thaw cycle, liquid water can seek into the body of asphalt paving. It gets in small cracks in the binder and and for the most part isn’t too dangerous. However, when the weather cools, the water expands. This expanding water forces the asphalt apart, pushing against it, causing rutting, cracks, and potholes. The cycle continues, and the water becomes liquid again when the weather warms. This process can even happen in the same day. Once the water is liquid, it seeps further into the asphalt, on account of the cracks it made bigger when freezing. When the temperature drops again, the water expands, making deeper cracks bigger and destroying more of the pavement. This cycle can occur daily, weekly, and/or monthly over the winter months, adding up to huge damages inside the asphalt. 

Dealing with the freeze/thaw cycle

Set up a drainage system

One of the best ways to have a simple drainage system is to make sure that your asphalt is set at a slight slope. The slope lets gravity do the work for you. Water can simply follow the slope down and not accumulate on top of the asphalt, where it seeps into it causing damage. Other drainage systems, like drain tile piping, can help ensure that water doesn’t build up on top of your asphalt and damage it. Learn more about proper asphalt drainage from this article

Crack sealing / seal coating

You’ve probably heard of asphalt seal coating. Seal coating is the process of putting a layer of weather-resistant material on top of your asphalt. It can extend the life of the pavement by decades, and prevents costly repairs in the future. Sealing cracks is another great option, as it prevents small problems (the existing cracks) from getting much, much worse. In general, you should be doing crack sealing at least once every year or two, as an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Sealing cracks has the added bonus of preventing water seepage into the pavement subgrade. If water does get into the lower sections, a total replacement of the asphalt might be the only repair solution.

Frost heave

If asphalt already has seepage issues, or the ground beneath it has a high water content, it may be subject to frost heave. Frost heave occurs when the water in the lower layers of asphalt or in the ground below it freezes and expands. Just like in asphalt that has water freezing and expanding, Frost heave results in major damage and causes big changes in the level of the parking lot. Entire sections can rise inches or feet above others, resulting in a more dangerous lot and significant damage. 

Dealing with frost heave

Clear standing water

Do your best to keep your pavement clear of standing water. Make sure your drainage is adequate, and clear off snow and ice that builds up on the asphalt during the winter. 

Re-set the asphalt

In cases with intense damage, it may be necessary to heat the asphalt so it is workable again, and then lay it. This helps you start “fresh” with a  new layer of asphalt that does not have water in it or below it. 

Snow

Snow poses various threats to your asphalt. One is that previously seen bits of debris will become invisible when snow is on the ground. Another is that snow often necessitates plowing, which can be harmful to your asphalt as well. 

Dealing with snow

Use a quality snow-removal surface

If you need to have a parking lot or road plowed, make sure that the plow isn’t going to damage your pavement. Do so by checking whether the plow is coated in polyurethane or rubber, rather than only steel. Of course, make sure to use a licensed and reputable snow-removal service.

Use salt sparingly

Salt is a classic for snow removal. However, the salt can mix with melted water and create more solvency that will do damage to your lot. Additionally, the saltwater runoff can be harmful to the local environment. A good option is to use salt mixed with sand if necessary, or to avoid salt altogether if possible. 

Ensure your asphalt stands up to the winter

If your asphalt looks like it needs some work before winter weather hits, let Reliable Paving help you. We can inspect your lot for damage, fix existing damage, and take preventative measures. Whether you just want your lot checked to make sure it can handle the winter, or you need last year’s winter damage fixed, we can certainly help. Perhaps your lot needs to be repaved altogether. Either way, Reliable’s team of over 200 people and 35 years of experience means that we know how to handle paving in the winter. Let a paving contractor do the work for you, contact Reliable Paving today.

The Ultimate Guide to Parking Lot Inspection

Your business probably has a parking lot. It’s an important and useful part of every business. It’s the first thing most clients see before they even go in the building, so it’s important that it makes a good impression. Not only does it create a first impression, it needs to be a reliable and safe place for vehicles to stay. It’s thus of utmost importance to keep your parking lot in good working order. Regular maintenance, upkeep, and inspections are a must. In order to help you keep your parking lot in the best shape it can be, we’ve compiled a helpful guide for checking your lot and keeping it up to spec.

Why is parking lot inspection important?

It may seem like the kind of thing that you can do only when you have problems – when a problem in the lot becomes apparent, inspect the rest of it and find whatever other issues need fixing, right? Not exactly. There are actually quite a few reasons to keep your lot regularly inspected.

Avoid costly repairs

If you find a problem early, you can nip it in the bud. Small repairs are cheaper, faster, and easier than massive restoration projects.

Maintain the value of your lot

Not only will the parking lot continue to make a good impression on clients, but your lot and adjacent business will continue to be a positive investment. 

Liabilities

A regularly-inspected lot can stay safer. This means you won’t have to worry as much about potential injuries and lawsuits. A safer lot is better for business.

Keep your business going

A well-maintained lot is able to accommodate more cars. This means more business for you. A lot that isn’t properly maintained will need huge repairs down the road…meaning you will have to close of part of your lot. Inspection followed by small repairs keeps your lot working for you.

Ensure legality

Permits and licenses change periodically. The last thing you want is to get your business and/or parking lot shut down because you have an out of date parking lot. Make sure that you are on top of your certificates/licenses/permits so that you can stay in business. Frequent inspection helps to ensure total legality in your business’s parking lot.

Parking Lot Checklist

An official checklist, like this one can be complicated and confusing to follow. Fortunately, we’ve simplified it and provided a nice checklist that gives you guidelines for what to do.

Entrance

  • Are points of ingress/sidewalks unobstructed? Is there debris on them that needs removal?
  • Can gates/doors open even in the case of power failure? Do they open when there is an alarm?
  • Are all gated points of entry clearly visible? Points of entry include doors, gates, lever arms (semaphore), and more.
  • Do automatic gates work correctly?
  • Do automatic gates function smoothly and without mechanical disruption?
  • Are plants near walkways trimmed and under control?

Signage

  • Is all signage in good repair and clearly visible?
  • Are entry and exit signs clear? 
  • Can the entrance be seen easily from passing vehicles?

Markings

  • Are stop signs at appropriate areas?
  • Are there mirrors at blind spots?
  • Are pavement lines, arrows, and signs clearly visible?
  • Are signs well-lit and easily visible?
  • Are parking spaces spaced appropriately? Are parking space lines clearly visible?
  • Are pedestrian walkways easy to see? 
  • Are signs pointing to pedestrian walkways visible and accurate?
  • Are handicapped parking spots clearly visible?
  • Are handicapped spots the correct size? (Sizes can vary from place to place).
  • Are there areas designated for various types of vehicles?
    • Bicycles
    • Motorcycles
    • Electric Cars
  • Is signage for electric car charging visible and accurate?
  • Is all interior marking/signage accurate? As construction/renovation happens, it may need to be changed.

Security

  • Are appropriate safety signs in place? (fire exits, emergency exits, etc.)
  • Are fences/walls free from holes/damage?
  • Is there a routine security patrol?
  • Is night-time lighting adequate?
  • Are all lights functioning and in good condition?
  • Are there dark areas of the lot?
  • Is there CC TV camera recording?
  • Are there emergency stations, do they work properly?
  • Is the lot clear of abandoned vehicles?
  • Is there a fire hose/hydrant near by? Can the fire mitigation equipment be safely accessed?
  • Is the lot kept clear of debris, trash, and dangerous materials?

Entry and exit

  • Pertaining to stairs, elevators, and walkways:
      • Are they clearly lit?
      • Are they unobstructed?
      • Are they clear of water, ice, snow, oil, and slippery material?
      • Are handrails in working order?
  • Are elevators in good working order and up to date on certification?

Surfaces/Asphalt conditions

  • Is the asphalt paving smooth and easily to traverse?
  • Are pavement damages controlled/fixed? (potholes, cracks, etc.)
  • Are ramp slopes at the correct ratio?
  • Is there slip-resistant surfacing on ramps and other appropriate areas?

Water drainage

  • Is there storm water control?
  • Are drains/grates clear of debris?
  • Is the lot clear of standing water?
  • Is snow plowing/salting/sanding regular and adequate?
  • Is snow plowed to designated areas?
  • Are gutters unobstructed?

Pay stations

  • Are pay stations in good working order? Do they accept multiple forms of payment?
  • Are pay stations well-lit with proper signage?

Workers/staff

  • Are workers trained properly?
  • Is there a first-aid kit available?
  • Are staff rooms/restrooms clean and unobstructed?
  • How are records kept? Records include:
    • Maintenance
    • Vehicles/accidents
    • Equipment
    • Work logs
  • Are staff properly certified in safety/job function?
  • Is fire-safety equipment maintained and available?
  • Do staff adhere to schedules?
    • Cleaning
    • Maintenance
    • Inspections
    • Safety

Need help maintaining your lot?

We’ve given you a pretty big list of stuff to keep track of, and that’s just for your parking lot, not even your business! Fortunately, Reliable Paving is a full-service paving contractor. We can perform the whole range of necessary tasks to keep your lot up to date. We do striping, repairs, paving, and much more. Send us a message today and we can ensure your lot is its absolute best.

Planning a School Parking Lot

Parking lots in general use similar design philosophies. There has to be enough space for all the clientele who will be parked at a location, there should also be safe and convenient means to get to the building after parking. The parking lot should be on a flat surface…the list goes on. But what about parking at a school? How should parking be different for a school than other places, like businesses or government offices? What special considerations are unique to places of education? What makes a school different from most other places, and how do the roads, transportation, and parking around it reflect those differences?

Start with general parking lot design

Size

Parking lot size is one of the most important factors in building a new lot. This is relatively easy to predict with a school. The amount of students is a known quantity, as are the teachers and administrative/support staff. Although schools might have athletic or other events that bring in guests, those typically happen during hours when class isn’t in session, so the lot will be empty of its normal tenants. 

Already schools show some major differences. High schools and universities have a class base that can drive. Larger lots are required because students will drive and leave their cars during class. Elementary and middle schools can have much smaller parking lots because the students are typically dropped off by buses or their parents. Even high schools probably don’t need lots that operate at the full capacity of their students — many students at high schools can’t drive yet, and many still take school buses. 

Pavement thickness

Once you get an idea of the amount and concentration of cars on the lot, you will know what kind of weight the pavement will be holding each day. Choosing pavement of the right thickness/resilience is key in building a long-lived parking lot. An elementary school can get away with a less resilient lot as well, as only a few cars (belonging to teachers and school staff) will be parked there for long periods.

Use of space in the lot

Angles of the parking spaces

As high schools and often colleges have newer drivers, it’s best to choose angles that are simple and easy for cars to get into. Angles at 45-60 degrees are great for parking lots with high turnover rates — but schools aren’t that. Most people parking at schools will stay for at least several hours of class. They might leave for lunch, and then again after school. 

Signage

A school absolutely needs to have the best and clearest signage and pavement markings. Safety is of utmost importance at a school, so there should be highly visible signs everywhere. Guest, student, and staff parking also needs to be clearly demarcated.

Accessibility

Many schools have differently abled students. They will therefore need to accommodate those students on the way from their cars/buses to their classes. Wheelchair ramps at parking spaces, handicapped marking spaces, and possibly precautions for deaf or blind students are a requirement for a public place of learning.

For more details on general parking lot design, take a look at this article

Safety

One of the main concerns of a school is safety. In any place with hundreds of young people, safety is of utmost importance. High schools have sports and various outside activities, so the lot should be placed away from where these take place. Crosswalks in and outside the parking lot also need to be clearly marked, for any type of school. Often for pick-up and drop-off zones, only one-way traffic is permitted for safer, more efficient, and more easily-controlled vehicle circulation.

Elementary schools tend to have lots of young children running around before and after school — hence the 25 mph school zone speed limit nearby. Because of the tendency of young children to be unpredictable, parking lots are often placed around the back or sides of the school — away from the main entrance. If there is traffic access to the main entrance, it is usually a pick-up/drop-off loop for parents that is carefully controlled by school staff. Long story short, elementary and middle schools should have their lots placed away from the main entrance of the building. 

Designers should plan and construct parking lots according to the school’s transportation requirements. They should know how the school and its entrances will be used, including access points and bus requirements. 

Decreasing risks to the students can come in a variety of forms. For high schools, with new and accident-prone drivers, hardening existing structures is a good idea to prevent property damage from car crashes. Additional security, such as CCTV, ID requirements to park during school hours, and parking perimeter buffer zones can be implemented. 

Planning for maintenance

Fortunately, this is slightly less difficult with a school. Although accidents can happen that cause sudden and severe damage, most maintenance on a lot happens because of the slow and steady degradation from use. Thanks to the nature of the school year, there are long periods during the summer when the school is not operating, or operating at a fraction of its usual capacity. During summer vacation is the perfect time to perform lot repair and maintenance operations. This kind of activity might hurt businesses that rely on clients year-round, but it won’t affect students on summer break.

What to do if you need a parking lot built?

Does this all seem a little overwhelming when it comes to something as seemingly simple as asphalt paving? If your school, university, or business needs its parking needs met, Reliable Paving is here to help. Our highly professional and experienced team is happy to take a look at your needs for a parking lot, and offer a free quote. If you are looking for paving contractors with an eye for detail, safety, and who can provide/give advice regarding maintenance, then you have come to the right place. Get in contact with us today and we can start on parking lot that meets and exceeds your expectations.

Road Safety During the Fall

Gone are the long hot days of summer, now the blustery cool autumn is upon us. Kids are back in school, it’s no longer painful to be outside in the sun, and winter is next on the horizon. Fall is a great time to enjoy the outdoors, which means going for drives. However, fall poses a new set of threats and dangers for drivers. If you want to get out and enjoy the autumn weather while keeping safety in mind on the road, read on for some tips.

Kids are back in school

This sounds like a non-issue, but it’s a big deal for drivers. Not only will school zones be a lot busier with foot traffic, so will plenty of other areas. Businesses that have school kids as their clientele, areas popular with kids, like parks and rec spots, and more will be fuller with faster, less predictable foot traffic. Young people, especially young children, are unpredictable. They are known for running out in front of traffic with no warning. Also, they are short, so it’s tough, if not impossible, to see them come out from between cars. 

To stay safe on the road when there are kids about, there are a few easy steps we can follow. 

  • Don’t pass a school bus with its stop signs out. This shouldn’t be an issue, but buses often have cameras now to catch people doing exactly that.
  • Obey the speed limit in school zones.
  • Drive a bit slower and be more vigilant in any area frequented by groups of children.

 

Leaves on the road

Leaves, especially wet ones, are a major hazard on the road. Leaves can obscure the lane markers and sides of the road, making driving a bit more difficult. The biggest threat that leaves pose though is that they are extremely slippery. Wet leaves are the most dangerous, as they provide little to no traction on the road for any car or motorbike. 

  • Watch out when you are driving in any heavily forested area in the fall. It’s more likely that there will be leaves on the ground. 
  • Be careful during the rain, as that soaks existing fallen leaves, making them more dangerous to drive on.
  • Don’t take sharp turns over wet leaves. 
  • Do not brake on wet leaves.

 

Worse weather conditions in general

Not only are there leaves on the roads to deal with, but fall driving is more slippery than summer in general. More rain increases your risk of hydroplaning and lowers your vision. Fall temperatures change a lot — the noon weather could be 30 or 40 degrees higher than nighttime weather. This means that condensation is more likely to form. Wetness on the ground/road decreases traction and driving ability. Fog is common in many places in the fall as well, seriously hurting visual conditions.

In some parts of the country, there might even be some frost or ice on the roads already. If you live in an area that sees snow/ice in winter, it’s time to start getting ready in the fall.                                                                                                                                               

  • Maintain a safe following distance on highways.
  • Don’t use your high beams in heavy rain/fog. The water particles will block the beams from illuminating very much in front of you. The reflections from the light will also make it harder for other drivers to see.
  • Be prepared for roads to be more wet/slippery than usual.

 

Sunlight and lack thereof

As the seasons change, so too does the amount of sunlight we get in the northern hemisphere. As the date approaches December 21st, the winter equinox, the days get shorter and shorter. Basically, you will have fewer hours of sunlight on the road. This means that if driving in the dark is problematic, or if you would rather avoid it, you will need to plan your trip to make the most out of the daylight hours. Remember, when it comes to accidents, vehicle occupant deaths are three times higher at night.

Another problem with the changing sunlight is there is more sun glare during the fall. During and around the autumnal equinox (September 22nd in 2020), the sun rises and sets due east and west. This means that driving around this time can be a real pain. Many city streets are oriented east/west, so during dawn and dusk fall driving, be sure to bring some sunglasses or something for the sun.

Tires

Your tires will change in pressure with the temperature. Tires lose 1-2 pounds of pressure for every 10 degree drop in the temperature. If you live in a place with a big daily temperature change, make sure to get your tires ready for the varying weather of the fall. 

Fall is a good time to make sure your tires are in good condition as well. As the weather will be getting worse, conditions more slippery, and winter is on the way, you need your tires to have your back. Make sure your tires aren’t bald, damaged, or otherwise unsafe for your vehicle.

  • Check your tire pressure regularly. Your car manual will tell you what the ideal pressure is.
  • Take a look at your tires for damage/signs of wear and tear. Get them serviced if necessary.

 

Animals are out

Autumn weather sees a lot of animals out and about. It’s hunting season for a reason in the fall. The animals born during spring and summer are still thriving, and hibernating animals are still active. 

  • Pay attention to deer crossing signs.
  • Be careful when driving at dawn/dusk. Those times of day are when most animals are out and active. Be especially careful at this time because it’s harder to see with sun glare during these times of the day.

 

Stay safe this fall

We may not be able to make you or anyone else a better driver, but we can ensure your roads are top-notch. Reliable Paving is a paving contractor company with the know-how, experience, and resources to make sure your asphalt paving is up to snuff. With 35 years of experience, we are experts who can restripe, fix potholes and cracks, and completely replace pavement if necessary. Send us a message today, and we get your road Autumn ready.

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.