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Learning about the basics of concrete and asphalt paving can be interesting, but you’re probably only learning about it in reference to repaving your own driveway (or parking lot, for those who own businesses).
Most of us can tell when a road needs repaving. It’s usually obvious: cracks in the pavement, faded paint stripes, or maybe potholes. But what about the paving around your own home?
Unless you’re in the paving business or a professional contractor, chances are good that you may not be familiar with the start-to-finish paving project flow. Before you start on your repaving projects, here’s a few tips to keep in mind.
The first step in starting a paving replacement project is to verify that your pavement actually needs to be replaced. Some of the signs are clearly visible: potholes or cracks (also known as alligator cracks) are indicators that there may be a problem with the pavement’s foundational layer.
Other signs are more subtle. Standing water on the pavement after a rain or very faded pavement can also indicate a problem. The best way to know for sure is to call a professional company for a consultation.
Pavement generally comes as either concrete or asphalt. Both have similar uses – creating a smooth driving surface – but concrete is typically seen in residential homes and asphalt in commercial venues, although that distinction is by no means universal.
When it comes to asphalt, you may not know that there are actually several different kinds of asphalt. Porous asphalt, for example, is a type of paving method that allows the rainwater to drain into the ground below the asphalt instead of creating runoff. It’s actually the most environmentally friendly paving option and may even be eligible for tax benefits if you are a business. Other types of asphalt include hot, cold, and custom mixes.
One thing that you may not think of right away when beginning a replacement pavement project is what you should do with your old pavement once it comes out of the ground. Using a regular trash can isn’t really an option when tearing up old pavement, but renting a dumpster may be. You can also try giving it to other contractors for repurposing or, if you have a pickup truck, cart it off to the dump yourself. Either way, you’ll need to have a plan for removing the old stuff.
You’ll also probably want to prioritize keeping the worksite safe for the duration of the project. Regular construction signs and hazard tape can help, but if you’re not able to completely avoid the worksite while your construction crew is putting down pavement, then you may want to make a few plans. In parking lots, for example, you can encourage people to park as far from the construction site as possible. Set up a similar policy for pedestrians.
In either case, it’s important to keep the worksite as free of debris as possible. Consider renting a trash hopper or a dumpster with wheels. Self dumping trash hoppers make a worksite safer by keeping dangerous debris off the ground.
Next, you’ll want to think about the budget for your proposed paving project. If you’re looking at paving a residential driveway, estimates run between $3,000-$7,000 per project, roughly. If you’re in the commercial sector and looking at repaving a parking lot, costs can be anywhere from $10,000-$150,000, or about $2.50 to $7 per square foot of parking lot paved.
Of course, these are rough estimates and your costs will vary drastically depending on a variety of factors such as size, materials used, and pavement type laid. Setting your budget beforehand will help you determine the scope of your paving project, as well the type of materials used, and even the contractor you hire.
When it comes time to search for a professional contractor to get your paving project started, where do you go?
Although it may be tempting to open the laptop (or phone) and do a Google search for pavement companies, this isn’t always the best way to find a good company. Consider talking to a company or individuals that you already know and trust in the construction field and see if they have any good advice or contractors they would perhaps recommend. If this isn’t a feasible option for you, then doing a web search can help you identify a few companies to reach out to and ask for a consultation before committing to anything.
Your pavement project (or really any project) will go a lot smoother if you are already familiar with the basics of the actual paving process and how it’s done. Construction projects are known for their delayed completion dates, and knowing what’s going to happen and in what order can help you keep track of the process and potentially keep you from getting frustrated. Familiarizing yourself with the topic will also help you to communicate better with your contractors and help you understand each other better.
And last but not least – when your paving project is finally completed, let the asphalt settle!
You may be anxious after all this time to just drive, park, or do donuts on your newly paved surface, but as your pavement contractors will tell you, please don’t! Letting the asphalt settle properly will ensure that your pavement job is secured successfully.
And fortunately for you, this isn’t that long of a wait. Asphalt usually settles within 24 to 48 hours after the top layer is laid, so at most it’ll be a couple days. Of course, please always follow the specific guidelines and recommendations from your contractor.
Are you ready to start a pavement project yet? If you’re seeing potholes, bulges, and alligator cracks in your current asphalt, it may be time to think about it.
Read this next: How Asphalt Helps Business Owners