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Just Another Bump in the Road

The Pros and Cons of Speed Bumps

People drive too fast. Way too fast. In fact, they drive so fast, society had to come up with several different ways to slow them down and keep everyone safe. Signs announce an area’s speed limits. Cops lie in wait with radar guns. Old men shake their fists at the sky and yell at people to slow down. 

But in this article, we take a look at a different approach: speed bumps. 

Speed bumps are among the most popular and most effective traffic-calming techniques. And if you’re thinking about installing some around your property, you’ll want to explore all of the pros and cons. Whether you’re running an HOA, a nonprofit, or a retail location, here’s everything you’ve ever wanted to know about speed bumps. 

The Pros 

They Actually Get Traffic to Slow Down

When you post a speed limit sign, what you’re really doing is asking drivers to slow down. But they don’t always do it (admit it…you don’t always do it). Speed bumps, on the other hand, force drivers to slow down. In fact, the Iowa Department of Transportation found that speed bumps and humps slow down traffic by as much as 40%.    

They Increase Safety

When you slow down traffic, you also increase safety. And you’ll see that manifest in two different ways:

  1. You reduce the total number of accidents
  2. You reduce the severity of those accidents

For example, the National Library of Medicine found that, in cases where a child got hit by a car, the presence of a speed bump or hump reduced the odds of injury or death by up to 60%. Installing speed bumps can mean safer roads and parking lots for people, cars, and that family of raccoons that’s taken up residence by the club house. 

They’re Easy to Customize

The nice thing about speed bumps is that you can install them in a way that matches the way the property is used.  Smaller bumps are fine for slower speed private roads while larger speed tables are an option for city streets and larger roads.  If you want them painted bright yellow so they stand out, that’s easy, too. Throw some yellow or white stripes on them, or stencil large white arrows announcing their presence. You can install speed bumps that match pretty much any aesthetic. 

The Cons

They Disrupt the Normal Flow of Traffic

Most people would say the entire point of speed bumps is to disrupt the normal flow of traffic. But if you’re running a high-volume location that involves getting cars in and out quickly, speed bumps can slow things down so much that they cause congestion. That’s a trade-off you might be willing to make, but if the congestion gets extreme, you might see an increase in unwanted vehicle noise and fumes (and maybe some angry tenants).     

They Could Damage Vehicles

When a car drives over a speed bump, the vast majority of the time, that car is totally fine. But if the driver isn’t paying attention, they might take the speed bump a little too fast and end up damaging their car’s tires or suspension. Similarly, if the speed bump is designed or installed incorrectly, even a careful driver might see some damage—and you certainly don’t want to be liable for that.       

Some People Just Don’t Like Them

This may seem like an insignificant factor. But when the people interacting with your property don’t like speed bumps, that can play out in a couple different ways: They could end up hurting the curb appeal of your location, which might lower the price a buyer is willing to pay for it in the future. You also might see people going to extreme lengths to avoid those speed bumps. For example, if you run a retail location, they may choose to shop somewhere else, or swerve into the wrong lane to avoid the obstacle.      

Asphalt Vs. Removable Speed Bumps 

Let’s say you’ve had a moment to consider the pros and cons and you’ve decided to install speed bumps on your property. Now you have to decide whether you want to go with asphalt or recycled rubber bumps. Asphalt will be more expensive, but they also look better and are much more durable. Rubber speed bumps, on the other hand, look a little more “budget,” but are easier to install and rearrange. You can get concrete speed bumps, too, if you’re looking for a different aesthetic. But those first two choices are the most common. 

Other Traffic-Calming Techniques

If speed bumps aren’t right for you, there are a few other options out there. For example, speed humps have a more gradual incline, so they’re easier on cars and drivers (though they may not slow traffic down quite as effectively). Speed ditches are small dips in the pavement. And speed “cushions” have tiny gaps in them that allow emergency vehicles to pass freely.        

When it comes to speed bumps, there are no right or wrong answers. At the end of the day, it’s all about what’s right for you. But if you need help deciding what’s going to be best and most cost-effective for your property…well, you know where to find us.

How To Make Your Lot A Lot Safer

We’ve all been there…. You’re in a parking lot and a car slams into a light post. Or a truck gets burglarized. Or a scooter takes a blind corner, drives into a magical portal, and vanishes into The Spirit Realm. Okay, maybe that last situation is a bit far fetched, but you’ve seen enough to know that parking lots can be a pretty dangerous place. Here’s the good news, though: with a little bit of planning and maintenance, they don’t have to be.                                        

Take Care of Your Pavement

Does your parking lot have potholes? These dangerous divots can ruin a car’s wheels, suspension, and steering. And each of those structural problems could ultimately lead to a car accident—on or off your property. Potholes also simply look bad, which hurts your curb appeal. Bottom line, correcting these hazards can go a long way to assisting in your efforts with loss prevention.   So, call Black Diamond, and we’ll handle all of your preventative maintenance, crack sealing, and more. 

Find Ways to Manage People’s Speed

When a car is driving too fast, it increases the likelihood of collisions. It also increases the severity of those collisions. So, think about installing speed bumps in strategic places around your lot to slow things down. Depending on the type and size of parking lot on your property, you also might consider putting up speed limit signs. And have you thought about making the aisles shorter? According to SWOF Institute for Road Safety Research, long straightaways seem to encourage speeding (as do checkered flags, starter pistols, and prize money for setting the land-speed record).  

Create a Safe Layout

 Parking lot design is an absolutely crucial determiner of safety. Make sure both the stalls and aisles are wide enough for vehicles to navigate safely. You’ll also want to install a pedestrian walkway and pedestrian refuges so people on foot can easily avoid traffic. And make sure you don’t create the sort of blind spots that seem to welcome criminals.  

Increase Visibility

To drive safely, people have to be able to see where they’re going. Does your parking lot have enough lighting? Does it have any dangerous corners? Does it have mirrors to help with those corners? Visibility is everything. Make sure you take all of these safety considerations into account when planning your parking lot.                     

Have a Security Presence

Have you thought about hiring a security guard or putting in surveillance cameras? Both can be great deterrents to theft and other nefarious parking lot activities. And if those aren’t in the budget, think about adding some signage that tells people they’re being watched. Believe it or not, even just a picture of eyeballs can help decrease crime: this was enough to reduce theft at one shopping center by up to 40%. So, maybe that approach can work for you, too.                     

Create Labels and Signage

Think about the expectations you have for your parking lot, and make sure they’re clearly communicated to drivers. If traffic should flow in one direction, you’ll need to paint some arrows. If you have a two-way street between the parking lot and a commercial building, you’ll want to label those lanes of traffic. And if your parking lot has intersections, you’ll want to post stop signs. You’re basically just trying to get everyone on the same page and identify hazards before they become accidents.

Clearly Define the Parking Spots

Take a look at your parking lot through the perspective of a new visitor to your property. Are the spots clearly labeled? Or has the paint started to fade? Are they wide enough to comfortably fit the largest SUVs? Or are they a little too tight? Are there parking blocks at the end of each space? Or do people have to guess where their space ends? Parking blocks are great because they reduce human error by physically stopping people’s wheels when it’s time. Also, if you really like concrete rectangles, parking blocks can be a beautiful decorative piece.          

Poorly planned parking lots can be a dangerous free-for-all. But there are plenty of things you can do to turn the tide. If you need a little help giving your parking lot a makeover, reach out to Black Diamond today. But until then, we’ll probably keep parking in that really safe lot down the street.

Asphalt vs. Concrete Parking Lots

Your parking lot is a hideous mess of cracks, divots, and potholes, and you’ve already made the weighty decision to have it replaced. But now you have to make a more complex decision; do you want that parking lot made out of asphalt or concrete? This article walks you through some of the biggest factors to consider. (This article also gives you an easy way to look busy whenever your boss walks by.)   

Factor 1: Up-Front Cost

You might expect to pay $2.50 – $4.50 per square foot for an asphalt parking lot, but more like $4 – $7 per square foot for a concrete parking lot. So initially, concrete parking lots are more expensive. And keep in mind, that difference in cost grows as your parking lot gets bigger. A concrete lot that holds 18 cars will cost a little more. But if it holds 1,000 cars, it’ll cost a lot more. 

Factor 2: Maintenance Cost

You’ll notice that we mentioned “up-front cost” in the last section. That’s because you’ll also have to factor in maintenance costs. Concrete parking lots, for example, are low maintenance. But asphalt parking lots are considered high maintenance. They’ll need sealcoating and crack sealing, and they’ll always need at least an hour to get ready before going out for dinner. Now, that’s high maintenance.

Factor 3: Lifespan

Concrete parking lots have been known to last for 40 or even 50 years. But asphalt parking lots might only last for 25 or 35 years. With such different lifespans, you’ll need to create some sort of apples-to-apples comparison. An easy way to do this is by estimating the total cost of each parking lot per year. Don’t forget to include the price of your anniversary gift. That first year with your parking lot is a really big deal.          

Factor 4: Type of Traffic

If you’re expecting a ton of really heavy commercial vehicles, an asphalt parking lot might degrade faster because it has more “give.” So oftentimes, a high-impact situation calls for a concrete parking lot, which offers more rigidity and support. A concrete parking lot can also support in other ways, like listening to your problems and being there for you when times get tough.

Factor 5: Weather

An asphalt parking lot is usually going to expand, contract, and soften in hotter climates. And all of that movement can lead to some damage and cracking. That means asphalt parking lots are better suited to moderate and cold-weather climates. Concrete parking lots, on the other hand, perform really well under extreme heat. So, talk to your pavement specialist (that’s us)—or your local weatherman—to see which surface is right for you.

Factor 6: Aesthetics

Concrete is a lighter surface, reflects light better, and some people think it has a more inviting look. But that lighter surface can be a double-edged sword, especially since it shows oil spotting more easily. So, while some people prefer the look of a concrete parking lot initially, it might not age as well over time. 

Factor 7: Project Timeline

Concrete parking lots usually take more time to install, set, and cure. That delay, of course, is really short in the overall scheme of things, especially since you’ll be living with this parking lot for several decades. But it’s definitely something you’ll want to account for in your project milestones—especially if your tenants rely on as little interruption to their daily lives as possible.

Factor 8: The Planet

A lot of people don’t realize this, but asphalt is the most recycled material in the entire world. In fact, the Federal Highway Administration states that as much as 80% of old asphalt is recycled into new projects. It’s also good for the environment in a second way; plastic bottles and bags can be melted down and used as a binding ingredient in asphalt. So, when you’re thinking about your next parking lot, you might also take a moment to think about the planet. Learn more about how Black Diamond incorporates plastic road into our projects here

Factor 9: Your Vision for the Property

When it comes to parking lots, common sense always wins the day. So, consider your long-term vision for the property. If you plan to sell it in ten years, there’s no telling what the next owner wants to do with the land. There’s no point in choosing concrete for its longevity when you don’t even know if the next owner is going to keep it. You’ll be living with your parking lot choice for decades. That means it’s worth looking at this decision from every single angle. If it all seems like too many variables to take into account, we get it. And we’ve got you. Reach out to Black Diamond today for a little professional guidance.

Crack Sealing 101

Everyone knows it’s bad when your pavement cracks. But very few people understand why. Here are three main reasons:

  1. Cracking leads to more cracking; if it goes untreated, the problem escalates.
  2. Water makes its way through those cracks, which can lead to potholes. These are objectively worse than cracks.
  3. Cracks are just so dang ugly.

So, here’s how to seal the cracking in your pavement, protect your surface, and preserve your curb appeal.

You Can Only Seal “The Right Type of Crack”

This is a bit of an oversimplification. But speaking broadly, we seal the cracks that look like a straight or crooked line. If you’re interested in the technical terms, those are usually called transverse cracks and longitudinal cracks. But cracking that looks more like a spider web—called “alligator cracking”—isn’t right for sealing. Neither is cracking that looks like an elaborate sequence of alien crop circles.

Try to Catch the Cracking Early

Cracking is like any other problem; it gets worse over time. For example, when the temperature fluctuates, your pavement expands and contracts. That’s normal. But when you have cracking in your pavement, that expansion and contraction will make the cracking even worse. Once the crack is wider than 1.5 inches, it’s not right for sealing and has to go through a different, more complicated (more expensive) process. So, you always want to jump on these things early. (Or call Black Diamond and we’ll jump on it for you.)

Cleaning the Crack

The first step we do is to make sure the crack is completely free of debris. That cleanliness creates an ideal surface for the sealant to stick to.

The Hot Air Lance

As we’ve mentioned above, the sealant has trouble bonding to wet surfaces. But it’s not just water we need to worry about. Asphalt has a natural presence of oils, and we have to blast the crack with a hot-air lance that burns those oils away. These things can get up to 2,000 or 3,000 degrees, so it’s important this is done by a true professional. There’s a delicate balance between burning away the oils and using so much heat you damage the remaining pavement.

Selecting the Right Sealant

We’re almost ready to seal the crack, but there are different types of sealants we could use. Some are more flexible. Others are more rigid. When we take a look at your pavement, we assess many factors, such as the climate in your location, the amount of traffic your pavement gets, and the overall scope of the project. Like most things, crack sealing isn’t a one-size-fits-all job.

Sealing the Crack

Now it’s time to seal the crack. And for that, we need to bring out our trusty “pour pot.” As the name suggests, this helps us pour the sealant over the crack. Then we even it out with an asphalt squeegee. And after the sealant cures, traffic can get back on the surface. Keep in mind that you will still see the cracks but they will be sealed.

For all you #satisfying fans, we have a video where you can see our crack sealing process in action. Or give us a call to watch us fix up your pavement in real life—which is more than #satisfying. It’s just good sense.

We’re Diamond Certified. But What Does That Mean?

(Hint: It’s Good)

2022 marks the 15th consecutive year Black Diamond Paving has been Diamond Certified. But while that Diamond Certification means everything inside of our industry, people are still learning about this honor outside of it. Having earned “Highest in Quality and Helpful Expertise” by Diamond Certified 15 times in a row is a huge deal…and we’ll tell you why.

What is “Diamond Certified?”

Let’s say your retail location is putting in a new parking lot. You know it’s a huge investment and want to make sure you get this project right. So, you start clicking around online, vetting a bunch of companies, and trying to find the perfect fit for your needs and budget. But that’s where it starts to get tricky. Every company sings their own praises. Wouldn’t it be nice to hear from an independent third party that has no stakes in the game? That’s where Diamond Certified comes in.

Diamond Certified vets these companies for you. They start by reaching out to former clients, walking them through a detailed survey, and scoring the results. Then they give their seal of approval to only the highest of all performers. 

To put it simply, the Diamond Certified rating goes to the best of the best. And we’re proud to say we’ve been a part of that elite group for 15 consecutive years. Since 2008, there has not been a single year when we’ve NOT been at the top!

The Diamond Certified Methodology

Reviews and testimonials can be great—and we’re extremely proud of ours. But you have to wonder if other companies are buying reviews or otherwise gaming the system. Diamond Certified has solved that problem, which is why their seal of approval is so prestigious. They survey a large, random sample of actual, real-life customers and keep the responses completely anonymous. So if you’re looking for an honest and accurate view of a company before you sign a contract with them, Diamond Certified gives you an unbiased sense of the big-picture. 

Diamond Certified by the Numbers

Diamond Certified looks at a ton of customer-satisfaction metrics. Then they honor the companies that score 90 or above out of a possible 100. In other words, they only vouch for the very best. 

How’d our numbers turn out? We’re glad you asked. 

  • 98% of our customers said they’d work with us again. 
  • 99% said we gave helpful expertise.
  • Over half rated us a perfect 10 out of 10. 
  • 100% of our moms said that we remembered to send a birthday card. 

Black Diamond’s Winning Recipe

Our customers are consistently satisfied because we put every single project through a consistent process. And it all starts with listening. We know every project is different, and before we get started we make sure to gain a full understanding of yours. After that, we assess your current situation and recommend a plan that maximizes your ROI. Finally, we come in and flat-out execute. 

It’s a process we call The Diamond Standard. It’s a process that has led to our decade-and-a-half-long streak as a Diamond Certified company. And it’s the same award-winning process we’ll use for you. 

Contact us today for the best service, quality, and helpful expertise in the paving and concrete industry!

Common Sidewalk Issues to Keep an Eye On

The average lifespan of a sidewalk is between 20 and 30 years. Along the way, that sidewalk will naturally experience a little wear and tear. This article highlights a few of the most common sidewalk problems and why it’s important to fix them. So, whether you’re running a nonprofit, a retail location, or Jeff Bezos’ HOA in outer space, keep an eye out for each of the following:  

Cracking     

It’s inevitable that, after several years (even in the most well-made sidewalks) you’ll start to see some cracks. Cracking—as with all sidewalk issues—can have a number of causes, but oftentimes it’s caused by changes in temperature. 

Keep an eye out for “edge cracking,” as this means the edges of your sidewalk aren’t supported as well as they should be. You might also see something called “alligator cracking,” in which cracks form patterns that vaguely resemble the scales of an alligator. There are also cracks that look like spider webs (caused by premature drying of the concrete), cracks caused by overloading the sidewalk (think big, heavy equipment or dumpsters resting for too long on your concrete), and cracks caused by the concrete settling or expanding. 

Don’t worry, no one expects you to keep all these different types of cracks straight. Just know that if you see any type of cracking, it’s time to call in the pros.

Lifting

Another common sidewalk issue is when a section of your walkway begins to tilt or lift. That leads to a sidewalk that’s uneven, disjointed, and possibly even dangerous. The culprit is often tree roots, which exert an impressive amount of force as they continue to grow underneath your sidewalk. This sort of lifting can also be caused by the expansion of the ground below.  

Sinking

This is similar to the “lifting” issue…but in reverse. A sidewalk begins to sink when its support system—the ground—gets washed away.                

Potholes

Everyone’s seen potholes in the road. And unfortunately, sidewalks are just as susceptible. Potholes usually have the same root cause as the sinking you just read about; water washes away the soil beneath the sidewalk. And with no support down below, the structural integrity of the sidewalk weakens, and part of the sidewalk caves in.   

Spalling

Spalling, commonly referred to as “flaking,” happens when the smooth upper layer of a sidewalk erodes. That exposes a gritty layer that can end up looking patchy or gravely. Flaking, unfortunately, typically leads to even more flaking. And while it has a number of causes, it’s usually due to poorly mixed raw materials, settling of the sidewalk when it’s first being installed, or the expansion of any moisture that’s trapped inside the surface.       

Accessibility Problems

Accessibility is a fairly unique issue because it’s not caused by the deterioration of the sidewalk. Instead, it’s caused by the sidewalk’s design. If someone is in a wheelchair, they’ll need the sidewalk to be a certain width, they’ll need it to have a ramp, and they’ll need the ramp to be close to the handicapped parking spots. So, it’s important that sidewalks are designed with equal access in mind. (Did you know Black Diamond can help with your ADA needs? In fact, we’re experts in the field—click here or give us a call to learn more!)    

Bears

If an actual bear wanders out of the forest and onto your sidewalk, that’s one of the biggest sidewalk problems you’ll ever run into. Do not call Black Diamond. Just ditch your salmon and run.

The Importance of Fixing Sidewalk Issues

You want to stay on top of your sidewalk’s maintenance for several reasons: 

  1. A damaged sidewalk can lead to injury, which is bad in and of itself. But you also open yourself up to the legal liability that comes with those injuries. 
  2. Your sidewalk might create issues with your local government. For example, if your sidewalk is unsafe, or it isn’t handicap accessible, you might get slapped with a fine. 
  3. A crumbling sidewalk hurts your curb appeal, which can impact you financially. 
  4. A damaged sidewalk can lead to even more damage. Once the cracking begins, it quickly spreads. 

Black Diamond Can Help Maintain Your Sidewalk

Over time, your sidewalk will naturally need a little TLC. So, whether it’s preventive maintenance, crack sealing, or a completely new walkway, reach out to Black Diamond Paving & Concrete today to see how we can help whip your sidewalk back into shape! 

What on Earth Did We Just Unearth?

The Craziest Things Paving Crews Have Found During a Job

At Black Diamond, we’ve seen everything from potholes, to rutting, to alligator cracking. In fact, you could say that we’ve seen it all. But every once in a while, a pavement crew will find something so astonishing that no amount of experience could’ve prepared them for what came next. So, below we take a look at some of the craziest finds of all time.

An Unexploded Bomb

 In 2015, a road crew found an actual bomb near Darwin City in Australia. It had been dropped in World War II by the Japanese and miraculously didn’t detonate. The police were notified, came to collect the bomb, and safely disposed of it. Seeing as how Darwin was bombed over 60 times during the war, there’s a good chance that road crew came across more explosives during the project. Now that’s a discovery that’ll really blow you away.

An Entire House

During a bit of road work in Utah, The Department of Transportation found an entire pit-style house that had been buried underground since around 400 BC. Archaeologists think it probably belonged to ancestors of the Shivwits tribe, who’d been living in the area for 10,000 years. The scientists also found a few other ancient artifacts, like arrowheads, pottery, and a short CVS Receipt.    

A Graveyard

You might’ve dreaded finding this one on the list, but at one point, a road construction crew did in fact find an ancient Roman burial site. Experts think the site might be as old as 3500 BC and contained more than 450 burial and cremation sites. So, is this job site haunted? We’re honestly not sure. But we do know that 400 ghosts showed up the next day to help finish the job.   

Gold

During a road construction job in India, one of the workers found a literal pot of gold. The treasure most likely dates back to the 12th century and consisted of about 50 gold coins. And that brings us to our next point. If we’re redoing your parking lot and find buried treasure, we’d be happy to split it with you 50/50.    

Dinosaur Bones

While working on a roadway in Southern California, The Department of Transportation found a fossilized bison. And shockingly, the specimen might have stood about eight-feet tall at the shoulder. A lot of scholars think with that sort of height, the bison could’ve played in the NBA and gone on to be one of the best rebounders of all time.  

Time Capsule

When you were a kid, did you bury a time capsule full of stuff you thought was really important for future generations to find? Maybe some baseball cards, a favorite CD or cassette tape (depending on how old you are), drawings you were particularly proud of? Well, while working on a bridge in Scotland, a road crew found a time capsule from the 1890s containing a newspaper and a bottle of whisky. Says a lot about what the Scottish find crucial to their way of life…. Slàinte Mhath! 

A Mummy

In 2011, a Chinese construction crew was working on an old road in the Jiangsu Province. And it was here that they found a 700 year-old mummy dressed in silk robes and wearing slippers and jewelry. So, in case this actually needs to be said, here’s Black Diamond’s official policy on mummies: if we find one, we’re running away and screaming.    

A Wooly Mammoth Tusk

During routine road work in Oregon, a crew found a wooly mammoth tusk that’s estimated to be about 10,000 years old. And while they say age is just a number, if you ask us, anything that’s 10,000 years old is really, really cool. The Outsider—the publication that originally covered the find—explained that finding a wooly mammoth tusk is actually fairly common. But we beg to differ. We’ve been in the paving business for a pretty long time and still have only found about 70 or 80 of these things.

500 Silver Coins

While resurfacing a road in Poland, workers found a stash of a whopping 507 silver coins. Experts think the coins might’ve been buried in the 1600s and were probably intentionally hidden by someone trying to keep them safe. And since no one found them for a few hundred years, we have to admit that the original owner did a pretty good job of hiding them.    

Another Road

Perhaps one of the more surprising finds occurred on the campus of St. Mary’s College in Maryland. A crew was redoing one of the roads, and underneath the pavement, they found a second road. The road, which dated back to about 1740, was made of logs and is a style of thoroughfare sometimes referred to as a “corduroy road.” But here’s the real question: was it feathercord or wide wale?   

Black Diamond has been in the paving and concrete business for decades, serving everyone from non-profits, to retail properties, to apartment communities. And over the years, we’ve seen it all, gaining a ton of experience with paving, sealcoating, and more. So, if we find out that your pavement needs a little love, we’ll do a bang-up job at a fair price. 

But if we find a bunch of mummies, you’re going to have to call somebody else. 

The Asphalt Life Cycle

Why The Asphalt Life Cycle Matters

You know what they say: All good things must come to an end. Well, the same is true for your asphalt. Whether you’re maintaining an asphalt parking lot, driveway, or road, you’ll definitely see some natural degradation over time. But before we get into specifics of how your asphalt evolves, let’s explain why you should care.

Budgeting

Knowing the asphalt life cycle helps you do a bit of financial planning. Let’s say you manage an HOA, own a retail location, or just purchased a commercial property. Replacing the asphalt is a significant expense. And if you’re completely blindsided by that expense, you can find yourself in a pretty tricky spot. But if you know what’s on the horizon, you can always set aside the money little by little.

Maintenance

You can extend the life of your asphalt significantly by doing all of the recommended maintenance. The nature of that maintenance, of course, is informed by the asphalt life cycle. So, understanding the evolution of your pavement can help you give it the right kind of attention. Performing the regular maintenance is the best way to make your asphalt last as it was designed to do.

Deciding Between Asphalt and Concrete

Let’s say you need to replace your parking lot. You’re torn between asphalt and concrete, so you go out and get quotes for each one. Well, those two numbers don’t really mean anything until you’ve put them both into context. Knowing the life cycles of each option helps you estimate how long the surface will last and, further, how much it will cost per year. This is a huge part of making an apples-to-apples comparison.

Buying and Selling Real Estate

Here’s another hypothetical situation: You’re about to buy a property, and you really love two locations. But there’s one glaring difference. The first location has a brand-new parking lot, while the second location needs their’s replaced next year. That variable represents a huge financial swing. And the asphalt life cycle helped you spot it.

Bracing Yourself Emotionally

Your parking lot has served you well but eventually, it’s time to say goodbye. You don’t want that to be a sudden realization. Knowing the asphalt life cycle helps you predict the future and it allows you to anticipate and plan for it.

The Phases of the Asphalt Life Cycle

Bar chart showing the pavement life cycle; excellent at 0-5 years, Very Good at 5-7 years, Good at 7-15 years, Poor at 15-25 years, and Failed at 25-35 years

The nice thing about the evolution of your asphalt is that it breaks out cleanly into a few distinct phases. And each of those phases comes with its own needs. Below is a summary of the stages of the asphalt life cycle, as well as what you can expect during each.

Stage 1 – New Pavement (0 – 5 years)

If you’ve invested in a great paving job, the first five years should be pretty smooth sailing. You can expect little to no issues and little to no maintenance. You might want to start setting aside a little bit of money for maintenance, but otherwise there’s very little action required.

Stage 2 – Preventive Maintenance (5 – 7 years)

After your asphalt celebrates its fifth birthday, you’ll want to start performing routine maintenance. That maintenance includes sealcoating, which protects your surface from water, oils, and sun damage. It also includes some minor crack sealing, if necessary.

Stage 3 – Minor Repairs (7 – 15 years)

About seven years in, you’ll start to notice a little bit of wear and tear. This is perfectly normal and comes from exposure to the elements. You might need to do some patching. You’ll also have to revisit some of the sealcoating and crack sealing from the prior stage.

Stage 4 – Major Repairs (15 – 25 years)

After two decades, your asphalt will show signs of wear. That’s pretty impressive staying power, but by this point, it’s getting a little bit “long in the tooth.” That means you’re in for some major repairs, more extensive patching, and an asphalt overlay. Towards the beginning of this phase, you’ll want to start setting aside some money for its eventual replacement.

Stage 5 – Extensive Repairs or Complete Reconstruction (25 – 35 years)

You’ve had a great run, but your asphalt is finally headed into its twilight years. You can expect extensive maintenance, so now is when you’ll need to get strategic. Ask yourself when it’s time to stop repairing and start replacing. A professional can help you make that determination.

Your asphalt is an investment. And you obviously want to be a great steward of that investment. The best way to do that is by understanding the asphalt life cycle. It helps you budget, provide the required maintenance, and prolong the life of your pavement. Black Diamond is always happy to assess your situation. So, if you run an HOA, an apartment community, a nonprofit, or a retail or commercial property, reach out today for more info.

How Your Pavement Affects Your Property Value

When you’re thinking about the value of your property, the odds are, you’ve already factored in all of the basics. You’ve thought about the square footage. You’ve thought about the location. And you’ve looked into all of the area’s comparable sales. But have you given any thought to your pavement? An unfairly neglected, but crucial part of the equation, your pavement can have a huge impact on property value.

Your Pavement Can Generate Curb Appeal

A great way to increase the interest of buyers is to increase your curb appeal. In other words, when someone pulls up to your property, you want to make a great first impression. That increases the chances of an offer, and in many cases, the value of that offer. In fact, The Journal of Real Estate Finance and Economics found that curb appeal can raise a property’s value by 7%.

Nice Pavement Removes Friction During Negotiations

When someone’s buying a property, they’re just like anyone else. They’re trying to get a fair deal. And in working towards that, they usually do an inspection of the property, then subtract the cost of everything that needs attention from what they’re willing to pay. So, of course, if your pavement is well-maintained, that’s one less thing that they need to worry about financially, which means it’s more valuable to them.

Great Pavement Can Be a Difference Maker

If you think it’s a great time to sell, that means that a lot of other sellers will have the same idea. So, you really want to set your property apart and give buyers every reason to come knocking. Let’s say one property on the market is a fixer-upper, but yours is ready to rock. That gives your property a huge edge and raises its value relative to the competition.

Well-Maintained Pavement Sets the Right Tone

You might’ve heard the old saying, “The way you do anything is the way you do everything.” A lot of buyers will assume the same is true of your property. If they pull up to a parking lot that’s in a state of disrepair, they’re wondering if the rest of the property is in a similar state of neglect. And on the other hand, if your pavement is absolutely flawless, that’s a real tone-setter that works to your advantage.

Your Pavement Can Help Your Appraisal

The appraisal is always a great common language between the buyer and seller, because it’s done by an unbiased third party who’s operating on raw data. And your pavement can definitely stack that data in your favor. A commercial real estate appraisal, for example, accounts for depreciation. So, if your parking lot is in great shape, that’s worth more than a parking lot that’s near the end of its useful life.

A great paving job can be visually appealing, save the buyer undesirable expense, and drive up the appraisal. That all adds up to a higher valuation, higher offers, and more money in your pocket. Black Diamond Paving can maintain, repair, or replace your pavement and, ultimately, increase the value of your property. Give us a call today to see how we can help!

Black Diamond Named an Industry “Top Contractor”

…And What That Really Means!

For the fifth time since 2013, Black Diamond Paving has been named an industry “Top Contractor” by Pavement Maintenance & Reconstruction, the paving industry’s leading trade publication. And this has us feeling like we’re on top of the world!

What Is the Top Contractor Award?

Each year Pavement Maintenance & Reconstruction conducts an industry-wide survey open to almost 20,000 paving and pavement maintenance contractors to determine the contractors with the highest sales in four categories for the previous fiscal year.

Information provided by contractors is verified, and the results form the basis of the magazine’s Top Contractor lists. This year Black Diamond was named Top Contractor in two categories, Paving and Sealcoating—and it’s great to be recognized by our peers for our primary businesses. You can read more about this honor in the 2021 Pavement Maintenance Top Contractors Overview | For Construction Pros.

What the Top Contractor Award Means

From our standpoint, being named a Top Contractor means the industry in which we work recognizes the quality of the work we do and the strength of the business we operate. What an honor!

It also means we have one of the top-notch teams in the business, and that extends from the in-office folks making sure everything runs smoothly to the crews in the field getting the jobs done as bid and on schedule as promised. That’s no small feat, and we take great pride in our people and the work they do.

But perhaps most importantly, being recognized as a Top Contractor means that our customers—you—are working with one of the best, most reputable, most reliable, and most successful contractors in the industry. It means we understand your pavement and your needs, and we know how to work within your budget. It means we’re a solutions-oriented contractor driven to provide cost-effective options to help extend pavement life…so you can get the most value out of your pavement investment. That’s something we don’t take lightly, and it’s the main reason we’re proud of our Top Contractor recognition.

Does Your Pavement Need Help?

Industry-wide recognition is a great honor, to be sure. But we received that recognition because of the work we do and the way we work. And we’d be honored to help you manage your pavement—whether you need paving, sealcoating, repair, or concrete work.

So, if your pavement needs help, or even if you aren’t sure, reach out to one of the nation’s Top Contractors for a free on-site evaluation.

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