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Achieve Visibly Younger Looking Pavement with Asphalt Rejuvenation!

You might hear the word “rejuvenation” and immediately think of the pursuit of reversing aging skin…and you would be right on the money. The principles of asphalt rejuvenation really don’t differ all that much from the beauty industry. The intent in both fields is to acknowledge the signs of aging and apply science to reverse it.

While the balms of the beauty industry aim at smoothing out the wrinkles of the human face, the potions of the pavement trade are aimed at restoring the chemical properties in asphalt that naturally degrade over time due to oxidation. This treatment typically consists of incorporating oils and resins which can be used in two ways.

Way One:

The first is to mix these magic elixirs into the recycled bits and pieces that go into creating the “new to you” asphalt. These agents soften the mix and increase plasticity and durability, as well as reduce the high temperatures needed to make all those raw ingredients bind together. The addition of an asphalt rejuvenator makes a critical difference in how much recycled material can be incorporated while maintaining peak life and performance. The more recycled material the better, for the end user and the environment. The cost benefit to increasing the amount of recycled material is an additional win for asset owners.

Way Two:

The second way to use a rejuvenator is to apply it to existing asphalt to bring it back to a near-new condition. Unlike a traditional sealer, which sits on the surface of the pavement, the special oil and resin mix has the added advantage of being able to penetrate through the layers of asphalt. This allows it to rework the chemical bonds, bringing them back to a state of strong pliability and revitalizing the binder.

THE MANY LIVES OF ASPHALT
Nine lives? Pfft. Felines have nothing on the asphalt industry. That glossy black surface that surrounds us is king of the recycled world. In fact, over 81% of asphalt that’s past its prime is recycled into the new asphalt you walk and drive on every day. Asphalt rejuvenation helps make that happen—just one more way the pavement industry is evolving to go green!

The rejuvenator also fills in any cracks and gaps, keeping water from seeping in, and provides protection from UV rays. The Federal Highway Administration estimates that for each $1 spent on rejuvenation a resulting $6-10 is saved over the life of the surface. When was the last time your skin cream saved you so much dough?

Just like a spa treatment for your skin, the benefits of this application can be seen immediately while the science under the surface continues to work its magic. A rejuvenation treatment will restore that flawless, radiant, like-new appearance while protecting your pavement from further effects of aging. It’s a win/win proposition.

Are you interested in learning more about asphalt rejuvenation? Give us a call to see if it’s the right solution for your property!

Factoring in ADA Compliance

Let’s sit down and have a friendly chat about ADA compliance. To many, it can seem like a tangled web of standards and guidelines that seem nearly impossible to translate, much less keep up with. “How many parking spaces do you need?” “How many have to be van accessible?” “Am I or am I not ADA compliant?” These are all questions that take most property managers down a spiral of Google searches, leading to answers that may not even apply to them.

The Human Factor

While there are a lot of questions to consider, the most important question of all is this: how can you not only comply but genuinely make things easier and more accessible for your residents, guests, and clients? Behind every directive and specification is an actual human who will benefit from the attention to accommodations you make—someone whose day-to-day existence will be made exponentially easier when you take the time to give them the tools they need to navigate your property safely.

From a human standpoint we are dedicated to making sure the ADA compliance efforts you employ work well for the people they’re meant to help. This includes providing ample space for van parking and aisle access, as well as clearly marking areas and curb ramps to allow individuals to easily access their vehicles. We also reach beyond the legalities and into the practical aspects to ensure the accommodations you provide are right for your unique situation. Some properties may only need to consider the baseline ADA standards, while some—due to the demographics of their visitors/residents—may benefit from a more expanded offering of compliant spaces and features.

The Legal Factor

There’s a lot to contemplate and evaluate when it comes to assessing your properties, and if that doesn’t seem like enough on your plate, feel free to toss on the very real legal and financial ramifications of noncompliance. The 2010 ADA Guidelines are designed to assist all Americans with disabilities and their friends, families, and caregivers. Who do the guidelines apply to? Chances are, you’re on the list:

  • Private employers with 15 or more employees
  • Businesses operating for the benefit of the public
  • All state and local government agencies

In addition to the 2010 ADA guidelines, each state and municipality has the option to assign requirements above and beyond the federal recommendations. The state of California has an especially robust set of add-on requirements, and it takes a keen attention to detail to make sure all the i’s are dotted and t’s are crossed. While ensuring your property is up to ADA standards may seem like a hassle, it is well worth the time and money. Fees for noncompliance are steep, sometimes just as much, if not more than the actual cost for the work to be performed. That doesn’t even include the legal fees that tend to coincide with those cases.

The Black Diamond Factor

All this information is a lot to take in, and it’s probably not doing much to set your mind at ease. But lest we begin to sound like we’re lecturing you from the backseat, allow us to share these three little words:

We’ve got this.

We have done hundreds of ADA projects and are very well versed in the ins and outs of ADA compliance requirements and how you can best meet them while still keeping your project on budget. We partner and work with several ADA compliance companies and are very familiar with translating their reports into reasonably priced proposals that encompass everything that is required to bring the exterior of your property, business, or homes to compliance.

This may have you wondering if your property has all it needs in place when it comes to ADA. Staying compliant is important to your business and important to the people who frequent your property. Give us a call, and we will be happy to assess your ADA needs and help map out a plan to ensure you keep compliant, now and for years to come.

Commercial Pain Points

How We Mitigate Project Management Migraines for Commercial Property Managers

Last month, we tackled the pain points that plague our HOA property manager friends and showed just how great we are at alleviating those paving project headaches. Commercial property managers, don’t fret—this month is all yours! While many of the pain points may seem similar at face value, we are very aware that the particular challenges of dealing with commercial tenants, business owners, and their customers can bring on a migraine all their own.

No need to reach for the aspirin bottle just yet. The cure can often be found by employing good practices in education, communication, and budgeting well before the major project is underway. Our Diamond Standard process was created with commercial properties and all their paving-related peculiarities in mind. It was designed, in fact, to keep the pressure off of YOU…a beautiful thing, indeed.

Here’s what we’ve learned:

Estimates Are the Bane of a Property Manager’s Existence.

The last time you put out a request for quotes on your paving project, did it feel like you somehow solicited a handful of wildly different documents? Did you end up looking at vastly different numbers and scopes of work? If you set them side by side and saw an orange, a grapefruit, and a kumquat, you are not alone.

Our Diamond Standard process cuts through all the citrus to give you one blessedly simple, standard pavement rating system. Designed by engineers, this system—called PASER—defines best practices based on pavement condition to ensure you get the right solution for your properties today, tomorrow, next year…even 20 years down the road. We even provide you with a copy of our findings, which allows you to verify the assessment and ratings for yourself. So take that citrus and make lemonade…you’ve earned it.

Knowledge Pays Dividends.

Forecasting Pavement Maintenance

About those estimates…. Pavement is an investment that invites all sorts of differing opinions—a fact which becomes even more obvious when you solicit quotes for your yearly budgeting purposes. Those wildly different documents we mentioned above are a very common issue—one which is definitely not much help when it comes to setting a realistic budget.

Our Diamond Standard process looks at each one of your properties and builds a forecast based on their pavement ratings and rate of deterioration. The result is an accurate projection of costs for 20+ years. We know from decades of experience that the march of pavement deterioration will keep on keeping on at a pretty predictable rate, and we deliver that information in a nice, neat package—basically a crystal ball showing you the critical information you need now and through 2040.

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
Setting up a Long Term Plan

Once you have the forecast in hand you can effectively advocate for a proactive approach with regards to your pavement maintenance. But what do you do if the property owners are content with basic patching and sealcoating while your tenants are becoming disgruntled with the unsightly surface? All those discolored and uneven patch jobs sure don’t help leasing potential, either.

Enter: more information and education. We provide objective data to owners and managers on the pavement lifecycle and how proactive maintenance can save an average of 35% over reactive maintenance. Who doesn’t like to save some big dollars while keeping things looking neat and welcoming? Best practice maintenance provides you, your tenants, and the property owners with a win/win scenario for years to come.

Chart showing the deterioration of pavement condition (y-axis) over time (x-axis) and how regular basic maintenance and repair keeps pavement in the good-to-fair range for up to 28 years; chart indicates each $2 of renovation cost while in the good-to-fair range will end up costing $6-$8 if delayed until pavement reaches poor condition

Money Makes the World Go ’Round.

Sigh. We know. It often comes right down to dollars and cents. And when you get estimates that ALL exceed your budget, it can lead to ALL sorts of headaches. Our cure is to build solutions for now that stay within your budget and get you on track for long-term savings. Even the tightest of budgets still have room for us to squeeze in and give you a plan that will make you smile. We also provide you with an accurate multi-year forecast that can be used for building funding into future reserves. Budget-induced headaches are a thing of the past.

It’s Time to Ditch the Soup Cans.

Sometimes, despite the advanced technological era we live in, it seems like communication hasn’t really evolved past a couple of tin cans and a string. When it comes to undertaking a paving project, this lack of connection can lead to all sorts of inconveniences, such as delays, poor traffic control, towed vehicles, irate tenants, and general chaos.

When you sign on for a paving project with Black Diamond, you’ll be pleased to find we communicate with excellence and style throughout the length of your project. From door hangers to detailed work plans and solid deadlines, we keep the lines of communication wide open and responsive. You will also have access to your project managers’ mobile numbers for any in-the-moment questions that might arise. Settle in, and be ready for your phone to NOT ring. It’s a beautiful thing, courtesy of our seamless project management and incredible, dedicated team.

Ready. Set. GO!

Throughout the nooks, crannies, cracks, and occasional puddles you face, we look forward to being your asphalt and concrete partner. Our team is dedicated and experienced in providing resources and support to you in ways big and small. We will go step by step with you through your pavement’s life cycle…and beyond!

HOA Pain Points

How We Relieve Paving Project Headaches for HOA Property Managers

Managing the property of a Homeowners Association comes with its fair share of responsibility and, occasionally, its share of frustration. Ensuring residents and board members are happy is often a balancing act between education, communication, and budgeting. When it comes time to undertake a major project, like asphalt or concrete maintenance, that balance can get tricky.

We’ve taken on many, many paving projects over the years and have worked with many, many HOA property managers. Not all of them came to us first (we understand—there’s a lot of competition out there), and the ones who have worked with other contractors tend to bring up the same major issues. We came to call these “pain points,” and used each conversation as a learning opportunity to devise a Diamond Standard process that takes as much of that pressure off of you as possible.

Here’s what we’ve learned:

Knowledge is Power.

Understanding the Pavement Life Cycle

Consider this situation: You’re getting complaints from community members that certain sections of pavement are failing, but half your board thinks it can wait another few years. Or perhaps they think the wrong maintenance solution has been used and are wary of spending more money. Perhaps you’ve received estimates from other paving contractors with wildly different suggestions about what’s wrong and how to fix it. Sound familiar?

Whether your surfaces are pristine or in disrepair, the pavement life cycle keeps on with its steady march. That’s why knowing what happens in the next stage is critical for good decision making. Our team can help you and your board members understand this cycle, so you can better anticipate the needs of your property and cut down on confusion and costly surprises.

Forecasting Pavement Maintenance

Another pain point we hear a lot? “My residents don’t understand why we have to budget so many dollars to a reserve fund when the roads look just fine.”

Understanding the pavement life cycle can help head off this concern, as well. Through our Diamond Standard process, we educate everyone on the rate of deterioration and the cost to maintain the roadways and parking areas. When they see clearly how much you stand to gain from proper maintenance (and, more importantly, how much you stand to LOSE without it), they’ll realize the importance of preventive versus reactive maintenance. Best-practice maintenance plans, presented with a healthy dose of experience and our unique ability to educate, mean you and your board will be well-positioned to make decisions for today and years to come.

Money Does Grow on Trees.

Okay, maybe that’s a stretch. But we HAVE learned there’s usually a solution to even the tightest of budgets. If you’ve ever solicited estimates for pavement maintenance just to find that your reserve funds are insufficient for the recommended repairs, you are definitely not alone. We hear this a lot—so much so, that we’ve not only devised a solution to help meet your available funds, but we also provide the data you need to replenish those funds for the future.

Oranges Aren’t Apples.

Speaking of soliciting estimates, taking bids for major projects like paving often results in a dazzling and confusing mix of information. Three proposals from three paving contractors could contain such wildly different approaches and scopes of work, you might wonder if they were even looking at the same property. It’s difficult to know how to proceed when you’re not sure everyone’s even speaking the same language.

Our Diamond Standard process uses a pavement rating system (PASER), developed by engineers, that clearly defines the condition of your pavement and suggests best-practice solutions, accordingly. It takes the oranges off the table entirely, so you have the information you need to make the best decisions for your property. Additionally, we provide you with a copy of our assessment that will allow you to verify the ratings yourself.

Communication is Priceless.

Think back to the last time your property had pavement maintenance done. Were the residents notified about when and where the work was to be done? Did cars have to be towed away? How many angry calls did you get from residents who were completely inconvenienced by the whole process?

You shouldn’t be put on the spot because the contractor you hired failed to consider residents’ daily routines or inform them of what to expect. It’s our job to take the biggest headache off your plate and deliver to you the smoothest project imaginable. When it comes to communication, we are a dream come true.

Our Diamond Standard process includes a comprehensive project plan that details work phases and completion dates and is easily accessed through an online portal. Not only that, but we make sure every home in the community gets an informative door hanger, and we also provide residents with the mobile contacts for project team members in case they have any on-the-spot questions or concerns. Our project management is seamless, time tested, and greatly valued by residents and decision makers, alike.

Ready. Set. GO!

Throughout the nooks, crannies, cracks, and occasional puddles you face, we look forward to being your asphalt and concrete partner. Our team is dedicated and experienced in providing resources and support to you in ways big and small. We will go step by step with you through your pavement’s life cycle…and beyond!

How to Win Friends and Influence People with Concrete Trivia

If you are an avid reader of our Love2Pave blog (and who isn’t?) you will have gathered that we tend to geek out when it comes to all things asphalt and concrete. It’s a fascinating field to be in, filled with new discoveries encompassing what is, essentially, very old and quite humble materials. We could talk about the story of concrete, for example, for days on end…but we will spare you and settle for the 25 cent tour.

The History of Concrete in a Nutshell

In its most basic form, concrete was used as far back as 1300 BC, when a crude slurry of burned limestone was applied to the outside walls of structures for fortifying and protection purposes. The methods became more sophisticated in the regions of Syria and Jordan around 700 BC when they discovered hydraulic lime (cement that hardens under water) could be used for housing, flooring, and waterproof cisterns. By 200 BC the ancient Romans were rocking the material in all sorts of ways with a mixture that included volcanic ash, lime, and seawater. 

But all good things must come to an end…which it did when the recipe was lost during the fall of the Roman Empire in 476 AD. Gone was our tragic hero concrete—not forever, but for a very long time (almost 1,000 years) until it was rediscovered in 1414. The rediscovery of the process for creating the material ushered in a new concrete boom, which took off with renewed vigor in 1793. This is when a guy named John Smeaton discovered an improved method for producing lime. Thanks, John! 

Now we skip ahead about 30 years to when Joseph Aspdin invented a substance you may have heard of: Portland cement. Portland cement is the powder produced by burning finely ground chalk and clay until all the carbon dioxide is removed. Heading into the 19th century, concrete was primarily used for industrial buildings before becoming more popular as a building material in homes. And it’s been smooth sailing from there, as concrete became central to the world around us with its integration into buildings, roads, bridges, dams…you name it. 

Concrete’s Key Ingredients

Concrete is made up of the simplest of ingredients, including about 10% cement, 20% air and water, 30% sand, and 40% gravel. All natural, baby. Mostly recycled. 100% good, clean, fun.

Tomato/Tamato. Concrete/Cement.

Speaking of ingredients…it’s pretty standard to hear the terms concrete and cement used interchangeably, but if you want to get technical about it (and we do), it should be noted that cement is just one part of the finished product that is concrete. Think of cement as the glue that holds it all together—a glue made from combining water with Portland cement.

Fun Concrete Vacation Destinations

Okay, we know concrete is quite captivating, but it may not be what the average fam plans a vacation around. Until, of course, you consider that you could go see these incredible tributes to our beloved building material: 

Pantheon, Rome

Built ca. 125 AD, this is the grandaddy of concrete structures and a testament to the material’s longevity…you do the math. See what happens with proper maintenance?

Hoover Dam

Tipping the scales at 6,600,000 tons, we’d say this is a lot of concrete to see. A whole lot of concrete.

Panama Canal

What’s not to love about 50+ miles of meandering concrete?

Willis Tower, Chicago

Built in 1973, Willis Tower held the record for the tallest building in the world until the late 90s. It may be heavy, but concrete sure can soar to great heights.

More Concrete Miscellany

  • The first concrete road was built in 1909 in Detroit and was one mile long.
  • When heated to 1000℉, concrete decomposes into molten lava. Pro Tip: Do NOT try this at home.
  • Thomas Edison wasn’t just about the lightbulb; he also had 49 concrete patents.
  • Concrete is the #1 man-made material on earth.

There you have it! You never know when a casual social situation is going to demand a few concrete fun facts. We have you covered, and you may now consider yourself the life of the party. When the concrete talk starts, people flock. Let us know if we can answer any more questions about this marvelously versatile and strong material—we love to talk concrete! 

The Benefits of Concrete Reach New Depths

Can Concrete Save Our Coral Reefs?

The life cycle of concrete is a spectacular one. From its humble beginnings as mere gravel, sand, and cement it is transformed into expanses of surface area as far as the eye can see and looming skyscrapers as high as the eye can see. Inevitably, however, what goes up, must come down. And what is laid down, must come up. Sometimes that means going way down…even below the surface of the sea.

As concrete reaches the end of its life as a building or surface material, it is routinely recycled. There are many mundane, but quite worthy, reuses. Often, used concrete is ground down and sorted to be reused in new projects, permeable foundations, and similarly practical applications. It’s all very predictable and responsible and goes a long way toward reducing waste in landfills.

However—as is typical in the world of concrete—there exists a more exciting and innovative way to reuse concrete. And it involves schools of tropical fish, colorful crustaceans, and sprawling coral.

As the ocean faces various crises waged against its often fragile ecosystem, the marine community has made various attempts to aid the coral reefs. This has included the sinking of huge masses of that which can be sunk, including decommissioned ships, thousands of tires, old cars, pvc pipe, and even train cars. Some of these endeavors have been successful; for instance, the steel ships tend to acclimate well to their new ocean life, providing a safe harbor for all sorts of oceanic life. Others have been abject failures, such as the tires which proved not only to release toxins, but were also too lightweight to stay put.

You may not be surprised to learn that recycled concrete has emerged as a clear winner in supporting ocean life. Thanks to its simple, clean ingredients it nicely mimics the natural limestone qualities of coral and allows and encourages regrowth on its craggy surfaces. The weight of the concrete means it settles in and stays secure despite the constant movement that surrounds it. And the varying sizes and shapes of concrete chunks deposited on the ocean floor provide new dwellings for a multitude of ocean life. Flora and fauna that prefer to nestle down in tiny spaces and those who live more freely, closer to the surface, all find a comfy spot.

Constructing an artificial reef with concrete is a big undertaking, involving careful screening and cleaning of the material and much research on optimal placement of each chunk. When those details align, the pieces are loaded upon a barge that includes machinery for getting the heavy pieces offloaded and dropped into place. Once gravity has its way and the pieces have settled in, they are checked periodically by marine scientists to ensure the new habitat thrives.

A huge bonus to these concrete reefs is this: Small seedlings of coral can be grown on concrete in labs and then transferred to the underwater concrete landscape. This helps repopulate the coral and could help regrow our lost coral reefs. This is great news for our oceans—where coral lives and grows, so does rich, biodiverse marine life.

At Black Diamond Paving & Concrete, we prefer to do our concrete work without a wetsuit and diving tank. But we do love working with such fascinating materials that serve to enhance and better our environment for years to come. When solid materials meet innovation, the sky (or the ocean floor) is the limit.

A Tale of Two Pavements

It’s a story as old as time. Okay, maybe not quite as old as time…maybe just as old as 1870, which is when modern asphalt came into being. 

Picture this: Two parking lots sit across the street from each other. One is glossy and pristine and boasts a rich, dark, unmarred surface while the other wallows in its cracked, bleached, and faded misery. The plot twist is that these two surfaces are the same age, about a decade into their life cycle. 

How is it possible that these twin lots, existing in such close proximity, weather the fates so very differently? The answer can be found in four parts.

Part 1: Maintenance Matters

You just can’t get around the vital fact that consistent maintenance keeps your surfaces looking better, longer. Sealcoating, crack mitigation, and patching hold environmental elements such as moisture and UV rays at bay—elements which can otherwise wage a steady attack on the asphalt’s aggregate, sand, and bitumen both on and below the surface.

Part 2: Tidy Up

A clean surface not only looks better, it performs better in the long run. Puddles of unsightly vehicle effluvia such as brake fluid, transmission fluid, and oil not only create slip hazards on your property but also contain chemicals which can break down the bitumen and accelerate corrosion. The damage can really add up in situations where designated parking means a leaking vehicle may be dripping onto the surface across days or weeks. Periodic cleaning can help, as can policies about keeping under-maintained vehicles off the property.

Part 3: Heavy Hitters

Depending on where your property is located and how many visitors it welcomes on a daily basis, you may have occasional or regular traffic that’s heavy enough to put a real strain on your asphalt. Big trucks can create rutting and cracking of the surface which allows those aforementioned natural elements to seep in and do even more damage. Being mindful and proactive about delivery vehicles and what areas they are allowed to access can help minimize deterioration. If you have a property you know will be subject to a slew of heavy vehicles daily, making adjustments to the surface in the initial stage of planning your pavement is always helpful. 

Part 4: Old Fashioned Challenges

Nature is a beast and one that routinely tries to take down what man has created. The big war of nature against asphalt generally comes down to water and tree roots. Lack of good drainage often means puddles form and water is allowed to migrate through the surface. Providing a pathway for water to make a speedy exit is imperative. Trees can also wreak havoc as their roots creep under the surface, popping up where you need them least. Keeping on top of these sneaky devils can be challenging, but well worth the effort in the long run.

When you’re writing the story of your pavement, keep the main character looking youthful throughout the ages with proper maintenance and attention to details…and by partnering with the best paving and concrete contractors in the industry, of course. Call Black Diamond Paving & Concrete today to help rewrite your asphalt’s story!

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