Archive for: Love 2 Pave Articles


Finding a Contractor is Easy as 1-2-3-4-5

When considering a major asphalt upgrade or maintenance project for your residential or retail property, it may seem daunting to find a contractor who is right for the job. Although there are many contractors who are willing to give quotes, how do you pick the one that is right for your property and budget?

There are 5 questions to keep in mind while seeking that perfect contractor. Having them at the ready as you acquire quotes will streamline the decision making process and ensure that you find the right match.

1. Will they meet you to do a site visit?

When contemplating a big project, be sure to request that the contractor meet you at the property to make an on-site assessment. You can learn a lot about the company’s professionalism, knowledgeability, and general ability through an in-person meeting. A site visit also allows for an accurate assessment of any special needs your property may have—the fewer surprises once your project is under way, the better.

2. Will they provide a detailed description of the work scope?

In order to know exactly what you’re paying for, you will need to know specifics such as: square footage, number of repair locations, thickness of asphalt, seal coat layers, whether striping is included or not, number of days the project is scheduled for, days of the week they’ll be working, among other details. Also, make sure to request a site map for pavement locations and dimensions of each repair.

The proposal should reflect the discussions you had during and after your on-site meeting. If something isn’t clear, do not be bashful about getting clarity. This will help you and the contractor make sure your expectations are met completely.

3. Do they offer a maintenance plan?

A good asphalt contractor will be there for you, not just during the initial installation, but for years to come. Routine maintenance is essential to ensuring your surface has a long life and keeps its beautiful appearance. Discussing future maintenance needs now will allow you to keep things budget-friendly going forward and eliminate surprises.

4. Do they have good referrals and lots of experience?

A reputable contractor will be able to give you examples of their previous work. Drive by properties in the area that the company has done, or pick up the phone and make a few calls. Check to be sure the company’s insurance, bonding, and licensing is up to date as well. A word about experience: the relationship with your asphalt and concrete contractor will be measured in decades, so pay attention to how established they are in the community. You want them to be around for the long haul.

5. What’s in the contract?

A written contract is vital to finalizing the right choice for your needs. It should include the general terms, materials, and any warranty. Be sure to read it carefully and don’t be afraid to ask questions.

Now that you have the 5 big questions ready to go, begin by making a call to Black Diamond Paving! With experienced, relationship-driven employees, decades of experience, and a 97% satisfaction rating from Diamond Certified, we check off all the boxes.

Sealcoating: It’s All in a Day’s Work

If you’re like many property managers, you spend most days walking and driving across your property’s surfaces with little regard to the surface itself. That is, until you notice a few cracks next to your favorite parking spot or that bit of sidewalk which has started to crumble.

At this point, a little Asphalt Denial may slip in. We know you have a full to-do list, and pavement maintenance can seem daunting, making it easier to procrastinate. But before you begin to dread the hassle, remember that providing regular maintenance is even easier than stepping over those cracks in a pair of heels.

One of the most important steps in keeping your parking lot in top condition is sealcoating. During a sealcoating application an asphalt emulsion (liquid asphalt emulsified in water) is applied in thin coats, which protect the surface from a variety of outside forces such as water, gasoline, oils, and damage from the sun. Our careful attention to detail in preparation of the sealcoat extends the life of the asphalt and helps eliminate costly measures down the road.

Check out this video to see how the sealcoat is applied.

Before we apply a sealcoat, we will carefully clean, sweep, and inspect the entire area. Next we fill and repair cracks with crack sealer. Crack sealing, a process all its own, involves cleaning the cracks with hot pressurized air and then filling them in with a hot rubberized filler.

To see crack sealing in action, watch this video.

Once the surface preparation and sealcoat layers are applied, the materials must cure before traffic can be allowed on the surface. If your property has people coming and going on a regular basis, this may seem difficult to manage. Never fear—we take all of your property’s needs into consideration while planning out the project.

And we even manage the hassle of communicating details of the project with your residents and tenants! My Paving Project, accessed under the Project Gallery tab on our website, offers updates and color-coded mapping specific to your property. We also make sure our project consultants are readily available—both to you and your tenants—to help with any questions or issues that arise during the course of the project.

The shiny dark surface you’ll have after sealcoating is more than just a pretty facade. The black surface absorbs heat, making the surface more pliable and better able to withstand vehicular traffic. The waterproofing aspects mean that moisture will not easily find its way underneath the surface, and by evening out surface voids, it will also be beautifully smooth and easy to clean. Sealcoating also makes for easy navigation, as any lines and markings will contrast nicely against the black.

Now that you’ve read through the steps and watched a few videos, are you ready to pick up the phone and give us a call? Our friendly paving experts can help determine the proper plan of action for your needs and budget, making doing the right thing for your property easy as can be.

ADA: We Keep You Compliant

An important aspect of being in the asphalt business is knowing our audience. Not just the property managers and boards—the individuals who frequent those paved surfaces each and every day bring a unique set of needs and considerations to a property. Depending on the client needs, whether they be residential or commercial, we create a plan for surfaces that are not only nice to look at, but are also easy to use and ADA compliant.

In 1990, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was signed into law, prohibiting discrimination against individuals with disabilities in all areas of public life, including jobs, schools, transportation, and all places that are open to the general public. An estimated 1 in 7 Americans experience mobility challenges, which means making a sound plan for accessible approach and entrance to your property not only protects you against complaints and lawsuits, it also provides a more accommodating way of life for those who frequent your parking lot, sidewalks, and entries. In addition to mobility challenges, vision and hearing disabilities can be eased by proper surface treatments. 

In assessing your property for ADA compliance, our experts look at many factors, including markings, parking spaces, van access, aisle width, curb ramps, appropriate slopes, and the surface area itself, which must be firm, stable, and slip resistant. Government regulations can only go so far in the mission to keeping properties user friendly. Outside of the specifics of the law, there are other practical considerations to evaluate depending on your situation. For instance, if your clubhouse and pool areas are in a senior living complex, additional spaces and planning will ensure that the residents are able to access shared areas in a convenient way. Schools and churches may also require additional focus on making sure the shared areas are easily accessed.

Although private residences are not subject to the ADA regulations, homeowners and associations may want to consider and implement some or all of the ADA practices when creating or re-doing sidewalks, paths, and driveways. The extra attention to these details may enable residents to live in their homes more easily later in life and add resale value. 

If your property is not up to regulations, we will create a plan in conjunction with your budget and other surface maintenance needs to get it to where it needs to be and keep it current. There’s a lot to know about hitting the mark when it comes to ADA law. We welcome the opportunity to help you make a difference in the lives of those with disabilities by assessing your current surfaces and creating a plan for best compliance.

Top Contractor 2019

A: We Are!

It’s a Black Diamond Paving parade of celebration around here. For the fourth year in a row, we’ve been named a Top Contractor by Pavement Maintenance and Reconstruction™ magazine! Why is this a big deal? Pavement Maintenance and Reconstruction is the leading publication serving contractors in the paving, sealcoating, pavement marking, and sweeping industries (you probably all have a copy on your nightstand). So…they really know what they’re talking about.

This year, we were ranked among the top 50 companies—in the country, mind you—in four of the magazine’s five categories: Paving, Sealcoating, Striping, and Repair. The Top Contractor story will be featured in the June/July issue of the magazine, as well as online at, in case you want all the juicy details.

We’re so stoked, because this honor reinforces what we set out to do every day—be the absolute best of the best at what we do. We start with you, our clients, by listening to your needs and assessing what plan will best fit your unique situation. We follow that up with solid experience and detailed execution, each and every step of the way. This way of doing business has earned us scores of happy customers, referrals…and 4 straight years of kudos from the industry.

Of course, we didn’t get here on our own…we wouldn’t be at the top without the continued support of our pack—not just our amazing crew, but also our loyal customers. We wouldn’t be here without YOU. So, thank you!

Are you interested in learning more about what we have to offer your property? Give us a call to schedule an appointment. We’ll bring the party hats!

Pavement Preservation for Your Property

Pavement preservation is a hot topic around the country. With nearly 4 million paved roads in America, pavement represents a $1.75 trillion investment—an investment which is in a constant state of deterioration from the neverending assault of asphalt enemies, such as rain, debris, sunshine, and plain old wear and tear.

In days of yesteryear, the maintenance of roads across the country was haphazard at best. Delays or total dismissal of routine care, such as filling cracks, sealing, and performing timely overlays caused the condition of roadways to deteriorate at a faster pace, often necessitating major redos when the situation became too far gone.

Between 1995 and 2005 an effort was made towards more fully educating government entities and private stakeholders on the theories of pavement preservation. This general trend could be summed up nicely in the mantra, “Right Road, Right Treatment, Right Time.” This initiative traveled throughout the country, leading to a significantly more mindful approach towards protecting the miles upon miles of asphalt assets. In the years that have followed we continue to see incredible advancements in how roads are maintained. The sophistication of ability to assess and treat road issues as they happen has grown exponentially.

While you might not be concerned with the day-to-day upkeep on the hundreds of miles of asphalt roads ribboning throughout our great state, you can apply the concepts of pavement preservation to your own property’s surfaces. It’s simple to enhance the condition and extend the life of your asphalt by following a few of the main principles:

Map Out a Plan

It’s never too late to plan for the next decade in the life of your asphalt investments. Although certain elements can affect the condition as the months and years wear on, there’s a pretty recognizable cycle to the deterioration and best practices to follow in order to intervene. Are you familiar with the life cycle of your pavement? We have a comprehensive article that will provide you with an easy reference.

Don’t Delay on Maintenance

Once you have a plan in place, follow it scrupulously and proactively. Putting off till tomorrow what ought to be done today never fails to cost you more in the long run. Attending to sealcoating, crack sealing, and patch repairs are just a few things that will pay big rewards if they are done in a timely manner. You can do things on your own as well, such as keeping the surface free of debris, chemicals, and fluids, which can cause significant damage if left to their own devices.

Find a Good Partner

If taken care of, your pavement will last decades. Pairing up with a professional ensures you get good advice, best practice solutions, high quality materials, and appropriate attention to what needs to be done and when.

Black Diamond happily provides all of the above. We’d love to be your partner in pavement preservation. Our seasoned professionals will aid you in coming up with a plan and implementing it throughout each step of your pavement’s life cycle. We’re Diamond Certified and have received the Highest in Quality rating for 12 consecutive years. And 97% of our customers say they’d work with us again. What more could you ask for in a paving partner? Give us a call today!

Picture Perfect Pool Decks: Maintenance Really is the Key

Ahhhhh…prime pool season has arrived. Hands up if you’re the type of person who spends the majority of your free time by the water during the summer months. We don’t blame you! Few things beat soaking up the California sunshine while friends and youngsters splash not far away.

But as any property manager or owner can attest to, there’s a lot of behind-the-scenes work involved in keeping a pool in top shape for your residents. The pool deck surface and pool walls, specifically, need extra attention for the coming season. By keeping those well maintained, you not only increase your property’s beauty and safety, but add years to its longevity, as well.

Keep Your Pool Deck Pristine

No one wants to push a broom around while the rest of the world is lounging, but routinely sweeping your pool area will help eliminate the accumulation of dirt and debris that can lead to disintegration of your deck. If you have a lot of falling vegetation or pollen in the area, you may need to perform this task daily. The bonus to keeping your deck’s surfaces nice and clean is there’s less junk that will inevitably fall into the pool. You’ll be doing your filters a favor with every sweep.

Periodic cleaning with a strong hose or power washer will also keep your pool surface spruced up and serve to clear out pesky bacterias that can grow and make areas slippery. Pay special attention to the cooler, damper areas of your deck, such as behind planters and around decorative rocks and fences.

Be Sure to Seal

The life of your concrete relies heavily on how well you protect it from elements, such as chemicals, water, and debris, that can cause disintegration. Sealing the surface annually creates a barrier that resists all of the above and keeps it looking nice year-round. When sealing, pay attention to any small cracks which have occurred and have those filled in before they cause a tripping hazard. Even the smallest of cracks can attract little toes.

Don’t Forget the Pool Walls

You may not think about it as you stumble around during a fierce game of Marco Polo, but the pool walls represent a serious amount of surface area that needs to be maintained. Careful testing and a well-balanced chemical cocktail keeps your water sparkling and goes a long way toward keeping the entire inner surface clean. But there are a few more steps that should be taken:

  • Brush, brush, brush. Yes, you have the vacuum, and that does a great job in many respects, but you can’t beat a good brushing for getting to the more challenging problem areas. The water line, behind the ladder, and the seams in the lining are all tricky places where algae can begin to grow.
  • Don’t short the run time on your filter. Depending on the size of your pool, you should probably be running the filter 8 or more hours per day. This will accommodate all the water going through the system and keep things clean and fresh. This is especially important when you have a pool that receives high amounts of traffic.

Consider a Replacement

Depending on the age and condition of your pool deck, it may be time to bite the bullet and replace the whole shebang. It sounds like a daunting process, but with the right project management, the whole thing can be just about as easy as a summer breeze. Enter Black Diamond!

When you sign on for a job with us, our experts take care of all aspects of the replacement process. Not only do we have a handle on the concrete work, we manage the entire project, coordinating with other trades from start to finish for a seamless, hassle-free experience for you and your community. Black Diamond’s skilled team, in collaboration with our network of trade professionals, can help you with:

  • Concrete surface replacement
  • Plumbing system repairs and pressure testing
  • Electrical system repairs
  • Handrail and skimmer replacement
  • Coping
  • ADA compliance
  • Landscape repair
  • Fencing
  • Permits

Give us a call to see how we can help your pool deck make a splash this summer!

Innovative Asphalt Technology: A Cure for the Plastics Dilemma?

It’s on the news, it’s in your kitchen bins, and it’s in our landfills and waterways. The prevalence of plastics in our world continues to grow, offering convenience to manufacturers and consumers, yet also bringing its own set of challenges when it comes to disposal and recycling.

The technological forces in the world of asphalt never cease to amaze us in their quest for innovation. They are now making great strides in the utilization of what were once the discards of recycling and turning them into stronger, longer lasting roadways.

Toby McCartney has been a pioneer in this research. He was first inspired to explore the possibilities after a trip to India. Residents there would fill potholes with plastic waste and then light it on fire. The melting plastics would fill in and harden in the hole, creating a makeshift solution. When he returned to his home of Scotland, he began to do extensive research into the possibilities. Formal scientific advances of that basic premise have been occurring in India as well.

How does it work? The refuse from post consumer packaging such as water bottles, plastic bags, and plastic farming waste is shredded or formed into pellets and incorporated into bitumen, the oily black binding agent which holds the gravel, sand, and other organic materials together. The benefits of this process include the fact that the sorting efforts needed are not prohibitively discriminating—much of what is not typically recycled due to complicated separation and cleaning procedures can be used.

The average asphalt mix is comprised of roughly 90% aggregate and 10% bitumen. By replacing the bitumen with 6-20% plastic waste, the roadway can be formulated for specific conditions such as extreme heat or repeated freeze and thaw cycles. For every ton of asphalt generated, a whopping 20,000 plastic bottles and 70,000 plastic bags can be incorporated.

Plasticizing our asphalt has other benefits, as well. Take, for instance, modular plastic road construction in which portions of road are constructed off site and placed as needed. These have an advantage of providing space underneath the roadways for drainage or other components and can be easily placed and replaced.

As with much in our world, when it comes to technology, there are pros and cons. The naysayers of the advances in plastic roadways argue that it merely hides the problem of plastics and still brings with it concerns over leakage of chemicals, fumes emitted during processing, and a false sense of repurpose. It will be interesting to see how things continue to unfold and what balances are achieved between environmental efforts and consumer trends.

So, what do you think? Plastic asphalt—good or ill?

Capture This: High-Tech Road Selfies

With over 4 million miles of paved road in the US, the job of creating, assessing, and maintaining roads throughout our country is dynamic and exciting. And every now and then, something comes along that really changes the landscape of our paved thoroughfares.

Enter RoadBotics. Hailing from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, this new company, established in December of 2016, was created by researchers at Carnegie Mellon Robotic Institute. Using the artificial intelligence technology of autonomous vehicles, they developed computer vision software to assess and manage road conditions.

The premise is as simple as the technology is complex. An app and a smartphone are installed into any chosen vehicle to gather data. A municipality might use government vehicles such as a trash trucks, which travel just about every road in the city. Another option is to mount the technology in private vehicles, such as those owned by Uber and Lyft drivers. As the vehicle drives, the camera begins to continuously capture and store images, combining them with the GPS locations of where they were taken. These images are then analyzed frame by frame and pixel by pixel to identify nuances in the roadway such as bumps, dips, or cracks. The data is then fed into an interactive mapping program called Roadway and assigned color values designating the condition of the road. Green means excellent, while red means some serious attention is needed in those parts.

Once the data is on Roadway, users can pull up actual photos of the areas they’re interested in. The entire city or county can be viewed at a glance, or a particular stretch of roadway can be zeroed in on. The mapping can be used to address short term maintenance and long range planning efforts.

The impact of this technology is tremendous. More than 90 cities, towns, and counties across the US and Australia have jumped on board. For instance, the city of Detroit has recently contracted with RoadBotics to analyze their more than 2,600 miles of asphalt. What was once done manually and quite tediously by employees over the course of months or even years, and which was subject to each individual’s opinion, has been focused down to a much quicker and considerably less subjective snapshot of the conditions. This allows cities and governments to more effectively allocate their resources. Also exciting is the ability to translate this technology into identifying other areas in need of attention, such as sidewalks, street signs, and more.

You can be sure Black Diamond Paving and Concrete will continue to keep up to date with our ever growing, evolving industry. We love using the latest and the greatest to ensure that your property is in tip top condition. For now though, that means we will continue to send out a very experienced and extremely nice human to help assess and meet your paving needs.

Rising Costs of Construction Materials: What Do They Mean for You?

You may have seen it on the news, or read it in the financial reports, or even noticed it when you made a trip into the lumber store for that DIY project: The cost of construction materials in America are on the rise.

Unfortunately, this increase in the pricing index does not exclude the asphalt industry, which saw a jump of 9.2% between August of 2017 and August of 2018. The industry continues to acclimate and adapt to these changes by staying on top of technology, making the best use of recycled materials, and monitoring labor costs.

But, what can you, as a property owner, do to mitigate the rising costs on your end? Well, we’ll tell you.

Maintenance. Maintenance. Maintenance.

We know, we know. It’s the nagging mantra of car mechanics, HVAC technicians, and paving professionals everywhere. It’s the song we sing the loudest. The one that bears repeating again and again and again until you’re tired of hearing it and we’re plenty tired of saying it. You just cannot escape the reality that proper maintenance goes the farthest toward keeping your costs down when it comes to your paved surfaces.

Proper maintenance can mean the difference between your parking lot crumbling to pieces after only 10 years or staying beautiful for 25. It doesn’t take a professional mathematician to deduce that periodic maintenance will end up costing you much less than having to replace your asphalt or concrete surfaces twice as often.

If you’d like to know more about the pavement life cycle, we have a great article on our website with all the info, complete with bar charts and even a video. Check it out!

Lecture over.

Use Your Resources Wisely

And by “resources,” we mean us. We know you’re busy managing all the ins and outs of your own job and may not wish to pick up an extra degree in paving. That’s fine with us. We are paving geeks—the type to eagerly pick up a trade magazine and read about the latest and greatest in our corner of the world. We have insider info that we call on continuously to benefit YOU and your bottom line.

Not only can we help you assess the needs of your property and the best options within your budget, we even help communicate the particulars of the job to your residents. We manage things seamlessly so you can spend your valuable time in all the other ways important to your business. Time is money, after all.

Consider Concrete

Asphalt is considerably cheaper than concrete when it comes to project install prices. However, there is a myriad of additional facets to consider, such as length of life, aesthetics, ability to resurface, and maintenance needs. Given that the price of concrete has not seen as steep of a rise in raw material costs, it may be worth considering.

Interested in the great asphalt vs. concrete debate? Well, wouldn’t you know…we’ve got an article on that, too. [Or we might, if it’s approved yet, Jeff…?]

Don’t Put Off the Inevitable

When you’re facing a big project or re-do of your surfaces it may be tempting to wait it out and put it off for another day, month, or year. Sadly, that’s akin to seeing that your kitchen sink is overflowing, turning around and walking out of the room, hoping it will fix itself. A deteriorating surface only gets worse as time goes on. The rising costs of asphalt materials gives you another checkmark in the DO IT NOW column. Experts predict, due to market trends and various tariffs, the costs are likely to continue to rise. Now may not only be the best time, it may also be the cheapest time to tackle those big projects.

At Black Diamond Paving & Concrete you can be sure we’ll keep an eye on the rising costs and continue to do what we do best. We take great pride in giving our customers the straight story about their options without ever overselling projects. That adds up to the best cost savings around, an honest assessment of your needs, and solutions that keep your budget in mind.

Leave Your Mark with Stamped Concrete

Think concrete is blah and boring? Think again! Stamped concrete can transform the everyday same-old-same-old into a vision of beauty, as unique as you are. Take a standard pool deck and turn it into a masterpiece with a stamped natural stone look and contrasting edging. Or add elegance to your community center with a faux cobblestone drive. The possibilities are as endless as your imagination!

Sound intriguing? Here are a few pro tips to get you going:

Pick Your Texture

If you’re longing for a natural stone look but don’t quite have a natural stone budget, stamped concrete could be the answer. The appearance of cobblestones, slate, pebbles, etc. can easily be mimicked, creating a nicely textured surface without the labor of setting individual stones. And if stone isn’t your thing, opt for a faux wood or brick effect.

Oh, the Colors

The sky’s the limit when choosing colors for your stamped concrete. The ability to combine shades and hues and choose from a selection of sealers means you can create a look that is custom to your desires. As an added benefit, the sealers incorporate UV protection to keep fading minimal, even in the sunniest of spots.

The Nitty Gritty

If your surface is going to see lots of wet feet (a pool deck, for instance), a non-skid grit can make the surface both safe and easy on the toes. No more rough edges to snag a swimsuit upon while hanging out poolside. You can keep the color light and bright as well to keep the temperature down in sunny spaces.

Mix It Up

For added interest, consider doing accent areas that merge with traditional concrete. A stamped stone border around the perimeter of a parking lot keeps things looking clean and professional, for instance, and a patterned entryway lends an air of sophistication to an otherwise humdrum pool area.

Easy Upkeep

It may be beautiful, but stamped concrete is far from high maintenance. Once you have it in place, all that’s needed is an occasional hosing down to remove grime and a reapplication of sealer every 2-3 years. Whether used in a pool setting, a driveway, or patio, the sealer provides the extra bonus of barrier protection to water, chemicals, spills, and more.

Is your interest piqued? If you’d like to explore how stamped concrete can add ambiance and durability to your outdoor spaces, give us a call!