Archive for: Love 2 Pave Articles


Hey Asphalt, Hold My Water

In a world that increasingly demands our natural resources be protected, there’s a lot to be said for asphalt’s nearly 100% recyclability. The life cycle of pavement creates a neat circle, beginning with crushed stone mixed with liquid asphalt and then spread along our roadways, driveways, paths and other surfaces throughout the country. When its usefulness in those places is complete, it is simply gathered and crushed, and the cycle begins again.

However, asphalt also plays a big, but lesser known, role in the conservation and treatment of water. It may seem counterintuitive that an essentially stone and petroleum-based product would be so instrumental in preserving and protecting our greatest resource, but the impervious properties are exactly right for many applications.

When you order fish for dinner you may not immediately think of asphalt. Who would? But fish hatcheries have used asphalt to their advantage for several decades. As it turns out, those little fish babies are quite susceptible to chemicals and contamination. When their water-filled playpen is lined with asphalt, those toxins can’t seep through, and the fish grow and thrive in their fresh, clean environment.

On the other side of the spectrum, industrial plants use asphalt-lined retention ponds to keep pollutants and hazardous waste IN until it can be mitigated. The strong, watertight surface of the asphalt effectively keeps contaminates out of the soil and groundwater and can also be used to cap hazardous waste.

These days, plastic and soil liners—once standard in landfills—are increasingly replaced with asphalt liners. The benefits of this switch are quite impactful. For starters, when asphalt is applied and layered with a geosynthetic fabric, it can reduce the amount of liquid making its way through the plastic and soil barrier. Former liners allowed around 140 gallons of toxic gunk per acre per day to escape. Asphalt has brought that leakage to a nearly immeasurable amount. Additionally, the longevity of asphalt liners is over 300 years longer (asphalt liners last more than 1,000 years whereas plastic/soil liners only last around 700 years).

Drinking water also benefits from the applications of asphalt. The Metropolitan District of Southern California has been using asphalt lined reservoirs for over 40 years. Asphalt makes reservoirs and dams cost effective, practical, and long lasting.

The world of asphalt is constantly evolving and changing to meet the needs of society and do it in a responsible manner. We are happy to be a part of this bigger whole and look forward to new advances in our industry that we can continue to bring to you, our customers!

Supervillains of the Asphalt Universe

Here at Black Diamond, we don’t make our employees wear capes with their uniforms, but maybe we should. They wage war every day against villains threatening the longevity of your asphalt surfaces. But who are these culprits looking to wreak havoc on your smooth and perfect pavement? Allow us to introduce the greatest offenders of all things asphalt.

Mr. Sunshine

He seems like a nice enough guy, showing up every morning like clockwork. The truth is, sunshine is one of the biggest offenders when it comes to breaking down the binder that holds together all the rocks that make up your asphalt surface. This process is chemical in nature, combining UV rays and oxygen, which work together to break the chemical ties that bind them.

To stop this villain in his tracks, look no further than a regularly scheduled sealcoat application. Sealcoat will help fill in the micro cracks and crevices, keeping your surfaces nice and shiny and offering your best defense against Mr. Sunshine’s death rays.

Ms. H2O

She saunters in at the most unexpected places, settling into dips and grooves, and she’s often a slippery one to catch. While she puddles into the corner of the parking lot you rarely visit or that little crease where the asphalt meets the sidewalk, she seeps downward into the carefully laid layers, using her erosive powers to undermine the integrity of your pavement.

Hold Ms. H2O and her evil ways at bay by performing crack sealing and sealcoating and by keeping the asphalt draining to our friendly storm system.

Mr. Heavy and the Boys

This gang rolls in acting like they own the place. Although we wouldn’t necessarily call it “dainty,” asphalt is only made to support a certain amount of weight. If overloading occurs—whether that be day-to-day heavy traffic or even just an occasional super heavyweight—the additional stress can push the upper layers past their flex point and create ruts or cracking.

You are the biggest enforcer against the incidents of heavy loads. Patrol your property carefully, post signs where necessary to limit the loads, and plan on having extra heavy vehicles park off-site when possible. If you’re planning to install new asphalt in a heavy traffic area, let us know so we can accommodate your specific needs.

We don’t like to toot our own horn too much, but we would consider ourselves asphalt superheroes. Let us help you combat these dastardly villains and allow your pavement to emerge victorious. For Black Diamond, it’s all in a day’s work!

The Future (of Roadway Lighting) is Bright

Wouldn’t things be easy if all the answers on life’s path were right there, glowing gloriously ahead of us? While life’s biggest question—“what’s for dinner?”—continues to cause daily conflict and strife, we can report exciting advances on lighting the roadways, bike paths, and sidewalks that lead to your favorite pizza place, pub, or steakhouse. 

Keeping our transportation routes illuminated is an important field of study. Nearly 20% of electricity used nationwide for commercial purposes goes towards lighting public spaces for safety. Think highway lighting, street lighting, parking lot lighting…you get the idea. 

What would happen if the materials used for such areas could emit light in a renewable fashion? 

Enter Jose Carlos Rubio, a researcher at Michoacan University of San Nicolas Hidalgo in Mexico. Rubio has found a way to alter the opaque nature of cement and turn it phosphorescent. This new cement has the ability to absorb solar energy during the day, releasing it at night for roughly 12 hours of glowing illumination. The patent for this technology was granted in 2016, and the product is in the commercialization stages now. Challenges include achieving durability, accommodating repairs, and determining whether the substance will be used as an overlay or as the entirety of the surface.

If a softly glowing road doesn’t add enough light or ambiance to your midnight road trip, maybe you’d enjoy driving by the light of trees? Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) are working in nanotechnology applications of an enzyme called Luciferace and a molecule called Lucferin which, when combined with plant matter, makes it glow. It all sounds rather science fiction and futuristic, but it’s based on properties of something we all know and love—the good ole fashioned firefly. 

A little less fancy, but still quite practical, are advances in luminescent powders that can be used for striping and other road markings and that will glow throughout the nighttime hours. Included in those are dynamic paints which are activated under certain temperatures. For instance, snowflakes could be painted on the highway that will appear when the temperature drops below a certain point, altering drivers to the possibilities of snow or ice.

In each of these cases, the potential for vastly improving the environmental and economic challenges of lighting the outdoors is significant. Poorer countries who struggle to maintain reliable electricity options would benefit greatly. Light pollution would be mitigated and the draw on resources such as electricity would be lessened as well.

Unfortunately, none of these options are quite ready for commercial use, but you can be sure we keep up-to-date with the latest and greatest in concrete and paving technology! Give us a call—we have a glowing reputation!

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?

"*" indicates required fields


This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.