Archive for: Love 2 Pave Articles

WHY CHOOSE US

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! https://www.blackdiamondpaving.com/resources/the-pavement-life-cycle/

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!

It’s a Bird! It’s a Plane! No…It’s a Drone!

Drone Technology and the Paving Industry

Drones, or Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (if you want to get fancy with it) are hovering high these days. They can be found zooming around parks, crop dusting over farm fields, and swooping in to capture wedding parties as they stand smiling blindly into the sun. They are even becoming big players (or flyers) in the world of paving and concrete.

So Many Pretty Pictures!

The earliest and most basic use of drones in the asphalt and concrete arena was for marketing and documenting purposes. The ease of sending a drone up to take recorded images of the before, during, and after transitions of a project has served the industry well in regards to identifying needs and giving a nice visual of the completed work. But they have quickly evolved into so much more.

Exactly How Big is that Pile of Rocks?

Perhaps the biggest impact of drone technology as it applies to asphalt and concrete is at the aggregate plants. Estimating materials needed used to be a labor intensive and dangerous proposition and was never entirely accurate. It was a little more sophisticated than a guy measuring it out by the bucketful, but it still involved a fair amount of manual labor, math, and good old fashioned hill climbing. Drones have transformed this process by monitoring volume and contours of stockpiles from the air using sophisticated software. They are also increasingly used in conjunction with daily walkthroughs, identifying heat changes, gas leaks, broken equipment, and more from their bird’s eye vantage point.

No More Guy with a Shovel.

We’re lucky to not have to deal with too many potholes in Northern California, but in other parts of the country the constant freeze and thaw can wreak havoc on the roadways. Researchers in England have come up with drones which not only take images of the roadways to identify problem areas, they are also equipped with 3D printers and an extruder to land and fill the cracks and crevices on the spot. This means the stretch of road can be assessed and repaired in a matter of hours rather than days. The timely repairs ease traffic hassles and also increase the lifespan of the road.

But What About Pizza?

It’s all fascinating stuff, and we are anxious to see how drone technology and other advances in the industry will enhance what we do day to day. To be honest, we are mostly just waiting for drones that will show up on the porch with a piping hot pizza…. In the meantime, you can rest assured Black Diamond Paving & Concrete will continue to shine in the basics, providing expertise, attention to detail, and superb customer service with every project we undertake.

Nanotechnology and Asphalt

The Teeny Tiny Bits of Stuff that Make Pavement Better

nan·o·tech·nol·o·gy
ˌnanōˌtekˈnäləjē/
noun
1. the branch of technology that deals with dimensions and tolerances of less than 100 nanometers, especially the manipulation of individual atoms and molecules.

What does the egg that slides from your frying pan, the tennis ball you bounce to your pup, the sunscreen you slather on at the beach all have in common with the roads you drive on? You’ve guessed it—nanotechnology.

Put simply, nanotechnology is a process in which individual atoms and molecules are manipulated. To give you an idea of scale, there are approximately 25 million nanoparticles per inch. We’re talking TINY. How can something so small make such a big difference? Let’s take a look at the roles nanoparticles play in the world of asphalt:

Nanoclays

Asphalt is made up of finely ground materials, mixed with a binder which is heated and then applied over a compacted base. The use of nanoclays—super teeny tiny bits of layered mineral silicates—added to the binder mix can increase the viscosity of the material, making it easier to pour and spread. Once cooled, it has the effect of enhancing the compression and resilience qualities of the asphalt by making it less brittle, which means less cracking and crushing.

Nanoirons

The addition of nanoparticles into asphalt can also positively impact pavement maintenance. For instance, research is underway into self-healing roads using iron nanoparticles. In this application, iron nanoparticles are infused into the binder, and when the sun, ice, rain, and general wear and tear creates micro cracks, a specially designed machine emitting a magnetic field can be moved over the surface, heating the binder and healing the cracks. This technology could double the life span of roads and turn repairs into an hours long scenario, rather than weeks long.

Nanosilicas

The use of nanomaterials stretches far beyond just making paved surfaces more durable. They can be used to increase safety features, as well. Skid resistance is the highest factor in evaluating surface safety. The use of nanosilica (silicon dioxide nanoparticles) in a top coating can reduce skid factor and serve to cut down glare and road noise.

Nanophosphorous

Do you ever have trouble seeing the pavement markings on a dark and rainy night? By augmenting the line markings with phosphorus materials, visibility factors are increased and improved.

There’s a lot on the horizon with asphalt technology. At Black Diamond, you can be assured we are keeping up with the latest research and trends in our ongoing effort to giving you the best customer experience and longevity of surfaces possible.

Interested in Interlayers?

The Magic Mesh Material that Helps Curb Cracks

Crocodile skin may be hot, hot, hot when it comes to fashion, but it’s significantly less desirable when it’s your pavement that begins to look reptilian.

Even with routine maintenance, cracks can appear and begin to take over in an invasive spread. Since asphalt is brittle by nature, temperature fluctuations, soil shifts, and traffic can wreak havoc both on top of and under the surface, creating what are called reflective cracks. You can do a simple overlay of asphalt to provide some temporary measures, but for a more thorough (and less costly in the long run) fix, consider application of an interlayer.

Made of a mesh type fabric, interlayers are known by a few brand names such as Petromat, GlasPave, and TruePave, but they all essentially work the same. They add a slightly more flexible, stress-absorbing and moisture-resisting barrier between your old and new surfaces.

The process is relatively simple:

  • A light coat of asphalt is applied on top of the old asphalt to fill in cracks and make the surface smooth again.
  • The fabric is then laid on the new asphalt coat. Full saturation with asphalt oil is critical for lasting strength and support.
  • Finally, a new layer of asphalt is applied to top things off. The saturated fabric is strong enough to keep the cracks underneath from permeating the new upper layers of asphalt.

If you’re experiencing just a few problem areas of asphalt, rather than across the full surface, this fabric can be applied in those areas as needed. Be aware, however, that any existing cracks from the non-interlay surface can eventually migrate their way over to new surfaces.

Whether you’re interested in fixing problem areas or your desire is to limit the number of cracks and severity of cracking in the future, interlayers can provide a great solution.

Call Black Diamond Paving today to find out if an interlayer is the right solution for your property!

Concrete: The Modest Material With a Rock-Solid Reputation

What Can Concrete Do for You?

From roadways, sidewalks, and curbs to fancy pool decks and retaining walls, concrete can be found in nearly every urban and rural setting across the country. And with good reason! It’s versatile, it’s durable, it’s economical…it really has a rock solid reputation, and we thought it was about time you got to know it a little better.

First, a Bit of History

  • January 11, 1900: Thomas Edison applied for his first patent concerning concrete. Over the next 17 years, he would apply and receive 49 concrete patents—for crushing and screening, conveyors, sealing, and more.
  • 1909: In Detroit, the Wayne County Road Commission (of which a guy pretty invested in roads—Henry Ford—was a member) completed the first concrete road, which was a whole mile long!
  • 1922: The Edison Portland Cement Company poured the concrete for Yankee Stadium. When the stadium was renovated in 1973, the concrete walls were left untouched. They’d held up beautifully for more than 50 years!

But, How (You Might Ask) is it Made?

You’d be hard pressed to find a more humble material. Composite materials such as sand and gravel are mixed with a fluid paste (cement) and water. Rather than simply drying to its rock-like final form, the mix goes through a series of chemical reactions due to the lime content in the cement portion of the mix. This curing process, which takes place over a series of hours, or even days, allows the concrete mix to be transported, poured, smoothed, and perfected.

Why Concrete? (We Know You’re Dying to Find Out)

The benefits of using concrete are numerous and varied. For a start, it’s highly water and fire resistant. Unlike wood or metal, concrete does not rust or decompose. Whether the desired project is strictly utilitarian or decorative, concrete can be molded and poured into any shape imaginable, and reinforcing materials, such as rebar, can be added. In addition to its tough-guy qualities, concrete holds the top prize for aesthetic options, as it readily accepts tints, sealers, texture stamping, and more for an aesthetically appealing finish. Concrete holds its own in terms of durability and longevity and, although the initial costs may be higher than other materials, it’s often more economical over the course of its life span.

Here at Black Diamond, we spend nearly as much time as Edison thinking about concrete. (It is half our name, after all.) Whether you need a pool deck that’s smooth and easy on the feet, shiny new sidewalks and curbs, or repairs to existing concrete surfaces, we are ready to get started. Give us a call! (We’d love to cement our—and our concrete’s—reputation with you!)

Curb Appeal: It’s All About Routine Maintenance

First impressions are important, which is why property owners pour effort and money into beautiful curb appeal. Well-maintained structures, landscaping, and shared common areas all contribute to the property looking its best. But what about your asphalt and concrete surfaces? Do they enhance your property or take away from the overall aesthetic?

There are several culprits which can affect the surfaces your visitors and residents walk and drive across each and every day. Sunshine, drainage issues, root formation, fluid build up, and general wear and tear all contribute to the slow formation of cracks and dips in the surface and overall deterioration of your pavement. These flaws are not only damaging to the visual impression your property makes, but can also be dangerous to pedestrians and vehicles.

There are a few minor things your landscaping or maintenance crew can do to keep your asphalt and concrete exteriors tidy:

  1. Take the time to manicure the edges and create a clean definition between the surface and the grass or landscaping.
  2. If there are any weeds creeping in, have them pulled or sprayed.
  3. Give the expanse a thorough hosing off to remove excess dirt and debris that accumulates on the surface.
  4. Examine the neighboring surfaces to ensure you do not have any areas that will contribute to pooling or draining issues, which can further deteriorate the surface.

Next, take a look and assess any structural issues that need to be addressed. Depending on where your pavement is on the Pavement Life Cycle, it may benefit from professional maintenance.

Stage 1: 0 to 5 Years

If your pavement is relatively new, you should be good. Unless you notice any problems, scheduling maintenance for your brand new pavement is often a waste of time and money.

Stage 2: 5 to 7 Years

This is what we like to call the “Initial Preventive Maintenance” phase, and typically only involves minor (but important) procedures. If your pavement falls into this category, you can expect we’ll recommend an initial sealcoating and possibly some crack sealing, if needed.

Stage 3: 7 to 15 Years

This is the “Minor Repairs and Continued Preventive Maintenance” phase. Typical maintenance procedures during this time in your pavement’s life include some patch repairs, crack sealing, and a second sealcoating.

Stage 4: 15 to 25 Years

It’s at this stage where you’ll start to experience some major repairs. Your pavement is no longer a spring chicken, and you’ll need to look into sprucing it up with extensive patching repairs, possibly an asphalt overlay, and a third sealcoating. (Why so much sealcoating? We wrote a series on the importance of this particular maintenance procedure—give it a read to learn exactly why it’s so crucial to extending the life of your pavement!)

Stage 5: 25 to 35 Years

This is basically the end of your pavement’s life, and you can expect to have extensive repairs done throughout the community. Often, especially if you’re toward the end of this age range, it makes most sense to undergo a complete removal and replacement of the asphalt.

So, where is your property on the Pavement Life Cycle? How curb-appealing are your asphalt surfaces? Is it time for a sealcoat? Do you have any cracks, crevices, or crumbles that need attention? Are there patches that should be addressed?

If the answer is “yes” to any of those questions, or even if the answer is, “I don’t know,” Black Diamond can help you determine the condition of your pavement and make a plan for getting things back in shape and keeping your property safe, beautiful, and inviting.

Call us for a quote today!

The Never Ending Life of Asphalt

Oh, the stories it could tell. The humble surface you drive on, play on, and walk on has likely had a previous life—maybe two or three. Asphalt has the honor of being the most recycled material in the world, with 80% of it being reclaimed and 100% of the reclaimed material being recycled. Here’s how the process for reclaimed asphalt pavement (RAP) plays out every day across the US:

When an asphalt surface is replaced or resurfaced, layers are removed through a process called milling (this is a fancy way to say the surface is broken up into removable bits and chunks). The material is then transported to a recycling facility where it is fed through a machine that further crushes all the bits and chunks and screens them for uniform size. Additional materials can also be recycled and integrated, such as shingles, ground tires, and pig manure. (Why pig manure? It’s been found to have natural oils that mimic petroleum, thereby reducing the use of new petroleum products.)

Next, this mix is heated and tumbled, which helps to rejuvenate the liquid asphalt binders and reduces the amount of new binders needed. When the mixture is nicely mixed and up to temp, it’s ready to go back out into the world looking shiny, new, and stronger than ever.

Integrating RAP technology into asphalt projects helps to save thousands of acres from landfills, reduce the carbon footprint of materials used, and conserve raw materials each and every day.

Is it time to grant your surface a new life? Call Black Diamond today for a quote!

Pavement Got You Cracking Up?

Common Asphalt Issues and How to Identify Them

As pavements age, common asphalt problems, like cracks and depressions, tend to rear their ugly heads. With any kind of asphalt damage, it’s important to understand the underlying issues, so you can better understand how to fix, and ultimately avoid them. Do you know what to look out for? Below are some of the issues we see most often:

 

Alligator Cracking

Alligator Paving TermAs the name suggests, these cracks tend to look like the rough, patchy skin of an alligator. They typically occur when the pavement structure is poor—a weakened base or surface is often the culprit. It’s best to deal with this issue as soon as you notice it; parking lots with minor alligator cracking can be overlaid with a new layer of asphalt, but if left too long, water penetration can lead to more widespread cracking, potholes, and eventually general pavement failure. Once it gets to this stage, more cost-effective maintenance procedures, like crack sealing and overlays, will NOT be an option. A full removal and replacement will be in order…ouch!

 

Potholes

We’ve all experienced those pesky potholes, whether on the road or in our own driveway. This problem can be caused by poor drainage and heavy freeze-thaw cycles. Luckily, we don’t get too much of that in California, but that doesn’t mean potholes don’t pop up from time to time. It’s important to repair these guys as soon as possible in order to prevent further damage…to your pavement and to your tenants’ wheels!

 

Block Cracking

These cracks often look like large, rough, interconnected rectangles (or blocks) and are typically caused when poorly mixed asphalt is laid in an area that experiences frequent temperature changes. Asphalt will shrink and expand when exposed to the elements, but if the pavement can’t keep up…you get cracks.

 

 

Depressions

Water Raveling ErosionThese are low, localized areas on the surface of the asphalt, and are typically formed by sub-bases that become uneven over time. These areas end up holding water, which can cause even more issues, like potholes and pavement failure.

 

 

Many of these problems are part of the normal lifecycle of your pavement, but with repairs and preventive maintenance, your asphalt can last for many years without having to undergo major repairs. If you are noticing any of these problems on your asphalt surface, give us a call! We can help assess the damage and come up with a solution that fits your needs.

What to Look for When Hiring a Contractor

Hiring a pavement maintenance contractor—or any contractor for that matter—can be taxing for a property owner or manager. That’s because the problems you need solved and the work you need done can be costly, time-consuming, and potentially disruptive to tenants and communities. So, it’s important to ask the right questions when making your hiring decision. Here are some tips:

Ask to See a State License.

In most instances, contractors must be licensed by the state, so confirm that the contractor has completed this step.

Ask for Proof of Insurance.

In this day and age, no contractor should be without insurance—both for their protection and for yours.

Look for Longevity.

Just because a company has been around for years doesn’t guarantee quality work and a good working relationship. But the odds are in your favor if the company you hire has been around for awhile.

Check References.

Any contractor worth his (or her) salt will be happy to provide references for you. Take the time to make a few calls.

Visit the Contractor on a Jobsite.

Contractors are always working, and you can gain insight into their work process by watching them on someone else’s job before you sign on the dotted line.

Spend Some Time on Their Website.

A good website doesn’t assure a quality job or contractor (just like a great website doesn’t guarantee it, either). But a few minutes spent online will give you additional insight into services they perform, jobs they’ve done, and possibly some comments from their customers.

Check out the Company’s Better Business Bureau Rating.

This shouldn’t necessarily rule in or out a contractor, but more knowledge is better.

When you’re ready to hire a contractor for your next paving or concrete job, give us a call! We’ll be happy to give you all the details necessary to make the best, informed decision for your property.

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