Condominium and property managers call upon paving and asphalt companies everyday for bids or opinions on parking lots, roadways and walkways. This article will help outline one companies view as a basic introduction to the available options. The common options available for asphalt are: Asphalt Repair, Asphalt Overlay, Asphalt Reconstruction, and Seal Coating.
Asphalt Repair consists of repairing damaged asphalt surfaces due to tree roots, over-use, water intrusion leading to potholes, excessive large vehicle traffic (garbage trucks are the main culprit), and old age. Usually the complete removal of the damaged area down to the base course or even deeper may be required. New asphalt is put back in place at a minimum of 2” thick. Almost all parking lot repairs & paving projects need to be done with hot State Mix 5 or City & County mix 4 – this is a smaller rock mix that when compacted correctly provides a smooth riding surface.
Asphalt Overlay: Re-layering of new asphalt over existing asphalt, usually done at a thickness of 1 ½” of new asphalt. Some companies will overlay at a micro level – 1” or less. This is nor recommended as this procedure is a very thin layer and normally is a short-term repair. In the long run overlaying asphalt does not last as long as re-construction. The best scenarios for an Asphalt Overlay is when the asphalt condition is still in good shape and the client wants a new look. Generally, an asphalt overlay with good maintenance, that is the cleaning of any loose debris, rocks, and keeping sprinkler overspray to a minimum may last 10 to 12 years. In some instances – even longer. There are a few caveats to an asphalt overlay, all potholes or damaged asphalt areas must be repaired prior to the laying of the overlay. Owners need to be aware that you cannot “hide” the damage as it will immediately show through. Cracks larger than ¼” will show through the asphalt overlay within a short time. The existing height levels will be altered with an overlay and may cause a change in the way the water drains off of the property. The use of State Mix 5 or City & County 4 hot mix is the recommended choice of material for this process.
Learn more: Asphalt Re-Construction vs. Asphalt Overlay
Asphalt Re-construction is the process of completely removing the existing pavement down to the sub-base level of base course, evaluating the existing sub-base (sometimes requires additional base course to be added), re-compaction of sub-base component, and re-paving with new asphalt. This process is normally considered to be the “end-all” solution to existing asphalt problems associations may be having. With Asphalt Re-construction everything is brand new, the parking lots and roads are replaced the way the original architect or planners designed them. The life expectancy of Asphalt Re-construction is generally 15 – 20 years plus. This number can dramatically increase depending upon the maintenance schedule the association or owner puts into place. In addition, the traffic usage is a large factor in the life of any asphalt surface. Naturally the more traffic and heavier vehicles will cause damage and wear a lot quicker. Usually, we only recommend Asphalt Re-construction when the existing asphalt is in such a poor condition that Overlay or Seal Coating is not a feasible or practical solution. As a common rule of thumb Asphalt Re-construction is almost always more costly than Asphalt Overlay or Seal Coating; however, at times there may be such large areas to be repaired prior to performing an overlay – that it makes more sense and it is less expensive to just reconstruct the asphalt.
Learn more: Asphalt Re-Construction vs. Asphalt Overlay
In the last few years, many people have been led to believe that seal coating is the “cure-all” for their parking lots. This is not the case; Seal Coating is an excellent way to maintain the asphalt and provide a “wearable” surface prolonging the life of your existing asphalt. Seal Coating will not restore the parking lot to its former perfect condition. However, Seal Coating does beautify the parking lot. Generally, a seal coat will last anywhere from 3 – 5 years depending upon traffic usage and sunlight or weather exposure. Seal Coating is an easy, inexpensive way to maintain your asphalt surfaces and significantly lengthen the life of your asphalt parking lot. Seal Coating is highly recommended for a qualified asphalt maintenance/preservation program. Some of the benefits of Seal Coating are that it makes the parking lot look new again; the surface becomes a clean uniform black surface again, free of debris and loose rocks and dirt, and the surface is sealed – encapsulating the existing condition of the asphalt. Once the re-striping is completed, the parking lot looks rejuvenated. DC Asphalt Services, Inc. uses SealMaster Ready-To-Use, a locally made product on their projects. In addition, we add two different additives to our current mix design: FSA & TopTuff. Both of these additives enhance the overall performance and “toughen” the seal coat against scuffing and tire wear.
Learn more: Seal Coating vs Maintenance
Crack filling is an essential part of ensuring the success of a proper seal coat. As a property manager – you need to make sure the contractor is properly prepping the crack by blowing it clean – grazing edges as necessary – filling the area when dry. There are two different types of crack fillers available today: Cold applied or hot applied crack fillers. Cold applied crack fillers generally have a lot of elastomeric properties and perform well for parking lots. They harden over time and can be seal coated over. Hot applied crack fillers are very elastomeric, penetrate the entire crack – filling the complete void, and perform extremely well over long periods of time. However; due to their elasticity and flexibility, seal coat does not adhere well to its surface. Please note: this does not affect their performance or the performance of the seal coat. The use of hot applied crack fillers on parking lots is starting to become more popular.
Re-striping is a great way to re-vitalize the look of your parking lot. It always follows the three options listed above and sometimes is selected to be done by itself. Property managers should always be aware of what they are ordering. When you are re-striping brand new asphalt from either a overlay or re-construction project – make sure the striping is done with either an oil based traffic-rated paint or if the striping is being done with a non-oil based paint – make sure there are a minimum of two (2) coats being applied. New asphalt has a tendency to “leach” oils through thin coats of non-oil based paints. When striping over seal coating, the use of non-oil based traffic-rated paints is acceptable – we have found the use of SealMaster cold applied liquid thermoplastic paint to have great results.
For many managers of condominiums, there are concerns that the residents will become upset with the inconvenience of not being able to use the roadways or parking lot. Another concern of the managers is the “downtime” associated with asphalt work. The reality of all the asphalt work listed above is that there will be some inconvenience including the need to find alternate parking. The inconvenience will normally last a day or two but in the “grand scheme” of what work is actually being done and how long it will last, the time spent being inconvenienced is minimal.
Chris R. Laird is the President & RME for DC Asphalt Services. DC Asphalt Services, Inc. performs paving, seal coating, asphalt repair, striping and concrete work. For more information on asphalt options or to comment about this article, you may contact Chris R. Laird at (808) 478-2443.