Category Archives: asphalt

how winter affects your driveway

How Winter Affects Your Driveway

Holes

Perhaps one of the first things you will notice when winter begins to affect your asphalt driveway is a series of cracks and holes. These weaken the driveway overall and can lead to potholes. How does this happen? Simple precipitation. The snow and ice melt, seeping into cracks in your driveway. As the temperatures drop, and the ice expands, the cracks in your driveway worsen considerably. In many cases, it can lead to potholes, and entire chunks can break off.

To Salt or Not to Salt?

There is conflicting advice regarding adding salt or deicers to your driveway.  A sealed driveway is better protected than an unsealed blacktop. In either case salt and deicers can potentially crack your driveway. This is especially true while plowing and shoveling snow. The deicers and salt can even weaken the sealant, leading to cracks and potholes that can damage your car’s tires and suspension.

Driveway Sensors Fail

For homeowners that have electronic security systems in place, maintaining driveway sensors and other electronics is important during winter weather. The cold winter can affect battery strength, making it difficult for your sensors to detect incoming vehicles and visitors. By looking ahead to how winter affects your driveway sensors, you can make sure that your sensors are placed in areas that are in full sun during the winter or in weather-resistant casings.

Shoveling

Surprising enough, you might be the one most likely to inflict damage on your asphalt driveway by using metal shovels and snow blowers. These can damage your driveway considerably if not kept at least a half inch above the blacktop. Waiting too long before shoveling can also be an issue, leading to problems like ice melting and refreezing flush to the driveway.

Be prepared for winter by making sure that you have repaired your driveway before the temperatures drop. Add sealant for an extra coat of protection. Minimize use of salt and deicers. And be sure to use driveway-safe tools to remove snow like plastic shovels.

when is it time to replace your asphalt driveway

When Is It Time to Repair Your Asphalt Driveway?

Cracks in Your Asphalt Driveway

In places with extreme freezing temperatures especially, cracks can appear in your driveway over the years. Often this is because water or substances like oil or de-icing salt seep into the asphalt and expand. This can create ugly cracks. Sometimes you can get away with patching up the spot temporarily.  To prevent long term (and costly) damage to your driveway, it makes sense to call a professional for a driveway replacement. This will ensure that you have a quality, curbside appealing, driveway that will stand the test of time.

Fading Aged Appearance Overall

Asphalt driveways are meant to last decades, but every driveway is subject to aging and basic maintenance issues over time.  So when is it time to repair your asphalt driveway? Look at whether your driveway looks faded, has cracks, has a lack of resealing, or just seems worn. An aged driveway negatively affects a home’s overall curbside appeal. This is more than a cosmetic problem. The driveway may also have some serious issues that will require complete repaving and driveway repair.

Potholes

Potholes can be one of the more glaring indications that it is time to repair your driveway. While some potholes are small and easy to patch up, many of them can be large ugly pits that seem to catch your car’s tires every time you pull up to your home. Potholes can wreak havoc on your automobile’s suspension system. While you can repair minor potholes, if you find that year after year you come across large potholes, an entire driveway replacement may be the solution that you need. Modern asphalt materials can handle these problems and may be well worth the investment.

Water Does Not Drain

Finally, if you are finding that flooding is becoming an issue, there can be potential long-term damage. Poor drainage can weaken your driveway, causing cracks and large holes. There are several different ways to handle these types of issues from replacing your driveway or adding curbing that will redirect water.

Be sure to contact a professional paving company when it is time to repair your driveway to ensure decades of reliable durability.

Most Common Types of Asphalt Cracks

Most Common Types of Asphalt Cracks

Not all asphalt cracks are made equal.  While we tend to group them all together under the header of “damaged pavement”, asphalt can actually crack in multiple different ways, each with their own basic underlining causes and their own methods of repair.  Here are the most common types of crack you need to worry about.

Alligator Cracks

So named because they resemble the pattern found on alligator skin, these are the most common types of crack asphalt faces.  They spread far and wide across your pavement, covering a large surface area in a relatively short time.  Usually, this is a sign of a weak area in the base layer of your asphalt, though particularly weak areas of the surface or poor drainage could also be causes.

Block Cracks

These are big squares and rectangles, almost segmenting your asphalt and dividing it up.  These can be as small as a square foot or as large as 100 square feet, but generally are caused by an inability for your asphalt to expand and contract with changing temperatures, possibly caused by aging asphalt binder or a poor choice of binder from the very start.  Small block cracks can be sealed easily; larger cracks probably need to be removed and replaced.

Linear Cracks

Long, vertical cracks up and down the center of your asphalt are called linear cracks, because they’re primarily in a straight line.  While these can be caused by just general wear and tear, they’re often the result of bad joint construction.  As joints are the least dense areas of pavement, they can be prone to damage if placed in the wrong place (i.e. right in the wheelpath).

Traverse Cracks

If your asphalt is cracking horizontally, that’s a traverse crack.  These are usually caused by the weather, with low temperatures causing the surface to shrink.  They can also be caused by poor construction, but generally in Toronto, it’s the weather to blame.

Potholes

The actual craters and depressions in your asphalt are grouped with cracks because they break the integrity of your surface, but we all know them as potholes.  These can be caused by any of the aforementioned cracks if left unattended, or by severe water or ice damage.  They can damage all the way down to the base of the asphalt, which is why it’s so important to take care of the other cracks while they are still minor!

Prepare Your Asphalt for Winter

Prepare Your Asphalt for Winter

The winter weather is the single largest factor in the longevity of your asphalt.  Cold months can be rough on your pavement, so you want to make sure you’re appropriately prepared in order to minimize that weather damage.  With a little preparation and some good practices, you can help maintain the structural integrity of your pavement and have everything looking great come spring.

Remove Debris Before It Snows

Large pieces of debris can freeze and damage your asphalt’s surface over a long cold winter, as well as making it more difficult to plow.  Even small pieces of debris can provide more area for water to freeze and thaw, damaging your surface.  A professional cleaning is a good way to ensure your asphalt gets off to a great start this winter.

Fill in Cracks and Sealcoat

Cracks are weak points in your asphalt – they provide entry points for water to seep into your asphalt, freezing and thawing and damaging your surface.  Filling them in can help prevent damage to your surface over the winter.  Sealcoating – if it’s still warm enough to do – is another way to provide a protective layer.

Shovel Regularly

Standing water and snow can damage your asphalt over time.  A good defense, then, is to clear your asphalt regularly.  Be careful if you’re using a plow, however; it can snag in small cracks and potholes and cause surface damage to your asphalt pavement.  For lighter jobs, a regular shovel is a safer method.

Limit Your Deicing

Asphalt is more resilient than concrete when it comes to deicing, but that doesn’t mean it’s invulnerable.  While common deicers like rock salt won’t directly damage your asphalt, some of the side effects might.  Specifically, when it melts the snow and ice, it also encourages water to seep in through surface pores in your asphalt.  From there, the freeze-thaw cycle can cause its fair share of damage.  This isn’t to say you should never use deicers, just that shoveling and plowing is a better first solution to accumulations of snow.

4 Tips for Hiring a Driveway Contractor

4 Tips for Hiring a Driveway Contractor

If you’re looking for a reliable driveway contractor in the Greater Toronto Area, we humbly suggest that you won’t find anyone better than Epic Paving and Contracting.  That being said, you don’t have to just take our word for it – you should do your due diligence, first.  We believe that you’ll find, when all is said and done, that we’re the best option in the area.

If you don’t live in the GTA – or just want to make sure you know what you’re getting into – here are our top tips for hiring a driveway contractor.

Credentials, Credentials, Credentials

Any company you trust to do major work on your property should be fully licensed, bonded and insured.  Ask to see their health and safety credentials, as well; these independent credentialing organizations protect both the consumer and the contractor from danger or negligence.

Testimonials

Check out the company in question on sites like HomeStars, Houzz and the BBB to see what other clients are saying about them.  You ideally want a long trail of satisfied customers – a company’s past work is the best indicator of their future performance.

First-Hand Evidence

A good driveway contractor will have addresses of driveways they’ve worked on in your immediate area.  Go check them out for yourself!  It’s worth the time and effort to drive by and check out the handiwork and final products.  Driveways are fairly easy to check out without having to enter private property, so take advantage of that fact!

Experienced Crews

Working with a fast-setting material like asphalt requires precision work to be done both quickly and efficiently.  A large, experienced crew is vital to making sure the job is done properly and not just quickly.  You want your contractor’s crew to have years of experience paving driveways and working with asphalt or concrete – experience can make all the difference between a driveway that lasts 10 years and one that lasts 30.

How to Pick a Commercial Paving Company

How to Pick a Commercial Paving Company

Picking the proper paving company is a key part of any home or business improvement you have in mind.  Getting sub-par or untrustworthy contractors leads to pain and troubles – not to mention extra expenses – down the road.  Obviously, we recommend Epic Paving and Contracting for all your asphalt, concrete and interlocking needs.  If you want to do your due diligence, however – or if you’re reading this from somewhere outside the Greater Toronto Area – here are some things to look for when making your paving company selection.

References

Ideally, you’re looking for a company that’s been in business for multiple years, with a list of successful projects they can show you.  If possible, it’s a great idea to visit a couple of the sites with their work – is it cracked and breaking, or has it held up over time?  Asking for a list of references and testimonials is a good first step towards weeding out the less scrupulous companies.

Ability to Meet Requirements

Not all paving companies are made equally, and not all paving jobs require the same touch.  There are specific circumstances and considerations to take into account in any paving job.  The best of the best companies will be able to handle any surface you throw at them, meeting all your particular needs and requirements.  They should offer a consultation, going with you to the site to help you formulate a plan of attack, rather than just trying to sell you a one-size-fits-all plan.

Repairs

Reliable paving companies will have some sort of warranty or repair deal included in the contract.  While they’ll lay down your new surface with the best of care, sometimes problems do occur – and you want to ensure that your chosen company will come back to fix any issues as they occur.  In addition, any surface will need periodic repairs or maintenance as they age.  Find out whether your company offers specific repairs that you think you may need – pothole repair, patching, sealcoating, etc.

The Benefits of Asphalt Driveways

The Benefits of Asphalt Driveways

Considering a new asphalt driveway?  Then you have made an excellent choice.  Asphalt driveways have a huge number of benefits when compared to competing surfaces, and we here at Epic Paving highly recommend them.  Here are just a few of its major benefits:

Installation Speed

Compared to other surfaces, asphalt is quick and easy to install.  It can usually be laid in just one or two days, and ready to use a couple days after that in good weather.  Other surfaces can take as long as a week to lay, set and cure before they can be used.  The inconveniences that go along with having a driveway installed are greatly reduced with asphalt.

Durability

Asphalt is significantly less likely to crack over time than concrete or other surfaces.  It also isn’t negatively affected by the salt used to melt ice and snow – important factors to consider in Ontario’s harsh winters.

Lower Maintenance

Most problems that develop in asphalt can be fixed quickly and inexpensively.  Crack sealant is readily available at hardware stores and is easy to apply, even if you have no previous paving experience.  Regular preventative maintenance – filling cracks, sealcoating and general upkeep – can extend the life of your asphalt to 20 years or more.  Other surfaces are more difficult and time-consuming to repair, potentially limiting their shelf lives.

Snow Benefits

Most asphalt is black.  That means it draws in and retains more of the sun’s heat, trapping it and serving as natural insulation.  This means during winter, the snow melts faster on asphalt driveways than it would on concrete or interlocking pavers.  This improves safety, as you’ll have less snow to worry about when driving, and also saves you a load of time shoveling.

There are a great many benefits to asphalt for a wide variety of paving needs.  Contact Epic Paving today to learn more!

The Benefits of Porous Asphalt

The Benefits of Porous Asphalt

You may have heard about porous asphalt, or permeable pavements.  They’ve been proving their worth as a hard-working, durable surface for 40 years now, allowing water to drain through the surface into the soil below – preventing buildup of storm water and helping prevent water-based damage, which is important in Toronto’s harsh winters.  But what exactly is porous asphalt, and how does it benefit you?

Simply put, porous asphalt allows water to drain through the asphalt into the stone bed below.  As the water drains through the asphalt, it slowly infiltrates into the soil below.  The size and depth of the stone bed will depend on the exact details of the installation; it needs to be deep enough so that the water level never rises to the asphalt itself.

Porous asphalt has two major benefits – one for the environment, and one for your wallet!

Environmentally, porous asphalt is very green – it doesn’t interrupt the natural water cycle, allowing rain and storm water to enter the soil as it would if there wasn’t an asphalt surface there to begin with.  It also creates cooler asphalt temperatures (due to its open structure) and reduces the demand on storm sewer systems.  It helps replenish the water table and aquifers in your area, without bringing with it harmful runoff in terms of oil or grease from your surface.

For your pocketbook, installation of porous asphalt means less money spent installing a storm-water management solution; storm water will naturally seep into the soil without requiring channeling or retention ponds.  Also, it removes any potential impact fees charged when water run-off from parking lots overwhelm the storm sewer system; because there’s no water run-off, there’s no chance of overwhelming the system.  This makes it a very economical choice.

Yes, some aspects of construction – including the underlying stone bed – are marginally more expensive than a standard asphalt parking lot, but it ends up paying for itself in the long run, especially when you consider the value of the land that not having storm-water management features installed will open up.

Porous asphalt is a great choice for any business.  Contact Epic Paving today to find out what we can do for you!

How Repaving Your Parking Lot with Asphalt can Save You Money

How Repaving Your Parking Lot with Asphalt can Save You Money

Getting an asphalt parking lot from Epic Paving is a great idea.  It’s not just a strong and stable surface, making it a good choice for infrastructure reasons, but it can also end up saving you money in the long run.  Here’s how:

Drainage

Improving the drainage of your parking lot means you will need repairs and maintenance less frequently.  Asphalt – especially porous asphalt – is perfect for dealing with tricky water runoff situations and other standing water issues.  A new, properly installed or repaved asphalt surface can help avoid costly potholes and cracks.  Less money for repairs is more money in your pocket.

Stronger Installation

When you get a parking lot installed by Epic Paving, you can rest assured that our attention to detail and specifics ensures you get the best parking lot for your money.  That includes a strong and sturdy subbase – the structural foundation of your parking lot.  If that isn’t installed properly, it can cause caving and sagging.  Having it installed properly will increase the lifespan of your parking lot, thus saving you money long term.

Return on Investment

A new parking lot is a great investment for a business or commercial property.  It provides better curb appeal, making your parking lot more attractive and appealing to potential customers – even better if you’re a rental company, and you’re trying to convince long-term renters to pick your property.  It’s easy to repair in sections should damage occur, as opposed to concrete or other surfaces; even small damages could mean large repairs on other surfaces.  It will increase the value of your property, offsetting costs of installation.

These are just a few of the major reasons.  There are also potential tax breaks or credits for installing “green” asphalt solutions, potential savings in recycling the asphalt when repairs are needed, and much more.  For more information about our asphalt parking lots, contact Epic Paving today!  We’ll be glad to hear from you.

The Proper Way to Fill a Pothole

The Proper Way to Fill a Pothole

The only thing you get if you fill a pothole incorrectly is a larger pothole in the future.  When you fill in a pothole the wrong way, you’re just going to see it come back, time after time, year after year.  Epic Paving knows the right way to fill a pothole to permanently solve your pothole problems.

So, how do you fill a pothole, then?  We’re glad you asked.

The first step is to remove debris from the hole itself, until your reach the subbase.  You don’t want loose asphalt or dirt and debris in your pothole; you can’t get a solid patch with that in the way.  You then want to ensure you have clean edges – we saw around the hole to create a fresh surface, in order to allow the asphalt mix to bond with the existing asphalt.  Craggy surfaces can make that bonding less clean.

We dig right down to the subbase when we repair potholes to ensure the integrity of the repair – otherwise, you have a thinner layer of patch on top of old asphalt on top of the subbase.  That’s where you see crumbling happening – that lowers the structural integrity of the spot, and you’ll just get potholes again.  By repairing down to the subbase, we’re creating the strongest patch possible.  Once we’ve dug down and cut around the hole, we remove any remaining debris.

The next step surprises some people – heat the pothole.  This removes existing moisture, which is important because moisture is the number one cause for asphalt failure.  It also softens the asphalt around the pothole, which helps improve the strength of the bond between it and the patch.

At this point, we’re ready to add the new asphalt, and then compact it to create the bond.  Once the asphalt is cooled, it’s generally OK to drive on it immediately, getting your surface back to action quickly and efficiently.