Category Archives: asphalt

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.

Building a Quality Asphalt Driveway

Building a Quality Asphalt Driveway

It’s time to install a new asphalt driveway!  Asphalt really is one of the best choices for a driveway; it’s durable, affordable and easy to repair.  But how do you go about making sure your new driveway will be of the highest quality?  Here are some key tips from the experts at Epic Paving:

Vet Your Contractor

While we’re confident you’ll get the best quote here at Epic Paving, it’s still good to talk to a number of contractors and get quotes.  Do your research – check them out on sites like HomeStars to make sure that they have a large number of positive reviews and feedback.  Ideally, you should be able to see examples of their previous work, so you know that they’ll do a great job for you.

Pick Your Materials

Asphalt comes in a variety of materials, perfect for different uses.  Porous asphalt helps reduce runoff by increasing drainage.  Perpetual pavement is better for heavy-use areas thanks to its durability.  Hot mix asphalt offers the finest finished appearances.   The kind of asphalt you choose will depend on what you want to get out of your project; your contractor can explain the differences and help you make the right selection.

Install Properly

A trusted contractor, like the ones at Epic Paving, won’t cut corners during the installation phase.  This includes key details like ensuring a quality water run-off plan, preparing the foundation and subbase, and proper surface preparation.  The higher the quality of the installation, the longer your asphalt driveway will last.

Maintain Regularly

Once your asphalt is in place, regular preventative maintenance will keep it functioning for a long time.  Fixing problems such as pot-holes and cracks when they’re still small and manageable will save you a ton of money in the long run.  By keeping on top of your preventative maintenance, your driveway will be a beautiful addition to your property for years to come!

The Complete Process for Asphalt Pavement Installation

The Complete Process for Asphalt Pavement Installation

You’ve decided on asphalt for your new driveway, sidewalk or parking lot.  You’ve made the call to Epic Paving to schedule an installation.  Everything’s all set – but now what happens?  Just what’s actually involved in installing asphalt?  Here’s a step-by-step guide on what you can expect as your new asphalt is being laid down.

Demolition

The first thing that needs to be done is to remove the existing surface!  If it’s old asphalt, it can often be recycled, making it an environmentally friendly choice.  Otherwise, the asphalt, concrete or old interlocking pavers are torn up with heavy machinery.

Grading

Water drainage is key to ensuring a long-lasting asphalt surface.  With that in mind, your contractor will grade and slope the surface to ensure that water runs off properly, using motor graders to get the perfect slope.

Subbase

The subbase provides a stable support for your new asphalt, and protects it from dangerous freeze-and-thaw cycles in Toronto’s harsh winter weather.  This is installed after grading, with the contractor making sure that it’s properly compacted to provide years of durability.

Binder

The binder layer is coarser grade of asphalt, with larger stones.  This is added to increase the strength and durability of your new asphalt.  Without it, your asphalt top would likely crack or break under the constant pressure of cars and other heavy machinery.   The binder layer helps fight against breaking and cracking, keeping your asphalt strong for years to come.

Top Layer

Finally, the top layer is added.  This is the finer layer that provides a great aesthetic quality and ensures a smoother, more comfortable surface to your new asphalt installation.  It’s made up of smaller aggregate than the binder layer, as well as sand and oil.  It also produces that deep black color that gives new asphalt its trademark shiny finished surface.

Transitions

After the asphalt has been laid down, the transition from the new asphalt to preexisting driveways, roadways or parking lots need to be smoothed – otherwise, you get large, uncomfortable bumps.  It takes special attention to make sure the water run-off is appropriate in these areas; if not done properly, they can be common trouble points for water pooling.

Final Roll

When everything is laid down, from the subbase to the very top layer, it’s time for the final smoothing and compacting.  A roller truck is used to compact and smooth the surface, making sure that no bumps of aggregate or stone remain in your new surface.

When you trust Epic Paving with your asphalt installation, you can rest assured that you’re getting a surface that will provide years of durability and functionality.