Tag 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.

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!

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!

What Does Your Paving Estimate Include?

What Does Your Paving Estimate Include?

You’ve called a paving professional like Epic Paving, asking about your new asphalt construction or maintenance.  You’ve explained what you need done, and you want an estimate.  But what does a good estimate include?  How do you know which contractor is right for you and your specific job requirements?

When getting a quote or an estimate, there are key pieces of information that you need to make an informed quest.  When you get an estimate from Epic Paving, you can count on these pieces of information:

On-Site Inspection

An estimate without seeing the actual worksite in person can only really be an approximation.  Visiting the site can allow an experienced contractor to better understand the project scope and spot any potential difficult aspects, allowing them to give you a more accurate estimate.

Your Needs and Expectations

Your contractor should talk with you about your needs and expectations for the project.  You should understand the entire project from start to finish and ask questions of the contractor about exactly what would be involved to achieve your goals.

Materials

Different projects require different materials.  You may have to choose between asphalt, concrete and interlocking, and even in each category, there’s a wide range of possibilities.  Different types of asphalt or concrete are appropriate for different situations, depending on your exact needs and requirements.  Your contractor should discuss all options with you so you can make the best decision.

Water Drainage

The single most important factor for the longevity of your asphalt is water drainage, and that should be part of any discussion for new or refurbished asphalt.  If water drainage is ignored, your new construction will be vulnerable to cracking, potholes and other damage.

Communication

When dealing with a contractor, you should expect good communication.  There should be a back-and-forth discussion about your needs and preferences, and you should get all the information you need in a timely and prompt fashion.  If your contractor is difficult to talk with when setting up a job, you can’t expect them to suddenly improve when they’re on the job!

Referrals

A good contractor will have a list of customer testimonials and reviews to share with you, so you can see how many other satisfied customers they have.  Ideally, they’ll provide you with either photos or addresses of previous work so you can check it out yourself before committing.

How to Plan for Yearly Maintenance

How to Plan for Yearly Maintenance

Yearly preventative maintenance is key to keeping your asphalt or concrete surface in good condition.  It’s best to fix problems before they can become major issues, as it will not only save you time and money in the long run, but also keep your surfaces working in prime condition year-round.

Maintenance like crack and pothole filling is relatively cheap, and have a great return on investment, with both immediate and long-term benefits.  Keeping room in your budget for yearly small repairs is one of the best investments you can make.

The best time to do yearly maintenance is the fall, just before icy weather hits, but as long as you’re consistent, you can do yearly maintenance at any time.  Here are several things you should keep an eye on:

Surface Inspections

Are there any cracks or potholes that need to be filled?  These surface-level damages allow water to penetrate your pavement, which can expand cracks and other problems when it freezes and thaws.  That can cause severe damage, which is easily preventable if you deal with cracks and potholes early.

Water Pooling

Is water pooling anywhere on your surface?  Standing water is another avenue for water penetration; you should have well-managed water run-off in order to avoid problems from developing.  Good water run-off also helps prevent snow or ice accumulation in the winter.

Aesthetics

Over time, your asphalt or concrete might start looking worn or faded.  Sealcoating is a great way to make your asphalt look like new again, increasing your curb appeal and improving the value of your home or business.

Proper maintenance on your asphalt or concrete helps extend the life of your surfaces.  Don’t get caught needing to spend the money on a total replacement; common-sense maintenance will save you both time and money!  Call Epic Paving for all your asphalt and concrete maintenance needs.

Maintaining and Extending the Life of Your Parking Lot

Maintaining and Extending the Life of Your Parking Lot

Regular maintenance of your asphalt parking lot is an extremely important task to keep on top of.  If you let deterioration and damage build up, you’ll hasten repaving or even replacement.  That can come with a hefty price tag, and can be a time-consuming process.

Fortunately, regular maintenance with the help of Epic Paving can make sure your surface lasts and lasts. If you want to extend the life of your current surface, preventative maintenance is the cost-effective key.

Here are some common faults people have in their parking lots, and our recommended fixes.

Large Cracks

Once cracks get larger than about a quarter of an inch, you’re beginning to risk damage to your sub-base as water seeps through the cracks.  These cracks should be cleaned, repaired and filled to prevent any damage from undermining the integrity of your parking lot.

Potholes

Potholes are both serious damage to your parking lot and a potential hazard to cars attempting to use it.  If you don’t restore potholes before cold weather hits, water can penetrate the paved surface, causing more cracking and damage thanks to the freezing and thawing cycle.  The expert at Epic Paving know the proper way to fix potholes – we won’t just slap some cold asphalt down and call it done, as that will lead to the pothole just reappearing in the near future.  We’ll make sure the job is done right.

Faded Asphalt

When asphalt starts fading, it lowers the aesthetic appeal of your property.  You don’t need to replace or resurface it to get that good-as-new appearance, however – sealcoating will make your asphalt look great once again.  It has other benefits, too – it fills in surface damage; protects your pavement against oxidation, oil and chemical spills; and prevents water penetration, rain, frost and snow damage.

Oil Stains

Oil stains and other debris isn’t a sign of deterioration, but still have a negative impact on your parking lot’s curbside appeal.  Small stains can be removed as a do-it-yourself project – even Coca-Cola can be used to clean up a fresh stain.  Larger stains could use the professional touch of a street sweeper and its specialized bristled brushes.

With regular repair and maintenance, taking care of small problems before they become larger, you can seriously extend the life of your parking lot!  A properly-maintained lot can last 20 years or more.  A little maintenance prevents a large headache later.

What To Do When Your Asphalt Starts to Crack

What To Do When Your Asphalt Starts to Crack

We’ve all seen it happen over time – alligator cracks popping up in your asphalt.  It’s the most common type of asphalt damage, creating a distinctive spiderweb of cracks across your asphalt.

It’s not just an aesthetic issue, however – it’s a very serious problem for your asphalt.  If left unrepaired, it can cause permanent, long-lasting and expensive damage to your driveway, parking lot or other asphalt surface.

When you see the beginning signs of alligator cracks on your asphalt, it’s time to call in the professionals at Epic Paving.  With more than 20 years of experience, we’re the Greater Toronto Area’s top asphalt paving contractors – and we know just what to do to save your asphalt.

Causes of Cracking

Unlike other cracks, alligator cracks are a fatigue issue.  It generally isn’t caused by harsh weather or by accidents – those will cause surface-level cracks that do only surface-level damage and are fairly easy to repair.

No, alligator cracking is fatigue cracking, which likely means something is wrong with the underlying support of your asphalt.  Your asphalt surface has to deal with a tremendous amount of weight and pressure; a problem in the underlying layers means that your asphalt simply cannot withstand the forces it has to deal with.  That will cause cracks and underlying damage.

How to Avoid Cracking

The best way to avoid alligator cracking is to make sure your asphalt is installed properly to begin with.  An experienced contractor, like the ones at Epic Paving, will make sure your sub-base is properly installed, and fit for the work it has to do – different uses require different preparations.  An asphalt surface that needs to support a passenger car, like a driveway, is vastly different from one that needs to support the heavy industrial load of a parking lot.

Weather is an issue as well, especially in Toronto, so you want to ensure your asphalt is properly weather-proofed and protected against the thaw-freeze cycle.  A bit of extra preparation upfront can save you hassles later on.

How to Repair Cracking

A short-term solution to alligator cracks is some crack filler or sealcoating, but these are just temporary measures.  What you should do is, if possible, cordon off the area, prevent more traffic and more damage, and contacting your paving professionals.

They will evaluate the source of the problem, determining the scope and extent of your issue.  This includes an evaluation of the sub-base; how well was it originally installed? How has it held up under use?

From there, the actual repair work would begin.  Sometimes, it’s possible to simply remove the one damaged section of asphalt, replacing it with a properly installed sub-base and surface.  If the damage is extensive enough, and the base not salvageable, they may need to replace the entire surface.  While that may seem drastic, it’s better than having professionals repeatedly coming out to maintain a poorly-constructed surface!

Epic Paving offers professional paving services throughout the Greater Toronto Area.  Call us today for a quote and consultation, and we’ll help get your pavement looking good as new again.

Choosing the Right Type of Asphalt

Choosing the Right Type of Asphalt

So you’ve decided on asphalt for your next major project.  An excellent choice!  Asphalt is a great option for a large variety of projects, owing to its durability, its ease of repair and its cost-effectiveness.  But what type of asphalt is best for you?

Not all asphalt is made equally, and some types of asphalt are better for certain projects.  Depending on what you need out of your asphalt surface, you’ll need a different mix of asphalt.  Here’s a quick rundown of the most common types of asphalt around, and what benefits they provide.

Hot Mix Asphalt

Hot mix asphalt is ideal for driveways, thanks to its aesthetic appeal – it’s easy to give it a quality, finished appearance.  Its flexibility, weather resistance and ability to repel water make it a common choice throughout North America.  It’s called “hot mix” because it’s heated and poured at temperatures between 300 and 350 degrees Fahrenheit.  It’s durable, easy to repair, withstands freezing and thawing and is unaffected by salt in the winter.  It’s a high-quality, low-maintenance surface.

Warm Mix Asphalt

Warm mix, as you might guess, is poured at lower temperatures than hot mix – between 200 and 250 degrees.  This offers much of the same benefits of hot mix, and has its own benefits added in, as well.  It can be laid in cooler temperatures, extending the paving season – great if you need an emergency paving job in, say, December.  It’s also greener than hot mix, using less fossil fuels and resources in the manufacturing process.  It also produces less dust, smoke and fumes, which is better for worker safety.  For these reasons, and more, it’s becoming a very popular option.

Perpetual Pavement

Perpetual pavement is good for heavy-use areas; it’s a multi-level paving process that helps prevent the need for complete replacement.  A strong, flexible base helps prevent cracks from forming from the bottom up, while a strong middle layer is laid on top of that, before the final top layer is applied.  That middle layer is permanent – think of it like a buffer zone – while the top layer is designed to be replaced periodically.  That helps save time and money on repair needs – only the top layer needs to be addressed during regular repairs.  In high-traffic areas, where damage is unavoidable, perpetual pavement is a great option.

Porous Asphalt

Porous asphalt is a great option for parking lots and other areas with drainage issues.  Pores in the surface allow water to drain through the surface into the soil below, helping avoid pooling and puddles.  It reduces runoff, which is key in commercial areas, and is better for the environment, reducing storm system basins.  It’s often a little courser than regular asphalt, but it’s a great way to manage water on your property.