The Paving Process
The following is an example of a recent B&B paving project which included the removal and replacement of approximately 23,000 sq. ft. of existing asphalt, the excavation and creation of 3,000 sq. ft. of new parking area, installation of concrete curbing and new storm sewers, 2 lifts of asphalt, paving fabric and striping. B&B managed the entire project and it was completed in approximately one week.
Preparation of the new parking areas Above Left: The site is surveyed and elevations measured to ensure proper excavation depths and water drainage. J.U.L.I.E. is contacted to mark any underground utilities prior to the start of the project. Center: Silt fencing is installed to eliminate construction runoff and excavation begins. Right: This project required an initial excavation for the installation of new concrete curbing as well as a general dig to a depth of 13 inches to allow for multiple layers of stone and fabric.
Left: Once the new parking area is excavated and new curbs poured, geo-textile underlayment fabric is installed to eliminate soil infiltration into the stone substrate. This project required the grading and compaction of 6 inches of CA-1 stone as a base with another layer of 4 inches of CA-6 stone as the final base layer. Center: Over 250 tons of stone are added as base for the new parking area. Right: The finished base for the new parking area as it connects with the existing lot (with old asphalt removed).
Left: Removal of the old asphalt continues. Approximately 300 tons of broken asphalt are removed and trucked to an asphalt recycling plant. Center: Paving begins with the installation of 2 1/2 inches of binder grade asphalt over the entire lot. Right: The compacted and cooled binder layer is covered by heated liquid asphalt and paving fabric layers, which provides increased strength to the pavement and a moisture barrier to reduce potential water penetration.
Left: The final 1 1/2 inches of surface grade asphalt are paved and compacted. In total, over 600 tons of new asphalt are paved to create the new surface. Center: The lot is restriped to add additional parking stalls. Right: New pavement markings are added to the newly constructed lot.
Next steps: Sealcoating and restriping to be completed in the spring.
Should I use asphalt or concrete for my project?
Asphalt and concrete are both excellent paving materials with unique properties that need to be considered before you decide which one is right for your project. It is very important to remember that, no matter what you use, all paving surfaces will ultimately degrade over time due to weathering, freeze/thaw cycles, heavy loads and chemical/gasoline/oil exposure. Your choice of paving material should be based on the expected use and traffic for the surface, the ability to maintain it over time, the look you desire and overall cost.
Concrete is a long-lasting, durable surface that can typically carry very heavy loads. It is generally used for paving projects that need to support extremely heavy items like large commercial trucks and/or heavy traffic, such as truck loading docks or airports or for surfaces that need to resist prolonged exposure to chemicals or hydrocarbons (gasoline, oil etc...) such as service stations. The downside to concrete is that although it is tough, it is also very expensive to install and is extremely difficult to repair once cracking begins. The same rigidity that makes concrete so strong also makes it more prone to cracking as it has no flexibility to any movement of the base below it or water infiltration and freeze/thaw damage. Generally speaking, once concrete degrades due to surface pitting, cracking or heaving it must be completely torn out and replaced. This can be a very expensive proposition.
Asphalt is also a long lasting and extremely durable surface that can carry heavy loads. It can be used for almost any type of paving project, from city streets to residential driveways to commercial parking lots and can be installed in virtually any thickness to support those varying load capacities. Asphalt is flexible and can resist some movement of the underlying base before cracking. Asphalt can also be easily maintained through periodic sealing of the surface. This will fill any gaps between the aggregate stones, will seal any small developing cracks and will protect the surface from UV radiation (sunlight), chemical or hydrocarbon exposure and general wear and tear. The jet black color of asphalt (particularly after it has been sealed) also lends a beautiful contrast to homes, businesses and landscaping. Asphalt can be easily patched and/or resurfaced if necessary during its lifecycle, is generally much less expensive to install and maintain than concrete and can be completely recycled.
Overall, asphalt is an excellent choice for most paving projects and is the material of choice when a project calls for a combination of cost efficiency, strength, durability, ease of maintenance and aesthetics. In fact, the next time you visit a local service station take note of their pavement. The area immediately around the gas pumps is typically concrete (for chemical/gas/oil resistance) but the remainder of the lot is usually asphalt. Why? Because asphalt can handle the heavy traffic and loads, is strong and reliable and is much less expensive to install, repair and maintain than concrete. Businesses and local governments understand the economics of property maintenance and choose asphalt for most of their general use paving.
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