Commercial asphalt paving can be found all over the city of Houston. Asphalt is a reliable, versatile and a primary choice in pavement material for commercial properties.
If installed and maintained properly, asphalt pavement can last for 15-20 years before major restorations are required. However, as commercial asphalt projects are complex and labor-intensive, experienced professional paving crews are needed to ensure high quality work.
Where is asphalt used in Houston?
In Houston, concrete is king, but asphalt also plays an important role. While you won’t find it on the city’s interstates or high traffic roads, it is an effective option for parking lots, access road, side roads and more.
Asphalt is a flexible material that can be installed quickly, so it can be used with large scale projects that cover thousands of square feet. From small retail buildings to sprawling industrial complexes, asphalt can provide excellent results.
Five Benefits of Commercial Asphalt Paving in Houston
No commercial property is complete without pavement. The question is – should your business invest in asphalt or concrete? Both have their strengths and applications. For many Houston businesses, though, the choice is asphalt. Here are five reasons why:
- Asphalt is cost effective – Asphalt and concrete prices vary by geographical area and market forces, but in general, asphalt costs about half as much as concrete per square foot. If cost is a concern, asphalt paving can provide excellent value.
- Asphalt allows for quick installation – Once the asphalt is installed, it only needs about 48 hours before it can handle vehicle traffic. Asphalt patches and crack repairs are typically ready for traffic immediately. With its rapid readiness, asphalt installation and maintenance will cause minimal disruption to the property.
- Asphalt is durable and long lasting – As mentioned, asphalt will last up to 20 years with professional maintenance and service. If the surface layers are milled and replaced (known as an overlay) every 10 or so years, the subsurface pavement layers may last much longer.
- Asphalt offers excellent road performance – Asphalt provides an ideal driving surface for motorists and a smooth walking surface for pedestrians. As such, it is safer for people and vehicles to travel on, and provides a better overall driving experience. Further, asphalt’s smooth finish improves fuel economy and reduces surface wear. If installed by an expert paving team, asphalt solutions will last longer due to this reduced wear.
- Strong curb appeal and striping contrast – Freshly installed asphalt has a rich black appearance that helps the property look newer and better maintained, which attracts customers.
Fresh asphalt also contrasts well with parking lot striping, improving its visibility and effectiveness. Striping refers to the traffic markings on the pavement, such as parking spaces, traffic arrows, access aisles and fire lanes. Fresh asphalt makes these markings easier to see, and therefore more likely to be noticed, adding in a safety factor.
How Commercial Asphalt Paving is Installed in Houston
Considering an asphalt project for your business? Here’s how expert paving contractors get the job done:
- Site preparation and clearing – The first step is ensuring the project site is ready for pavement. This involves surveying the site, demolishing any existing pavement or structures, grubbing out vegetation and hauling off any waste. This part of the job requires significant machinery resources, including extractors, dozers, skid loaders – and likely a combination of the above.
- Site grading – The project site is then shaped and sloped to specification. Work with a paving contractor that uses precision grading instruments and vehicles, including motor graders and laser levels to achieve precision results. It’s critical for crews to impart the right slope into the pavement, as this slope will assist with drainage.
- Base preparation – The asphalt will be installed on top of a base, which is the soil underlying the pavement. A stable, compact base is what your pavement company should be striving for. In Houston, large parts of the city sit on clay-rich soils that are difficult to build on. Asphalt contractors can correct a weak or unstable base by undercutting the soil or by adding chemical agents to the soil to stabilize it. When undercutting, a small amount of surface soil is dug up and replaced with stable materials like aggregates.
To confirm the base is ready for pavement, expert paving contractors will often use a roller to test how well the base is compacted.
- Base course and binder placement – The base course is what goes directly on top of the soil and is used to provide support to the asphalt’s binder and surface layers. It typically consists of crushed aggregates, including crushed concrete.
Once the base course is in place, a binder layer is applied. The binder acts like a glue that adheres the asphalt’s layers together and ensures they bear weight properly. In effect, the binder ensures bearing forces are transmitted through the entire stack of asphalt layers, so no one layer is overly stressed.
- Surface course placement – The surface course is the top layer of asphalt that directly interfaces with tire or foot. It’s responsible for taking on wear and is a combination of sand, crushed rock, and bitumen – a petroleum product.
This step is labor intensive and requires an entire crew working in unison to manage. Asphalt paving machines are used to lay the pavement down first, while several compactors roll out the asphalt as it cures. Additional workers rake the asphalt to ensure even distribution.
- Joint installation – Many asphalt projects involve connecting the new asphalt to existing pavement. This is done by adding butt joints between old and new. Butt joints are spots where the pavement has been cut, sloped, and joined to ensure a seamless transition between paved areas.
At this point, all that’s left to do is let the asphalt cure and sealcoat it.
What is asphalt sealcoating?
Asphalt sealcoat is a combination of bituminous (asphalt) material, water, an emulsifier, polymers, and a few other ingredients. When applied to asphalt surfaces, sealcoat acts similarly to asphalt binder as it effectively “glues” surface aggregates together and improves the pavement’s integrity. With sealcoating, the asphalt will be more resistant to damage, cracks, and wear due to weather or use.
Asphalt sealcoating should be applied following pavement installation and every 18-24 months thereafter. Sticking to this schedule will prolong the asphalt’s useful life.
Commercial Asphalt Paving in Houston Should be Handled by a Reputable Paving Company
Asphalt is a proven pavement material for Houston’s commercial properties. The material is cost efficient, lasts for decades, and provides excellent surface performance. Asphalt is also highly versatile and can be scaled up or down as needed.
To unlock the material’s full potential, though, you’ll need an experienced asphalt pavement contractor on the job. A reputable asphalt paving team will ensure your pavement is installed for long-term performance. This includes organizing the project site and planning, grading the site, establishing a stable base for the pavement, utilizing high quality materials, rolling out the asphalt and sealcoating it once installed.