In a way, pavement contractors are like car repair professionals – you need one you can trust because most people don’t have the expertise needed to verify the quality of work. Work quality is critical with pavement because poor installation techniques will lead to early failure.
Sometimes, it takes a while for the signs of early pavement failure to emerge. However, there are also promising signs that your pavement was installed the right way. Here are a few of those signs, so property owners know what a quality paving project looks like:
1) The Pavement Drains Quickly Following a Bout of Wet Weather
Efficient drainage is what keeps the pavement from taking on water – the mortal enemy of all pavement projects. Whether it’s concrete or asphalt, if water penetrates the deeper layers, it will eat away at the pavement’s structural integrity. Potholes and base failures will follow, along with some expensive repairs.
A sure sign that something is wrong with your pavement is standing water, but the reverse is true, too. If the pavement drains quickly after a rainstorm, that’s a sign that the contractor paid attention to the property’s layout, slope, and composition when setting up drainage structures.
Along the Gulf Coast, rain is frequent and heavy. If drainage is not addressed during site development and pavement installation, there will be obvious issues rather quickly. Water pooling in areas, backing up out of trenches, and soil that never seems to dry (a foundation risk) – these are the consequences of poor drainage. A quality pavement job is unlikely to show these signs.
2) The Pavement Transitions Smoothly and Does Not Look Patchworked
Many asphalt or concrete projects are repairs or additions to existing pavement. It could be a driveway extension, overlaying a parking lot, or patching some potholes – so in many cases, there’s a mix of old and new pavement involved.
When that’s the case, pavement contractors have additional factors to consider. How will the pavement crew build in the necessary transitions? How will they ensure even depth and uniform surface texture? Will the pavement contractor verify that the existing pavement remains in usable shape?
Before moving forward with the job, a reputable contractor will first inspect the existing pavement and verify that it is stable. Assuming it is, the paving contractor will ensure all transitions between pavement installations are smooth, level and uniform. If the job is done right, there won’t be any gaps or seams between the old and new pavement. It will feel smooth to drive on, and though a patchwork look isn’t always avoidable (cut and patch jobs can be impossible to blend in), it shouldn’t be obvious that the pavement has just been worked on.
3) The Pavement is Free of Surface Imperfections
Whether it’s a concrete or asphalt paving job, the resulting surface should be clear of any significant cracking or other flaws. If cracks and warping show up soon after installation, these are likely signs of poor installation practices. These mistakes may include:
- Adding too much or too little water to the mix
- Not laying down sufficient base materials
- Not compacting the underlying soil well enough
- Not addressing base failures prior to surface-level work
- Not reinforcing the pavement’s edges
- Not giving the pavement enough time to cure
- Executing the project when the weather is unfavorable
- Not having sufficient drainage in place
There are many reasons why cracks or other surface flaws may appear soon after installation, but they generally boil down to poor workmanship. Sometimes, these problems only appear after the pavement has experienced heavy loading or a heavy storm. For example, rutting is a form of asphalt warping that looks like surface rippling. It’s the result of vehicle tires gripping and pulling at the asphalt surface until it warps. If this happens, it could be due to a poor asphalt mix, insufficient base thickness, or unstable base materials.
Rutting is just one example, but the point is this – if cracks or warping appear soon after pavement installation, the job may not have been done with effective quality controls in place.
4) The Pavement Looks Professionally Done
Aesthetics may not be the first priority of any concrete or asphalt paving project, but there’s a clear visual difference between properly and improperly installed pavement.
With concrete, for instance, proper forming comes before proper installation. It’s during this part of the process that the concrete’s shape is set. Precision and attention to detail are essential here, and if they aren’t present, the result will be uneven pavement.
With asphalt, the pavement should be evenly laid and compacted. This will impart a flexible but dense feel into the pavement that’s ready for weight bearing. Professionally installed asphalt may be striped with road markings, as well. A quality pavement job involves the use of quality paints and precision striping, so the final product looks sharp.
A Quality Paving Project Begins with a Quality Paving Team
If installed and maintained properly, pavement will last for decades. It’s a significant investment for most property owners. To ensure your organization gets the most out of its investment, choose a Houston asphalt expert who can demonstrate a history of quality paving projects. Efficient drainage, smooth transitions, and a smooth surface are the signs of a quality paving project.
- Six Signs that a Houston Parking Lot Needs to be Repaired - December 1, 2023
- Concrete Maintenance and Repair: A Guide to Commercial Pavement in Houston - November 28, 2023
- Pavement and ADA Compliance: How to Create a Compliant Parking Lot - November 22, 2023