Parking Lot Paving Steps
Often, PRC gets asked what are the steps involved in Paving a Parking Lot so we’ve made a little article summarizing it so we can link this as a convenience to you and others down the road.
Step 1: Preparation/Permits/Mark-out
This is often one of the most undervalued steps as many contractors don’t know the ins and outs of the permitting process which can really hold up your project and lead to change orders down the road. A good contractor will take all the steps to guarantee no hold-ups from the beginning.
Step 2: Milling of Existing Surface (If needed)
Paving on top of existing damaged asphalt, or a soft surface probably not a good idea. The asphalt will most likely fail. In some cases quickly after installation especially in harsh or wet climates. Cracks reflect back up through an asphalt overlay at a rate of 1″ per year. If a contractor does not prep properly, within 2 years all the cracks the overlay just covered will pop back up. This is called “reflective cracking” in the industry.
In order to create a solid base for a new asphalt installation in areas of compromise (Alligator cracks, areas with vertical movement under the weight of vehicle traffic or potholes), it is important to remove any existing asphalt down to the sub grade. Once the asphalt is removed the sub grade is inspected for the area of compromise.
If it is determined the sub grade needs to be removed and replaced with recycled aggregate, it is documented through video and/or photos. You would be notified before any additional work is commenced for authorization.
Step 3: Grading and Base Materials
The sub base is the single most important part of your new asphalt installation. If your sub base is unstable, your parking lot will be unstable. It’s very simple. Base materials are the support or foundation to your new parking lot. It need to be installed right the first time. There are no second chances at this point.
**This is the equivalent of building a beautiful custom home for $225/sf and putting it on a a foundation incorrectly formed. Now you have a beautiful home sitting on a foundation that’s ready to crumble.**
PRC will evaluate your base and use the correctly calculated amount of sub grade material as the foundation if necessary. Crushed stone is common, but we can use a recycled aggregate as a green process, when available. This is good for everybody including our Florida environment.
Recycled aggregate is typically crushed and processed concrete, asphalt, stone or a combination of the three. Its just as strong as virgin quarry aggregate and helps keep the material from being dumped the landfill.
We will also constantly evaluate this base material during installation to make sure it is properly compacted. If at any time we feel there is an area of compromise in the base you will be contacted with options to ensure the structural integrity of your project is maintained.
A laser level is then used, so that we can guarantee the pitch is correct. We do this to make sure there will be proper water runoff when the paving is complete.
We can” wet test” a parking lot before paving if some areas of slope are suspect. This involves visiting the parking lot 24 hours after a significant rain event to see any areas of standing water. Grades are shot with a laser and we come up with a plan to then correct the drainage. In some instances drainage cannot be corrected with simple profile milling, and smaller 12″ or 18″ catch basin or a trench drain may need to installed to promote positive drainage prior to paving.
Depending on the individual project specs, your project may also call for a binder layer. A binder layer is middle layer between sub base material and the surfacing material. Binder is also used in any cut out repairs that are made prior to the surface mix being installed.
Step 4: Installation of New Asphalt
The surface layer of asphalt is ready to be applied. Mixes differ depending on high traffic and heavy traffic areas such as loading docks behind shopping centers and industrial parks. Hot-mix asphalt is brought in from a local asphalt plant. The asphalt mix is brought in by dump truck and put into an asphalt paving machine.
It is installed in passes that range from 8-20 feet wide. We use a laser guided paver with electronics to install a consistent layer of asphalt surface and maintain a cross slope for water drainage.
Step 5: Compaction of Asphalt
The pavement surface is then compacted using a combination of asphalt vibratory rollers that range in size from 3 – 10 tons depending. Compacting the asphalt is the last and final step in the asphalt paving process.
Step 6: Marking Process
Pavement marking is the final step in your asphalt paving project. The line painting in your parking lot, and area between your parking spaces is the first things customers notice. Especially in the era of SUV’s. A clean and striped parking lot truly makes a GREAT first impression.
DON’T BE FOOLED:
Again, the goal at PRC is to be as honest and transparent on the front end of the job. This allows us to point out any potential “trap doors” to either avoid or minimize any cost overruns. We are often in a minority in our approach compared to others who use these opportunities to create profitable change orders on the back end of the job.
Imagine three proposals: one for $88k, one for $80k and one for $76k. You say “Go with the one for $76!” Then they get onsite and after milling up 1/2 your lot including your primary entrance and they say, “Just found 5,000 sq ft of asphalt with a soft sub grade underneath. Thats going to be $25k to repair…” That change order makes your $76k project now just climbed to $101k.
The lesson here is meet with your contractor. Ask for references. Don’t just jump to the lowest bid, no matter where it is from.
Get Professionally Concrete or aAsphalt Installation
When you need concrete or asphalt installation services along Florida’s West Coast, put your trust PRC Asphalt & Concrete. We work with all general contractors, plumbers, electrical contractors, property management companies, home builders in Sarasota, Manatee, Pinellas, Hillsborough and Charlotte Counties in Florida.