What You Need to Know About Asphalt Crack Sealing in Central Oregon

If you’ve been looking for asphalt repair in Central Oregon, you may be wondering about what to do with an asphalt crack that’s developed in your lot or driveway. Can a cracked be repaired? Does it indicate some deeper problem with the asphalt pavement? Does that section need to be replaced?

The best answer is that a professional needs to examine your asphalt damage to find out what has gone wrong and what repair steps will work best. However, there is a common method of addressing cracks called crack sealing. We bet you’ve got some questions, so this FAQ will dive into the details!

What is Crack Sealing?

Crack sealing refers to applying a hot, rubberized sealant layer to a crack. This does not remove the crack, but rather helps keep water from entering it. This is especially important for residential paving and commercial paving in Central Oregon because of our freeze and thaw cycles, which can drive water into cracks and freeze there, broadening the crack and damaging the bottom layers of the asphalt, eventually causing widespread problems. The sealing process helps avoid this damage and allows the pavement to last longer.

Is Sealing Different From Filling?

Yes, it is. Filling refers to injecting an asphalt emulsion into the crack to reinforce the pavement and help protect the crack from water and other potential issues. The important difference here is whether a crack is “working” or not. A working crack refers to horizontal or vertical cracks that are greater than 0.1 inches and may continue to develop, while a non-working crack refers to smaller cracks less than 0.1 inches that are unlikely to grow, like alligator or diagonal cracks. Filling is generally a better option for non-working cracks, while asphalt crack sealing is better suited to working cracks.

Is Sealing Always Effective?

That depends on what is causing the crack, and how things progress in the future. The sealing materials used for cracks have some natural elasticity and can often protect the crack even as it continues to grow – to an extent, at least. But a working crack may need other treatment solutions as time passes.

Is Crack Sealing Like Sealcoating?

Not really. Sealcoating refers to adding a new layer on top of the asphalt to protect it from sun damage, dust, and overall wear, and uses different sealant materials. Driveway sealcoating in Central Oregon is best suited for asphalt that has worn down but hasn’t developed any major issues like cracks. Crack sealing is more of an on-the-spot solution for a singular problem.

Does Asphalt Crack Sealing Work for Larger Cracks?

It can, although this depends on the type of crack and how it is growing. Part of the purpose of sealing the crack is to prevent deeper damage even if the crack continues to widen. However, serious cracks may indicate an issue with the foundation of the asphalt, which will need to be addressed.

As always, Tri County Paving is happy to be your dependable asphalt paving company in Central Oregon and will be glad to inspect developing cracks and other pavement issues to provide an expert opinion. We also offer parking lot sealcoating in Central Oregon and a variety of other services to help your asphalt pavement last.

5 Ways to Protect Your Asphalt Parking Lot in Central Oregon

Asphalt parking lots should always be kept in good condition for the benefit of customers and the overall experience vehicles will have in the area. The good news is that there are several steps that owners can take to make sure their parking lots stay looking great and avoid damage as much as possible in Central Oregon.

1. Hiring a Cleaning Service

Asphalt parking lots do their best when they are cleaning according to a schedule that keeps them clear of debris and dust. Local companies can provide parking lot cleaning services that will take care of the job – this also makes it easier to spot problems or decay that need to be addressed immediately and helps prevent issues with mold or general unsightliness.

Oil and other liquid spills, on the other hand, should be dealt with ASAP with a quick cleanup to help prevent long-term staining and damage to the asphalt.

2. Plan for Winter Maintenance

Central Oregon winters tend to fill parking lots with layers of ice and snow, which can cause problems over time and introduce parking difficulties and dangers. It’s no surprise that a lot of damage can occur during these times, especially as water melts and re-freezes every night.

The best cure for this hiring an additional service in winter to remove snow from the parking lot before it can cause as much damage. For mild snowfall and freezing, using ice melt is also an option, but always talk with a professional about what kind of ice melt to use, so you avoid problems with runoff or corrosion.

3. Talk About Sealcoats with a Professional

A sealcoat adds a new layer to the asphalt surface to help protect it from cold and UV radiation, and prevent or delay damage. There’s some misinformation about sealcoats out there, so always talk to a professional asphalt service company about sealcoats and when they should be added. Keep in mind that a timely sealcoat can help prevent certain types of damage but won’t do much to help an already damaged or cracking parking lot. Tri County’s professional asphalt repair in Central Oregon is a better option than trying to seal up the damage, and we can talk about adding a sealcoat afterward, too!

4. Keep It Dry

An asphalt parking lot should never have pools of standing water from melting snow or rain: If you see any, that’s a sign that the parking lot needs to be cleaned, as well as a drainage inspection to see what’s going on. Every well-designed parking lot should have an effective drainage plan.

5. Manage Shipments and Heavy Loads Carefully

Many asphalt parking lots aren’t designed for extra-heavy vehicles like carrier trucks. If you are getting shipments or other heavy vehicles in your area, instruct them to stay off the customer-facing parking lot as much as possible.
Remember, if your asphalt parking lot is already experiencing damage, it’s important to schedule an inspection and potential repairs before it grows worse – or becomes a hazard to employees or customers. Tri County Paving is your experienced asphalt paving company in Central Oregon waiting to help, so let us know what we can do!

What You Need to Know About Pothole Liability in Oregon

Since we’re experienced in commercial paving in Central Oregon, we occasionally get questions about potholes that can form in late winter over weak areas on asphalt. Specifically, many owners want to know their own liability for potholes in their parking lots or pathways: Can guests or customers sue in small claims court if they get injured or their vehicles are damaged because of a pothole?

It may not be pleasant to think about, but it is important to understand liability in these circumstances. Here’s what owners in Central Oregon should know.

Driver Fault and Accountability

Remember, it’s possible to sue for just about everything – that doesn’t mean that a suit will be successful! And when it comes to potholes, driver fault can play a large role when it comes to liability. In other words, if a driver runs over a clearly visible pothole and sustains vehicle damage or industry, at least a portion of liability is their own fault for not taking action to avoid the pothole. That can make a lawsuit very difficult to win or make any headway in court.

Owner Liability and Failure to Act

Business owners and others may face liability with ongoing pothole issues that have not been addressed. In other words, if the owner knew about potentially dangerous potholes and had refused to fix them or refused to warn customers (especially if someone sent them a specific notice about), then a much stronger case could be made at a small claims court or via a lawsuit over personal injury.

Evidence is still very important for cases like these, so there often needs to be a paper trail, related police report, or similar data that shows willful negligence by the business owner.

City Repairs

It’s important for business owners, landlords, and others to find out if specific streets or paths near their property are their responsibility, or the city’s. If a pothole is on a street that the city is responsible for, then it’s the city’s job to take care of it and the owner won’t be liable. Technically someone could claim damages based on city negligence – these claims are rarely paid out, since it’s difficult to prove, but they can highlight a serious pothole issue.

Finally, Repair Your Potholes in a Timely Manner

The best way to avoid any issues with pothole liability (or angry customers) is to repair potholes as soon as they form. Tri County offers timely asphalt repair in Central Oregon just for situations like this where a quick patch is important for safety. If there is a section of asphalt that continually develops severe pothole problems, the problem probably goes much deeper than bad weather: It’s time to plan an inspection and replacement with a new asphalt layer on a solid substrate so potholes won’t be as much of an issue in the future!

Remember, if you are looking for a dependable asphalt paving company in Central Oregon, contact Tri County Paving today and we’ll be happy to talk about your next project, arrange for a quote, or schedule work!

How Changes in Temperature Affect Asphalt in Central Oregon

Asphalt is affected by the weather, which is why different types of asphalt can be installed for different climates. This poses some unique challenges with Central Oregon’s hot summers and cold winters. Here’s what everyone should about how our weather matters, and what that means for important asphalt projects.

Cold Weather in Central Oregon and Asphalt

Central Oregon sees freezing temperatures throughout winter (and usually parts of fall and spring as well). Particularly low-temperature freezing conditions can cause asphalt to contract in on itself, and weak asphalt may pull apart and form cracks as a result.

The other danger of freezing temperatures is any moisture around, beneath, or inside asphalt. This moisture can come from underground or melting snow and ice seeping into asphalt cracks. When this water freezes as night temperatures drop, it expands and “heaves” the asphalt, causing serious ruptures and tears.

So, how does residential and commercial asphalt installation deal with these serious winter challenges? The first step is making sure the substrate beneath the asphalt is properly prepared and that drainage both above and below the asphalt is designed so that moisture does not linger. If asphalt is being installed during cold weather, the paving contractor will also use different mixes and steps to help the asphalt cure properly: Generally, if the temperatures are falling to near freezing, it’s not the right time for an asphalt project.

If asphalt does experience damage from winter conditions, it’s important to find asphalt repair in Central Oregon and patch it quickly! Cracks and deterioration will become much worse over time with freezing weather. Sealcoats and some other approaches can also help asphalt weather cold winters more easily. Proper maintenance, like quickly clearing away snow and keeping asphalt clean, will also have an important impact.

Hot Weather in Central Oregon and Asphalt

Central Oregon sees hot, dry summers with temperatures rising into the 90s by August, very different conditions from the cold, snowy winters. This poses a separate kind of challenge to asphalt.

First, the frequent sunny days of our region expose asphalt to lots of UV radiation. This can encourage a chemical reaction in the asphalt where light and heavy oils combine and the binding components of the asphalt start to fail, making the asphalt brittle and subject to more cracking.

Second, if the asphalt is exposed to very high temperatures over time, especially without a proper top coating, bits of it can start to come apart and adhere to other things, like shoes or tries. This is called tracking – fortunately, the dry heat of Central Oregon isn’t as likely to cause tracking, but it’s still something to be aware of.

Finally, the heat itself can damage asphalt over time, and may cause cracks or cause existing cracks to grow worse.

The solution is finding the right combination of asphalt mix and top coating to help asphalt weather the summers. This often means planning for a high SRI, or solar reflectance index, which allows asphalt to reflect more heat instead of absorbing it. It’s also important to patch any cracks that appear before they can cause problems.

Are you looking for professional driveway paving in Central Oregon, or a project built specifically for local weather conditions? Contact Tri County Paving today to learn more or get a fast quote from our experienced asphalt paving team in Central Oregon!

7 Steps in the Asphalt Paving Process in Central Oregon

What exactly happens during the asphalt installation process? Here’s exactly what to expect with each step from your asphalt paving company in Central Oregon! When planning and scheduling your next asphalt project, these steps may also help you make the best decisions.

1. Preparing the Surface for Asphalt

First, the surface needs to be ready for asphalt. If we are replacing an existing asphalt layer, then it will have to be broken apart and completely hauled away. Even without an existing surface, the ground will still need to be broken apart and leveled: With our rocky Central Oregon earth, this often means removing many rocks and boulders at the same time. It’s is a labor-intensive part of the process that can require heavy machinery, so it’s important to work out the details ahead of time regarding noise and space!

However, leveling the surface is only the first step. Once a stable ground layer has been created, it needs to be carefully sculpted so that it slopes in the right direction for water runoff. Standing water is one of the worst things for asphalt, so it’s important that the surface encourages water to drain away. Powerful motor graders help complete this process.

2. Installing the Sub Base

With the grading complete, it’s time to get the surface ready for the first layers of the asphalt. The starting layer is called the sub base, an aggregate which is carefully applied, compacted, and measured to make sure all the angles are just right. A good sub base isn’t just vital for installation: It can also help protect the asphalt from any ground frost that may creep up during the chilly Central Oregon winters.

3. Completing the Proof Roll

After the sub base is compared and measures, the team will usually do a proof roll to secure the sub base and check for any problems. This simply means rolling over the layer with a very heavy vehicle to check how it responds. If the sub base falls apart, shows depressions, or develops other problems, then it needs to be repaired, compacted, and measure again until all of the flaws are (literally) ironed out.

4. Adding the Binder

The binding agent is the layer that the asphalt clings to. It provides a very important base and must be extremely durable with just the right mixture. Most binder layers are created from a mix of oil and aggregate that’s carefully compacted to be as sturdy as possible.

5. Adding the Top Asphalt Layer

Finally, the heated mixture of asphalt is applied across the binder as the top layer. This is where paving machines and rollers play a key role in flattening and compacting the asphalt before it has time to cure. The asphalt will spend some time drying, during in which it cannot be used. If you are doing asphalt repair in Central Oregon, where the new asphalt layer is installed against an older asphalt section, this is also the period where the seams are carefully bonded together with asphalt patches to prevent any cracks in the future.

In some cases when asphalt may need special protection, a top sealcoat is also added to the finished installation so that the surface is ready for tough conditions.

If you need any advice or want to schedule a project, we’re happy to help. Contact Tri County Paving for driveway paving in Central Oregon and many other asphalt installation projects!

What’s the Right Type of Asphalt Mix for Central Oregon?

While different types of asphalt may have similar appearances, there are actually several different “mixes” or combinations of materials and processes that asphalt can be made of. These mixes vary so that can professionals can match the mix to local conditions like weather, temperatures, and how much stress the asphalt will be under.
In Central Oregon, asphalt needs to withstand both hot summers and freezing winters, which is why high-quality asphalt mixes and installation are so important in the area. Let’s do a quick rundown of different mixes, how they’re made, and what works best for conditions around Bend Oregon.

Hot Mix Asphalt

Hot mix asphalt is created and heated up to 300 to 500 degrees during preparation. This mix can be more demanding to create and transport – asphalt needs to be kept hot until it is applied – but it also has many advantages. The high heat allows the aggregates (like sand or gravel) to bond very firmly, and the overall mixture is highly durable. Hot mix asphalt also cools down very quickly, so it’s a good idea for fast installations.

The durability of hot mix asphalt makes it a particularly good choice for climates with a lot of temperature changes – it’s a good match for Central Oregon’s summers and winters. The extra durability helps withstand damage from studded tires, and the hot mix is particularly good at allowing contractions and expansions without
Because of these qualities, hot mix asphalt is a good fit for commercial paving in Central Oregon, and is a common recommendation for parking lots and roads. Residential asphalt paving contractors in Central Oregon may also recommend it for driveways and other private projects that need to stand the test of time.

Performance Grade

Asphalt can also be identified by performance grade or “PG.” This is a number that specifically refers to the binding chemicals used in the asphalt mix. Different binder combinations can make asphalt more resistant to cold weather, or more durable over time so it doesn’t need to be replaced as often.
PG ratings are especially useful for large commercial projects, because they indicate what precise type of mix is appropriate for specific regions. For example, in Central and Eastern Oregon above 2,500 feet elevation, PG 64-28 is recommended for rural highways, and PG 76-28 is recommended for critical urban highways. These official recommendations are very useful as starting points for what precise asphalt PG level to use in Central Oregon.

Other Mixes

The two other common asphalt mixes are warm mix and cold mix. Warm mix asphalt is made at far lower temperatures, which saves lots of energy and expense during production, and it can be placed in a wider range of temperatures. Warm mix asphalt isn’t as durable as hot mix and must be placed carefully to avoid problems, but it’s better for the environment and generally easier to work with. Asphalt services may recommend it for private projects, especially when backed up with a driveway sealcoating to help prevent damage over time. Cold mix asphalt, on the other hand, is typically used only for patching and temporary repairs, and is not designed for long-lasting projects.

damaged asphalt in Oregon on a rainy day

8 Types of Asphalt Damage in Central Oregon

Asphalt is a popular choice in Central Oregon because of how durable the surface can be – when mixed and installed correctly. However, poor asphalt installation and other issues with our seasonal weather changes can cause problems. Here are some of the most common repair issues we’ve seen with asphalt paving in Central Oregon, and why they cause trouble.

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How Long Does an Asphalt Driveway Last in Oregon?

Asphalt driveways are an alternative for many areas of Central Oregon that have some built-in advantages for the weather here. Let’s go over what you should know!

Living in the high desert means enjoying big seasonal changes: Hot summers and snowy winters are both expected. Residential and commercial driveways, however, don’t appreciate these changes as much as the people do. The cycles of freezing and thawing in winter cause water to seep into cracks in the pavement and then expand when it freezes, forcing those cracks apart and shortening the lifespan of many driveways.

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