It's a Pave New World Caring for Paved Surfaces

How solid is the ground on which you walk and drive upon in your community? The answer might surprise you, as could the amount of money that might be seeping from your community’s bank account from unnecessary repairs to driveways, parking lots, and sidewalks.

Whether taking the form of sidewalks, parking lots and slabs, driveways, pool decks, or outdoor design elements, paved surfaces are everywhere in New England’s condominium communities. Caring for and repairing these acres of asphalt (as well as the community’s concrete, pavers, etc.), is a tedious task. The management has the responsibility of keeping the pavement outside front doors in good shape; but it’s also in the interest of everyone in a community to keep an eye on these parts of the infrastructure.

Understanding the various materials, methods, and technologies involved in paving located in a condominium community might seem purely the bailiwick of property management, and not a concern of the resident or board of trustees member. Still, it makes sense to save dollars. Having a clue on whether the asphalt parking lot just needs a patch or major renovation could save everyone in the association a lot of time and money.

Firm Foundations

Knowing about paving means understanding the materials used for such projects. Just as some contractors are better at doing certain projects and not as great at working on other types of jobs, however, the correct material for the project may not be the one that seems best at the outset. Sometimes, when everyone is clamoring for new asphalt, concrete could be needed, or vice versa.

Generally speaking in New England residential communities, parking lots are asphalt, and sidewalks, patios, and pool pavements are concrete. The differences are distinct: asphalt is made of big and small rocks, sand, and petroleum; it’s flexible, and cures over six to 12 months. But strictly speaking, asphalt never really “sets up”—it stays flexible, unlike typical concrete, which becomes a solid, rigid surface after it cures.

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