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Maintaining Community Pavement

How solid is the pavement in your community? You may be surprised, as could the amount of money being contributed from your community’s reserve fund from unnecessary repairs to driveways, parking lots, and sidewalks.

Most of Florida’s HOA Communities are covered in pavement. Caring for and replacing these acres of asphalt is a tedious task. The management is ultimately responsible for the pavement, but it up to the community to keep an eye on this important piece of infrastructure.

Understanding the various materials, methods, and technologies involved in paving located in a multifamily condo or HOA might seem tedious, but is essential to preventing financial messes down the road.

“Generally speaking in South Florida 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. Asphalt, though, never really “sets up,” as is the case with most concretes, which become a solid, impermeable surface after they cure.” – Jonathan Barnes.

If asphalt is compromised, the entire paved area may need replacing. Hence, an engineer (or other competent professional) must identify the exact nature of the problem. “Instead of overthinking it, stop reaching over dimes to pick up pennies. Fix it correctly the first time, rather than wasting too much money,” says Kenny Goldberg, president of All County Paving, based in Delray Beach. “If you have a drainage issue, fix that issue, or you’ll end up spending twice as much.”

Florida’s tropical heat can deform asphalt. The combination of heavy traffic with the heat can wear away the asphalt surface and cause pitting.

In addition to cracking and pitting, asphalt can crack when breaking down, which could lead to a more pervasive problem quickly; surface cracks allow water to enter, where it pools in the subsurface and starts breaking down the pavement.

“Instead of overthinking it, stop reaching over dimes to pick up pennies. Fix it correctly the first time, rather than wasting too much money,” Goldberg says. “If you have a drainage issue, fix that issue, or you’ll end up spending twice as much.”

Certain seasonal maintenance steps must be taken to keep pavement in good shape, Goldberg says. First, ensure that the drainage system taking water away from the pavement is clean and clear of debris so it doesn’t back up with water and cause problems. All parking lots must have debris removed and be swept clean. Landscaping around paved areas should be trimmed and disposed of, too. Finally, a seal coating should be applied to pavement if treatment is necessary (some communities do this yearly; others do it every other year).

Amy Miller, the vice president of national resources for the National Ready Mix Concrete Association, and also a resident of Fleming Island, Florida, points out that the concrete used in residential developments is of three types. The most common is traditional (or Portland) cement; pervious concrete (which has voids in it, and enables water to trickle through, aiding in ecological storm-water management); and concrete overlays, which is when a layer of cement is installed atop an existing asphalt surface.

“Asphalt parking lots have shorter life spans; in Florida, you will see more asphalt,” says Miller. “But there’s always been a long-term maintenance savings when using concrete which should be considered.”

 

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