Most communities with an HOA typically have asphalt surfaces for their roads, streets, bike paths, and parking lots. Smooth and well-maintained asphalt surfaces help provide communities with safe and aesthetically pleasing common areas.
However, even though the community members probably enjoy and appreciate them, they normally don’t spend too much time thinking about them unless there is a pothole or other damage to the roads or parking lots.
In all communities, not just those with an HOA, potholes are one of the biggest issues residents complain about the most. Asphalt is considered very durable and can last a long time when properly cared for with regular maintenance.
If the board implements a good preventive maintenance plan, it can extend the life of the asphalt areas. Therefore, keeping all the surfaces well-maintained will improve the neighborhood’s appearance and reduce the risk of injury and liability.
Preventative Maintenance for Asphalt
Preventing severe damage to essential areas like your roads and parking lots means a happier community and fewer large-scale repairs. The board should have a plan in place that adjusts to the needs of the community. A professional can provide specific improvements needed, but some general recommendations are:
Seal Coat / Rejuvenate
You should use a seal coat or rejuvenate the asphalt pavements every two to three years. Seal coats are thin protective layers resistant to heat, sun, water, chemicals, and natural wear. They also will make the asphalt look brand new.
Rejuvenation is a newer option, and it involves using tar oils to recondition the asphalt. It uses the same material as the asphalt you already have, allowing them to penetrate the surface to replace the depleted oils. Rejuvenation also gives asphalt flexibility, making it easier to use and more durable during weather changes. It allows the asphalt to expand and contract due to weather conditions, which prevents cracks.
Some communities have found that rejuvenation can last up to five years. Experts say adding this to any maintenance plan can extend the life of your asphalt indefinitely. However, if you have already done seal coating on that same surface in the past, you can’t switch to rejuvenation.
It’s imperative to ask your contractor to fill any cracks as soon as possible. Asphalt is more durable than concrete, but if cracks fill up with too much water, there could be big problems for that paved surface. The best pavement maintenance is filling and sealing cracks as they appear.
As soon as you find any gaps in your pavement, it is crucial to have them filled in before more damage is caused by the weather or normal wear and tear conditions. Suppose the asphalt on your parking lot has designated lines or markings, such as identifying handicap spots or anything else. In that case, you’ll want to keep those maintained as well to increases the curb appeal.
The board should keep adequate records documenting the maintenance and repairs completed so that newly elected board members can ensure the common areas continue to follow the preventative maintenance plan. These records should include a property overview map, total square yards of paved surfaces, any previous maintenance work, signs and striping details, and anything else that might pertain to your parking lots and roadways.
Hiring a Contractor
Hiring a contractor to handle your asphalt needs is not too different from hiring any other contractor. You’ll want to ensure they have all the proper paperwork, such as licenses, insurance coverage, permits, etc. It would be best if you always aimed to get at least three bids for comparison.
Always ask for references and information about the past work they have done. When you get the bids, of course, the price will be a high priority for you. If any of the proposals are too high or too low, find out why. Because there are changes to the industry and materials (such as rejuvenation), and sometimes a low bid in this area means they have a more efficient way to do the work.
If there are other differences between the bids, such as their procedures, ask them to explain why in writing. Finding out why a company wants to execute your project a certain way could make them rise to the top of the list or fall off the list entirely.
This is when having some familiarity with their business can be helpful. But, unless you’re an expert in the field, you’ll need to rely on the answers they provide to all your questions. This type of maintenance or repair could cover a large area the community members use regularly.
It would help if you also asked the contractors what measures they will take to limit the number of interruptions for the homeowners. You’ll also want to provide them with details about the property, such as garbage pickup days, disabled residents in the community, and any special events already on the calendar.
Having and implementing a good preventative maintenance plan can significantly improve the life of your asphalt. Keeping the areas damage-free before any problems occur will save your board money and keep the residents happy.