Category Archives: Driveway Care

What Causes Concrete To Crack?

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A freshly poured concrete slab can be a beautiful sight to see. When cracks begin to mar the smooth surface, the aesthetic value may take a big plunge. In addition, excessive cracks can make the pavement unstable and hazardous. Knowing the causes behind cement cracks may help you avoid them the next time you have your slab redone.

Temperature Fluctuations and Concrete

Most concrete surfaces are laid outside, which leaves them vulnerable to weather influences. Conditions of high heat and humidity can cause the material to expand. Cracks form when the surface has nowhere else to go. On the opposite end of the spectrum, cool, dry air can cause what’s called plastic shrinkage. The contraction of the cement results in breakage.

You may have cracked concrete if the weather was below freezing when the pavement was originally poured. For optimum results, you should avoid having concrete installed in cold weather conditions.

Installation Errors while Laying Concrete

Pouring concrete is a science; there are various conditions that may cause the surface to break if not handled properly. There are three stages in the process where mistakes may occur:

  • Prepping
  • Mixing
  • Drying
    • Because it’s impossible to control expansion and contraction from weather and air conditions, cracking may be inevitable. To prevent the fractures from appearing in random, unappealing places, your cement expert should install control joints prior to pouring the pavement. This encourages the concrete to split in inconspicuous locations.

      Excess moisture or improper temperatures during the mixing phase can lead to an unstable end product. Additionally, if the surface is dried too quickly, cracks may form as a result.

      Improper installation can doom your pavement before you’ve even had a chance to enjoy it. Our team at All County Construction is well-trained to avoid mistakes like these during your installation process.

      Weight Burdens on Pavement

      Not all concrete is designed to support all weight limits. There’s a difference between a sidewalk intended for pedestrians, bicycles, and strollers versus a parking lot that must support several vehicles at once. Overloading the surface can lead to excess pressure, causing the pavement to crack.

      Adjustments can be made during the preparation of the cement to strengthen its load capacity. Make sure your installation team is well aware of your weight requirements before the job begins.

      Let All County Construction assist you in your upcoming cement project. Our professional team gets the job done right the first time and accounts for all aspects specific to your personal needs. Request your free estimate to begin your concrete job as soon as possible.

Caring for Your Concrete Driveway in the Winter Months

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Plummeting temperatures will soon be upon us, and you need to take measures to protect the concrete driveway for your residential or commercial property. Here are a few solid tips on maintaining the structure of your driveway this winter season.


Respond to Stains As Quickly As Possible

We understand that a stain on your driveway isn’t the end of the world, but stains of grease, oil, gasoline, and other such liquids can be unsightly, and allowing them to linger can ruin the overall image of your company’s exterior. If you’re a homeowner, a stained driveway can negatively impact your home’s resale value and its visual aesthetic, too. Take care of spills and drips with a pressure washer, degreaser, or even dishwasher detergent and a quality brush.


Seal Your Driveway

To get as much use out of your concrete driveway as possible, look into sealing it. We recommend sealing your driveway every two years. However, you should consider the overall climate as well as how much you use your driveway to evaluate how often you should seal your driveway. If you want to enjoy the best results, have a professional take care of the sealing and resealing.


Refrain From Using De-icers on Your Driveway

Before you use de-icing chemicals to get rid of snow and ice on your driveway, know that they can damage concrete. Ammonium sulfate and ammonium nitrate are especially harmful because they eat their way into concrete. While you can use calcium chloride or rock salt as an alternative, there’s a chance you can accidentally harm nearby plants by doing so. Your best bet is to keep things simple and sprinkle sand so wheels have the proper traction required to move over the concrete.


Take It Easy

Concrete is a pretty durable material, which means it should be able to stand up to significant damage, right? The truth is you shouldn’t subject concrete to more damage or wear than absolutely necessary. This is especially true for fresher concrete. Large and heavy vehicles, like those used for moving or construction, can harm concrete driveways for residential properties.


The Good and Bad Sides of Salting Your Pavement This Winter

Temperatures have dropped, which means that another cold Upstate New York winter is here. When snow and ice start blowing in from Lake Ontario, it’s only a matter of time before roadways and parking lots become un-drivable, which is why many municipalities and business owners treat the asphalt with salt. If you’re responsible for the upkeep of a parking lot, you might be wondering if you should consider salting your pavement before the first flakes fall. Here’s a look at the bad and good sides of this technique so you can make an informed decision.


How Salt Works

Road salt is a compound known as halite, which is the unrefined form of the seasoning you have on your dinner table. When dissolved in water, it lowers the liquid’s freezing temperature, which means it needs to be much colder to create ice. By spraying a mixture of water and halite on pavement, you can prevent it from freezing over and creating dangerous conditions.


The Benefits of Salting

The application of rock salt is one of the most common anti-icing techniques used today, as it provides a number of distinct benefits:

  • Road salt is extremely affordable when compared with other chemical agents.
  • Halite does not cause asphalt deterioration or potholes.
  • Salts can be laid down in a brine solution before the storm arrives, which allows workers to be proactive.

Drawbacks of Salt Application

While there are many benefits that come with salting, it’s important to understand that halite has its limitations and negative consequences:

  • Unlike asphalt, concrete surfaces will deteriorate due to the salt’s acidity.
  • Salt loses its effectiveness if the temperature is too cold or the surface freezes quickly, as it requires liquid water to work properly.
  • Chemical runoff from road salt can have a negative impact on plants, animals, and underground aquifers.
  • Prolonged exposure to halite can cause vehicles to rust prematurely.

Make the Right Choice

When it’s time to repair damages or completely repave your driveway or parking lot, turn to the experts at All County Construction.

For more tips on taking great care of your concrete driveway, don’t hesitate to reach out to us. We are also ready to accept requests for driveway sealing or paving for the warmer months. 


To schedule an appointment for a free estimate, contact us online or call our office at 315-589-8661 today.

What Causes Asphalt Paving to Deteriorate?

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Have you ever wondered why most government-sponsored road construction involves asphalt paving? The simple answer is that the material has a reputation of being one of the most durable solutions to building roadways to last and withstand daily use.

Even so, improper installation can sometimes thwart the best-laid plans, and the wear and tear of environmental conditions over time has an impact on even the toughest substances.


Mistakes Made in Asphalt Construction

Asphalt pavement can last a long time if proper steps are taken to prepare the space and correctly lay the materials.

During this process, a number of mistakes can be made that would affect the longevity of the road:

  • The base underneath the pavement is not compacted appropriately.
  • There is poor drainage to protect the surface from water exposure.
  • The temperature of the asphalt is not compatible with the application.
  • Compaction is overdone or underdone when the asphalt is laid.

Any combination of these scenarios would yield less than desirable results for the lifespan of a newly paved road. It’s important that the asphalt is installed and maintained properly to avoid premature deterioration when exposed to the elements.


Five Common Causes of Asphalt Pavement Damage

When you notice a pothole or cracking in asphalt pavement, it’s a clear sign of damage. Before you set out to fix the issue, it is important to determine the root of the problem. Understanding the true cause enables you to implement the appropriate maintenance and get the best return on investment. Here are five common culprits behind pavement damage.


1. Lack of Maintenance

Due to constant exposure and temperature fluctuations, it is normal for asphalt paving to crack over the years. Fortunately, many cracks can be caught and remedied with an annual checkup. An excellent maintenance routine includes crack sealing as well as pavement seal coating to deter water damage. We also recommend inspecting cracks once in the fall and again in the spring to monitor their condition.


2. Poor Subgrade Load-Bearing Ability

An ill-functioning subgrade is frequently known to result in pavement damage. This occurs when the soils underneath the base layer of asphalt are clay-based rather than stone.  When you notice ruts forming in your parking lot or street after a round of rain, it may be a sign the subgrade is unable to support weight.


3. Deteriorating Paver Seams

Paver seams, or joints, naturally begin to break down and separate as asphalt ages. Damage and cracking are often brought on faster than expected, however, because of several issues that occur during construction. These include: 

  • Cooler temperatures at installation
  • Surface lot geometry
  • Scale of paving equipment
  • Time between loads
  • Number of passes made

Unfortunately, even a routine paving job can go awry due to variables outside of a contractor’s control. Factors such as traffic delays and unusually long lines at the asphalt plant may make it impossible to pour hot seams at each pass.


4. Inadequate Pavement Thickness

Another cause of asphalt damage is pavement thickness. Surface asphalt must be at least two inches thick in order to stand up to moisture and heavy traffic. If it is too thin or improperly installed, pavement is left prone to extensive cracking.


5. Problems With the Base Layer

A load-bearing base is essential in promoting and extending the life of asphalt. If the base layer is too shallow, does not support weight, or was botched at the time of installation, it can make the pavement above prone to potholes. A solid base is comprised of six inches of stone and two inches of binder asphalt.


Typical Signs of Asphalt Pavement Deterioration

It’s completely natural for asphalt paving to weaken over time. Sunlight, rainwater, and the chemicals associated with vehicles that use the roadway all compound to break down the binding agent within the material and allow penetration of moisture, both from the surface and beneath the road. In just a few years, visible decline in the condition of the pavement can occur, especially when it has not been well cared for as smaller issues arise.


  • Distortion of the roadway Occurs with poor construction, which creates ruts and depressions, among other issues, in the foundation and the surface.
  • Cracking of the asphalt Can happen both due to installation errors as well as natural and man-made erosion, including the yearly freezing and thawing of the material.
  • Disintegration, such as potholes – Develops due to exposure to water, as well as spills of oil and gasoline onto the road by passing vehicles.


When Should You Sealcoat or Repave Your Asphalt Driveway?

It’s natural to be concerned when your driveway is showing ruts and cracks – especially if it leads to your place of business and it can affect how customers feel about coming to you. You’re probably thinking about whether you should consider sealcoating your deteriorating driveway or if it’s time for an asphalt paving job.


What’s the Best Way To Repair a Weathered Driveway?

Although sealcoating can be an easy fix, repeated applications can cause the driveway surface to look like cracked pottery glazing. This condition is called alligatoring and gets its name from its resemblance to an alligator hide. In its more severe form, the cracks can reach down into the pavement and it’s time to repave the driveway.

When you can insert a butter knife into the cracks, you need repaving. If the cracks are limited to the surface, however, the effect may only be cosmetic and the underlying pavement could be undamaged. In this case, sealcoat is an option, but if your driveway is an important part of your property or if it brings customers to your place of business, you should consider asphalt paving instead.


When Choosing Between Asphalt Paving and Sealcoating:

  • Don’t be swayed by drive-by contractors who promise low-cost services.
  • Schedule an inspection with an experienced and reputable professional.
  • Time is a factor. If your driveway leads to your place of business, you need to be sure the work is completed on schedule so there is minimal interruption.
  • Hire a professional who will be receptive to any issues that arise after the job is completed.
  • Consider your driveway’s drainage mechanics. Improper drainage can send rainfall toward spots where damage can occur.
  • A cosmetics-only approach can be an option if you’re comfortable with scheduling further maintenance later.


Solutions for Proper Installation and Repair

It is imperative to properly seal asphalt pavement within months of its installation to avoid major deterioration that shortens the expected lifetime of the road. Before sealant can be considered, however, the initial preparations of the ground and construction of the pavement surface must be handled with care by experienced professionals.

Contact us today to let All County Construction handle any asphalt paving and repair needs, so you can be sure the job is done right.


Don’t Let Things Get Worse – Get a Professional Estimate Instead

One of our experienced professionals can visit your location to provide a free estimate. An inspection and an informative consultation with one of our driveway experts will help you to decide when to use sealcoating or asphalt paving to restore your driveway.