Spring is here and you’re probably thinking about landscaping around your property after the dullness of winter. But winter can leave its mark and your property pavement may be showing some wear.
Freezing and thawing in our colder climate can wreak havoc on pavement and concrete. You might have tried tackling the snow and ice with commercial-grade rock salt. While it works to reduce slipping it degrades the protective coating of asphalt and concrete, causing a number of headaches in residential properties.

Problems can be difficult to spot at a glance. Here is a list of the most common problems to look for: 


When water gets underneath asphalt it creates a material called aggregate, which causes heaving. Heaving creates gaps that can be difficult to repair. Gaps can cause additional damage to pavement and building structures — in some cases preventing doors from opening and closing properly. 


Raveling occurs during a thaw when water seeps into pavement and creates tiny holes. Unsealed asphalt absorbs water like a sponge. When the water freezes, it penetrates cracks and causes a mixture of little stones and sand to quickly loosen. An easy way to determine if your building has raveling is to inspect areas of loose gravel on your driveway or parking area. 

Open Cracking

Continuous freezing and thawing causes open cracking, a sign that water has leaked further down into your asphalt to the point where the base underneath is likely wet. Prevention is key here and the best way to address open cracking is to inspect and fix cracks when they are small, before forming big potholes.   

Alligator Cracking

This aptly named problem occurs when cracking resembling scaly alligator skin forms clusters of a crisscross pattern. Simply patching alligator cracking doesn’t solve the problem. Alligator cracks need to be replaced entirely with new asphalt because the pavement can no longer endure car traffic. Again, prevention is key here as these cracks can be avoided by property inspections and timely fixes.


Potholes are created when raised pavements forms from expanded frozen water beneath it. Combined with that, continuous traffic makes a depression on the floor, creating potholes. Potholes are usually seen on our streets and come in different shapes and sizes. They can sometimes be huge and cause tire damage as well as safety issues for pedestrians. 


We all have to shovel, plow, salt slippery surfaces or apply chemical treatments to create navigable drives and pathways. This causes turf damage, as well as giving trees and shrubs that shriveled or diseased look. A thorough property inspection will reveal tripping hazards and other damage like lifted concrete, cracks, potholes, and crumbling slabs. A little time spent inspecting your property will better prepare for the beautiful plants and flowers around your community. 


Lastly, storm sewers are great during the winter to carry surface water runoff from melting snow and rain. However, this can cause clogged sewers full of debris that develop nearby sinkholes. The combination of salt, freezing and thawing, and heavy traffic are all factors causing excessively large sinkholes in some cases. Huge liabilities can result and a professional contractor must be called to evaluate the severity of the damage and what your repair options are. 

How Do I Ensure Inspections and Renovations Are Done Correctly?

While you can conduct visual inspections, when it comes to repairs and renovation, it is best to leave the renovations to the professionals. Ask for references and photos of past work completed by the prospective vendor. In this case, photos that are 2-3 years old are optimal so you can see how the renovations are holding up.

Leaving inspection and repairs until damage becomes excessive causes more safety risks in your community — not to mention a higher price tag. 
Following the recommendations in this guide will save you a lot of headache and costs. Your residents, board members, and community will thank you for it.
If you need help putting together an effective property inspection process, contact FirstService Residential today.

Friday March 19, 2021