Spring is here, and the effects of winter’s freeze/thaw cycle on pavement is increasingly noticeable. The use of commercial-grade rock salt can degrade the protective coating of asphalt and concrete can cause quite a headache for community association managers in residential properties.
As property manager begin their spring inspection, they note the necessary repairs for winter damage as they make their rounds through the community. The spring season is a time for renewal and a fresh look, as well as a time to fix any hazards or small problems that can lead to greater issues if not resolved. When property managers walk around their properties each spring, looking for winter damage that must be repaired, they note driveways heaving, curbs splitting and roads pitted with potholes. Here are some common problems they notice.


When water gets underneath asphalt, it creates a material called aggregate, which causes heaving. Heaving is a difficult problem to tackle because it creates gaps that cause additional damage to pavement and building structures. At its most intense, it can prevent doors from opening and closing properly. 


Raveling occurs when water seeps into pavement due to thawing and creates tiny holes. When unsealed, asphalt can absorb water like a sponge. When the water freezes, it can penetrate inside of the cracks and cause a mixture of little stones and sand to loosen quickly. An easy way to determine if your building has raveling is to inspect any concentrated areas of loose gravel on your driveway or parking area. 

Open Cracking

Open cracking is a sign that water has leaked further down into your asphalt to the point where the base underneath is likely wet. This occurs because of continuous freezing and thawing. One of the most important things to address open cracking is to inspect and fix them when they are at their smallest before they form into big potholes. 

Alligator Cracking

This interesting name comes from cracking that resembles scaly alligator skin, where clusters of cracks form a crisscross pattern. When identified, it is not enough to put a Band-Aid solution on it, such as solely patching the alligator cracking. The cracks will need to be replaced entirely with new asphalt because the pavement will no longer able to endure heavyweight from car traffic. Thus, it is also essential that these cracks are identified immediately to ensure timely fixes.


When raised pavements are created from the expanded frozen water underneath it and continuous traffic makes a depression on the floor, this creates potholes. Potholes come in different shapes, sizes, and can usually be found on street roads. Potholes can a huge danger to tires and even small pets. 


Turf damage can be caused by shoveling, plowing, winter salting, and chemical treatments. Trees and shrubs will also look shriveled or diseased, a possible indication that a limb may detach and injure someone. Looking for tripping hazards and other damage such as lifted concrete, cracks, potholes, and crumbling slabs is also important during a thorough inspection. This better prepares for spring landscaping for beautiful plants and flowers throughout your building. 


Lastly, storm sewers take much of the surface storm during the winter storms to prevent flooding. Because of this, the sewers become clogged with debris and develop adjacent sinkholes. The combination of salt, freezing to thawing temperatures, and heavy traffic are all factors. This poses a huge liability and you will need a reliable contractor to evaluate how severe the sinkhole damage is to provide repair options. 

How Do I Ensure Inspections and Renovations Are Done Correctly?

During a time where social distancing is necessary for our community's health and safety, adjustments will be made to how these inspections are conducted. For example, community association managers will maneuver around communities keeping a six foot distance away from residents at all time. Managers and professionals on site will maintain proper security measures, such as providing clear communication on when and where these inspections will be taking place and washing their hands after the inspection is complete. 

One the community association manager has identified pavement issues, it is time to search for a professional repair company. Do not be afraid to ask for references, or to see examples of previous work, preferably two to three year old pictures to see how the renovations are holding up. As mentioned previously, it is much more effective to resolve these problems before they cause greater damage. The longer you wait, the more you risk security measures for your community, not to mention a more costly price tag in the future. 

Friday March 19, 2021