By Connie Lorenz / Published February 2021
I met Dane Clark and Arthur Penny more than 20 years ago after their new asphalt overlay first started to fail at their community, Federation of Sea Towers Owners Association in St. Petersburg, Florida. They had been taken advantage of and wanted to know if our asphalt conditioner, Pavement Dressing Conditioner (PDC), could help them, as they were not big fans of water-based sealcoating. They wanted to know if we thought it would slow down the raveling and cracking and maybe get them a few more years, if possible.
Being fairly new to the industry and not having personal experience for such long-term expectations, I could only guarantee them one application at a time! Sea Towers consisted of nine buildings that each had their own governor. Working in conjunction with everyone to get such a major project completed without incident was going to take a lot of planning on our part and a lot of cooperation on the governors’ side to ensure that everyone in their building was on the same page.
After meeting with the board and completing a PowerPoint presentation of a projected rejuvenation schedule and projected performance, it was determined to set up an asphalt maintenance presentation for the community rather than just the sitting board. Because we were unsure of how our PDC was going to perform on their prematurely aging pavement, it was a wait and see process over the next few years.
The first application of PDC was a huge success, and it stopped the aging process of their pavement in its tracks! Areas that were raveling at an accelerated rate immediately stopped, and areas that were on the verge of falling apart healed as the PDC penetrated the binders and reconditioned their asphalt. The residents were pleased, the board was pleased, and, of course, we were excited to have front row seats for what would become a long-term test project!
Since PDC comes with a three-year performance warranty, we were quite pleased to see at the 2 ½ year mark that the property wasn’t even close to being ready for another treatment. Unlike sealcoating that can be applied whenever it is wanted, PDC has to wait until the pavement has oxidized to a certain level in order for it to absorb the next application. We didn’t reapply their second treatment until five years later! Talk about more bang for your buck!
During the second treatment, the team completed some asphalt repairs in areas with fluid spills from the resident’s vehicles, sunken trenches, and other minor asphalt defects. Once the repairs cured, our team applied the asphalt conditioner PDC. After the PDC was down, in approximately two weeks my team installed some hot melt, hot applied crack-fill into the cracks that were the result of their soil cement sub-base. Noting how successful the first treatment was, the board, residents, and ourselves were excited to see how long this second application would last.
Unlike water-based emulsions that tend to delaminate and “peel off,” PDC penetrates the pavement and mimics the maltenes that have been lost due to oxidation. This replenishment of the binders allows the pavement to increase its ductility and reduce its viscosity and adds additional life with each application. Depending on the age at the first treatment, we have seen some communities go almost seven years before needing a second application. An additional financial benefit is the reduced amount of asphalt repairs needed compared to other asphalt maintenance programs that often accelerate the breakdown of your parking lots and roadways.
Since no one really had a lot of experience with second treatments of our asphalt rejuvenator in Florida on a pavement in the condition that Sea Towers was in when we first were introduced, each site visit became more and more eventful as we all learned together what the capabilities truly were of this particular asphalt rejuvenator.
I would visit Sea Towers every couple of years only to find a few repairs here and there, but they were never ready for a third treatment. Because of their soil cement sub-base and damage that was present before we applied the first treatment of PDC, the condition that the pavement was in after 15 years wasn’t a condition that I wanted to preserve their pavement at. After all, they were only hoping to get about five to seven years, and I had already doubled their expectations on that goal!
Although I submitted to the board a proposal to complete repairs along with another treatment of PDC in 2016, 2017, and 2018, I was simultaneously discussing with the board the benefit of milling and removing their existing asphalt cap and installing a new overlay. I knew that was taking money out of my pocket, but the residents had a right to what was best for the pavement; and when the repairs exceeded over 30 percent of the cost of a new overlay, I had to lead them in the right direction.
In early 2020, the board hired me to oversee the milling and removal of their existing parking lots and roadways and have a new one-and-a-half inch overlay installed in most areas, with a two-inch overlay installed in weakened or highly traveled areas. I would like to say that the milling and paving went easier than our rejuvenation program, but it didn’t.
We started the project at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic and found that the 55-plus community had turned into a day care and home-schooling program for all of the residents’ grandkids, nieces, nephews, or basically any kid who needed a place to hang while school was on lockdown and their parents went to work. Because of the added residents and the shutdown of all common areas like the pool, tennis courts, and beach area, standard avoidance practices had to be modified to meet the new needs of society.
After the roadways were removed, it was discovered that there were a few areas that had clay in the soil, and the milling machine began to sink during removal. Rather than bury their heads in the sand, literally, the board made the right decision to excavate out the weakened areas and replace them with the proper sub-base rather than taking the short cut, pretending the problem didn’t exist, and paying for it later.
Knowing that the community was truly pleased with the long-term results of our PDC program, we are already on schedule to treat their new pavement in the fall of 2021 and looking forward to seeing how much time we can get out of their pavement that we know was installed correctly. Thanks to the direction of Dane, Arthur, and the board of Sea Towers, by incorporating an asphalt maintenance program utilizing our asphalt rejuvenator, they were able to save up their money, and with a small assessment, they took the time to do it right from start to finish!
This community followed some good ideas to take into consideration when starting an asphalt maintenance program. First, determine what the best asphalt maintenance is for your community for long-term results rather than the short-term convenience of the sitting board!
Communicate, communicate, communicate! If it hadn’t been for the board of directors and the property management team, this project would have been a nightmare. Their constant updating of the residents kept everyone safe, out of the way, and minimally inconvenienced.
When the problem was discovered that there was clay in the sand and the base was unstable, the price tag jumped immediately. Luckily, the board and community had been aware of these problem areas for years and were ready to address them the right way! I was very proud to see that something that was discussed 15 years ago stayed on course and was seen all the way through to the end. A lot of the board members were repeat electees and seemed to be the proudest that they were able to stick with a program for so long!
Revisit your budgets often, and update your replacement paving costs at least every five years. Performing preventive maintenance is a whole lot cheaper than crisis management!
Owner, Asphalt Restoration Technology Systems Inc. (AR Tech)
Asphalt Restoration Technology Systems Inc. (AR Tech) is led by Connie Lorenz, also known as the “Asphaltchick,” and provides education and consultation services on proper asphalt maintenance. As a multi-year recipient of the Florida Readers’ Choice Award and Pulse of the City Awards, and one the of Top 50 Asphalt Contractors in the country four years and running through Pavement Maintenance and Reconstruction Magazine, we are the team to turn to! We provide a no-cost, detailed evaluation, property specific, with our proposals and offer board presentations to explain the different options available for pavement maintenance today. For more information on Asphalt Restoration Technology Systems, call (800) 254-4732 or visit www.asphaltnews.com.