The pavement you walk and drive upon daily is easy to take for granted—but it's a major part of your condo or HOA's infrastructure. Understanding the materials and methods involved in installing and maintaining a multifamily community's paved surfaces can save everyone a lot of hassle, time and money. Having some clue as to whether the asphalt parking lot just needs a patch job, a major renovation or total replacement can spare you unnecessary capital expenditures, and extend the useful life of your paving.
Knowing about paving means understanding the materials and methods used for such projects—but sometimes the correct material for the project may not be immediately obvious to everyone.
In Chicago communities, parking lots often are constructed of asphalt, while sidewalks, patios and the paving around balconies, decks and pools is often made of concrete. Asphalt is comprised of different-sized rock bits, sand and petroleum. It cures over a period of six months to a year. But strictly speaking, asphalt never really “sets up”—it stays flexible, unlike typical concrete, which becomes a solid, rigid surface after it cures.
Concrete is made of crushed stone, sand and cement, and often it is used for sidewalks and patios. The material also can be used for parking lots, although some communities choose to pave their parking lots and driveways with asphalt, because it is often less costly to install than concrete, and its aforementioned flexibility can more easily accommodate the weight of vehicles without cracking.
There are advantages to using each of the materials, including life span and maintenance. If installed correctly, concrete has a 20-year life span or even longer, while asphalt’s life often is shorter, and very much dictated by environmental conditions.