The Top Considerations When Pouring Concrete in Cold Weather

When it is cold outside, you may dread the thought of a concrete project. After all, you know cold weather makes this job harder and takes longer. While that’s true, you shouldn’t be deterred. There is some information that may help. 

Concrete and Curing Time

If you have worked with concrete before, you know it takes time to cure. On the micro-level, the cement’s hydration increases the mix resistance. When cold weather moves in, the cement paste will take longer to reach the level of strength needed and may cost you time. You must wait long enough to ensure it is safe to remove the formwork and move forward with your project. 

If you aren’t prepared, the internal temperature may reach critical limits, which can cause irreversible structural damage. The worst-case scenario is that you must demolish and repour. 

While monitoring the air temperature is important, keep an eye on the wind speed and humidity. These can also impact the internal temperature and evaporation rates of concrete. 

Dangers of Frozen Concrete 

If plastic concrete is exposed to sub-freezing temperatures, the final strength may be reduced by up to 50%. Damage can occur when the water freezes and expands. This creates ice crystals and a porous microstructure. Because of this, you must keep the concrete warm until it reaches the resistance level of 500 psi. However, excessive heat can compromise the ultimate level of resistance. You must find the right balance. 

Reaching the proper strength is a part of the goal; however, it’s also important to avoid damage to the concrete. Cold weather and frozen concrete increase the risks of shrinkage and thermal cracking

Equip Yourself to Ensure Your Construction Project Keeps Moving

Investing in concrete protections, specialty admixtures, and technology to monitor the concrete remotely in cold weather is recommended. Stopping your operations is expensive, even if you are waiting for better conditions. 

To avoid this, make sure you are prepared and have what you need on hand to combat the elements

One way to reduce damage and other issues is by controlling the concrete temperature. This can also help you save time and money. You can warm up the aggregates or water or use accelerating admixtures to do this. With this in place, you may be able to avoid cases of cold weather concrete damage. 

When pouring the concrete, be sure it isn’t placed on frozen ground. If this happens, it will likely freeze and crack before it is fully cured. There may also be a void under it once the soil thaws and recedes, which can cause cracking. If necessary, warm the ground before pouring the concrete. 

Ensuring Success with Winter Concrete Projects

As you can see, there’s a lot that can go wrong when it comes to pouring concrete in the winter. Because of this, you need to take steps to ensure your project is successful. The tips here will help; however, hiring a professional service is also wise. This will ensure that no serious issues arise.

The Impact of Rain on Asphalt Parking Lots and How to Prevent Issues

One of the best ways to prevent issues with your commercial parking lot is by investing in preventative asphalt maintenance. When you take steps to prevent issues, rain won’t cause as many issues. 

Unfortunately, if you wait to invest in maintenance or skip it completely, small cracks, potholes, and depressions can occur. 

Why Does Rain Damage Asphalt Parking Lots?

Water will weaken the bond between the asphalt binder and aggregates in the parking lot. When the asphalt cracks, it is vulnerable to the elements – especially water. As time passes, the water can begin to erode unprotected asphalt and weaken the structural and supportive layers present. 

Excess water in your parking lot isn’t unlikely in areas susceptible to drastic weather fluctuations. Unfortunately, standing water is susceptible to the freeze and thaw cycle, which will shrink and expand the water molecules. When this happens, stripping occurs, which is when the aggregate and binder debond. When this happens, the binder will deteriorate and weaken the pavement, which makes it more vulnerable to damage in the future. 

If you don’t treat a small crack quickly, it will get bigger and cause even more damage. Over time, the entire parking lot will be covered with alligator cracks, which are unappealing and unsafe.  

Solutions for Ensuring Asphalt Surfaces Aren’t Damaged by Rain

There are a few options to help ensure your asphalt parking lot isn’t damaged by rain. These include:

Sealcoating

It’s possible to protect asphalt surfaces from water penetration with sealcoating. This process adds a thin layer of liquid over the surface to protect it from damage caused by vehicle fluids, snow, rain, and UV rays. Adding sealcoating will prevent cracks from forming, to begin with, and extend the asphalt’s lifespan. 

It’s smart to invest in sealcoating once every three to five years to protect the investment you make. 

Drainage 

Proper water drainage is essential when the asphalt is installed. When constructing a parking lot, the contractor must take advantage of any grassy areas and inlets where water is easily directed with curbing and slopes. 

Porous pavement lets rain drain through the surface into the stone recharge bed. It’s then filtered into the soil below. This is an effective way to manage water drainage and may even result in tax cuts for your business. 

Invest in Preventative Maintenance 

Rain and standing water can cause weaknesses in an asphalt surface. Fixing small cracks is much easier to manage and repair than larger ones, so you must get them fixed right away. 

Hiring professionals to help with this will pay off in the long run. Make sure you put time and effort into preventative maintenance to minimize issues and ensure your asphalt surface doesn’t cause liabilities for your business. Making sure that your parking lot remains in good condition may not seem like a big deal, but failure to do this will cost you a lot of money and frustration in the future.

Why You Should Avoid DIY Concrete Pouring

Before you can construct a new commercial building, you will need a strong foundation. When building a foundation, you will need to use durable materials to ensure it lasts the test of time. Concrete is one of the most used materials during the foundation construction process. 

Over 101,000 metric tons of concrete are used in the United States every year. Mixing and pouring concrete is not nearly as easy as most people think. One of the worst mistakes a home or business owner can make is attempting to pour concrete without the help of professionals. 

Below are some reasons why DIY concrete pouring is always a horrible idea. 

Mixing Concrete is Very Difficult

If you want concrete to last, then you need to make sure it is properly mixed. One of the main things you need when mixing concrete is the right amount of water. Using improper amounts of water in the concrete mixing process is one of the main mistakes amateurs make. This usually results in the concrete mix becoming either extremely chunky or runny. Ideally, you want your mix to be malleable and smooth. 

Getting the concrete mixture process wrong will only lead to ongoing durability and appearance issues in the future. Most people try to take on their own concrete pouring because they have a desire to save money. In reality, you will waste more money in the long run by taking a DIY approach to concrete mixing and pouring. 

This is why working with a reputable company like Griffin Contracting Inc. is so important. With this professional help, you can rest assured that your concrete is properly mixed before it is poured. 

Failure to Create a Solid Base

When trying to get a strong and long-lasting concrete surface, you will need to establish a solid base. The construction of a solid base will start with the compacting of the soil. If the soil under the concrete isn’t properly packed, it is only a matter of time before it starts to shift. This shifting process will result in the concrete getting cracked. 

Not only does the soil need to be packed, it also needs to be leveled. The average home or business owner doesn’t have the knowledge needed to do this type of work. Instead of dealing with cracking and crumbling concrete, you need to leave the site preparation work to the professionals. 

DIYers Don’t Have The Right Tools

One of the main things you need to have a successful concrete pouring experience is the right tools. Most DIYers don’t have the tools needed to pull this job. Trying to use sub-par tools to perform this job can lead to long-term damage. Professionals have access to things like concrete mixing, concrete groovers and a variety of other tools needed to properly pour concrete. This is why paying them to perform this type of work is a great idea. 

As you can see, DIY concrete pouring is something you need to avoid at all costs.

Big Jobs, And Bigger Equipment

Kids love big construction equipment – that’s one thing that we’ve found over the years. If we can make your little one smile, that makes our day. But at the same time, we’re hard at work doing the heavy projects for our municipal partners and other stakeholders.

 

Here’s some of what we’re doing in your community on a regular basis. Our experience allows us to be a thought leader in this type of work, and consult with our customers to find the best efficiencies and approaches for the right results. 

 

Pouring Concrete

 

In this stage of the game, it’s all about getting the raw materials to the site and mixing them well, along with having a good framing and pouring plan that will guarantee the integrity of results. There is also the need to watch out for certain conditions that can compromise curing, and professional expertise is a must. 

 

Buying the equipment and training staff is an investment in a business that will continue to grow and develop over time. Rely on us for the results that you need. 

 

Paving

 

Then there’s the process of putting down asphalt, which is often a significant investment for customers. New development requires a lot of heavy work, and this is another area where we’re active in many local communities.

 

Demolition

 

Another service that takes quite a bit of big equipment is demolition. In this case, we’re not bringing new materials onto a site – we’re disassembling old structures and taking old materials away. Nevertheless, some of the same project logistics do apply. There’s also a good bit of proprietary safety work involved in demolition, which we can explain as we go on site and bid the job. 

 

Utility Digging

 

We’re also active in digging sewer and water lines for new communities and developments.

 

When people say this is heavy work, they’re not kidding. Industry standards require some pretty particular kinds of work in developing these underground utilities for future use.

 

Excavating Roadbeds

 

This is another type of special project that we tackle for municipal and private sector customers. Succeeding in these kinds of projects means taking into account various things like weather, timelines, and materials costs to make everything come together well in the end. Talk to Griffin about work in the Carolinas, in Georgia and Northern Florida, where we are active partners in maintaining modern conditions for roads,  utilities and much more. 

 

The Best Ways to Prepare Your Asphalt Surface for Summer

It doesn’t matter if you have a parking lot, driveway, or road; any asphalt surface will take a lot of abuse during the colder months of the year. In fact, the frequent storms and cooler temperatures will impact even the best-constructed asphalt surfaces. If you want to ensure a high level of durability and safety to your asphalt, you need to make sure it is prepared and protected. 

As warmer weather moves in, it’s a good time to look at your surfaces and see what can be done to improve them. Some tips to help can be found here. 

Inspect the Asphalt to Assess Its Current Condition

Many people choose asphalt because of how resilient and durable it is. However, there are several ways it can fail. Because of this, you need to inspect your asphalt regularly to see if there are any issues. 

If you are in an area that experiences frequent inclement or heavy weather, or if you see signs of a problem, it’s a good idea to call for service sooner than later. 

Address Cracks Immediately 

If there are surface cracks on your asphalt, it is an indication the subgrade under the surface has begun to fail. It’s also going to let water begin to penetrate the subgrade. In these situations, based on how severe the issue is, the issues like alligatoring, potholes, or other problems need to be repaired. 

It’s No Longer Black

Does your asphalt look more gray than black? Does it have a pitted look, or are there deep cracks where water may start to infiltrate the subbase? If so, now is a good time to invest in filling the cracks and having sealcoating applied. These services will help to protect and preserve the asphalt from any further damage. 

Look for Signs of Standing Water

Cases of standing water could be a sign of issues with the subsurface in part of your asphalt. This usually results from compaction failure in the subbase. There are several issues presented by standing water. For example, it can erode the surface and undermine the integrity of other parts of the asphalt if water is moved to other locations. 

The Presence of Rainbows 

Are there rainbow-colored or iridescent patches on the surface of your asphalt? If so, they should be cleaned right away. Fuel and oil spills may degrade your asphalt surface and cause imperfections. As time passes, these can become complete failures and reduce the lifespan and performance of your asphalt. 

Ensuring Your Asphalt Is Ready for Warmer Weather 

Just like cold weather can take a toll on asphalt surfaces, so can hot weather. Because of this, you must take steps to ensure there are no serious issues with your asphalt surfaces now and have them repaired if there are. This is going to protect the integrity of your surfaces and minimize the need for complete resurfacing. Keep this in mind and call the professionals when any services are needed.

Common Problems That Can Cause Asphalt Damage and How To Avoid Them

One of the most used construction materials on the planet is asphalt. In fact, over 500 million tons of new asphalt are used in the United States every year. This asphalt is used to pave parking lots, driveways and tons of other surfaces. If you are in charge of maintaining an asphalt paved surface, then your main goal should be to keep this material damage-free. 

If you want to stay a step ahead of asphalt repair issues, you need to educate yourself about the common causes of asphalt damage. Below is informant about the most common problems that cause asphalt damage and how you can avoid them. 

Water Can Cause Severe Asphalt Damage

Over 71% of the Earth’s surface is covered with water. One place that excess amounts of water don’t belong is on a driveway or parking lot covered in asphalt. The water your asphalt paved surface is exposed to can come in many forms. Stagnant water, rain and melted snow can do a number on your parking lot if they are not removed quickly. An asphalt surface that was properly installed should drain water with ease. 

However, as an asphalt paved surface ages, problems with water drainage can arise. Checking your parking lot or driveway routinely to ensure water is draining properly is important. If water drainage is becoming a problem, you need to call in professionals. 

The longer you allow water to sit on your asphalt paved surface, the more damage you will ultimately have to contend with. Professionals can fix your drainage issues and apply sealcoating substances. These substances not only extend the life of your asphalt paved surface, they can also prevent water damage. 

Problems Caused By Sunlight

The typical asphalt paved surface is exposed to direct sunlight for multiple hours every day. Over time, the direct sunlight these surfaces are exposed to will start to burn through and weaken them. The best way to keep your asphalt protected from sun damage is by investing in professional sealcoating. Typically, professionally applied sealcoating will last around four years. Not only will this substance protect your asphalt from the sun, it will also make it look new again. 

Fuel and Oil Spills

The vehicles that park on asphalt-covered driveways and parking lots can leak some dangerous substances. The most dangerous of these substances are oil and fuel. If your asphalt is exposed to these substances, damage is soon to follow. When left in place, fuel and oil will make your asphalt soft and pliable. 

Instead of dealing with this damage, you need to inspect your asphalt paved surface regularly and clean any oil/fuel spills you find. Luckily, there are many substances designed to remove these liquids from asphalt surfaces. With the help of the right products, you can keep your asphalt surface clean and damage-free. 

Maintaining an asphalt paved surface is no easy job. By using the great tips in this article, you can keep your driveway or parking lot looking new for years to come. 

Milling And Paving Jobs: What’s Involved?

We’ve already talked about a lot of these factors in a heavy job on the blog, but last week, we were presenting some information to a new client, and thought we’d go back over some of the key points of working with community leaders, top local businesses and other stakeholders to get these types of infrastructure projects done.

Bidding Process

Bidding is where these jobs are different than a lot of other kinds of work.

In short, there are rules to the bidding process. Many times, an entity that asks for bids will accept the lowest bid, but not always. There may be rules for when they can or can’t accept the lowest bid, too.

There is also a structure and a format for bids – that’s something that specialized companies have to understand and work with as they go.

Then there are the logistics involved in these types of jobs…

There’s the process of string-sensing and surveying, which can’t be minimized or glossed over. That work has to go on in a timely way to get everything else going! Some of the technical details involve things like the use of GPS equipment, which comes with its own learning curve and strategic uses. 

All of these are vitally important, and as a top company helping communities to improve their infrastructure, we need to know how they work.

Construction Fill

Because of re-grading and excavation and other aspects, a lot of these projects require some amount of fill.

We wrote about this a few weeks ago, but the issue of getting fill can be critically important for one of these projects.

For one thing, there’s a difference between certified clean fill, and regular fill that’s not up to the same standard. Also, communities do this in different ways. Some get fill from a local private party, which may even advertise its offer along the side of the road somewhere.

Other projects require clean fill from a specific certified source.

Then there’s all of the rules around environmental hazards and site excavation, which can be looked at from a federal or state level.

So all of this is another thing that you have to navigate when you’re doing these heavy jobs.

Use Griffin Contracting for milling and paving and various other types of heavy structural work around Florida, Georgia and the southern part of Carolina. We have the experience and acumen to be trustworthy with these types of jobs. 

 

Providing Fill Materials

Let’s talk about our role in the heavy project industry providing different types of fill materials for construction sites or municipal work, or anything else that requires earthmoving and excavation.

Fill material is a valuable part of this equation, partly because of the necessity of having the right base and having retention materials in place when a project is finished.

Pre-cast Concrete Projects

Take the common project that involves installing pre-cast concrete underground.

Communities all over the country are using pre-cast concrete installations for things like pipes and inlets and water handling infrastructure. But then these installations will need their own base and retention materials, and getting fill is important. In fact, getting the right kind of fill is often important. The project will have its own “road map” in terms of materials and processes that need to be scheduled and managed in cooperative ways. 

Logistics

So when you have a company providing clean or standard fill, you need to know that they are able to move an adequate volume of product to a destination on time. You need to know that they have adequate management to promise project compliance, perhaps without an explicit bond structure. Even where bonds are in place, you still need to know that a company is reliable.

We have all that, and Griffin has been very active in these types of projects for years. We have the materials and the means to deliver them, as well as the know-how to be an active partner in these types of projects.

Buyers and others talk about the value of aggregate products to get jobs done. These are not infinite resources – although they are plentiful in certain areas where they are quarried. The whole process still takes significant work, and also importantly significant business intelligence to keep operations working well. That includes, for example, fleet maintenance and employee scheduling. They sound like simple details, but making them efficient and effective can be a big job.

Turn to Griffin in the Carolina, Florida, and Georgia area. We work hard to make sure that the projects that we are a part of are successful, satisfactory to all parties, and done in a logistically appropriate way. This is crucial for these types of heavy projects that really give local people the quality of life and stable, reliable systems that they deserve. Look for more details on the site for how to use Griffin Contracting to complete a heavy project in your area. 

 

Griffin and MBE/WBE Businesses

Our industry has some particular processes and challenges that are unlike what you might find with companies that tackle smaller residential and commercial jobs.

In so many ways, the process is different. We’ve talked about this in the past in some of our previous blog posts, and we also want to talk about some of the community aspects of how we put our projects together, and how we work with others in our local areas of operation, in  Carolina, Georgia, and Northern Florida.

Certified MBE/WBE Businesses

If you look at our ongoing networking pages for jobs, you’ll see that we are seeking MBE/WBE certified contractors.

What does this mean?

These firms, designated as Minority-Owned Business Entities and Women-Owned Business Entities, are managed according to specific state requirements and an application process.

Why work with MBE/WBE businesses?

Working with Minority-Owned Business Entities and Women-Owned Business Entities shows that a company has a commitment to helping create a diverse workforce and help more entrepreneurs achieve integration into this field and industry. It’s part of participating in the bidding universe for big projects, whether those are solely public-sector, or private-sector, or a mix. 

That’s why we’re dedicated to promoting this idea in the projects that we take on, and the process behind our heavy project implementation.

The Rest of the Process

After a company has been certified MBE/WBE by applying and achieving this designation, they can participate in the types of projects that we take on. One of the other key parts of this process is bidding.

People who haven’t been involved in this kind of work don’t always understand what bidding entails. It requires providing upfront estimates with contextual information, and allowing a customer or other stakeholder to make a ruling on which bid they will accept.

Those who are evaluating the bids may also have specific rules and requirements in place related to the bid that they choose.

Does someone always choose the lowest bid? Not necessarily. They may or may not have to choose the lowest bid, and there may be other considerations involved.

For a lot more about how we work, our track record in contracting, and our commitment to excellence, take a look at the rest of the website and how we operate in the communities that we serve. We have the resources and know-how to participate in markets that are closed to smaller operations, and so we work to partner with MBE/WBE businesses as part of a joint approach to getting work done. 

 

Getting Fill: Some Aspects of Construction Fill Acquisition

In our heavy projects with a range of important clients, one of the logistics that sticks out is the use of construction fill to resolve some types of excavation and create the final contours that people want for a plot.

In the earthmoving field, most are familiar with some basic aspects of construction fill and how to acquire it. But there are some particular strategies that can make it easier to meet objectives. 

With that in mind, it’s still useful to talk a little bit about how construction fill is used, and what the standards are. Does it make a difference where you get your construction fill and what’s in it? Yes, it absolutely can. 

Clean Fill and Certified Fill

First of all, you have clean construction fill and you have certified fill. 

Clean fill just means that the fill itself is generally free of contaminants. Allowed materials include concrete, dirt, brick and some other kinds of building materials. Disallowed materials include:

Combustibles

Certain caustic chemicals

Dangerous heavy metals

So from a scientific basis, someone has to evaluate the fill and make sure that it’s generally free of these dangerous elements.

Certified fill is a little different – it has a more rigorous standard and will be more specifically free of a broader range of contaminants.

In other words, one way to think of it is that clean fill is just someone saying that the fill is generally clean, but certified fill is a standard that meets more concrete criteria – no pun intended!

Getting Fill

In trying to secure construction fill for a site, there’s always the logistical process of transporting that material from its origin to its destination, and getting it integrated into a land contour.

At Griffin, we’ve invested in the kinds of heavy equipment and vehicles necessary to do this efficiently and effectively. Smaller firms that try to haul construction fill in pickup trucks often waste a lot of money, time and effort in doing the kinds of jobs that can be done better with industrial grade equipment and heavy contracting strategy.

In fact, that’s a large part of what we do – working with companies and organizations across Georgia and Florida and the Carolinas, we excel in putting together those heavy projects that can’t just be done with a minimal arsenal of equipment.

Take a look back through the blog to learn more about what we do with our clients and how it benefits taxpayers, residents, businesses and everyone who lives in a given community.