Topic: Blog

5 Simple Ways To Winterize Your Paving

With winter and its accompanying rainfall on the way, the fall is a good time to take a look at your existing pavement and make sure it’s ready for the weather to come. Calvac Paving has been in the business for over 40 years, and in that time, we’ve learned a thing or two about how to solve small problems before they have a chance to become big ones. Now, we’re pleased to present this list of simple things you can watch for so your pavement lasts longer and looks and performs better in the process, even when the worst of the California winter weather strikes!

  1. Do a routine walkthrough of your paved areas.

Parking lots and other paved areas should be checked at least semiannually for problems. Things to look for include:

  • Areas of standing water. Water can break down the asphalt binder and leak down into the subgrade, eroding it over time. This is also an indication that the pavement or subgrade may already be failing, because modern grading techniques are designed to establish a grade that flushes water away from the parking area and toward designated drainage points.
  • Oil or other chemicals that leak directly onto the pavement. Just like water, some chemicals associated with vehicles can cause binder breakdown and lead to subsurface problems. Cleaning up oil and other chemical spills as quickly as possible can help prevent this and keep your asphalt in better condition.
  • Cracks, divots or uneven areas. These can be caused by weeds growing beneath the surface, freeze/thaw patterns, standing water and oil or ongoing heavy truck traffic. Small cracks and divots are often the first visible sign of possible asphalt breakdown, and it’s more cost-efficient and less intrusive to fix them when they’re small by seal coating or spot patching than it is to do a complete tearout and reinstall of the paving.
  • Striping: Old, dull or worn striping and pavement-level signage such as fire lane indicators and other information may be harder to see and read during winter months. Especially in ADA stalls, the striping and signage should always be clearly visible to make sure people know where these areas are.Recently Complete Project
  1. Clear debris from drainage channels and curbs.

If water has nowhere to go, it doesn’t matter how good the drainage plan for your lot is. Making sure the drainage channels, storm sewers and other inlets to the runoff system near your property are clear of leaves, branches, garbage and other obstructions will help the water flow better and make it less likely to pool up on your property.

Calvac Paving Team

 

  1. Limit or restrict heavy-vehicle traffic as much as possible.

Large trucks such as semis, garbage trucks and other heavy vehicles can place a lot of stress on asphalt. By itself this shouldn’t be a problem, but when the base course and subgrade are compromised by water or plant intrusion, it could speed up the breakdown process for the asphalt. If at all possible, try to limit, restrict or even out the traffic pattern for such vehicles within your lot to minimize the time they spend on your pavement.

  1. Be sure it’s sealed.

Even if your parking area is free from cracks and other problems, it is a good idea to have it seal coated every 4 to 5 years at the minimum. This is because seal coating helps rejuvenate the asphalt binder at the surface, adding an extra layer of protection against traffic, water and other spills. Even better, it will help make your parking lot and driveways look newer, especially when you redo the striping at the same time. This makes your property more attractive, safer to navigate and less likely to fail for the long haul.

  1. Seek professional help.

If you’re not sure if the paving problems you’ve identified are “big enough,” or if you think your pavement needs a facelift or a complete overhaul, Calvac Paving can help. We’ve been serving the Bay Area for over four decades with quality construction solutions including:

  • Curb and gutter remediation, repair and replacement
  • Paving rehabilitation, tearout and reconstruction
  • ADA access compliance and signage
  • And much more!

We take great pride in delivering a great product for your project, within the schedule and budget we agree upon. For more information about how Calvac Paving can help you with your  paving or asphalt project, please contact us for a no charge estimate.

 

Calvac Paving
2645 Pacer Ln
San Jose, CA 95111
408-225-7700

 


Calvac Paving Obtains ADA-CASp Certification

Calvac Paving Leaders in ADA ACCESS

The Americans with Disabilities Act, or ADA, sets very strict standards for commercial construction to ensure that people with physical disabilities have full access to public buildings and places of all kinds. Because the provisions of the ADAS, ADA standards, are constantly evolving, many construction and architectural firms, local and state inspectors are unaware of how the different aspects of ADA codes impact the specific construction of various structures, including the need for ramps, compliant parking stalls and upgraded access and barrier removal in the case of building remodels and renovation.

ADA certification in the form of CASp is particularly important in the state of California, because of the constant turnover of property management and ownership. Often the first sign that anything is amiss with a particular building or business’s ADA compliance comes in the form of a property inspection, visitor complaint or drawing revision, with expensive consequences in exposure to litigation, retrofitting to comply with California Building Code and the ADA standards and other related costs of remediation. While CASp certification is not yet commonplace, it is believed to become far more important among construction-industry professionals in the coming years.Middle view of ada ramp install

Calvac Paving has been serving the Bay Area for over 40 years, and has been closely monitoring changes and amendments to the ADA standards since they were first put in place in 1991. Several years ago, Calvac Paving’s President, Jim Adam, decided to take this aggressive monitoring several steps further and pursue full CASp, or Certified Access Specialist, certification. This rigorous training and certification program requires applicants to be fully trained and cognizant of issues concerning building and business access for disabled persons at both the state and federal levels to ensure compliance with all ADA provisions.

Jim explained that his purpose in seeking this certification was to better serve Calvac Paving’s clients and the general public. “By training for years to understand the history, goals and application of the Americans with Disabilities Act, I am better equipped to ensure Calvac Paving’s clients a final product that will provide the barrier removal and access that the current CBC [California Building Code] and ADAS require on their properties.”

The CASp certification benefits all the stakeholders in the building process, as well as the general public. “{CASp} certification gives a confidence level that the project will be correct and that you will be able to avoid potential litigation…while getting the final product you need to be CBC and ADAS compliant.” As more construction professionals become CASp certified, Jim says the multiple points of view will help to reduce conflicts between differing objectives and strategic building outcomes while ensuring all members of the design and execution team are familiar with the code requirements that ADA imposes. Jim says this is a win for everyone, but especially the end user, which is why he sought out CASp certification to begin with.

He says he’s known for years that ADA certification would be an important step in Calvac Paving’s future ability to serve clients and the public more effectively. “The process for me started more than ten years ago when I hired ADA compliance experts to educate myself, our estimators and lead field personnel long before there was a CASp program. Then a couple of years ago I started the training process to become CASp certified. We’re trained and tested on all barrier removal and accessibility codes…it allows us to be true experts in barrier removal.” Jim also feels that Calvac Paving benefits directly from his ADA compliance expertise, because it allows him to ensure his crews can do their jobs more efficiently and “do it right the first time,” as he puts it.

Having access to the CASp certification gives Calvac Paving another powerful tool to serve its clients and help reduce potential compliance issues and costs for everyone involved, and Jim believes that as CASp certification grows in popularity, it will further establish Calvac Paving as an industry leader in ADA compliance and building accessibility for all. This, he feels, will also give stakeholders more confidence and alleviate concerns about whether or not their buildings and businesses meet applicable building codes for accessibility. For more information about Calvac Paving’s CASp certification and how this can help expedite your construction project and ensure project compliance, click here to email us or call (408) 225 – 7700!


The Greenest Mile: How Charging Roads May Make Electric Cars More Efficient Than Ever

At Calvac Paving, we support technologies and construction methodologies that offer a more environmentally sound and sustainable way of creating the things we as human beings have come to rely on. From asphaltic concrete recycling to innovations such as self-healing concrete, we are always on the lookout for trends and techniques that change how we operate for a greener, healthier planet. This is why we are so excited about the possibility of roads that actually recharge electric cars as they drive! These specially designed roadways will reduce pollution, increase the performance and range of electric cars to unheard-of levels, and reduce or entirely eliminate the need for charging stations.

 

In the UK, this seeming science fiction is becoming science fact, as the government moves to experiment with charging roads. Operating on the same principle as a wireless phone charger, the roads will charge cars through magnetic induction resonance. Cables implanted in the material of the roadway generate a specialized electromagnetic field that the car can convert into usable energy. The roads will also include communications equipment attuned to the unique energy signature of an electric car, alerting the road that an electric vehicle is present and to initiate the power generation process. This will allow properly equipped electric vehicles to recharge on the go, without needing to stop for extended periods to recharge, one of the biggest stumbling blocks cited in the adoption of electric vehicles thus far.

The roads the UK are experimenting with will be restricted for the time being, ensuring that regular vehicles do not impede the testing process. The government is committing 500 million pounds, or roughly $779 million, to these experimental roads over a five-year span. This technology is already in use in South Korea, powering rail systems with ranges of up to 15 miles, and will be combined with an added initiative to provide charging stations every 20 miles in the UK. The combination of options for drivers will help eliminate so-called “range anxiety,” which one advocate described as a combination of running low on gas and having one’s cell phone be low on battery simultaneously.

Recent Calvac Paving Project

Magnetic induction resonance works in much the same way as a powerful operatic voice can shatter crystal. When the voice and the crystal reach a similar resonance, the molecules in the crystal begin to vibrate rapidly and cause it finally to break. Instead of shattering or rupturing the battery, however, the cables the charging roads utilize will create a harmonic resonance within the battery that allows it to transform the signal from the roadway into usable power.

Because many roadways contain metal in addition to the native subgrade, road base and asphalt in the form of rebar, wire-mesh matting and metallic joints between road sections, the cables can use this metal as a part of the transmission system for the power. The metal components of the electric car can be employed as a receiver, directing the transmitted energy to the battery without the driver needing to stop, handle any charging devices or worry about whether or not the car will make it to the next charging station.

Major car production companies such as Audi are leading the research into this technology, which they believe will relegate internal-combustion vehicles to the status of horse and buggy. By working together to create a standardized plug-in system for use in garages, parking structures and ultimately at-home use, these car manufacturers believe they can make charging stations easier to find and thus make electric cars more attractive. The idea of “switching stations,” where a person can simply replace a drained battery with a fresh one and continue on, and the increased range of electric cars to around 250-300 miles per full charge depending on the type of car and battery size, will help expedite this process.

While paved roads are still very much a part of the future landscape, what drives over those roads and what lies beneath them may soon play a more crucial role than ever in our environmental integrity and ability to move people and cargo. Calvac Paving will be watching the trials in the UK with a great deal of interest, because we want to see if this technology truly is feasible and what the implications will be for the paving industry. If everything pans out as the equations and scientists claim, this could be a major breakthrough and a huge tectonic shift in how things are designed in both construction and automotive industries, as well as manufacturing and transportation as a whole. We think that’s a pretty big win, and look forward to this technology here at home!


Calvac Paving Deploys Trash Capture Devices Inside Catch Basins to Combat Water Pollution

Our water is arguably the most precious natural resource we have, and it’s up to everyone to keep it clean so we always have access to safe drinking water. At Calvac Paving, we’re always looking for new ways to help keep our environment clean and healthy without compromising performance. Recently, we added a new tool to our arsenal in the ongoing fight against water pollution: full trash capture units inside catch basins.

If you’ve been walking down the sidewalk or happened to look at a storm drain in the middle of a parking lot recently, you may have noticed a marker which reads, “No Dumping—Drains To Bay,” such as a stream, lake or the ocean. Other such markers include reminders to be cautious of discarding trash and debris into water sources. All of these markers indicate places where trash capture filter devices may have been installed in storm drains.

 

The principle behind trash capture units inside catch basins is very simple. They work much like a pool filter to prevent dirt, debris, garbage and other runoff contaminants from getting into the water. Made by REM Filters, these Triton filtration systems are designed for drains which empty to stormwater repositories and water bodies. They have the advantage of being economical, flexible and relatively low-maintenance, while helping keep stormwater runoff cleaner and promoting a healthier environment.

With different filtration media available, property managers, owners and municipalities can design a custom system which works with the primary contaminants in a given area, such as streets, parking lots and garages, food courts, sidewalks and so on. The filters are easy to clean, change and service, allowing for broader application with reduced service and personnel costs versus conventional storm drain clearance procedures. Even better, Triton trash catch basins can be applied to both new and retrofit construction, saving time and money over other stormwater mitigation measures.

Calvac Paving has been serving the Bay Area for over 45 years with the latest and best in paving and stormwater mitigation technology. Some of the services we provide include:

·        New Construction 

·        Grading

·        Concrete Placement 

·        Asphalt Placement & Compaction

·        Striping

·        Pulverizing In Place

·        ADA upgrades to existing structures

·        Crack Sealing & Repair

·        Petromat Overlays

·        Parking Lots

·        Asphalt Repairs

·        And More! 

At Calvac Paving, we are committed to providing the best and most modern paving solutions available, while implementing new ways to make our processes and products greener and more in harmony with our environment. There’s no “Plan B” for our planet; we only have one, and it’s everyone’s responsibility to help keep it green, healthy and beautiful for ourselves and generations to come. New technology and pollution-combating policies, processes and procedures are just one of the many ways we demonstrate our commitment to a greener Earth on every job, every time. To learn more about Calvac Paving’s green initiatives, or to learn how we can help your new construction or retrofit project go more smoothly and be more environmentally friendly, call us at (408) 225-7700 or click here to contact us via email!

Bay Area Asphalt and Concrete

 


New Medical Building Parking Lot

Calvac Paving’s commitment to service means that we often have projects that present unique challenges. For a medical center in Menlo Park, there were several problems that had to be overcome. First, the base below the asphalt had become unstable, leading to depressions and potholes in the surface. Due to these conditions the existing asphalt had to be removed, the baserock graded and compacted. Second, the existing asphalt had to be off hauled and new pavement placed over the recompacted baserock. Finally, because it is an active office, we had to complete the removal, replacement and striping in a single Saturday.

When we first arrived, the parking area was riddled with potholes and puddles from the destabilized base. The existing striping and stall design of the parking lot was several years out of step with current ADAS and CBC standards for access. We then scheduled the off haul of recycle and import of hotmix asphalt tonnage and we mobilized the equipment and manpower necessary to complete the job, as well as staging the striping crew. Since we had a very tight window and no margin for error, we knew this had to be done efficiently and correctly the first time, with no delays. After blocking off the area so that we could work safely, we began grinding out the existing asphalt using a specialized milling machine. This pulverized the existing asphalt so that we could haul it to a local recycling plant, while exposing the existing baserock surface. Once that was completed, we graded and compacted the baserock so that Calvac Paving could create a stable, uniform surface that would create the necessary drainage and eliminate the puddles. This process, known as “grading,” is key to establishing a surface safe for vehicles and pedestrians while permitting stormwater drainage, which helps prevent subgrade destabilization by not allowing water to collect and seep through the asphalt.

Once the grade had been established and the baserock compacted to comply with industry standards and project specifications, we placed fresh hotmix asphalt in two 2” layers, or “lifts.” Compacting the asphalt in lifts as it was placed, created an end product that is more durable, less prone to cracking, potholing and other problems seen with asphalt paving. Once the second lift was placed, and we fog sealed the surface, we then had to layout and stripe the parking lot up to current ADAS and California building code requirements for correct access to the building and parking areas.

The result was a very smooth and puddle free, pedestrian, parking and driving surface that is far more stable than the previous paving, as well as meeting the latest standards. At the end of the project, we had removed and replaced more than 150 tons of hotmix asphalt in a single day, which was a quick turnaround for this volume of material and the job specific constraints.

Calvac Paving has been serving the Bay Area for over 45 years, from road rehabilitation projects in Los Altos Hills to this medical center parking lot overhaul in Menlo Park, and we have constructed, repaired or remediated thousands of properties. Each project requires a slightly different approach, due to project requirements, schedules, access concerns and other factors. We pride ourselves as the Bay Area’s solution to those supposedly “challenging” jobs, combining our reputation for safety and efficiency with the attitude that there’s no reason to consider a job “challenging” with the right safety, tools, training and equipment.

We also offer an industry-leading three-year warranty on the finished product to our qualifying clients as proof that we stand behind our product and the workmanship that goes into it. We are committed to providing our clients and stakeholders the best and most efficient results in the business, while making sure that the product that we leave behind is one we can look back at with pride. For more information about how Calvac Paving can help with your job, from a major roadway reconstruction to building an ADA-compliant access point to restriping a parking lot, we invite you to call us at:

(408) 225 – 7700

(650) 694 – 7944

(831) 375 – 7944

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Some things in life shouldn’t be left to chance, and the surfaces where you, your family and your clients drive and walk on a daily basis are good examples. When you want the best, done right the first time, every time and on time, you want Calvac Paving, and we want to help!


Latest Bay Area Asphalt Repair Project From Calvac Paving

Modern technology and paving practices have revealed faster, more cost-effective solutions to problems that once would have required expensive tear-out and repaving operations. One of the best examples we at Calvac Paving have ever seen was the rehabilitation of the Redwood Shores parking lot we recently undertook. This project mixed new technology with time-tested techniques to deliver a great result for the client, faster and more efficiently than conventional paving methodology.

 

The parking lot itself was old, cracked and weathered from years of use, but not so bad as to need a complete removal and replacement. Age and oxidation from poorly placed asphalt atop moisture-sensitive base material had caused the asphalt to crack and dry out, reducing its flexibility and its resilience. The parking lot was in need of a major face-lift, and Calvac Paving had the perfect product and the years of specialized talents to make it happen. This was a very unique project in that it perfectly fit the criteria for a very specific application: a Petromat overlay.

 

Petromat is a non-woven reinforcing fabric that is applied using a liquid asphalt binder known as RS1, which works as a penetrating adhesive and moisture barrier. The Petromat fabric helps to retard the existing cracks from reflecting through the new asphalt surface and gives the finished surface a higher tensile strength, thereby distributes the weight of heavy truck traffic over a greater area. After that, a full two-inch placement of hot ½”fine asphalt is placed with self-propelled paving machines.  Once the asphalt has been placed, the compaction equipment follows immediately behind the paving equipment. These very large and heavy smooth drum rollers compact the hot asphalt to a dense, smooth and uniform finish.Day 2 of the project

Once the compaction process is completed and the hot asphalt has cooled, we then apply a fog seal mixture of 50% SS1 and 50% water. This is designed to help bond the top layer of new asphalt and give it that black shiny “new pavement” look. After the Petromat overlay is 100% completed to our satisfaction, we can proceed with striping and stenciling operations.

Because of the unique considerations and time constraints of the job, Calvac Paving recommended a 2” Petromat overlay over the entire parking lot, measuring approximately 63,500 square feet. This offered the best results for the budget and gave them similar benefits to getting a brand-new parking lot for years to come, without the hassle, expense and lost time of a complete remove and replace. This project also had some very unique parking design restrictions, offering a perfect opportunity for Calvac Paving to design a new layout for the regular and ADA stalls. This redesign included larger stalls, which helped prevent unnecessary dents in car doors, making both the tenants, and owners happy with their new parking lot investment.

IMG_8848

 

Please feel free to drive by and see what a truly professional paving project should look like, and what your commercial parking lot can look like too! From a private roadway rebuild to a complete parking lot rehabilitation and much more, there are very few jobs Calvac Paving cannot do. We’ve been serving the Bay Area for more than 40 years. Now let us serve you! To find out more about Petromat or how we can help with your next project, contact us by email or by phone at:

(408) 225 – 7700

(650) 694 – 7944

(831) 375 – 7944

When you need the best, don’t leave the results to chance. Contact Calvac and have the job done right the first time, every time!

 


Bay Area Golf Course Asphalt Repair

At Calvac Paving, we know a thing or two about asphalt repair and Golf Courses. So when Poppy Ridge Golf Course called us to bid on a project to rehab an extensive areas of failed asphalt encompassing the road leading to the golf course and the parking area itself, and to reseal and restripe the parking area and drive entrance, we were pleased to submit our expertise and cost for consideration. Soon thereafter, we learned we had been awarded the project at 4280 Greenville Road in Livermore.

To achieve the repair, we provided 4” asphalt repairs and two coats of seal followed by restriping. This required excavating the failed asphalt and recompacting the subgrade beneath the asphalt paving. Then the hot mix asphalt needed to be placed in two 2” layers, or “lifts,” using 3/4” asphalt on the base lift and ½” medium asphalt on the surface lift. Covering 4,000 +  square feet of surface area. This ensures strength, flexibility, and density within and between the asphalt layers, while minimizing air voids which can facilitate water infiltration and lead to premature asphalt failure over time. 

Once the subgrade and the lifts had been individually compacted, we provided two coats of Reed and Graham’s OverKote, an asphalt emulsion seal for asphalt which incorporates a latex additive. This step gives a smooth, finished appearance to the asphalt, adds surface resiliency and increases water and dust resistance, extending the operational lifespan of the asphalt.

The staff and patrons of the golf course were extremely cooperative and understanding of our schedule and the project went very smoothly. We’re proud to announce that Poppy Ridge Golf Course has already recommended us for similar projects on the strength of our work here, and we’re excited to be able to demonstrate the quality and efficiency of our work once again.

Calvac Paving has been serving the Bay Area since 1972, and we’re proud to bring the same great results to every project we work on. To learn more about how Calvac can help with your project, call us or send us an email and let us put our experience to work for you!


Maintenance Mondays -Your Sealcoating Matters-

Calvac Paving Slurry Seal

Helpful Tips sign Sealcoating is an important process in the maintenance of your all too expensive parking lots.  We all know that the costs for paving repairs have increased.  This makes it all the more important to protect and preserve your asphalt surface.  Calvac Paving has been applying sealcoat for over 40 years, longer than most Bay Area Suppliers have been making asphalt based sealcoats.  Each successive generation of sealcoats has provided greater protection from premature wear, moisture intrusion and oxidation.  Even with these improvements we strongly recommend the addition of latex and sometimes sand to the existing asphalt sealcoats to extend the life expectancy of these applications.  It is also vital for you to have your contractor apply two coats of sealcoat to your property.  The first coat, with the added sand and latex, is the filler coat and allows placement of a second coat with added latex only or wear coat.
Preparation of the existing asphalt surface is a very important process in sealcoating your parking lot.  Calvac Paving will spend the time necessary to clean and prepare your asphalt to assure a durable and attractive product. We will remove all vegetation, and apply herbicide if appropriate.  We will use Power blowers, scrapers, wire brushes and brooms to thoroughly clean the existing asphalt.

IMG_3641

This preparation may also include Mobile Sweepers, water trucks or buggies and vacuum trucks.  We will burn, scrape and carefully clean the oil spots and apply an oil spot sealer with sand.  We will mask utility covers and other structures to protect against coverage.  We will apply hot rubberized or coldpour emulsion crackfiller as directed.
The consistency of the asphalt sealer is also very important to the durability of your sealcoat project.  Calvac Paving will never exceed the manufacturer’s recommendations for dilution.  This addition of water is necessary for the application and actually improves the bonding to the existing asphalt surface.  We feel the addition of latex and sand to the asphalt sealer extends the life of the sealer, and we include these admixtures in well over 90% of our sealcoat projects. By extendeding the life of your sealcoat surface with added latex, you reduce the number of times you will need to seal coat and stripe your lot as well as impose upon your tenants over the life of the asphalt.
The combination of effective barricading and traffic control with superior craftsmanship and products will provide you with the best result with the least impact upon you and your tenants.

before&afterslurryseal

 


Calvac Paving to Attend And Exhibit At The 2019 CAA Connect – Rental Housing Conference & Expo

Calvac Paving, a Bay Area asphalt and concrete maintenance company, is attending the CAA Connect – Rental Housing Conference & Expo, on Tuesday, April 16th. Calvac once again is a Master Sponsor of the CAA, as well as a trade exhibitor at this year’s CAA Connect.

Calvac Paving

As a company spokesperson noted, the event—which is hosted by the California Apartment Association—will be held at the Santa Clara Convention Center. The full-day conference typically draws a crowd of 1,500-plus professionals from a variety of industries.

The team from Calvac Paving will be in Booth 318 during the event. As the spokesperson noted, attendees are welcome to come by the booth and enter to win a raffle. “People who take pictures of Calvac Paving’s booth and use the hashtag #CAAConnectExpo will automatically be entered to win a prize from the asphalt and concrete company,” the spokesperson said, adding that representatives from the company are looking forward to meeting other attendees and exhibitors that are also in the Property Management and Maintenance industry. One reason the event is so popular with attendees, the spokesperson said, is that it’s a one-stop shop for information relating to the rental housing industry.

For example, this event features 160-plus exhibitor booths and educational seminars that feature nationally recognized speakers. Everyone who attends—from owners and corporate executives to property managers, leasing professionals, California Certified Residential Managers and more—will leave the event feeling like they have received the answers and information they need about their most urgent management challenges, as well as determining which vendors are the best for their businesses.

“Calvac Paving has served the Bay Area for over four decades, so we are confident that we can help answer a variety of questions that attendees may have about our industry while also enjoying meeting new clients,” the spokesperson said.

About Calvac Paving:
Calvac Paving is a full service asphalt and concrete maintenance company that has been serving the greater Bay Area since 1974. For more information, please visit http://www.calvacpaving.com/

Calvac Paving
2645 Pacer Ln
San Jose, CA 95111
(408) 837-9021


The Lost Art Of Concrete

Cement Contractors

The saying “They don’t build ‘em like they used to” is literal truth in the concrete industry. For decades, modern science has struggled to work out how ancient societies such as the Romans were able to create buildings, monuments and roadways which are still visible and even in use today, when the average lifespan of modern concrete tends to be far more modest. Now, a team of scientists from the University of Utah believes they may have found the surprising answer to this centuries-old mystery.

Modern concrete uses Portland cement as its base, which is a fine powder created from lime, chalk, sandstone, iron and other materials and then combined with aggregates of varying sizes. However, the Romans used a type of cement created from the ash of certain volcanoes. These volcanoes’ emissions contained a rare combination of mineral elements which only occurs naturally in very specific areas with particular geological profiles. What’s most surprising is that the minerals which make Roman cement different from Portland cement appear to react to seawater, which encourages the crystalline structure of the minerals to continue growing. This actually makes the concrete self-healing and impedes cracking, a feat modern science is still trying to replicate.

This discovery of how Roman concrete was made is important because it could lead to greener and more eco-friendly concrete production and paving technologies, as well as structures with higher strength, structural integrity and longevity under adverse conditions than modern concrete allows for. In addition, Roman concrete did not use reinforcing steel such as a wire mesh mat or rebar, both of which Portland cement will corrode and degrade over time. This may lead to significant cost reductions for new construction on structures like bridges, building footings and other applications.

However, the research team warns it’s too early to get too excited about Roman concrete. First, Roman concrete relies on very specific minerals, namely tobermorite and phillipsite, being present in certain quantities. The researchers say the composition of Roman concrete was largely a matter of luck and being in the right place, at the right time, with access to the right materials. Second, we don’t yet know exactly how the Romans made their cement or what the process was for mixing it with aggregate and placing it. This by itself may leave us several years, or even decades, away from being able to use Roman concrete effectively.

Despite these hurdles, the concepts behind Roman concrete and other green discoveries from the ancient world are constantly being studied, evaluated and applied to our modern understanding of how to build things that last. At Calvac Paving, we’ve been serving the Bay Area for over 40 years in the most environmentally friendly, safe and expedient way possible. We’re always on the lookout for new developments, technologies and ideas which will let us do our jobs more effectively, with less impact on the world we all share. To learn more about our commitment to the environment, or how Calvac Paving can help you with your next project, contact us at:

Calvac Paving
2645 Pacer Ln
San Jose, CA 95111
(408) 837-9021