The days are getting shorter quickly, and we all know what that means in Michigan: Old Man Winter is on the way. But we still have nice weather remaining and now is the perfect time to make property repairs to help prepare for Grand Rapids snow removal services.
Let’s look at how you can evaluate your property for smooth surfaces to make the snow removal easier and less destructive. We’ll also help you look for drainage issues that will be affected by melting snow and ice. Then we will discuss repair options.
Check All Your Paved Surfaces
Whether you own or manage a commercial property or industrial park, summer and fall are good times to get out and evaluate all the paved surfaces on your property. This includes evaluating all sidewalks, walkways, patios, driveways and parking lots.
If you have any uneven surfaces now, they could be damaged further by snow removal as crews cannot see the surfaces under a blanket of snow. Uneven or cracked surfaces also present potential hazards as snow and ice may settle in this area. This has dangerous potential for snow removal because it prevents snow crews from getting a clean finish, causing dangerously slippery surfaces. But even aside from snow removal, uneven surfaces cause people to trip making them dangerous year round.
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As you take a walk to check your paved surfaces, here are some issues to look for:
- Sinking: Different types of soil will compact at different rates and amounts, so depending upon the underlying soil, you could have pieces of a parking lot or sidewalk where a portion of the soil has settled more than others. This risk is especially great on areas that were filled before paving as fill soils can come from a variety of places. Also, some areas may have had organic materials, such as tree stumps or roots, that leave a hole as they decompose, allowing for some areas of rapid settling.
- Heaving: Tree roots can be big culprits when it comes to heaving, especially on sidewalks or patios where trees are close by. As the roots grow, they push the concrete, brick or other material up to make room for themselves. Heaving also can be caused by water under the paved surface, which expands when it freezes in winter, then contracts when it thaws.
- Cracking: Most paving surfaces will undergo some cracking as they age and suffer from regular use, especially here in Michigan. Repairing cracks regularly can stem their spread and prevent further damage if water gets into the cracks.
- Crumbling concrete or asphalt: These issues typically show up in the winter when moisture gets into the surface, freezes and thaws, causing potholes or larger areas of concern. They also can be a result of heavy equipment driven on the surface or poor work when the paved surface was installed. These problems should be dealt with right away as the damaged area will grow larger with regular use.
Options for Surface Repairs
Fixing some of these issues does not have to be as expensive and time-consuming as you might think.
If your concrete is in good condition, a sinking slab can be fixed through a process called mudjacking or slab jacking. Even large areas of a sinking slab can be raised to level through the use of mudjacking. When mudjacking, the contractor drills small holes in the concrete, injects a polymer-based fill that will fill the empty space and raise the slab. These polymer fills typically last longer than the old style of injecting either concrete or actual mud and are more stable in the long run. Mudjacking is a quick and economical fix that does not require much disruption to your business.
Heaving concrete slabs can be repaired through a process of shaving. Shaving is basically what it sounds like – incremental layers of the concrete are cut off until a smooth surface is restored. Shaving will not affect the structural integrity of the concrete.
Concrete cracks should be cleaned, filled and sealed before winter. Crack repairs are a relatively simple and inexpensive DIY project. It’s important to fix them as they occur to prevent damage by water seeping under your concrete and to keep snow removal equipment from doing further damage.
Crumbling surfaces are best repaired by removing the damaged section and replacing with new concrete or asphalt. A professional team will be able to evaluate the level and cause of the crumbling to determine if only the affected area needs repair or if surrounding areas also will be susceptible to crumbling.
Don’t Forget Drainage Issues
Repairing sinking, heaving, cracks and crumbles will go a long way toward having your surfaces ready for snow removal, but one issue you don’t want to forget about is drainage. Two important drainage issues you can address are:
- Drainage toward buildings & walkways: If you can see your rainwater draining toward a building or walkway, you can plan on melting snow and ice doing the same. Water drainage toward buildings and walkways in spring, summer and fall can be annoying, but it can be downright dangerous in winter. Getting water to drain away from your buildings and walkways should be a priority anytime of year.
- Water pooling: If water pools on your parking lots or sidewalks in summer, it’s going to do the same in winter and create a dangerous situation for walkers and drivers. Snow that melts during the day and freezes again on the cold nights could create a dangerous and potentially libelous situation.
A professional contractor can help you determine the most effective and economical way to address these drainage issues. Remember that in winter you aren’t just dealing with drainage of melting snow as it falls, there is often large snow piles in parking lots and near walkways to be sure is not causing hazards as it melts and re-freezes. We encourage you to review these issues in summer and fall when they can be fixed.
Get a Pros Opinion
At Sneller Snow Systems, we do much more than plow snow. We have ISO 9001 certified snow removal systems, policies and procedures. This means we think and act more like risk managers than just snow plowers to be sure your property is safe year round. If you are located in the Grand Rapids or Lansing Michigan areas, please contact us by calling 616-868-4900 or email us. We can help with an assessment of your property to decide if there are repairs that could help with snow removal.
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