Why You Should Maintain Your Curb and Gutter
Identified by its juxtaposition to roadways and parking lot boundaries, the single-cast construction of the curb and gutter is recognizable but often overlooked, even misunderstood, with some speculation that it is only ornamental. Decorative aspects aside, the structure does have a purpose, and without correct installation or the complete negligence of it, lots and roadways will suffer the consequences. To understand the system’s integral nature, you must understand what it is and learn about the effects of neglectful maintenance.
What Is a Curb and Gutter?
Made of eight-inch thick concrete, asphalt, masonry block, or stone, the curb and gutter is a structural component to pavement surfaces, installed around its outer edges. The system, poured before asphalt or other surface materials, creates a barrier and a channel for runoff, typically leading to a storm drain or other collection point. The border also provides an element of strength to often weaker asphalt edges, protecting the surface material’s integrity.
Why Should You Maintain It?
A curb and gutter is a financial investment, but that is not the only reason to maintain the system, ensuring its longevity and functionality. The barrier serves multiple purposes, but at least four that should concern a business owner or project manager.
- Offers Structural Support To Asphalt Edges: Asphalt edges are weak, prone to erosion and cracking. The installation of a curb and gutter creates a necessary barrier between asphalt’s susceptible edging and the earth, protecting the surface’s integrity and prolonging its life expectancy. With a barricade in place, an asphalt lot is less likely to crack or deteriorate around its edges. However, without routine lot maintenance, like cleaning gutters of debris and weeds, the lot is still susceptible to premature damage.
- Prevents Erosion and Protects Erosion Control Structures: Any parking lot erodes over time; the key is slowing the process, preventing as much damage as possible, and prolonging the surface material’s life. Soil, water, and elemental friction all combine to eat away at the surface of a lot or roadway. The curb and gutter system helps create a separation between the asphalt and the earth and guides water to collection drains. Still, if these drainage channels become clogged, you will notice pooling in your lot, leading to surface cracks and deterioration.
- Defines Parking Lot and Roadway Edges, Restricting Vehicle Access:
Without the identifiable and raised border of the curb and gutter, landscaping could be susceptible to damage from rogue vehicles. The system presents precise and purposeful boundaries for motorists, ensuring they know where parking and driving are acceptable. If the border is not maintained, allowing dirt, debris, and muck to accumulate, blurring the system’s distinctive lines, drivers may inadvertently pull up and over the curb, potentially damaging their vehicles and leaving you liable. Maintenance ensures clear boundaries.
- Provides Curb Appeal and Aesthetic Improvement: Finally, we get to the standard observation: curb and gutters add curb appeal. Standard asphalt lots do not have a pretty edge because it is nearly impossible without a gutter system’s preplacement. Asphalt without the system tends to flow outward, creating uneven edges that often thin out and crack.
When asphalt has a border to rest against, it can establish a stable, thick edge wall protected from soil and debris. The entire lot looks more professional and finished, providing an aesthetic improvement to the property.
As professional contractors, G&G Concrete & Construction wants our customers to understand every element of a project. The common misconception is that the curb and gutter system is decorative rather than functional, which is not true. The system contributes to the durability and longevity of asphalt lots, and while it does provide aesthetic value, the core function is protection against erosion and premature surface failure.