Get to know our industry

Common Industry Terms


  • Aggregate
  • Alligator Cracks
  • Asphalt
  • Asphalt Leveling Course
  • Asphalt Pavement Structure
  • Asphalt Pavements
  • Backfill
  • Base
  • Base Course
  • Binder Course
  • Bitumen
  • Cast In Place
  • Cement
  • Cement Aggregate Ratio
  • Coal Tar
  • Cold Joint
  • Cold Mix
  • Compaction
  • Concrete
  • Contamination
  • Crack
  • Cracking
  • Curing
  • Expansive Potential
  • Exposed Aggregate
  • Fabric
  • Finished Grade
  • Fly Ash
  • Footing
  • Foundation
  • Frost Depth
  • Full Depth Asphalt
  • Grade
  • Grade Beam
  • Green Concrete
  • Groundwater
  • Grout
  • Hairline Cracking
  • Heave
  • Hot Mix Asphalt (“HMA”)
  • Hydration
  • Frost Depth
  • Joint
  • Joint Cracks
  • Lift
  • Lime Treated Subgrade
  • Lithologic
  • Moisture Barrier
  • Native Grade
  • Native Soil
  • Overlay
  • Pavement Base
  • Pavement Structure
  • Perched Water
  • Portland Cement
  • Pothole
  • Proctor
  • PSI
  • RAP
  • Raveling
  • Recycled Asphalt Mix
  • Reflective Cracking
  • Reinforced Concrete
  • Remove & Replace
  • Sawcut
  • Scarify
  • Scope of Work
  • Scuffing or Scuff Marks
  • Sealcoat
  • Segregation
  • Settlement
  • Skin Friction (Side Shear)
  • Slump Test
  • Soil (Earth)
  • Strain
  • Stress
  • Subbase
  • Subgrade
  • Tack Coat
  • Trenching
  • Upheaval
Aggregate

Stone or gravel that was crushed and screened to various sizes for use in concrete, asphalt or road surfaces used in concrete repairs and new concrete placements.

Alligator Cracks

Interconnected cracks forming a series of small blocks resembling an alligator\’s skin or chicken wire, and caused by excessive deflection of the surface over unstable subgrade or lower course of the pavement.

Asphalt

(Asphalt cement) A dark brown to black cementitious material in which the prodominating constituents are bitumens, which occur in nature or are obtained in petroleum processing. Asphalt is a constituent in varying proportions of most crude petroleum and used for paving, roofing, industrial and other special purposes.

Asphalt Leveling Course

A course of hot mix asphalt of variable thickness use to eliminate irregularities in the contour of and existing surface prior to placing the subsequent course

Asphalt Pavement Structure

A pavement structure that is designed and constructed so that all courses above the subgrade are asphalt concrete.

Asphalt Pavements

Pavements consisting of a surface course of asphalt concrete over supporting courses such as asphalt concrete bases, crushed stone, slag, gravel, portland cement concrete, brick, or block pavement.

Backfill

Materials used in refilling a cut or other excavation, or the act of such refilling after the concrete foundation pour.

Base

The course or layer of materials in a roadway section on which the actual pavement is placed. It may be of different types of materials ranging from selected soils to crushed stone or gravel.

Base Course

The layer in the pavement system immediately below the binder and surface courses. it usually cojnsists of crushed stone, although it may consist of crushed slag or other stabilized or unstabilized material.

Binder Course

The layer in the pavement system immediately below the binder and surface courses. It usually cojnsists of crushed stone, although it may consist of crushed slag or other stabilized or unstabilized material.

Bitumen

A class of black or dark colored (solid, semisolid, or viscous) cementitious substances, natural or manufactured, composed principally of high molecular weight hydrocarbons, of which asphalts, tars, pitches, and asphaltites are typical.

Cast In Place

Concrete placed and finished in its final location.

Cement

Finely powdered mixture of minerals (“inorganic compounds”) which, when combined with water, rock, sand and gravel, harden and create concrete, as we know it.

Cement Aggregate Ratio

The ratio, by weight or volume, of cement to aggregate in concrete.

Coal Tar

A dark brown to black cementitious material produced by the destuctive distillation of bituminous coal.

Cold Joint

A discontinuity produced when the concrete surface hardens before the next batch is placed against it.

Cold Mix

A high quality mixture of a binder liquid, with rock, sand and gravel, which is used for asphalt repair work, but does not need to be kept or stored “hot”, like a “hot mix” asphalt. Usually it is used for temporary repairs. Higher quality cold mix, like EZ Street® Cold Asphalt, is a “polymer modified” mix which is also cold but is a permanent repair material.

Compaction

The act of compressing a given volume of material into a smaller volume.

Concrete

A hard construction material created from a mixture of cement, water, rock, sand and gravel.

Contamination

Refers to a condition where a lesser quality road material permeates and mixes with a higher quality road material. An example of contamination would be mixing native, organic soils with clean imported structural fill material.

Crack

An approximately vertical random cleavage of the pavement caused by traffic loading, thermal stresses and/or aging of the binder.

Cracking

The process of contraction or the reflection of stress in the concrete pavement.

Curing

The development of mechanical properties of the asphalt binder. This occurs after the emulsion has broken and the emulsion particles coalesce and bond to the aggregate

Expansive Potential

The potential of a soil to expand (increase in volume) due to absorbtion of moisture.

Exposed Aggregate

Surface texture where cement paste is washed away from concrete slab surface to expose durable chip size aggregates for the riding surface.

Fabric

A crack retardant used when overlaying existing pavement. Fabric is placed on the existing surface of pavement before overlaying with new asphalt.

Finished Grade

The final grade created as part of the project

Fly Ash

The finely divided residue resulting from the combustion of ground or powdered coal and which is transported from the fire box through the boiler by flu gasses; Used as mineral admixture in concrete mixtures.

Footing

A portion of the foundation of a structure that transmits loads directly to the soil.

Foundation

The lower part of a structure that transmits loads to the soil or bedrock.

Frost Depth

The depth at which the ground becomes frozen during the winter season.

Full Depth Asphalt

Is a design methodology where the asphalt material provides the majority of the pavement structural support.

Grade

The soil prepared to support a pavement structure or a pavement system. It is the foundation of the pavement structure.

Grade Beam

A foundation element or wall, typically constructed of reinforced concrete, used to span between other foundation elements such as drilled piers.

Green Concrete

Concrete that has set but not appreciably hardened.

Groundwater

Subsurface water found in the zone of saturation of soils or within fractures in bedrock.

Grout

A mixture of cementitious material and water, with or without aggregate, proportioned to produce a pour able consistency without segregation of the constituents; also, a mixture of other composition but of similar consistency. See also Neat Cement Grout and Sand Grout, but not Concrete.

Hairline Cracking

Barely visible cracks in random pattern in an exposed concrete surface which do not extend to the full depth or thickness of the concrete, and which are due primarily to drying shrinkage.

Heave

Upward movement.

Hot Mix Asphalt (“HMA”)

A high quality mixture of asphalt binder (asphalt cement, or “A/C”) with rock, sand and gravel materials, created and stored at approximately 300 degrees, that hardens to become permanent by the time in cools to approximately 170 degrees.

Hydration

The reaction of cement with water to form a chemical compound in concrete development.

Frost Depth

The depth at which the ground becomes frozen during the winter season.

Joint

A plane of weakness to control contraction cracking in concrete pavements. A joint can be initiated in plastic concrete or green concrete and shaped with later process.

Joint Cracks

Longitudinal separations along the seam between two paving lanes.

Lift

A layer or course of paving material applied to a base or a previous layer.

Lime Treated Subgrade

A subgrade preparation technique in which the subgrade soil and added lime are mechanically mixed and compacted to produce a higher modulus base material than the insitu material.

Lithologic

The characteristics which describe the composition and texture of soil and rock by observation

Moisture Barrier

A vapor barrier used under concrete to deter moisture vapor transmission migration.

Native Grade

The naturally occurring ground surface.

Native Soil

Naturally occurring on site soil, sometimes referred to as natural soil.

Overlay

Placing new pavement directly over and onto the surface of existing pavement.

Pavement Base

The lower or underlying pavement course atop the subbase or subgrade and under the top or wearing course

Pavement Structure

The entire pavement system of selected material from subgrade to the surface.

Perched Water

Groundwater usually of limited area maintained above a normal water elevation by the presence of and intervening relatively impervious continuous stratum.

Portland Cement

A cement consisting predominantly of calcium silicates which reacts with water to form a hard mass, then transforming into a concrete or cementious product.

Pothole

A roadway/pavement failure resulting in a depression or hole.

Proctor

A method developed by R.R. Proctor for determining the density/moisture relationship in soils. Important in concrete base construction. It is almost universally used to determine the maximum density of any soil that specifications may be properly prepared for field construction requirements.

PSI

1) Pounds per square inch; a measure of the compressive, tensile or flexural strength of concrete as determined by appropriate test. 2) In pavements, the Performance Serviceability Index.

RAP

Recycled Asphalt Pavement, sometimes just called “Recyle”. This is old asphalt, crushed to appropriate specifications, and used either as a loose surface material like Base Course, or more usually as a material as component of new asphalt mixes, whether a Hot Mix or Cold Mix. Old asphalt is 100% recyclable.

Raveling

The gradual roughening of the surface texture. As the fine particles “wash” away it leaves the pavement with course rock on the surface and a much rougher texture than when asphalt first laid.

Recycled Asphalt Mix

A mixture produced after processing existing asphalt pavement material. The recycled mix may be produced by hot or cold mixing at a plant, or by processing the materials cold and in place.

Reflective Cracking

Cracks that appear in new thin overlays that are identical to cracks that were present in the existing pavement.

Reinforced Concrete

Concrete containing adequate reinforcement (prestressed or not prestressed) and designed on the assumption that the two materials act together in resisting forces.

Remove & Replace

The act of removing existing pavement or concrete and replacing with new pavement or concrete to restore pavement or concrete to its former condition or to an improved state.

Sawcut

A method to cleanly cut and remove hard pavement under repair.

Scarify

To mechanically loosen soil or break down existing soil structure.

Scope of Work

The objective and extent of work to be accomplished by the contractor.

Scuffing or Scuff Marks

Tires Tracks, Imprints or Markings in a newly paved or sealcoated asphalt surface caused from immediate usage after asphalt services have been completed. These superficial markings will disappear with normal vehicular tire impact over time.

Sealcoat

The term used to identify various coatings which are used to protect asphalt against moisture intrusion and raveling.

Segregation

The separation of rock from an asphalt mix resulting from movement and vibration.

Settlement

Downward movement.

Skin Friction (Side Shear)

The frictional resistance developed between soil and an element of the structure such as a drilled pier.

Slump Test

Test used to determine concrete workability.

Soil (Earth)

Sediments or other unconsolidated accumulations of solid particles produced by the physical and chemical disintegration of rocks, and which may or may not contain organic matter.

Strain

The change in length per unit of length in a given direction.

Stress

The force per unit area acting within a soil mass.

Subbase

The strata of material between the underlying native sub-grade and upper base course. Sub-base material is larger than base course. The strata of material between the underlying native subgrade and upper base course. Subbase material is larger than base course

Subgrade

The soil prepared and compacted to support a structure, slab or pavement system.

Tack Coat

A spray applied asphalt product used to bond the new asphalt to existing surfaces.

Trenching

Long and narrow excavation.

Upheaval

The localized upward displacement of a pavement due to swelling of the subgrade or some portion of the pavement structure.

About Us

In 2003 PLM discovered a growing need for a reliable, affordable and qualified concrete and asphalt contractor for the state of Colorado. We offer one of the newest and most technologically advanced equipment fleets in the entire state. We strive to keep our personnel fully trained with the most current industry standards, equipment and safety.

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