Paving your driveway improves the value of your property and provides a safe area to park, walk and play. But choosing the best paving contractor can be challenging - with so many options available it's easy for the average homeowner to make a bad choice and hire the wrong paving company.
Reputable paving contractors tend to have certain characteristics. Wise homeowners should look for these factors and choose a contractor accordingly:
- Experience - paving companies that have been working in your area for years have invested in their reputation, and are more likely to provide the high level of service you deserve.
- Local Presence - hiring a local company is important, especially if you live outside of a major city center. Local contractors are involved in community programs and local business associations, and have a vested interest in your satisfaction. Ask your neighbors for a recommendation and watch for paving trucks working in your area.
- Proper Insurance Coverage - like any home improvement project, paving can be dangerous. The best paving contractors carry full liability insurance coverage, including worker's compensation. This covers any accidents and property damage that occur during your project, removing the financial responsibility from your family.
- Expert Employees - some paving companies hire sub-contractors to complete their work, meaning you will not necessarily have your project completed by the firm hired. This arrangement can also cause problems when warranty arises, resulting in slower responses and added expenses for the homeowner.
- Licensed - besides insurance coverage, your paving contractor needs to be licensed to work in your local area.
Professional paving contractors recognize the importance of preparation. Asphalt driveways that have been laid without an adequate base or prep work will only last a short time. Be sure to get details about the excavation, base materials and compacting processes included in your quotation.
Resurfaced asphalt driveways need to be covered in tack-coat before the application of new paving. Skipping the cleaning stage results in cracking and peeling, which degrades your newly paved driveway quickly.
Call at least three recommended paving contractors to quote on your project. If the prices vary significantly, take a close look at the project specifications. Some contractors offer lower prices, but skimp on asphalt thickness, resulting in a weaker driveway that cracks and deteriorates faster.
Ask about the compacted thickness of the asphalt included in your quote, and consider each of the factors mentioned above.
Always take your time when comparing paving quotes. Avoid contractors that require you to make a quick decision to secure a discounted price, even if they are working in your neighborhood. Be wary of those contractors that knock on doors and offer a rock-bottom rate for those homeowners willing to book on the spot. Consider how you will get in touch with this company if warranty issues arise, and always give yourself enough time to research the contractor's credentials and reputation.
Get a Guarantee
Guarantees vary widely across the paving industry. Homeowners should ask for a minimum one-year guarantee against workmanship and materials. This covers you from installation errors, poor quality materials and any other issues that arise during the first twelve months.
Find out exactly what the warranty covers before hiring your paving contractor. A workmanship guarantee commonly includes faulty workmanship, sloppy edging or incorrect dimensions. A materials guarantee often includes depressions or dents, cracking and premature degradation of the asphalt.
Experienced paving contractors know that a properly designed driveway is essential for adequate drainage. Asphalt driveways and pathways should slope away from your home, designed to follow the optimum angle that promotes drainage without presenting risky conditions.
Paving contractors also need to consider the surrounding property and location of the nearest sewer or drain. Water runoff from the driveway and paths should be directed in an efficient manner, without obstructing traffic areas or destroying the landscape. Swales, turf and gardens need to be considered when designing your paved driveway.
Caring For Your Paved Driveway
Always be sure to follow your contractor's directions about the care and use of your newly paved driveway. Fresh asphalt needs significant time to harden and strengthen; any misuse during that initial stage will damage the finish and ruin your driveway.
Avoid parking heavy trucks and other large vehicles on your newly paved driveway. Ask the contractor how long you need to wait before parking any vehicle on the surface, and avoid placing concentrated loads (like car jacks, ramps and sports equipment) on the asphalt for at least one week. Excessively hot temperatures extend the hardening period.
Asphalt scarring occurs when the tires of a parked vehicle are turned in place. Dents and dips result from parking in the same location time after time. Stains, deterioration and discoloration happen when oil, gas or other fluids leak onto the surface. Avoiding each of these occurrences will result in a more attractive, durable paved driveway.
Driveway sealing prevents cracking and may help to extend the life of your asphalt driveway. Many experienced paving contractors recommend waiting for about one year before applying driveway sealants. And some would confirm that sealing your driveway is not entirely necessary, although it does improve the appearance of your home by creating a smoother, uniform color on the asphalt.
Hiring the best paving contractor requires careful consideration and adequate time. Be sure to obtain at least three quotes and compare the service, experience and warranty of each contractor before looking at the price. Pay attention to project specifications, such as asphalt thickness, when comparing prices and always hire a licensed, local professional to ensure a high quality finished product.Posted by: diana