Asphalt driveway repair is the last thing on your mind when you consider constructing a new driveway or resurfacing an old one. This kind of asphalt work is an expensive business. So you want to make sure whoever does it for you knows what they are doing and will do it right first time.
More and more scams are being perpetrated on unsuspecting homeowners by unscrupulous conmen. These individuals come off the street and offer what they call left over mix from a nearby job at a very cheap price. They pressure you to make a quick decision and demand cash on the spot. Always remember, if the offer seems too good to be true then it generally is!
So then, how do you go about selecting the right asphalt driveway company to build you a new asphalt driveway?
Choose three to four asphalt driveway contractors to get quotations from based on the following criteria:
Asphalt Driveway Company Reputation
Reputation – you want a contractor who is reputable, preferably one who lives, and is known, in your community.
Check out the following:
- Is he listed in the phone book?
- Does he have fixed premises you can visit or is he itinerant?
- Is he well established? Does his truck have a business logo or address on the side? Or is it unmarked?
- Does this driveway contractor have completed jobs nearby you can visit? Is he willing to give you names and phone numbers of previous clients you can call as well as visit? It’s no good him giving you names and addresses of people living 500 miles away. You want to be able to hop in your car and go see his work.
- Ask for references. And make sure you call them. Don’t assume that because he gave you their names it must mean they will give him a great reference – always, always check. You will be amazed how often a potential contractor will try and bluff you.
- Does your potential driveway contractor carry sufficient insurance?
- If your local authority requires him to be licensed check that he is.
- What sort of warranty or guarantee does your driveway contractor offer.
Once you have decided on a selection of three or four asphalt contractors to get quotes from you now need to make sure they are all quoting on the same thing. This is called the scope of works.
Asphalt Driveway Scope Of Works
The scope of works is simply a description, and measurement, of everything that needs to be done to take your driveway from where it is now to the finished asphalt driveway product.
If you are constructing a brand new driveway the scope of works will typically consist of:
- Clearing away any vegetation and topsoil.
- Removing any unsuitable material like clay.
- Compacting the bottom of the excavation after the unsuitable material has been removed.
- Installation of some form of edging along the sides of the driveway.
- Gravel layer of at least four inches thick compacted to an even surface finish.
- A prime coat of bitumen emulsion to provide a bond between the compacted gravel and the hot mix asphalt that will go on top.
- Surfacing with a minimum of a 25mm thick layer of hot mix asphalt compacted to nice even finish that is free draining.
The gravel layer and hot mix asphalt are the major parts of your asphalt driveway cost. So you need to make sure that all the potential contractors you ask for a quote are quoting on the same thickness and area to be covered. If you don’t do that you will not be able to compare the quotes as they could all be quoting on different thicknesses.
Once you have all the quotes in you then need to evaluate them.
Asphalt Driveway Quote Evaluation
There are several things you need to look at when deciding which is the best quote to go with:
- Price. Make sure you check that all the quotes are based on exactly the same scope of works. Price is not everything but too low a price in comparison to the other quotes should trigger alarm bells. There may be a perfectly reasonable explanation but do make sure you investigate any major differences.
- What sort of guarantee or warranty is the contractor offering – 6 months, 12 months or nothing? You want to know if there is a problem your contractor will be there to sort it out.
- How long is you contractor going to take to do the job? Ideally you don’t want some contractor taking a month to do a week’s worth of work. Compare the quotes. And investigate any dramatic differences between them.
- Payment Terms – check these carefully. Many asphalt paving contractors will want an advance payment. This should be secured with a bank or insurance bond. A reputable contractor should be able to construct a driveway without an advance payment. In any case the decision rests with you. Just make sure you don’t the mistake of paying everything upfront.
Asphalt Driveway Paving Contract
When you have made your decision you need to enter in to a formal contract with the asphalt driveway company of your choice. This protects both you and your contractor.
In your own interests make sure your contract includes for:
- The start date and end date for the driveway construction or resurfacing.
- The quality of the finished product being the responsibility of the contractor.
- The thickness of the gravel layer to be provided as well as the area to be covered.
- The compacted thickness of the hot asphalt as well as the area to be covered.
- The specification for the hot mix asphalt to be used.
- Responsibility for effective drainage being the contractors.
- The length of the warranty or guarantee period
And if you can
- Put in a clause that allows you to withhold 10% of the value of the work until the end of the guarantee period. This gives your contractor something to look forward to and a reason to respond to any of your concerns!
An Asphalt Driveway To Be Proud Of!
No matter the size of your asphalt driveway construction, small or large, if you follow these guidelines you should end up with a great driveway that should last you anything from 25 to 30 years. Asphalt driveway repair will no longer be a major concern. You will need to look after it however and a future post will tell you how.