Installed properly, an asphalt surface can last for 20 years or more. To achieve such long-lasting results for your driveway or parking lot, you must hire a quality paving contractor for the job. Let this list of eight things to look for in a paving company guide your hiring process.
It is imperative that your driveway or parking lot professionals know exactly how to lay a surface with speed, care and accuracy. Where does that sort of knowledge come from? It comes from having years of experience.
When it comes to paving, not just any sort of experience will do. The company you hire should be particularly experienced in the material you want for your surface. For an asphalt surface, select a company that specializes in laying asphalt. They'll know the ins and outs of working with this material.
When contractors are communicating with customers, that's not the time for them to show off how much they know. Rather, professionals should use clear, understandable explanations so that both the company and the customer will be on the same page. When specialized terms must be used, the professional should take the time to explain what they mean.
As the customer, you should ask as many questions as you'd like before hiring a paving company. A good, reputable company will be willing to field your questions and provide thorough answers.
What if something goes wrong on the paving job? Will you be responsible for the costs of fixing it? The company you hire should have adequate bonding and insurance coverage to protect you from such damages.
Before hiring a team to complete your residential or commercial paving job, ask to see proof of licensing, bonding and insurance. Take the time to verify that the certificates are genuine and current.
Keep in mind that any reputable company will have no problem producing this proof. If a salesperson balks at the request, move on to another company.
Learn more about the importance of insurance in the video "How Does Contractor's General Liability Insurance Work? : Insurance Information."
It's not enough for a paving representative to tell you that the company does good work. He or she must be able to prove it. The best evidence is a job well done, so ask for references of past clients whose projects were similar to yours.
Call the references to ask questions like:
If at all possible, go visit a reference's property so you can see the finished project for yourself.
All asphalt jobs are not the same. The materials used and the care with which they are laid go a long way toward helping your surface be an investment that lasts for years to come.
For a parking lot, the paving contractor must analyze your property and how you plan to use the surface in order to determine the necessary asphalt depth. You may need 7 inches or more of asphalt.
For a driveway, you need a company that will lay a full-depth asphalt surface. This may involve 5 or 6 inches of asphalt, or it may involve 3 inches of asphalt over several inches of aggregate. Keep in mind that commercial-grade asphalt holds up longer than residential-grade, so you may want to ask for that.
Never accept a company's offer to pave your surface for a cheap price using materials left over from another job. The quality will be subpar, so it's not worth the cost savings.
A poorly laid driveway can mean disaster for water management on your property. It may cause water to pool or run toward your building.
Experienced paving companies know how to handle drainage. For example, they should lay a base that encourages drainage and design the slope to accommodate runoff.
Before agreeing to work with a paving contractor, ask what drainage plan will be used for your property.
Even if a paving contractor checks out according to all of the above criteria, it's still a good idea to get quotes from three different businesses. This gives you the opportunity to compare the quotes to ensure that your preferred option is offering you similar services to those from other companies.
Keep in mind that the cheapest option may not be the best one. Quality labor and materials may cost more, but you get what you pay for. An unreasonably low quote is a sign that the company may not do work that holds up. Rather than looking for a cheap price, expect a fair price.
Once you have selected the best company for your residential or commercial paving job, it's time to sign a contract. Don't let the contractor convince you that a contract is unnecessary. If the company refuses, it's time to start your search over.
A clear, specific contract serves as protection for you as the property owner. It should include details such as:
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