A paved driveway offers a number of advantages over one that is made of gravel. Not only does it look better but it is also easier to maintain. It also reduces the risk that your car will be scratched by a stone. Paving a driveway is a major job and it is not cheap. Therefore you have to make sure that you know how to find the best contractor for the job. In order to do this you have to know exactly what is involved in paving a driveway so that you know what to look for in a contractor’s bid.
The most important thing that you have to look at when you are having a driveway paved is the prep work. You have to make sure that the driveway is poured on a well prepared base. This is something that you have to make sure that you discuss with your contractor. In most cases the cheapest bids that you will get will be from companies that do not do this part of the job properly. If you choose to use a cheap contractor you will find that your driveway does not last more than a couple of years.
A proper base for a driveway requires that the area be excavated to a depth of at least a foot; this is going to cost you quite a bit of money because excavating that deep is not easy. You will then need six to eight inches of aggregate put in as a sub-base. This is will support the whole driveway so it has to be done properly. The sub-base also needs to be thoroughly compacted and allow for efficient drainage of water. Make sure that any bid that you get from a contractor includes this work and that the depth and the amount of aggregate is specified in the bid.
The next part of the driveway is the base layer; this should be at least two inches thick. It is important to remember when you are getting a bid for your driveway that the bid specify that the base be at a compacted thickness of two inches. If not you may find that they pour two inches of asphalt and then compact it down to a much smaller amount. Two inches is necessary to make sure that your driveway can support the weight of your car.
After the base layer is done the final step in paving a driveway is the top layer which should be at least one and a half inches thick. The important thing here is to make sure that the proper asphalt mix is used. There are broadly speaking two classes of asphalt, class one is used for the base while class two is used for the top. There are a lot of different mixtures within the two classes and the right one will depend mainly on the climate where you live. For this you are largely going to have to trust that the contractor knows what he is doing and will use the proper asphalt. This is why you need to make sure that you work with somebody who has a lot of experience.
On last thing that you should make sure is included in the bid that you receive is the slope of the driveway to allow for drainage. You don’t want water pooling in the middle of your driveway so it should slope down from the center towards the sides. Normally a slope of a quarter inch for each foot of distance is ideal. A contractor will know the proper slope but you want to make sure that this is included in the bid so that there is no confusion.
Actually finding a contractor to pave your driveway should not be all that hard, there are a lot of them. The best place to start is to ask for referrals from people that you know. If you know somebody who has had their driveway paved they could probably recommend somebody. Another option is if you know any general contractors who build houses they could be a great source as they work with paving contractors all the time. The goal here is to make a list of at least five contractors that you can research further.
The next thing that you are going to want to do before you hire a paving contractor is a background check. This you can do with your state Attorney General’s office. They will be able to tell you if the contractor has had any complaints lodged against them; they will also be able to tell you if they are properly licensed. It is also a good idea to talk to the local Better Business Bureau to see if they have received any complaints about a contractor.
The next step is to contact the contractors that you are interested in and talk to them about the work that you need done. The main thing that you are looking for here is to find out how easy they are going to be to work with. You should also be able to get a good feel for whether or not they know what they are doing, it should be pretty obvious if they don’t. At this stage you are also going to want to make sure that they are bonded and insured, don’t even consider hiring a contractor who isn’t.
Once you have verified that a contractor is properly licensed, bonded and insured and that they are somebody that you are comfortable working with you will want to get bids from a few of them. You don’t need a bid from dozens of contractors, three should be sufficient. The big thing is to make sure that the bid specifies exactly what is included. This is why it is important that you know what is involved in paving a driveway so that you can make sure that everything that needs to be included is included. Once you have a few bids you will want to choose the one that will best meet your needs, rarely is this the cheapest one.
For information on driveways in Manchester click here.