Before you hire a paving contractor
Is the company you are receiving an estimate from licensed and insured?
A company that does not have a Virginia General Contractor's license will probably not have the proper insurance either. For your protection as a homeowner, you should ask for a copy of the company's proof of insurance. While a company may state "licensed and insured", the only way to be certain you are hiring a properly licensed and insured contractor is to see a copy of their proof of insurance. The two types of insurance you should look for from the company are general liability insurance and, most importantly, workman's compensation.
What are the risks of hiring a contractor without the proper insurance? The first, and most financially devastating risk would be a lawsuit from an employee who may be injured while performing work at your home. If the company does not have workman's compensation insurance, the employee, if injured at your residence, can file a lawsuit against you as the homeowner seeking compensation for medical bills and other damages. Workman's compensation insurance covers 100% of any injuries that may occur to an employee while on the job, and you should never hire a company that does not have it.
Lucas Paving is a Virginia licensed Class A General Contractor, and will provide you a copy of our general liability and workman's compensation insurances. Our license number is 2701020396A and may be reviewed at any time.
What type of material will you be using to pave my driveway or parking lot and where will you be getting it?
The industry standard for a driveway or parking lot is to use a type of asphalt mix known as a surface mix, or SM 9.5 asphalt. While most paving contractors use this mix to pave driveways, not all asphalt plants mix the asphalt the same way. Asphalt is made by mixing a stone mixture with hot tar and heat. To achieve a smooth, durable surface, the asphalt should have significantly more small, fine stone in the mix. Some asphalt plants use larger stone and a small amount of hot tar to make the asphalt, which results in your driveway not being as durable, less dense upon compaction and more prone to water absorption and damage. When you receive your free estimate from Lucas Paving, be sure to ask us where we get our asphalt!
How do you prepare the stone base for my new driveway or parking lot?
The first, and most critical, step is to ensure the dirt or existing stone foundation is properly graded and compacted for positive water drainage. The next step is to install a stone base. The contractor should put down at least 3"-4" of stone as a base for a residential driveway. This stone base must be expertly graded and compacted. If asphalt is installed on top of a stone base that has not been properly graded and compacted, the driveway or parking lot can have low areas, or holes, that hold water. In addition to holding water, if the stone base was not graded to properly drain the water off of the surface, water could instead be directed towards your house or building and cause significant foundation damage over time. A stone base that has not been prepared properly will also result in the asphalt having humps, rolls, or thin spots. This can lead to premature breakdown and ultimately failure of the asphalt surface in a short period of time. This type of failure is unsightly, expensive to repair, and can be easily avoided by hiring a paving contractor with the equipment and experience to properly grade, compact, and pave your surface. While a contractor without this experience may be able to provide you with a cheaper price, is the expensive regret you may have with a job of poor quality worth it?
How do you prepare the finished edges of the driveway?
When a driveway has been paved, is it extremely important that the edges of the finished driveway are compacted by hand. If the edges of your driveway are not compacted by hand, they may crack and deteriorate rapidly. The edges of a driveway should be straight, not wavy or bumpy. Your driveway is often the first thing people see as they make their way to your home. Why should you not have straight edges and a smooth radius to enhance the beauty of your home?
Do you provide a warranty for your work?
When you make the investment to have your driveway paved, wouldn't you like to have the peace of mind knowing that the finished product is warrantied? Many paving contractors do not provide warranties, but Lucas Paving offers one of the best warranties in the paving industry.