Driveway paving can take many forms including concrete, gravel, asphalt, and interlocking pavers. It would be nice if everyone who does driveway paving for a living did the job right the first time but sadly that is not always the case. Still, it can be difficult to tell when you got your money’s worth and when someone simply took the money and ran. In this post we’ll try to provide you with some things to look for before you hand over the final payment to the contractor.
Proper Driveway Paving Means Proper Base Preparation
When it comes to good vs. bad driveway paving it almost always comes down to making sure your chosen material is laid down on a proper base. It’s the base that provides stability and drainage and the base where unscrupulous contractors will try to save money; typically by avoiding it altogether.
- Concrete – Concrete driveway paving has long been the economical choice for homeowners nationwide. If done right a poured concrete driveway will last for many years. But how do you know the contractor did the job properly? A good indicator that you might have problems down the road is if the contractor used sand or dirt as a base for the concrete. These materials will absorb moisture and push up and down during freeze/thaw cycles creating cracks.
- Gravel – Installing a gravel driveway requires more than dumping the gravel out of the back of a truck and spreading it out nice and even. There is actually quite a bit of prep work that comes first. A well built gravel driveway will have a sub-base of large, crushed stones with another layer of somewhat finer material above that, then a layer of landscaping fabric and then the gravel. This combination allows for maximum stability and proper drainage.
- Asphalt – Asphalt is prized for its smooth, easy-to-shovel, easy-to-maintain surface but it must be laid according to well established methods. If it’s not, you’ll have problems. The base and sub-base layers are key with asphalt just as they are with other forms of paving. If there is no course sub-base or macadam base over that your asphalt will be left to the mercies of the bare earth and that’s not good.
- Interlocking Pavers – Interlocking pavers create maybe the most beautiful, durable driveways you’ll find anywhere. They come in a variety of colors, shapes and textures and can be mixed, matched and arranged to create compelling, one-of-a-kind looks. If properly installed pavers last for generations. A proper sub-base is crucial to the longevity of an interlocking driveway, as is proper edging. Cut corners on either and your interlocking driveway will lose integrity.
Any one of these paving materials will look great right after installation, even if the contractor has bypassed the base. It can take anywhere from a few weeks to a few months or more before you to begin to see problems. Because of this it’s important that you make the installation of a proper base part of the paving contract. It’s also key that you enlist a reliable, well respected contractor to do the work for you.
M.E. Contracting have paved scores of driveways for homeowners across the Greater Toronto Area. We never cut corners, use cheap materials or rush the job just to make a few dollars more. On the contrary we sweat the details and make sure your new driveway paving job is one that will provide you years of dependable, trouble-free use. Whether you’re in the market for a concrete, asphalt, gravel or interlocking driveway, we can create one for you that will stand the test of time.