First a basic rule. Never contract a job on impulse ...no matter what the good reason or "Today Only" Bargain seems to be.
The #1 trap is to avoid is the old "Left over Materials" line. Someone stops and says they have some materials "left from another job" and offer you a great deal right now. Reputable contractors calculate materials carefully and seldom have more then a small amount of " Leftovers" never enough to do an entire job.
Deals that seem "To Good To Be True" If the quoted price seems very low, chances are the quality of work will be low as well.
"Cash Only Terms" Most reputable contractors take checks, and don't require cash only terms.
"One Time Offer" price quotes: Reputable contractors will provide a quote before doing any work so the homeowner has a chance to shop around.
"Door To Door Sales" It's worth repeating: Reputable asphalt contractors do not sell there products door-to-door, Consumers should be very suspicious of anyone appearing at there front doors offering low-cost asphalt.
"Vehicles With Out Of State License Plates" This type of scam many times will be run by persons traveling through our area from other states.
The big equipment may be licensed in Colorado, but many times the smaller equipment ( pickups, and trailers) will be licensed in other states.
Advantages of Asphalt Pavement Over Concrete Pavement
Cost: Asphalt is usually about 30 to 40 percent cheaper than concrete.
Speed of Construction: To lay a new asphalt driveway it usually takes 1 - 3 days depending on the size and scope of work. Where concrete can take up to several days longer to complete.
Usability: You can use a new asphalt driveway-parking lot usually between 3– 14days depending on the time of the year when the driveway was laid. In the Spring and Fall the driveway/parking lot cures faster (hardens) because the days are not as hot and it gets cooler at night. In the Summer time it takes longer to cure do to the summer heat. Concrete takes 7 days to cure unless you have a high early mix which costs substantially more.
Spalling: Asphalt does not spall like concrete does-can (surface flaking) which can be caused be improper installation, improper mix design (too much water in the concrete) and salt being thrown on the concrete to make any snow melt.
Cracking: All asphalt or concrete pavements can get lineal cracks this does not mean the pavements are failing. The most common reason for this is expansive soil (clay). Asphalt is a flexible pavement which means it is less likely to crack than concrete. That is why concrete has control joints in it (scored lines-saw cut lines) to deal with any cracking.
Repairs and Maintenance: Generally asphalt is cheaper to repair than concrete due to the cost of the material. This is especially true if a homeowner wants to seal any linear cracks/seal coat their driveway. The products to do this can be purchased at any hardware store.
Weather: In the Winter, because asphalt is black by nature the dark surface draws heat from sunlight, it melts snow faster that concrete.
Tips You Must Know For Choosing a Contractor
Asphalt makes up a large part of your home. It is important to hire a contractor who has the proper tools and services for your particular needs. Be sure to ask your contractor for the following:
Get at least three written estimates (compare apples to apples). The cheapest bid doesn’t always mean the best bid. Don’t automatically choose the lowest estimate. You may end up having to hire another contractor to re-do the job. The proposal should contain the scope of work and the terms of payment.
Provide three references, including both recent and past jobs to you can contact their references and inspect the jobs. Is their credit to good standing?
Check with the Better Business Bureau for Complaints. Log onto www.bbb.org to get a reliability report. Or call your local BBB, 24 hours a day to obtain information over the phone. You can find out how long they have been in business and how many complaints have been filed, if any, and were they resolved.
Do they have a current Liability and Worker Compensation insurance? While they are on your property, they should be insured for any damage or injuries that may occur: Check your homeowner’s insurance policy for coverage of the contractor while on your property.
Find out if the company guarantees their work for one year. Will they return in one year to inspect it?