Picking up Nickels

Thursday, October 01, 2009

My experience getting my driveway repaved: Part 4

This is Part 4 of my series on getting my driveway repaved, where I summarize the last stage of this project.

As of Part 3, I had been waiting for the paving contractor to return and apply the top coat of asphalt to my driveway. I was initially told that they would return in two weeks, but I ended up waiting four weeks (despite pestering them for status updates) for the work to be completed.

The last phase of this project began as abruptly as the previous one. On 7 AM one morning, the small army of men and heavy equipment returned with a dump truck full of asphalt.

In the picture below, the foreman (a Yankee closer Mariano Rivera doppelganger) mans the paving machine used to apply the top coat of asphalt while an equipment operator with a striking resemblance to Wall Street yakker Zachary Karabell follows with a vibrating paving roller:

After about 90 minutes of work, a 1.5" asphalt top coat had been laid and compacted and the job site was cleaned up. Other than the fact that we were told to keep off the driveway for three days until the asphalt had hardened sufficiently, we were done!:

Now that this is over, I have to say my biggest frustration with this project (other than the cost) was the amount of time it took from start to finish. It certainly wasn't easy to get the owner of the paving contractor on the phone to coordinate things, but I'm guessing that he is legitimately busy since he still hasn't stopped by to get the rest of the money that I owe him. :)

So what have I learned from all this?

  1. Get multiple quotes and remember that the lowest price isn't necessarily the best way to go. Also, see if you can score a discount by paying cash.
  2. Do your homework. Ask for referrals from friends, family, and neighbors. Check contractors out with the Better Business Bureau, building inspectors, state licensing organizations, etc.
  3. Be prepared to wait. I signed a contract one month after requesting quotes, had the work start one month later, and had the job completed one month after that. Even though the housing bubble has popped, getting contractors to stop by and return my calls wasn't always easy.


  • Out of curiosity, what was the approximate square footage of your driveway? We are looking to replace our asphalt driveway and are trying to get a ballpark number in our heads before we get estimates. Thanks!


    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 10/6/09, 4:38 PM  

  • Hi Brad,

    While all of the contractors that stopped by took measurements of my driveway, they apparently provided estimates because the numbers varied a bit.

    The contractor that I ended up hiring to do the work provided an area drawing and came up with 2164 sf.

    By Blogger Frugal Frugalson, at 10/6/09, 8:19 PM  

  • Don't trust any driveway asphalt pavement contractor. They are just ready to cut corner when you are not watching them. If you have no engineering background at all, they will cut corners right before your eyes and still tell you "trust me, you will get the best driveway". I am just exhausted in watching my driveway project. First they dug less than 10 inches and I ensure them must dug more than that. Second they laid down less than 2 inch asphalt in the middle of driveway before rolling and compact ... When I was away, they quickly paved the area adjacent to the street pavement where they only dug down 2 inch. In the future, this area will crack first and they can get new contract to repair it. I am now thinking about sue the contractor and let them redo that portion: the driveway need 4-8 inch gravel, 2 inch base course, 1.5 inch top course. Right now it is 1 inch gravel, 1 inch base course, the top course has not done yet and they have take away cash 3.5k (70% or 5k) without a receipt. When I asked a receipt, the boss commented I was crazy and didn't give me a receipt. What kind of a world now US is.

    By Blogger MachineGuy, at 11/6/09, 4:23 PM  

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