Paving your driveway does not only come with various options for color, design, and overall appearance. Typically, a hardscaping project like driveway paving improves your curb appeal and increases your property's value by 20-30 percent. Other advantages offered by paving include durability, ease of replacement, and being an absorbent for driveway oils, salts, and rainwater that could wash off into the watersheds and streets.
Even though these are endearing qualities of paving your driveway, poor workmanship will shorten the lifespan of your driveway with cracks, loose gravels, and potholes showing up in the early months. To avoid a DIY disaster, hire a professional driveway paving contractor near you conversant with the industry paving standards and qualified to handle the technicalities of completing the job. Note, you will be able to hire a suitable driveway paving contractor nearby by asking the following questions:
Are You a Licensed Driveway Paving Contractor?
To have the assurance that your contractor has the training and experience to complete your driveway paving beautifully without defects and further liabilities, it is essential you ensure the contractor is a licensed professional. Residential driveway paving contractors are required to hold a state-level license in 28 states including Pennsylvania, North Carolina, and Arizona. Licensure requirements differ by state but on average include over 300 days of education and experience, about $300 in fees, and one exam- California requires three examinations for paving contractors.
For states like Georgia, Illinois, Florida, and Texas where a state license is not required, county, city, and town authorities may require a license for driveway paving contractors practicing in the area. To determine the licensure requirements for your area, contact the state or local licensing department or the local consumer protection agency.
You should not hire a driveway paving contractor near you without a license under any circumstance. Before committing to hiring your driveway paving contractor, request a copy of their license and contact the licensing agency to verify the status of such license.
Are You Bonded and Insured?
Driveway paving workers operate heavy machineries and carry heavy stones. Laborers in the industry are susceptible to injuries and sometimes fatalities due to long term and mishandling of these work materials. In 2019 alone, the Bureau of Labor Statistics recorded 8 work-related fatalities and 90 occupational injuries among paving, surfacing, and tamping equipment operators.
Before hiring a driveway paving contractor near you, ask them to provide their bonding and insurance documents. You can confirm their validity by contacting the bonding and insurance companies. A professional driveway paving contractor is required to be bonded and insured. Hiring a paving contractor who is insured and bonded protects you if any worker sustains an injury while working on your property. It will equally save you from any damages or claims to your property. Typically, a driveway paving contractor should carry both worker's compensation insurance and liability insurance.
Worker's compensation insurance covers injuries sustained by any worker of your contractor while working on your paving project. This absolves you of the financial responsibility that comes with medical treatment. Your contractor's bond will relieve you from having to pay another contractor for a driveway paving not well constructed by them.
What Kind of Work Are You Specialized In?
Once you decide what kind of paving you want in your driveway, make sure to hire a driveway paving contractor who specializes in your choice paver. There are many types of pavers, and finding someone who has experience with the one that suits your interest is essential. The most common types of pavers include brick, natural stone, and concrete pavers. In choosing a paver, you should consider the following:
- A paver system that has the best drainage to shield your home from flood
- A paver system that will improve the ambiance of your home
- A paver system that will last for years with minimal maintenance
Concrete pavers are easy to install but usually experience color fade over time. They are expensive to maintain and also crack with excessive temperature fluctuations. Brick pavers require frequent maintenance and are costly to install, requiring intensive labor. Although considered to be eco-friendly, they wear down quickly. Natural stone pavers break under pressure and are not ideal for high-traffic driveways. Make sure your driveway paving contractor understands what you want and confirm it is their area of specialization.
Who Will Do the Work?
Driveway paving is labor-intensive and cannot be handled by one person. So, do not expect that the only person you will see working on your property for driveway installation is your contractor. You have the right to know who will be paving your driveway. When you are discussing with your driveway paving contractor, make sure to ask them who will be working on your property and what each of them will do in the team. The team should consist of reliable, highly-skilled, hard-working, dedicated, and experienced persons. You should also confirm that all the individuals working on your driveway paving have worker's compensation insurance to cover any mishap while doing their job.
Do You Offer Warranty?
Any professional and reputable driveway contractor near you will offer a warranty, so you should ask for one. A warranty is a promise by your driveway contractor that they will fix any issues that arise within a specified period after installation. In driveway paving, it is a guarantee of the integrity of the job. The United States Department of Transportation specifies a two to four warranty period for materials and labor, but most driveway paving contractors extend a one-year warranty. It is assumed that most installation issues will show up within this period. Make sure that the installation warranty offered by your driveway paving contractor is in print and read through to understand its terms and conditions. You may challenge any clause you perceive as tricky in a warranty.
Will This Job Require a Permit?
Before hiring a driveway paving contractor, ask them if they have a permit to work in the state or county where the project will be done. Permits differ by state and city, but you can research your location's driveway extension law to know if you will need one. A driveway paving project will most likely require a building permit. Never count on a driveway paving contractor who claims to have a building permit. It is crucial to contact the local building code office near you to verify the permit. If not, it could result in you paying hefty fines. The responsibility of obtaining a building permit for your driveway paving lies with the contractor. If you require a building permit to construct a driveway and your contractor fails to get one, end the contract, and hire a new contractor who will.
Will You Provide References?
You will feel confident about hiring a driveway paving contractor if you see their previous works and speak with their past clients. You are allowed to ask your prospective paving contractor to provide references and pictures from their most recent jobs. Calling their past clients for reviews will give you an insight into their ability to deliver a quality driveway or otherwise. However, this may not help as the contractor will likely make available references from their best jobs. To be on the safe side, you may surf the internet for reviews on websites such as Google, Better Business Bureau, and Yelp. These sites will provide trusted reviews from clients who once hired the driveway paving contractors near you. Note that requesting references from a contractor is vital, and your decision afterward could either make or mar your driveway paving project.
Do You Have a Business License?
A business license enables a company to operate its business legitimately. It is issued because a business has met federal, state, county, and city requirements for such a business. Most driveway paving contractors run their businesses with less than 500 employees. In the United States, such ventures are considered small businesses, and there are about 30.7 million of them. Make sure to hire a contractor who is legally allowed to engage in business in your city. Although the requirements for obtaining a business license differ by state and city, they usually expire after some time and should be renewed. The business license of your driveway paving contractor must be valid at the time of hiring them. You can verify its validity by contacting your local government office or the secretary of state's office.
What are Common Driveway Paving Problems?
Generally, a well-paved driveway should be durable and not present any problems for years after installation. Most issues with driveways that occur a few months after paving are a result of poor installation. The most common driveway paving problems faced by homeowners include:
- Cracks - Driveway cracks are usually a structural failure. Any driveway crack is a result of pavement fatigue, poor joint construction, daily temperature fluctuations, poor drainage, and base weakness. Typically, it should not appear on your driveway in many years after paving if correctly done.
- Potholes - A pothole hole on a driveway is a small depression on the pavement surface. It sometimes goes deep down into the base course. Mostly, potholes appear when moisture begins to permeate cracks.
- Inappropriate sealing - The surface of an improperly sealed paved driveway will begin to fade shortly after installation. Although expected due to weather damage, it is supposed to take a few years after installation. A properly sealed driveway during paving will protect its surface and maintain its black appearance against harsh weather for a reasonable period of time.
How Much Does Driveway Paving Cost?
Generally, preparing your home for a paved driveway will cost you money. Most homeowners spend between $950 and $7,940 for driveway paving, although this price varies by state, county, and city. The type of driveway you want in your home largely determines the cost of paving. The average cost per square foot for the most common driveway is listed below:
- Gravel - $2.25
- Concrete - $8.50
- Asphalt - $8.90
- Brick - $19
- Pavers - $10 - $30
- Heated driveways - $12 - $21
What are the Factors that Affect the Cost of Driveway Paving?
Some factors determine how much to spend on driveway paving. These include:
- Breaking an existing driveway - If you have an existing driveway and are planning a new installation, your driveway paving contractor will have to break it to give way to the one one. Doing this is crucial and will no doubt add to your cost.
- Size of a driveway - This is the most significant cost determining factor in driveway paving. You will typically spend less if you install a single-car driveway compared to a two-way driveway. The math is simple. More materials, labor, and time will go into the latter than the former.
- Driveway surface preparation - Preparing the surface of your driveway also drives up the cost of paving it. Surface preparation includes grading the ground, clearing debris, and excavating bushes and trees.
- Surface sealing - After paving a driveway, your contractor will seal the surface to make it dark. Doing this is an additional cost but will help extend the life of your new driveway
What Qualifications Should a Driveway Paving Have?
At the minimum, a driveway paving contractor should have a bachelor's degree or equivalent experience in civil engineering or a similar field of study. Civil engineering teaches courses in physics, chemistry, soil engineering, and hydromechanics, which are all prerequisites to a driveway paving profession. A professional driveway paving contractor can take additional courses in structural evaluation, distress identification, and pavement-related project management. Besides obtaining a bachelor's degree, anyone interested in making driveway pavement an occupation should work as a laborer with a paving expert to gain experience. A professional driveway contractor should enroll as a member of professional bodies such as the National Pavement Contractors Association (NPCA). Doing this will give them access to training programs and networking resources.
Do I Need a Handyman or a Driveway Paving Contractor?
Although handymen do a lot of jobs, you should allow professionals near you to do specialized jobs. One of such jobs is driveway paving. A professional driveway paving contractor is licensed, insured, and experienced. They will ordinarily deliver a better driveway paving project than a handyman. Even though hiring a handyman for driveway paving may save you some money, you should not jeopardize quality and durability for a few bucks. If you hire a professional driveway paving contractor, you will realize that doing so has saved you a lot of money in the long run. A handyman's installation will cost you more than anticipated shortly after their job and note that they may not extend a warranty.
What are Common Driveway Paving Repair Expenses?
Some of the main issues with driveway paving after installation include fading color, potholes, crumbling, cracks, buckling, and scaling. Primarily, the money you spend on repairs depends on the paving type and problems. Although you might be able to fix smaller issues with your driveway paving, repairing massive driveway problems will require the service of a professional driveway contractor, and that means some cash. You can, however, avoid most of these repair expenses by hiring a professional driveway paving contractor for your project from the onset.
The following is a list of the average driveway repair costs by common driveway paving type:
The average cost of repairing common driveway paving issues are:
Does Homeowner Insurance Cover Driveway Paving Problems?
Generally, most homeowners insurance covers structures on properties. Your homeowner's insurance will cover your driveway paving problems if the damages are a result of sudden events. It does not cover damages caused by deliberate acts or those that happen slowly over time. However, your driveway must be connected directly to your home to be covered by homeowners insurance in the event of damages. Any peril that is not specially excluded from your homeowner's policy will likely be covered. Between 2014 and 2018, about one in 20 insured homes has a claim each year. Note, however, that purchasing additional coverage or endorsing your homeowner's policy can cover excluded perils. Some notable peril exclusions include flood, earth movement, shrinking, bulging, and expansion.
Can I Use Digital Payment to Pay For Driveway Paving Services?
Paying any driveway paving contractor near you using digital payments depends on the agreement between both of you. If they agree to it, you can pay for their service using digital payment platforms such as Credit Card, Square Cash, Zelle, and PayPal.