Asphalt is one of the most popular materials for driveways, parking lots, roads, and more for plenty of reasons. Asphalt is extremely long-lasting, and also very affordable to maintain in the long term. Some maintenance is required, but when a solid installation from qualified asphalt driveway contractors can last for 20-30 years, it’s still an excellent investment.
However, there will be times when you can’t handle the work or maintenance yourself and need to call in the pros to handle the job. When do you need asphalt driveway contractors? Here are some of the most common situations.
Building An Asphalt Driveway or Other Installation
For starters, asphalt simply isn’t something an amateur can install for themselves – not if they want good results, anyway. The material itself is hot and dangerous to work with, and there is extensive prep work to be done. Most of the time, if an asphalt driveway fails prematurely, it’s because of poor installation.
In particular, the ground beneath the asphalt must be very carefully graded and prepared, to ensure that it’s a suitable ‘foundation’ for the asphalt which will be going on top. Also, consideration must be given to what’s underneath the asphalt. It should never go on top of septic system components, for example, and it’s also best to avoid putting asphalt on top of water, power, or other buried service lines – if at all possible.
For all these reasons, you want asphalt driveway contractors with a long history of success on a variety of projects.
Regular sealcoating is an absolutely vital part of owning an asphalt driveway or other installation. Sealcoating works much like finishing a piece of wood, creating a hard outer coat that is waterproof and damage-resistant, as well as preventing UV damage from the sun.
If you’re installing a new piece of asphalt, it should not be sealcoated immediately. The asphalt needs time to settle, and for all its hardening chemical transformations to fully occur. At a minimum, you should wait three months before the first sealcoat, and even up to twelve months is still fine.
After that, the sealcoat will wear off over time and should be replaced every 2-3 years for best results. This is another job that’s best left to the professionals. While it is possible to buy sealcoating products yourself, they’re tricky to apply properly – not to mention being hot, unpleasant work. Hiring asphalt driveway contractors leads to better results and avoids a lot of labor on your part.
This may seem like a hassle, but proper sealcoating will add many years to your asphalt’s life, while also preventing repairs.
Repairing Cracks and Holes
If your sealcoating fails, or if something particularly damaging happens to your asphalt such as the land below settling, it can still develop cracks or potholes. These should be taken care of as fast as possible! Once asphalt is compromised, the cracks and holes will only continue to grow. The larger they are, the repair work becomes increasingly difficult – and more expensive.
Very small cracks can be fixed DIY style with off-the-shelf patches, especially if you don’t care about minor discoloration in the patched spots. However, larger cracks and holes will have to be filled in by asphalt specialists. This is also true if you want your asphalt to have a like-new look, without noticeable patches.
In particular, it’s very important to have any cracks fixed before winter hits. Once temperatures reach freezing, that means any water which makes its way into the crack will do extra damage once it freezes. It’s not uncommon for neglectful property owners to see a small crack in the fall become a major obstacle in the spring, due to winter-related damage.
What To Look for In Asphalt Driveway Contractors
There are plenty of asphalt driveway contractors here in the Triangle, and all across the state. Which ones are going to be best?
You should look for:
- Experience. Asphalt work is relatively easy to get into, and a lot of contractors fail within just a few years. For best results, you want an asphalt contractor with at least a decade of experience – and basically, the more experience the better.
- Proximity. Asphalt is heavy and difficult to transport, not to mention other tools involved, such as the machinery needed for grading. All things being equal, your asphalt contractor should be as close to you as possible, to cut down on transportation costs.
- Fully licensed and insured. Never let a contractor work on your property without having their paperwork in order. Insurance is especially important. This actually protects you from claims, such as if a worker is hurt on the job.
- Detailed estimates. Dodgy contractors are common, and one of the biggest red flags is if they don’t provide detailed written estimates. Generally speaking, the more detailed an estimate is – such as breaking down material costs – the more likely the contractor is dealing with you fairly.
- Positive reviews. Online reviews aren’t everything, but they are a good guideline. If a contractor has too many negative reviews, that’s a bad sign. Look for one whose overall ratings are at least 4/5.
Blalock Paving are your experts for concrete and asphalt services across the Triangle. We’re proudly family-owned and have been serving the area since 1968. Whether you’re installing a private home driveway, or maintaining a major municipal roadway, we have experience with jobs of all sizes. Contact us for a free estimate!