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I need to hire a paving company to redo my driveway, and I want to make sure I qualify the scope of work they'll be performing.

I live in New England, so subject to freeze/thaw cycles. The driveway is single wide about 150' long, with approximately an 8-10 degree rise as it approaches the house, but flat with no natural grading for the majority of its length.

The original paving company that was used when the house was constructed did an insufficient job - thin asphalt (about 1.5") on top of soft sand, as such, it had already deteriorated by the time I purchased the house, and it was damaged heavily by fuel delivery trucks in the Spring.

What are qualifying questions to ask about the scope of work?

  • so are you talking a rip out and patch for the dammaged section(s), then a chip seal so it looks the same , total overlay? how much of the 150' needs redone? the area ontop of soft sand to do it right would need to be pulled up and close to a foot of rock put down and that will last for a while here on the west coast, but with heavy rains on sand things keep moving and we dont have the super cold to deal with, You may need a firm that has a good rep at installing on sand ask to see some jobs the same width and see how they are holding up . – Ed Beal Nov 19 '15 at 14:22
  • The whole thing. The damaged part is un-drivable, but the whole driveway is basically falling apart. It was never maintained, and the last winter we had annihilated it. Deep differences between the travel areas and the middle where nobody drives, large pools of standing water due to lack of drainage, cracks and weeds galore. Im assuming the sand would indeed need to be dug out and replaced with a proper base that has proper drainage, and an adequately thick layer of asphalt with proper grading. I just don't know what "doing it right" would actually entail. – AgmLauncher Nov 19 '15 at 19:04
  • in the past 1.5 was enough with a good base now 2-1/4 / 2-1/2 inch is needed as they have reduced the tar% or that is what my grading and paving guy told me, the last one we did on sand we dug out 12" then put a matt down 8" of 4" minus crushed quary rock topped with 4" of 1" minus crushed quary then a thin layer of 1/2 minus crushed quary compacted leveled up and the pavement laid on top it is still there the main width of the lane where the rock is was 8' but they laid the asphalt over the sides to help hold together, the heavest trucks on this is the propane delevery but it has held – Ed Beal Nov 19 '15 at 20:18
  • Where I live, a little north of NYC, the asphalt contractors are very sketchy. My neighbors have tried several and all are displeased. I tried one widely used contractor who did not do what he proposed. When I asked him about it after the work was done he said he has one proposal, uses it for all potential customers, and then does the work he thinks they need. He never returned to fix the work and never asked be for the second half of the agreed upon fee. (I paid half on starting the work.) When I do this again, I will go with a company that I am very familiar with and really trust. – Yehuda_NYC Dec 20 '15 at 18:19
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Asphalt paving follows a series of steps and procedures that ensure an enduring and quality job. To put yourself at ease that the contractor will produce the results you want it is best to communicate to them what your concerns are and how he proposes to deal with them. Write down your quarries beforehand.

During the screening process(and before the final contractor is chosen) it is customary to inquire in a congenial manner several pertinent questions that a respectable contractor will have no hesitation with answering. Here are the basic quires, but not all:

  1. How long have been in the asphalt business?

  2. What other similar type jobs have you completed locally? Would you mind if I called the people you have completed work for?

  3. Are you licensed, bonded, and insured? What is your contractor license number?

To ask to give more detail regarding the scope and specifics of the job I would think the most critical questions pertain to:

  1. Once broken up will the old asphalt be re-used or hauled away.

  2. How thick will the base be? and what will it consist of?

  3. What is your procedure if a tree root is encountered while excavating?

  4. What is the final thickness of the new asphalt?

  5. Will frost heave have a detrimental effect on the asphalt? And if so how can it be prevented?

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