Your pavement is the focal point for your home or business. It creates the first impression for visitors and passersby’s, and the curb appeal adds value to your property. If you want to construct or repair your pavement, you should consider the following factors that involve design and function.
1. Choosing a Paving Contractor
When the idea of constructing or repairing a pavement comes into your mind, you start thinking of the best contractor to work with. Look for a reputable with strict procedures, technical experience, specifications and installation at their disposal to ensure that you get top-notch services. Therefore, before you hire one, consider the following:
- Shop for at least three quotes for your driveway installation, repair or repaving. A reputable paving company will offer a free quote depending on your specific project.
- Once you have narrowed down your choices, ask your prospect contractor for previous work sites. Consider visiting the sites for validation and to see how the company handles their projects.
- Choose a reputable contractor who works in your region. Ask your friends, neighbours, family or colleagues for recommendations. This way you can find a reliable and trustworthy contractor.
- Verify that all agreements with regard to quotes, warranties and services are in writing.
- Confirm that the company has both liability insurance and workmanship coverage in case of injury or damage to your property during the project, so you are not held liable.
2. Placement Considerations
An added advantage of working with a reputable paving contractor is that they can help enhance and preserve your landscape’s aesthetics including rocks and trees. The contractor must take caution when locating the driveway since it should be away from the trees and shrubs whose roots can affect the pavement in the long run as they grow. In hilly areas, the driveway should be strategically designed to conform to the terrain to avoid unsightly cuts.
3. Width and Thickness of the Paving
The recommended width of a single car driveway should be 8 feet and preferably 10 feet. If the pavement is for both pedestrians and vehicles, the minimum recommended width is 12 feet. For a two-car driveway, the recommended width should be 12 feet, but 20 feet is preferred for opening the car doors on both sides with ease. Also, the recommended radius of a right angle, for instance, where the paving meets the street is 6 feet up to 8 feet.
The thickness of the driveway depends on the materials and subgrade used. Your paving contractor should make a recommendation in the quotation.
If the pavement leads to a garage, the driveway and the garage opening should have the same width.
Also, before you sign any contract ensure that the agreed thickness levels are of minimum compacted thickness since it may change during the paving or repair process.
4. Subgrade Surface Preparation
The subgrade is the foundation of the pavement structure as well as the platform that supports the construction equipment. Therefore, it needs proper compacting, grading, selection of materials and treating the subgrade with a soil steriliser to inhibit the growth of vegetation in the future.
The contractor should conduct a visual evaluation to identify the adequacy of elevation and the load-support of the existing subgrade soil. The design of the pavement should be based on these examinations together with experience of similar paving products.
Before grading, ensure that all underground utilities are protected or relocated while all the topsoil must be removed and low-quality soil improved with admixtures such as asphalt, lime or granular materials.
Once the process is over, a large truck is driven to indicate any weak spot. If a soft spot is identified, the materials used should be removed and replaced with either compacted asphalt concrete or compacted crushed stone. If the subgrade is extremely poor, the upper portion of the sub-grade should be removed and replaced with a select material. When completed, the contractor should ensure that in 10 feet, the graded sub-grade does not deviate from the set grade by more than half an inch.
Light-duty trucks and cars are the most common traffic in a driveway while heavy trucks use pavements once in a while, for instance, a concrete ready-mix truck or a construction delivery truck. If the heavy trucks must use the driveway, you can wait until when the soil and pavement are frozen or dry.
Drainage and traffic are the most important factors during the pavement design process. If both of them are not put into consideration, the pavement structure might either be over-designed resulting in wastage of money or under-designed, which can lead to premature and continuous repair and maintenance. A well-done drainage system is crucial to a durable pavement.
The drainage plays a huge role in the performance of the driveway when the subgrade and pavement layer materials lose strength and become saturated. Moreover, the surface of the pavement should conform to the existing ground to ensure that the surface water runs away from or over it in its natural course.
The driveway should have a crown or cross slope, to ensure that the water drains as required. The crown is positioned at the centre of the pavement, and in flat areas, the driveway should have a slope of 2% in every direction. Mostly, the driveway is super-elevated whereby one side is higher/raised than the other. In both cases, the driveway should be sloppy to prevent the water from forming a pool.
Water from walkways, patios and roof downspouts, should be piped away from the pavement’s edge. You may also need a pipe cross drains to pour out water under the driveway. Although an underdrain system is not necessary on poor soils or full depth pavements, it can play a crucial role if the pavement is built on an untreated aggregate base.
If the water makes the subgrade weaker, you can use a binding agent to stabilise it; then it is removed and replaced with a stronger material. The replacement material is covered with a stabilisation fabric before placing and making the next pavement layers thicker.
Under no circumstances should the water be allowed to form a pool on the pavement or compromise its strength.
If you are planning to install a pavement, you are probably wondering how much the project may cost you. However, it is not easy to find the estimated cost of paving unless you have calculated per square meter or in square unit area basis. Depending on the type of your project, size, design, materials to use and the required labour, you can easily get an estimate of the entire job from your contractor. The total cost of paving will depend on a variety of factors including;
1. Paving material
There are various paving materials such as bricks, clay, concrete and natural stones including granite and ceramic. Therefore, it is necessary to determine the paving products you will use since it will influence the total cost, matched by the labour cost required to install the material. You can install pavements in different areas of your landscape including:
Paving the pathways for your outdoor space makes it not only functional but also decorative.
Paving the driveways, garage, or basement ensures that it does not warp when too much pressure, for instance, by the vehicles is applied to it.
iii. Around the pool
You can pave around the swimming pool area to make it slip resistance hence safe.
You can pave your patio to extend your outdoor space for your outdoor activities and to give it a classic look.
2. Type of a paving contractor
Different paving contractors offer different costs for their services. It is recommendable to shop around for at least three quotes before you settle for one. While getting quotes from the different contractors, you can be asked questions such as:
i. Is the surface levelled or sloppy?
This will help the contractor to determine the required preparation, for example, levelling. This can help in drafting the final quote. A sloppy driveway will cost more than a levelled pavement. A plain driveway might cost you approximately over 64$ per square meter on a levelled surface, but the same company may charge over 74$ per square meter for a sloppy surface.
ii. Are you paving a driveway, pathway or a patio?
This question is important since it can help determine the type of materials to be used. If you are paving a driveway, you will be advised to lay a concrete base, if it’s a pathway, you might be told to use a gravel base, and if it`s a patio, you may probably need concrete.
While you take bids from different paving contractors or companies, it is not advisable to choose one that offers the lowest bid, but also don’t settle for the highest. You need to find the bid that balances values, budget and quality. Moreover, ensure that the contractor is licensed, has valid insurance covers, provides a written quote and have references for follow-ups before you hire them.
Paving costs can range from 30$ to 110$ per square meter. This cost is inclusive of labour and materials to be used. Different types of pavers are easy to lay than others, so the cost will differ. Square pavers such as 500mm by 500mm are easier to lay than the rectangular one, which makes the square pavers cheaper to do than the rectangular one. Also, if you want to add contrasting border pavers, the bricks need to be cut and trimmed for a complex pattern, which will increase the overall paving cost.
The base or the sub base that you need to install before laying the top layer is another key factor that determines the cost you will pay for paving. Therefore, paving can be expensive or cheap depending on how robust the base needs to be. For instance, a paver project that requires a base made of both crushed aggregate and layer of sand. It can cost you between 1$ to 4$ per square foot or more depending on the depth, durability and the location.
Cost for General Brick Pavers
Brick pavers are bought in pallets, which makes the cost to be described in units of a square foot. You can be charged from 5$ to 20$ per square meter, which translates to 0.50$ to 3$ per brick or more. For labour, you might pay between 5$ to 12$ per square foot for installation. One tends to pay more for interlocking bricks pavers than for concrete pavers because the materials and methods used are costly. Also, the bricks are available in different shapes, colours and sizes for different patterns, which affects the overall cost of paving.
Additionally, the thickness of the pavers affects the general cost of paving. Standard pavers have a thickness of 50mm and are the cheapest in the market. Pavers of 80mm are the most expensive but mostly used in the commercial application. Also, premium and coloured pavers are more expensive than the grey concrete pavers.
The cost of transport also is another factor since transporting paving material is expensive because they are heavy, bulky, and special cranes are needed to offload them. You can incur 120$ to 570$ within a 125km radius for transportation. Therefore, ask your potential contractor to include delivery costs from the supplier.
Patio or Pathways Costs
Patios and pathways are an ideal way of adding a livable outdoor space that comes along with value. Choice of materials to be used whether concrete, flagstone, gravel or pavers can affect the overall cost of paving. You should also consider the size of patio, for instance;
a) 7 by 7
Also known as the ‘Bistro’ patio usually done in the side yard where there is minimal space. It can be used as a small fire pit or just drinks.
b) 12 by 12
A typical small area where a four-seat table may be located
c) 16 by 18
This is the typical size of a living room patio designed for entertainment and relaxation. The place has ample seats and can also be used for either fireplace and cooking grill. Table 2 shows the cost of installing patios. Table 1 gives detailed information on the paving and their cost per square meter.
|Type of pavement/Driveway Type||Cost per square meter in $
|Quartzite pavers||40$-80$ or even more
|For 50 square meter crushed rock base||1400$-1900$
|50 sqaure meter concrete base site||2200$-2900$
|Concrete slab levelling for mudjacking||5$-8$
|Concrete delivery per cubidyard||100$-120$
|Gravel drive way||over 50$
|Patio or pathways cost||Concrete (5-10 sq ft)||Flagstone (10-30 sq ft)||Pavers (5-15 sq ft)||Gravel (1.5sg ft)
|7 by 7||415$||890$||490$||69$
|12 by 12||1230$||2600$||1425$||202$
|16 by 18||2450$||5200$||2885$||405$
In conclusion, some paving materials are very affordable to install, but require regular maintenance and may need repairs in few years. On the other hand, other paving materials are expensive to install but require little maintenance and can last for a long time. The following tips will guide on various options out there.
Gravel or decomposed granite
This is the cheapest paving material on the market. It is hard to maintain especially in the areas prone to heavy rainfall. You can add a stabiliser to prevent your driveway from washing away, but this will increase the cost.
Are you looking for a durable and robust driveway at a reasonable price? Asphalt is your best fit. You can also choose the decorative asphalt, which can enhance the aesthetic beauty of your pavements. the look of your pavement. have a good look
As the most popular paving material, concrete is durable and requires little maintenance. There are also other options for coloured and stamped concrete, although you will pay more.
If you are looking for a high-end driveway option, pavers are your ideal choice. They require too much labour, which makes them expensive to install than other materials. The pavers provide a beautiful and grand entrance to your home that can last a lifetime.
1. Paver Efflorescence and Cleaners
It is important to keep your pavements free from cement, rubber tire marks, scuff marks, leaves, mortar and oxides because they can permanently stain the surfaces. During the paving installation process, ensure that the pavement is spot cleaned with non-acidic products. You can also clean the pavement with a pressure cleaner, but if too much pressure is used, it can cause damage. Therefore, test the pressure cleaner before use.
There are various pavement cleaning materials available on the market today, and you should use the right products and techniques depending on the type of pavement for an appealing look.
Oil, Grease and Grime
Pavement cleaners can be used to clean oil, grease and grime off your garage floors and driveways. Although these heavy duty cleaning products are very effective, you should remove grease and oil stains as soon as possible to avoid further penetration into your pavement.
This is the white chalky substance that builds up on your pavement surface with time. The natural salts from the materials used to construct driveways cause the efflorescence. To get rid of it, you can use concentrated cleaners to enhance the appearance and colour of your paving.
You can remove rust stains on your driveway using hydrochloric acid solutions. However, do not use acidic solutions on clay pavers. Always consult your supplier before buying any cleaning agent.
Moss and Algae
If moss and algae grow on your pavement, especially in areas covered by trees and shades, you can use the moss and algae removing agents. However, they may take a few days to be effective and should be used on a dry day. Some of these agents can prevent the algae from growing again, which can be hard if trees and shade cover your pavement.
Clean Before You Seal!
As a rule of thumb, clean your pavement before you apply a sealer for better results. When pavers are laid for the first time, they are cleaned then sealed making them more effective and easier to clean as explained below.
2. Paver Sealers
Sealing your pavements can help protect, clean and enhance its beauty. Sealers provide a protective coating, so in case it is stained with oil or grease, it will be easier to remove. It promotes durability and aesthetic beauty of the paved areas.
Sealers also enhance the look of your walkways, patios and driveways since it makes the colour brighter with a gloss finish as well as repelling oil and grease.
Types of Sealers
This type blocks water and other contaminants to protect your pavement. Film formers form a gloss finish, which creates a barrier on the surface as well as maintain the beauty of the pavement.
Commonly used for absorbent paving materials such as concrete, penetrates infiltrates into the material from one to four ml. deep. They help repel water and resist damage from stains. Penetrate sealers also promote longevity of your pavement.
You can apply sealing agents on most pavements materials including slate, concrete, granite, clay, stamped concrete, natural stone and block pavers. You can also apply them on your patios, driveways, walkways, balconies, car parks, terraces and around the pool.
Advantages of Sealing Pavers
• Prevents water damage
• Repels oil, grease and grime stains
• Makes cleaning easier
• Enhances the lifespan brighten the colour
• Prevents sand loss in joints
• Prevents the adverse effects of ice and snow
• They are dust proof
• Prevents efflorescence
• Strengthens pavements
• Helps retain flexibility of the pavements
• withstands harsh weather conditions
• Reduces paver loosening and cracks
• Inhibits growth of weed and grass
3. Paver Lighting
Since 1994, paver lightings have gained popularity as an addition to patios, driveways, walkways, etc. They are known to tolerate harsh weather conditions as well as being walked on and driven over, which makes them a durable product.
Benefits of Paver Lighting
• They come in different styles
• They add beauty to your landscape
• They are safe since they do not overheat
• Easy to install
• Can be used both indoors and outdoors
• They are durable since they are made of high-quality materials
• Can endure harsh weather conditions
• They come in kits with transformers and wires
4. Erosion Control
If you don’t apply preventive measures, soil erosion can be a danger to your landscape. It can damage properties and loss of lives especially in regions susceptible to heavy rainfall or if you live in areas with unstable and loose soil. Therefore, it is important to have erosion control measures put in place.
There are methods you can use to prevent soil erosion depending on the type of soil, existing elements that might trigger erosion. They include retaining walls, blankets, residue covers, gabion baskets and grass mats.
5. Irrigation Systems
Installing an irrigation system in your private residence or commercial spaces brings various aesthetic benefits including ease of maintaining lawns and other plantings. Most people use the automated sprinkler systems instead of watering the plants manually. You can set the sprinkler to activate at your preferred time, for example, early morning or late afternoon.
Secondly, automated sprinkler systems can help lower your bills since they use water effectively than manual systems. It supplies water to your plants in small increments over time, which promotes optimal growth.
The two benefits depend on the type of your irrigation system including rotary, drip, sprinkler, ditch and centre pivot. Each type is designed for specific landscapes and plants.
Although you can install an irrigation system by yourself if you are a DIY enthusiast, you should allow a professional to handle the job.
Pavement Repair and Maintenance
Common Pavement Repair Services
To repair a pavement includes replacing or fixing any affected area to its original condition. If your pavement is cracked or loosened, you should replace it with a new paver. You can cut and fit it to the correct size to ensure the repairs are not noticeable. The common repair services include:
- Pavement Marking
- Power Sweeping
- Line stripping
- Seal coating
- Crack Sealing
- Concrete repair
- Curb repairing
- Asphalt repair
- Replacing loose pavers
Repair and maintenance go hand in hand. Regular maintenance of you pavements makes repair easier or prevent it. Maintaining your paved areas can help prolong their life as well as enhance their appearance.
Paver maintenance checklist:
• Inspect all your paved areas regularly especially after rain or snow.
• Pressure clean or sweep your pavements on a regular basis to remove dirt and debris.
• If there are cracks or potholes, fill or replace them immediately to prevent further damage.
• Consider sealing and resealing your pavement more often to avoid stain damage and impact of heavy traffic.
How to avoid scammers while looking for a paving contractor
There are reputable and professional paving contractors out there who can do an impressive job. However, don`t let that mislead you since there are a few bad apples that can give everyone a bad name. Therefore, you should be careful not to fall a victim of a scam contractor who promises to deliver high-quality work only to end up disappointing you. The following are essential tips that will help you avoid scammers while looking for a paving contractor:
1. Scammers ask for payment upfront
This is a common behaviour reported to the Better Business Bureau. The contractor will come up with an excuse that he has to order materials or even rent equipment to get the job started. As a result, he/she would recommend a 30-50% of the project price upfront. What happens next may leave you disappointed. For instance, he/she may disappear on you, or he may decide to do the slapdash work knowing very well that firing him is out of the questions since he is sitting on the thousands of your dollars
How to protect yourself
Never pay more than 10% of the total price for the upfront cost. This is the legal maximum allowed, and it’s mainly used to establish you as a serious customer to the paving contractor. Never fall for the trick of paying upfront for the supply of materials as it takes logic to know that if he`s a professional contractor and with a good standing, his suppliers can provide the materials on credit. The remaining payments should be paid according to the agreed terms of payment, for example, upon reaching a certain milestone.
2. Word of mouth and exaggerated promises
When you meet a contractor who agrees to do everything exactly to your specification and sometimes would add some extra upgrades making the deal so sweet, while these deals are not in the contract agreement, it could be a red flag! The contractor may decide not to do the extra job discussed by word of mouth, and when asked, he would tell you that he didn`t include those features in his written quotation.
How to protect yourself
Make sure that any time a paving contractor does work in your home or even property, it is included in the written contract and not just word of mouth. In addition, the smallest project should also have the scope of work with clear details of what the contractor will do together with their quoted price. This is to be clear on the responsibilities, and minor details that the contractor is required to do to avoid the scenario where the paving contractor would refuse to do a job since it is not in the contract and most times end up demanding more money for the service to be provided.
3. Be keen on the ‘pay extra game.’
Before signing the contractor, make sure that the procedure for changing orders are included. While it’s not possible for the project to move from the start to the end without making changes here and there, the changes should be simple alterations that should, in any case, involve only style or a new colour. While some style would mean some additional cost known as extras, this should be well stipulated in the contract on how to handle such issues that might arise. If you are still unsure whether your contractor is telling you the truth about the structural problem that needs extra cash to be fixed, you can get an impartial opinion from a home inspector, your local building department or even the National Association of Home Builders.
4. Door to door contractors with cheap deals
Some people pose as door-to-door paving contractors. They mostly claim that they just happened to be in the neighbourhood doing some paving for a client nearby, suggesting that they have materials left over from that job and that they would cheaply sell it, and offer the paving services at a lower cost. These people come across as friendly and may come with discounts if you offer them a job or even offer them referrals. Most times, these people are scammers and are there to not only take your money but to waste your time. Other characteristics of these people include:
a) Offering instant estimates
A typical scammer can quickly assess the type of materials you would need for paving, labour cost needed and any other extra cost that might be involved and would offer a verbal ‘quote’ on the overall paving cost. Note that verbal quotes are not in any case legally binding.
b) Cash only deals
The contractor most times would tell you that he requires you to pay in cash. You should never agree on a cash-only deal as most times it’s an indication that you are not dealing with a reputable contractor, where there are minimal chances of ever meeting him again. Don’t risk losing your hard earned money!
How to protect yourself
Never hire a paving contractor on the spot. Always take your time to visit different paving contractors, do enough research, ask your friends for opinions and referrals to make sure that the company you hire have a good reputation and a proven record for providing high-quality work
5. Contractors with no working permits
Any legitimate paving contractor should be licensed, insured and bonded to run any paving projects. This is necessary since building officials can visit the site to check the progress of work and whether it meets the set safety codes. You may meet the contractor who may not be licensed and would try to convince you that since the project is small, the authorities won’t notice. If it’s a large project, the contractor may try another strategy of convincing you to apply for homeowner’s permit, an option available to Do—It Yourself. This is very dangerous since taking out your home permit means lying to the authorities about who is doing the work which makes you solely responsible for all monitoring.
How to protect yourself
Ensure that the paving contractor is licensed, bonded and insured before giving them any job or even considering any further discussions.
In conclusion, for you to avoid falling victim of being scammed, ask for the following from any of the paving contractor that you have decided to work with;
i. Written contract
Have a written agreement for the project. Also, for smaller jobs, you should have a detailed scope of work as well.
ii. Proper credentials
A legit paving contractor should be licensed with insurance to take care of any arising damages. You can check with your local building inspection department to verify what is required in your area.
Asking for previous work samples is very crucial since it gives you an idea of the quality of work you expect. You can request the contractor to give you the contact of previous suppliers to know whether he/she has payment issues as well as understand the financial status. Do not sign the contract on the spot, but you should have several bids before you hire a paving contractor. Lastly, whenever approached by a salesman or contractor at your door with a too-good-to-be-true offer, chances are it`s not true.
Ten Questions To Ask A Paving Contractor
Paving is among one of the most important home improvement projects that one should consider investing in. Its biggest advantage is giving neatness to your entrance mostly the homestead or office. In fact, it is a step done that improves cleanness to a higher end. For best results of the pavement you want, you must choose the best paving contractor do the job.
It is essential to note the key questions to ask the contractor, which play a huge role in ensuring that your project is successful. The following are ten questions you may consider asking:
1. Do you offer a warranty?
A company that provides a warranty shows that they are trustworthy, reliable and have confidence in their working personnel. This indicates that the workers will handle the project flawlessly since the contractor will be held liable until you are satisfied.
However, you should ask the contractor what the warranty covers, for instance, labour and materials and ensure you understand all details and everything should be in writing.
Some companies offer a one year guarantee but don’t settle for less, but aim for more years. A reputable contractor should have no problem agreeing with your suggestions if at all he/she values creating a long-term relationship with a client.
2. Do you work with subcontractors/employees?
Before you hire any contractor, ask them if they work with employees or subcontractors. Employees are usually paid per hour while the subcontractors, on the other hand, are paid a flat fee. Therefore, if they are hiring subcontractors, you should be very careful since they can cut corners to get the job done faster, which may lead to a low-quality job. Also, the workers’ compensation does not cover the subcontractors. So it is recommendable to hire a contractor with employed work personnel.
3. Why should I work with you?
Since you have several contractors to choose from, you should understand everyone’s selling proposition. This specific question can help you understand the qualities that make each one of them stand out from others. Don’t make your final decision based on an answer such as “We are the best or professional.” The contractor should give a specific answer. For example, he/she can say that their company has been in the business for 20 years, they have received a certain award for their services, or they work with reputable suppliers and should list them down for you to verify.
4. Do you have a license?
There are relevant boards that give contractors a license to perform the work. A license shows compliance with the law of your city thus providing some assurance that the contractor is a professional. A licensed paving contractor can easily obtain the required permits if any and they are aware of the set rules for paving.
5. Are you a qualified and experienced contractor?
The level of qualification is an important factor whenever you need a great job done for you. Also, prior experience in paving is an added advantage since you can be certain that he/she knows what is expected. In this case, you may get several proposals and hire the one you feel is more qualified.
6. Do you have an insurance cover?
Accidents and injuries are inevitable and are a part of our everyday life and to whom the liability lies on is quite important. Ask to see a proof of insurance of the contractor and where they have employees, do they have a worker’s compensation plan? A licensed contractor ensures that the liability does not lie entirely on you in case of an incident.
7. Do you have referrals?
An experienced and reputable paving contractor should have references to their previous clients. You should consider asking for their contacts to inquire about services provided by the contractor. The best idea is to pay them a visit for a better view of what the prospect paving contractor can do for you. This will play a role in building your trust with the contractor.
8. How much is the project likely to cost?
Cost is key to any job completion. You do not want to incur more than you had budgeted for the project and at the same time, you want to have a perfect paving done. Ask the contractor to give an estimated cost of the whole project and any other costs that may arise. You may consider going for an affordable contractor but also remember, you get what you pay for.
9. What is the procedure or how will the process go about?
Ask the contractor to give you a detailed procedure or process on how they will lay the materials. This puts you in the light since you can tell what exactly they are doing and why. A contractor who takes time to explain everything into details has confidence in the job thus worth being considered and vice versa.
10. Which design best fits the background?
In laying the pavers, there are many designs that one can use. They range from basic for instance a stack bond to a multi-sized flag design, for example, a repeatable random. The design and pattern you want is entirely your choice. However, having a professional play a role in determining which design you can use for your garden or homestead is a good idea.