The 5 biggest mistakes that a home owner
or business owner makes when hiring a
contractor to sealcoat their drive way
or parking lot.
#1. Taking the cheapest price:
For home owners: Now, we are not here to tell you how to spend your money. If service and quality are not overly important to you and your budget is tight, then by all means take several bids and choose the contractor who offers you the lowest price. Don't kid yourself, just like everything else in life; price and quality go hand in hand. When you choose the lowest price you are choosing the contractor with the least incentive to keep you happy. After all, you have already communicated that price is all you really care about. Your decision to shop for the lowest price stands as irrefutable evidence.
When you purchased your last vehicle, did you buy the cheapest one you could find? Then what would possess you to hire the lowest priced contractor? If it sounds too good to be true...it more than likely is! Most good contractors have similar costs. There are marginal differences, but if someone is 25% less you should ask them why. We all pay around the same price for materials, labor and insurance. The quickest way to bring our costs down is to cut corners; Sad but true. They are possibly not insured. They are possibly not local. They will possibly sealcoat your driveway too thin with watered down materials and many do not treat cracks. YOU MAY NOT BE ABLE TO FIND THEM WHEN FUTURE PROBLEMS APPEAR. PLEASE THINK TWICE ABOUT ACCEPTING THE CHEAPEST PRICED BID!!!
For Business Owners: There are many factors to consider when getting bids to have a commercial property sealcoated. Are all the contractors making apples to apples bids? Is the contractor bidding 1 or 2 or 3 coats? Many commercial parking lots receive a lot of traffic and a 1 coat application often will not last very long and is not consistent with manufacturers specifications. Will the coating be sprayed, brushed or squeegee applied? Is sealing of major cracks included in the bid? Are they using a hot crack sealant or cold pour crack filler? How are they preparing the cracks prior to crack sealing? Recommend that the contactor(s) bidding on your parking lot itemize everything they are dong. Also have them list each area separately such as Asphalt repairs how many areas and how much, if it's a 1, 2, or 3 coat and how much and if doing cracks how much and how many lineal feet of cracks, etc. YOU MAY NOT BE ABLE TO FIND THEM WHEN FUTURE PROBLEMS APPEAR. PLEASE THINK TWICE ABOUT ACCEPTING THE CHEAPEST PRICED BID!!!
#2. Hiring an un-insured contractor:
For home owners and business owners: Although you may not feel much can go wrong when having your driveway sealcoated, you definitely do not want a contractor who's un-insured. For instance an unexpected rain storm can splash sealcoat material on a home owners garage door, siding, concrete or brick side walk. Even though a contractor cannot control the weather if they have the proper insurance; you will be protected.
#3. Failing to check references:
For home owners and business owners: Ask for a list of people you can call and interview about their experience. Do not just call the select list of people the contractor claims has given permission. Demand a contact list of all the clients the contractor has worked for in the last 3 to 6 months and call 3 or 4 at random. If a contractor is going to take care of you, his past clients will sing his praises. If he is not going to, the stench of his past performance will stink to high heaven. All you have got to do is a little due diligence.
#4. Only sealcoating your driveway when it is in
need of repair or replacement:
For home owners: Although sealcoating greatly enhances the appearance of your driveway; as well as giving significant protection against the elements (waterproofing), there is really no structural benefit to just sealcoating your driveway. If your driveway has low spots, unevenness and badly cracked areas you probably have a base problem and should repair the damaged areas or possibly replace the entire driveway.
For business owners: It's an inconvenience to many commercial property owners to close off sections of their parking lot for maintenance. In addition your parking lot is not an income producer so many property owners do not want to maintain it every year or 2. However, when asphalt cracks; water and ice penetrate into the pavement, which causes more cracking and eventually pavement failure. Cracks should be treated with a hot crack sealant and proper prep work every year or 2 to prevent water infiltration. Parking lots should also be sealcoated every 2-3 years (possibly more often on very high traffic areas) to keep the surface smooth for easier cleaning, black to absorb heat which helps to melt snow and ice faster and to maintain good appearance. Damaged areas and catch basins should be hot patched as such, as significant damage or potholes can occur.
#5. Sealcoating your driveway too often:
For home owners: Since residential driveways are generally low traffic areas a good sealcoat job should last 2-3 years and that's mainly since most driveways in Northern climates get plowed and salted in the winter months. You do not need to sealcoat every year. When driveways get coated too often the sealer builds up and may crack and peel.
#5. Not keeping traffic off the freshly sealcoated
parking area long enough:
For business owners: Sealcoat material needs sufficient time to cure. (Ideally 24 hours, but at least 8-12 hours under ideal weather conditions, including several hours of sunlight). If a parking lot is opened to traffic, before the material has fully cured the coating will wear off prematurely. You may consider doing the job in sections.