A lot of people assume putting down asphalt is fairly easy and rudimentary. You flatten the area and press down the dirt with a tractor of some kind. Then you simply pour the asphalt, smooth it out, and your driveway or parking lot will be ready in no time. This is an oversimplification, of course. Most people have some idea that professional skills are needed in order to accomplish professional results with commercial or residential asphalt services. But relatively few people understand the extent of skill and expertise required to consistently achieve excellent results.
It certainly doesn’t help that there are asphalt specialists out there who end up making costly mistakes on the projects and installations their clients are paying them to handle. In some cases, the company does not have experience leadership, and they are effectively learning their trade on their customer’s time. In other cases, the company is simply not honest and reputable, and is cutting corners at the expense of quality and consistency.
Consider the ideal result of a commercial or residential paving project. You would have a customer oriented experience from the beginning, a good planning process in which the expertise of the professionals is applied to help you achieving your ideas and goals, and most importantly, an end result that looks fantastic and functions exactly like it should for two or even three decades.
Now consider the reality of driving around our country roads and parking lots. Make no mistake, there are many expertly paved services out there. But there are also many driveways and parking lots that have not been paved to a very high professional standard. In the best-case scenario, the workmanship was contractually guaranteed by the service provider — and at least the necessary repairs are paid for, even if the surface will no longer look like new after the repair.
But in cases where the service provider is not reputable, this type of guarantee is rarely forthcoming.
If we look closer at the parking lots and driveways around us, we see that many of them look nicely done when they’re relatively new. After a few years of use, tough weather and constant temperature swings, they’re showing signs of age.
What push comes to shove, asphalt and concrete are finite materials and will always break down eventually. But they should last a long time (15 – 30 years, depending on the installation, local climate, and whether you choose asphalt or concrete). And they should actually look fairly fresh and new for a long time. Premature aging is often due to installation errors by the pavement specialist, including:
Low quality materials
There is a range of quality when it comes to asphalt and concrete mixtures. Reputable companies use high quality materials and do not cut corners.
Sealcoating too soon
You may already know that asphalt needs to be sealcoating for maximum lifespan and performance. But did you know that it’s necessary to wait before applying sealcoating? Most skilled professionals suggest six months to one year (after the initial installation) before sealcoating.
Not planning properly
There are many things about concrete and asphalt installation that come from experience. Weather, trees, seasons, and the design of the driveway are all important considerations. Some companies just don’t have the experience to inform their decisions and planning.
How does your asphalt pavement specialist stack up?
Now that you know a few of the common mistakes make by inexperienced asphalt specialists, the need to find a really reputable expert is that much clearer. Your driveway or parking lot may not be the most exciting investment you make, but it’s certainly an important one!