Asphalt Problem

Discussion in 'Heavy Equipment & Pavement' started by Spurgeon, Jun 7, 2002.

  1. Spurgeon

    Spurgeon LawnSite Member
    from KY
    Messages: 8

    Need some advise concerning an asphalt driveway job that was done for me. I want to be fair with the contractor and be satisfied with the job. I thought going to the people in this forum would be a good idea to get some help in sorting this out.

    The Problem:

    New asphalt driveway put in and in front of the garage, aprox 875 sq feet, the contractor completely excavated the old black top and replaced it with new. Shortly after this was completed we noticed the surface sinking in were we parked in front of the door. This problem existed in the old driveway. That's one reason we wanted to put down new. The contractor was advised prior to accepting the job this problem existed and was a concern. They said no problem the new asphalt would not sink.

    To make a long story short, they came back, and patched the areas that sank. This looked horrible and we also had some standing water in the drive after rain. Contractor was called, came back out and agreed the job was unsatisfactory. Excavated again, replaced the black top a 2nd time. Same problem happened again. Sinking and standing water. This was a 4500.00 quote. I paid 3000.00 of the bill and included a letter stating the problems we still had. Received a letter from contractor today saying the only way to fix this was to pour a concrete pad in front of the driveway for an additional 2400.00.

    I feel the contractor has tried to fix the problem but it still exists. I feel a credit of the 875 sq feet should apply towards the concrete figure of 2400.00. Whats your thoughts out there on this situation?
  2. Michael Fronczak

    Michael Fronczak LawnSite Member
    Messages: 230

    Most likely problems isn't asphalt at all. It's the base, you most likely need more crushed stone &/or compacted better. Good luck.
  3. cat320

    cat320 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 824

    Yes I would have to agree.Having given the contractot notice of this problem he should of dug a tesy hole to see what was deeper then as mike said get some surge rock and smaller rock or 2"minus to fill area then compact.then put your asphalt base and finish coat.Tell the contractor that this was in his agreement unless stated in his contract to just do superfical dirt replacement.But when he did it the secont time he should of dug deep and to find the pronlem maby you need to have a catch basin there or a pipe to get ride of excess water.
  4. steveair

    steveair LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,073


    I agree with the rest. It isn't the asphalt's fault. The asphault is going to do whatever is underneath it does.

    A very common problem. I'm not saying this about all pavers, but for most, prep work is usually non-existant. You said it yourself. They 'removed the old asphalt'. But, did they remove any of the material underneath it also? And in the quote, did it mention anything about 'x' amount inches of stone will be underneath the new pavement, etc., and that the new base will be properly compacted, etc. etc.?

    ON the other hand, this is a classic example of NOT doing your homework. When you got the quote, did you have any understanding of proper pavement construction? If you did, then clearly you would understand the importance of a proper base, and when receiving the contract, you could of questioned them on the fact that it did not mention at all the removal of the old base and its replacement.

    I understand that you are not a pavement expert, and don't want to be, but we all know that you can't always trust someone to make all the right decisions.

    I really HATE stories like this. Quite frankly, one of you is going to lose out on this deal. For the record, it seems the contractor did fullful his contract. Though he stated he would fix the problem and his method did not work, you , the homeowner also signed a contract agreeing with his method to fix the problem. In my eyes, you are both guilty of mis-understanding what needed to be done. Its also possible that the contractor, TO THE BEST OF HIS KNOWLEDGE, did all he could do to remedy the problem, if not more, and I have to give him credit for repaving the second time.

    I always like to say 'this is your yard, not mine'. Why should I have to pay to fix YOUR problems. For this reason, I don't think the contractor is going to credit your towards the concrete.

    Though the contractor was wrong, you agreed to his methods. If extra work that is not stated in the contract needs to be done, then you should be solely responsible. Maybe if the contractor had a better understanding of the ground, he would of put that added work in the contract to begin with, and then you have to ask, would you have agreed to the extra cost?

    I have to ask, did you get many estimates for the work? And if you did, did you take time to really look them over and see what kind of work each stated in their contracts? Was this a decision made on price?

    As for the concrete being the only solution, I won't comment. Without actually seeing the job, I can't give a good judgment, and also, construction methods in kentucky are very different than construction methods in NJ, so again, I am not going to say that the concrete is or isn't the only option at this point.

  5. Pelican

    Pelican LawnSite Member
    Messages: 164

    I worked for a major asphalt contractor a number of years ago and agree 100% with Steveair. In my area there are a bunch of what I refer to as "gypsies" in the blacktop business, giving out lowball prices for inferior work. Many of these outfits change names almost annually to avoid lawsuits. I tell all my clients who ask for blacktop referrals to avoid these companies and that when it comes to blacktop, you get what you pay for. You actually got this guy to return to the job, perhaps he is reputable.

    My suspicions are that you have a sub grade moisture problem that will have to be corrected and a suitable base installed to solve your problem. If the ruts were there on the old driveway, the contractor should have identified this as a problem area and offered a solution.

    The concrete slab may work, depending on how heavy your vehicles are, but it could also tip if the traffic is heavy enough. The real solution is to establish a strong base.
  6. joed

    joed LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,202

    I agree with everyone else's assessment. If you are having a problem with your driveway sinking, the most likely culprit is either a poor subbase or water that is sitting in this particularly part of the driveway with no place to go. Your contractor should have picked this up from the start. Unfortunately, in the paving industry, too many companies are there to make a quick buck by lowballing and not paying attention to detail. Fortunately, your contractor has tried to fix the problem. Most wouldn't. The concrete slabe may work but the real solution lays in providing a proper base. Do you have a lot of clay underneath your driveway. Dig a piece of your lawn out to see. If you do, you'll have to remove at least a foot of clay, add 8-9" of gravel, 3/4 crushed round and then at least 3" of asphalt. Other thinks to look for are a city water pipe running under your driveway. Good luck
  7. Gordon

    Gordon LawnSite Member
    Messages: 33

    All of the above posts are more than correct. Seems like you have two different problems one being drainage and the other base. If you fix the drainage problem the base will be easier to fix.

    Any road or driveway is only as good as it's base. Something that might help is the use of a woven geotextile fabric. This option would be alot less expensive than the slab. This fabric really helps spread the weight out over a larger area.

    People do have to remember that the least expensive price is not always the best price when dealing with contractors. But alot contractors also should give more detailed bids explaining the work that is to be preformed. Nobodys perfect.

    Good luck

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