You want your money to be well spent on a driveway that both looks good and has long lasting sealant protection. The best way to ensure that is to check out various sealcoating contractors before deciding on one. Five of the most important items to consider when hiring a sealcoat contractor are listed below.
Are the Firms you are Looking at Insured for Liability and Worker's Compensation and Fully Licensed?
Professional contractors should have no problem showing you a certificate of insurance. This helps protect you against liability issues. They also should show proof of worker's compensation, which protects the worker should he get injured on the job. Legit sealcoat contractors should also have no problem providing a business license number.
Are They Members of the National Pavement Contractor Association?
The best sealcoat and pavement contractors usually belong to the National Pavement Contractor Association, or NPCA. To be accepted for membership, firms must agree to abide by the organization's rules, such as giving free estimates, guaranteeing their work and making sure their legal paperwork is current. Contractors that relax their standards are subject to being kicked out of the organization. NPCA also provides a website where commercial and residential consumers can search for sealcoat contractors in their area.
Does the Sealcoat Contractor Provide Good Customer Service?
From the first phone call to the completion of the job, you should be treated with respect and made to feel welcome. Are the voices on the phone friendly and do they really listen to your needs? Is there someone manning the office phone during business hours and do they have staff on call for after hours emergencies? Does the sealcoating firm keep you "in the loop" during the entire job and follow-up with a customer satisfaction call? Constant communication about progress, delays and other factors creates customer confidence. Customer service reps may also provide you with references from previous jobs. These testimonials are often posted on company websites. Most firms also collect before and after pictures to show customers. If possible, drive by prior jobs to see how they look in real time.
What Type of Sealer Does the Contractor Use?
The preferred type of sealer is an emulsion that is asphalt based. Asphalt has been used for decades to pave America's roadways and is long lasting. When used as a sealant, sand and other materials are combined. The mixture creates traction, making your driveway less slippery and safer. Asphalt sealer usually dries within 24 hours, but it can take longer on cold or damp days. Two coats can usually keep a residential driveway looking good for up to five years. Commercial parking lots and driveways are usually protected for up to four years. One substance you should avoid is coal tar, which is toxic. At one time it was preferred for roadwork across the nation, but now communities have either banned it or are working to do so. If a contractor is still using this substance, with no other options, you might consider going elsewhere.
What Materials are Used as Crackfill?
Crackfill materials are used to fill cracks in your driveway before the sealer is applied. It helps to keep water from seeping beneath the surface and keeps the vegetation in those cracks in check. Excess water can create potholes via erosion and changes in temperature. Growing plant roots can push the pavement up and out of place. Hot and cold crackfill products are available. The hot crackfill includes a rubberized material that better fills the cracks and lasts longer. The hot crackfill also expands and contracts with the pavement to provide longer lasting protection. This is a plus in areas that have hot summers and cold, perhaps snowy winters. Cold crackfill has water, which may evaporate. The remaining material may not be enough to effectively seal the crack.
For more information, talk with a few local sealcoat companies in your area, such as LSC Construction Services, Inc..