We currently have a long asphalt driveway. About 400 feet long by about
10 feet wide.
2/3 of the way down the driveway is a shop, perpendicular to the driveway.
I recently had the gravel drive to the shop that runs perpendicular to
the main driveway paved with asphalt. In doing so, the asphalt company
tore up the bottom 1/3 of the driveway pretty good.
Now, they claimed it was because there wasn't a "good base" under the
existing driveway. The previous owners of the house had issues with
this as well when they had a company come to install a mound septic
system and tore up the driveway pretty good. Rumor has it they made
this other company pay to overlay the entire driveway (so the main
driveway has been overlayed in the past couple years, actually by the
same company that did the latest work, the owner even told me he
remembered doing it).
Anyhow, he told me to overlay would be about 2000 bucks, or a complete
redo of the section would be over double that. Then went on to say "you
got a really good deal on this shop driveway". So, I said "do the
overlay" as I didn't want to argue and have them just stop working.
Just curious if this sounds right or not. Would the asphalt company not
have any liability for ruining the old portion of the driveway? And the
price seems pretty high.
For the shop asphalt it was $2100. This is for 1192 sq ft 3" mat,
digging out the area, and supplying base material, grading and
compacting. I also had them put in a culvert, and that showed up as
$500 (for about 36feet of 8" plastic culvert). Which sounds high too.
But I can live with that.
Then the extra $2000 for approximatley 1200 more sq ft of 1 1/2"
overlay... something smells funny. I could see paying some of it, but
all of it? Just because they claim "it wasn't done right to begin
with"? And it seems like I paid the same price for 1 1/2" overlay as I
did for 3" mat where they did all the prep as well.
Just curious on thoughts about this. Thanks!
What did they do to ruin the driveway? Drive over it with trucks? If so,
they are not liable and the driveway probably had a poor base. Residential
driveways are often thinner and do not have the same base as a commercial
drive for heavy trucks.
Sounds cheap to me.
Some driveways look pretty with an overlay, but if the base it not right, it
won't last long and heavy equipment can tear it up. Not knowing the entire
situation of what exited, no one can tell for sure. Most important, check
the reputation of the paver. Some are good, some are shady and take
shortcuts. The lowest bidder is not always the best value.
I recently got quotes on doing a job. They ranged from $68,000 to $155,000.
We went with the $105,000 job because of his reputation.
Edwin Pawlowski wrote:
> Some driveways look pretty with an overlay, but if the base it not
The reputation is good, but they're also known to find ways to get more
$$ from customers. I've dealt with them twice, and both times they've
found a way to get more $$. they weren't the lowest bid. I chose
1) I know they do good work
2) they were prompt in getting back to me (one place just couldn't find
the time to send an estimate out.. go figure)
Anyhow, you'd think that they'd be a little more careful. While
finishing our shop I had 2 cement trucks there. They made a couple
cracks on the edge of the driveway, but nothing I couldn't live with.
When these asphalt guys got done, it looked like they took a jackhammer
to the entire section. (Spinning around on skidloaders, dirt trucks,
Lets just say, it wasn't that bad when he showed me. But when they were
done it was 100 times worse like they said "ahh... who cares, we're
overlaying it now anyhow, tear it up".
All this (and your OP) seem very strange to me. If I were the contractor
and my equipment were messing something up, I would tell them, "STOP". I'd
do the same if I were the one hiring the contractor (you).
One stopped, I'd try to figure out a solution. Like driving cross country
instead of on the road. Or maybe putting down mats ON the driveway if cross
country was impossible. I've had numerous concrete and sand trucks going
cross country on my place, never a problem.
It also seems odd to me that the concrete trucks did little damage but the
asphalt guys messed it up big time. Additionally, why didn't the asphalt
guy tell you there might be a problem when he came to see what work needed
doing? Did he even HINT that there might be?
Bottom line is that you are much more willing to bend over than I would
be...if it were me, he would be fixing it - and fixing it *well* - on his
Well, I didn't hear anything until about half way through them digging
out and dumping fill for the base. He told me "we have a small problem,
the original asphalt driveway is collapsing under the trucks/machinery."
then went on to tell me 2 options:
1. Pay about 2k for an overlay to fix it
2. Pay over double that to "do it right".
Nope. No hint. The main driveway has slopes on either side. So they
have to drive off, down a small slope (probably 1.5' lower to the yard).
the cement trucks only cracked the edges a little. I could live with
that. But the dirt trucks really messed it up more.
Well, that's easy to say when it's not you it's happening to. :) which
is why I wanted ideas on what I should do. So far I've heard "pay it,
they're not liable" and "find an attorney". :)
Ouch. I'd be thinking a true professional who works with driveways would
have noted the hazard and warned you in advance that it *might* happen. In
fact, the one contractor for a back room rebuild (we didnt use him) did note
that our driveway might suffer additional cracking if he had to bring in big
trucks. He said he could fix it but it wouldnt be free since it was a known
issue. At least he was honest about it.
It is possible he missed it, but I think this is a bit shady sounding since
laying driveways is his work. Now, had he been some *other* type of
contractor, I could reasonably understand an 'oops, turns out your driveway
was not stable'.
Grin, I understand your situation. It's like the high end contractor we
didnt go with. I could see added costs a mile away with that fellow so
didn't use him.
While an attorney might give you some relief, it's IMHO apt to end up
costing you more than the upfront price of the driveway repairs. The fine
print in the contract probably covers the fellow for such damages.
What I would do in your shoes, is talk with the fellow on the price and see
if he would do the whole job for a reduced price. You say his work is good,
just a 'hidden charge' sort of fellow? That driveway is actually
substandard per your posts here so he's not totally at fault, nor is he
totally innocent (he should have stopped the workers right away at the first
sign of damage). I wouldnt be beligerent about it, just ask for options.
Keep in mind you may want to use a different fellow for follow-up repairs
but if he still has the gear at your place, a good portion of the cost to
bring that in is already covered.
Past experience: Roofing job. Turned out to need more than was initially
estimated so we worked *with* the roofer to re-write the contract and as his
dumpster and such were already there, the added work was not as expensive.
If curious, we'd all thought the plywood over the porch was ok, but it
turned out it was nominal and 13 more sheets had to be replaced. The
contract specified price per sheet plus labor per sheet but wasnt estimated
to be that many more so he had to bring in more workers and extend the job,
impacting his next job's start time. We opted instead to not impact his
next job but pay overtime for weekend work which his workers agreed to.
That meant the cost per sheet went up so a new contract was written.
It was fair to all concerned. Sure, I could have gotten mad at him for
missing it on the initial, but whats the point? The payback was far more
than what we spent as he's always handled our needs well over multiple other
repairs and gives us a shockingly good price. When we got back from Japan
and found our large bay window propped up with 2x4's to hold it in place, he
was right on it. $1,024 handled the bay window and the bathroom window both
with top of the line energystar windows and quality workmanship.
Long post but what I'm trying to convey is that a good raport with the
contractor is essential. Recognize his needs as well and all will work out.
He's probably embarassed that the driveway got messed up as bad as it did
and willing to work with you, but not for free.
On Sun, 27 Jul 2008 15:49:13 -0500, Bradley V. Stone wrote:
The fact of the matter is that they damaged your driveway because of their
actions. Check the UCC and you will see that a contractor is considered an
expert in his field and should have foreseen the damage he could have
caused with his trucks. Therefore, he is liable for the damage.
If you fill your heart with regrets of yesterday and the worries of
tomorrow, you have no today to be thankful for.
We, it seems to me the original drive was not engineered to handle
heavy traffic. Heavy traffic was put on it when they added the
Is the damage the fault of not engineering the drive for heavy
weights, or should the company have somehow checked or warned you
about the possibility of damage? For those issues, you need a local
attorney. As for what to do now... Patch for a temporary fix or re-
engineer the whole thing. I think I would likely patch and see what
Probably a little of both. I have no idea who did the original driveway
(was probably done 15-20 years ago, with an overlay 2-3 years ago). We
just moved here last October.
Well, it's already done. I told them to do the overlay since I didn't
want to chance someone just walking off the job.
I'll probably give them a call monday to see where the 2000 came from
for the overlay since for the same sq ft I got 3" and base and this was
just a 1 1/2" overlay.
It wasn't really in the middle of the job. He did the clearing, hauled
in rock, compacted it all in one day. That's when the damage happened
(before laying the asphalt). He brought the damage to my attention
probably 2/3s through the process. That's when I said to just do the
They didn't lay the asphalt until a week later. All in one shot.
I agree I shouldn't ask for the repair for free, but it seems high for
the work that was done, compared to the original job. Of course, he
mentioned "you got a really good deal on that". So I knew where it was
going once I heard that... bend over buddy! lol
I didn't think twice either.. I wanted it fixed. he knew that, and if
I would have raised a stink, I bet he would have done something. But
I'm just not that kind of guy. It wasn't until after talking with some
buddies the other night they got me thinking a little more about if it
was a fair deal or not.
There has been a lot going on in our neighbourhood with a lot of heavy
trucks hauling everything from furniture to concrete and not one of them
drove onto anyone's driveway.
We had a patio poured in the back yard and the concrete truck remained on
the street. Our neighbours had concrete poured and the truck remained on the
It seems to me that your contractor was lazy and incompetent and sleazy to
top it off. He damaged your property....he should be held accountable. What
would you have done if his crew had hit your house? Would you have let him
off the hook for that?
In short, your contractor should have known better than to drive heavy
equipment onto your paved drive.
Worn Out Retread wrote:
> In short, your contractor should have known better than to drive heavy
I agree, to a point. When we had some concrete work done at our old
house, I told the guys I wanted the cement truck to stay on the street,
so they'd have to wheelbarrow that concrete. It was a lot of work, but
got it done.
The same probably could have been done here. Dump the fill material on
the road, use your skid steer to bring it over. Mind you, it was 2
trucks worth. Probably thought it would be easier to do it this way.
I'm still torn as what to do.
A lot of the problem is in the base. A driveway should NEVER be built on top
of topsoil. The organic topsoil should be stripped down to the subsoil or
clay then the driveway built up on top with granular material. My house
driveway can take any load, including a fully loaded concrete truck without
as much as a dent. This is because it is laid on the clay base with 2 to 4
feet of surplus granular material removed from a highway rebuild 35 years
If your driveway has organic topsoil under it, which can be anywhere from 8
inches thick to several feet, it will never be stable, as the material the
driveway is made from will mix and sink into the soil. I don't know what an
"overlay" is, but it probably just means another layer of asphalt. This will
crumble at the first heavy load just as the layer under it did. A quick fix,
but will have to be babied if you want to keep it in good shape.
But, as mentioned recently, shouldn't an asphalt company know what might
happen if they drive a dump truck full of dirt on it, and rip around in
their skid steers with no thought as to what doing 360s on it might do?
And take appropriate measures or at least warn the customer?
I think the answer here is it depends and there is no clear answer.
If the driveway appeared sound to begin with and the company drove
typical equipment over it in a responsible fashion, then I'd say they
are not responsible. After all, without invasive testing, they can't
determine what the base is that's under your driveway.
If the driveway had obvious problems and they did not warn you that it
might not stand up to their traffic, or take steps to minimize the
potential damage, possibly by using smaller trucks, eqpt, different
paths, etc, then I'd say it's their fault. Of if the damage was due
to careless use of the driveway, driving on edges, sharp turning, etc,
then it's their fault.
I'm surprised knowing the real problem is lack of a stabilized base,
that you chose to spend $2000 for a solution that isn't likely to
last, as opposed to spending 2X that for the correct and durable
fix. I would have tried to get them down to maybe $3000 to do it
right. I also don't see why there was any risk of them walking off
the job. You could have let them finish the current job and then
pursue resolution of the other damaged area. If they did walk off,
you'd have a pretty much slam dunk case for the original work in small
I'm also surprised that they don't have some boilerplate in their
contracts that address this type of thing. If I were bringing heavy
eqpt over a customer's driveway, I'd have a standard section in the
contract that protects me.
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