This is another very common scam we see all over Florida, from Saint Petersburg to Miami and it’s not so easy to catch until it’s too late. The careless contractor may be fully insured and licensed and you may have even gone out and found him (as opposed to the ‘door-to-door’ guy) so you think all is on the up and up. Even after the project is done it may take weeks or even months to notice how the company has scammed thousands from you during the driveway asphalt project. Here’s what to look for and how to prevent getting scammed with a crowning sub-layer.
First off, what exactly is this scam and how to does it work?
The ultimate money skimping tactic here boils down to product minimization. The contractor should be using 100 tons of asphalt material (for instance) and instead gets away with using just 30 tons. This is done by creating a crown on the sub surface. When the driveway is prepped, it is done so in a way that allows the contractor to make a perfectly flat surface while the sides of the driveway may be three or more inches thick and the center is just an inch or less. If caught in the act, the driveway service company may state “oh we do that for water run off”, but although this could be a logical excuse, the degree to which these contractors create the crown is far to severe and the final driveway will not have the same curvature.
Raw asphalt material is very expensive and by cutting out up to 70% of the needed materials, these scam artists are able to save thousands of dollars the customer is spending to have a long-lasting asphalt driveway paved.
What happens as a result of this scam?
When asphalt is not laid in a constant thickness the thinner areas will be more susceptible to cracking from both the weather, and from the weight of the thicker areas sinking lower into the sub-surface, causing a bend that can ultimately result in a long, thick crack. Once the center point cracks a spider web of cracks will follow.
How to avoid this scam:
1. Hire smart
Firstly, check the asphalt service company’s reviews and talk to your neighbors whom may have recently had their driveway paved with asphalt. Simply put, do your own research and hire a contractor known for doing honest work. If you live in Pinellas County (Largo, St. Petersburg, Seminole, Gulfport etc) Florida, you are in luck. Anderson and Son’s Asphalt is reputable, licensed and insured to safely and effectively lay asphalt driveways throughout the state of Florida.
2. Caught in the act
Be present when your driveway asphalt project is underway and make certain that the contractor preps the surface correctly. There should not be a large crown in the dirt. If there is, tell them you are taking pictures and will be file a report with the authorities, the local chapter of contractors, the BBB and every review listing you can find if they do not smooth the crown and pave your driveway properly.
3. Contract it proper
Before you make any payments, make sure that the thickness of the driveway is from the edges to the center point. There should be no deviation of thickness. If they are using a crown for drainage, the asphalt atop the crown should still be equally thick from the edge to the center.