Residential FAQs

General Information:

  1. What forms of payment does B&C accept?
    Payment is due upon completion of the work. We will accept cash, check, Visa® and MasterCard® ($500 minimum).
  2. How much notice will you give me before the work begins?
    We notify clients at least 24 hours in advance. Weather sometimes forces us to reschedule.
  3. Can you tell me how soon you will do the work on my driveway?
    Scheduling is controlled by both residential and commercial considerations, logistics and the weather. Providing a firm date well in advance of the day the work is to be done is virtually impossible. However, we do work with clients whenever we can to ensure the work is done in a timely fashion.
  4. Do you guarantee your work?
    Yes, we guarantee our driveways for one year from the date of installation. This is the industry standard.

Sealcoat and Crack Sealing:

  1. How often should I seal coat my driveway?
    If your driveway is new, it should cure for a year before any sealer is applied; then two coats of sealer should be applied. Thereafter, apply one coat of sealer every two to three years. This gives the sealer some time to wear off. More frequent applications lead to a buildup of that will eventually shrink, crack, chip and become very unattractive.
  2. Why do I need and when should I consider having crack seal applied?
    Asphalt rests on a limestone base. Limestone, though ideal for this purpose, has a liability; it is water soluble. Over time when too much water penetrates the asphalt surface and reaches the limestone base, it begins to dissolve. Eventually it dissolves completely. When this happens, the asphalt fails because the base supporting it is gone. This is often the cause of “potholes.”Any crack that is 3/8th inch or larger should be filled with a hot crack sealant to prevent water from reaching the limestone. This will extend the life and improve the appearance of your asphalt driveway.
  3. How long should I stay off a newly sealed driveway?
    You should stay off of you driveway for at least forty-eight (48) after sealer has been applied. Longer is better.
  4. Are there any temperature constraints when seal coating a driveway?
    Driveways should not be sealed unless the ambient daytime and nighttime temperature is at or above 55°. When driveways are sealed at lower temperatures, they do not cure properly and their endurance suffers.

Remove and Replace (RR) and Overlay (OL or Cap):

  1. How soon can I drive on my driveway after it’s been paved?
    You should stay off of you driveway for a minimum of forty-eight (48) hours after your driveway has been installed. Longer is better
  2. Will you pave (overlay) over concrete?
    We do not pave over concrete. It is not the inexpensive solution clients are seeking. Concrete has expansion joints and moves with changes in temperature (primarily during freezing and thawing). Asphalt is paved as a single monolithic slab. Unlike concrete, it has some inherent flexibility that allows it to expand and contract; however, it is not designed to move in the same way that concrete does. Consequently, asphalt applied over concrete will crack whenever and wherever the concrete moves. This includes both expansion joints and other cracks that the concrete has developed with age. Any expansion joint or a crack in the concrete pavement below it will soon be expressed in the asphalt above. This defeats the purpose of paving. In addition, this process creates a trip hazard in some areas. Finally, because there is no way to tuck asphalt, overlaying concrete can also produce a thin edge susceptible to accelerated deterioration. In short paving with asphalt over concrete is a very bad idea.
  3. How does a remove and replace differ from an overlay (cap)?
    A driveway’s longevity will depend on three things; the geology of the soil, the quality of the installation and the maintenance it receives. Nevertheless, at some point it will begin to fail. When this happens, there are two options; an overlay or a remove and replace.An overlay consists of bonding a 2 inch asphalt veneer to an existing asphalt surface (it is rolled to a finished 1 ½ inch thickness). It is only recommended when the majority of the existing asphalt and its limestone base are viewed to be structurally sound. A properly installed overlay on a sound base can last as long as a completely replaced drive. However, the keys to success are “properly installed” and “sound base”.If an overlay is applied over a weak or compromised base, it will fail. If an overlay is applied over extensively cracked asphalt, those same cracks will eventually express themselves through to the new surface. The speed and extent of this process depends on many things, but typically is does occur over time. The advantage to an overlay is that it is less expensive than a remove and replace. The disadvantage is that existing cracks in the underlying pavement will eventually express themselves (appear) and, if the underlying base proves, despite surface evidence, to be unsound, portions of the new surface will fail sooner than they should.A “Remove & Replace” (RR) is just that. The existing asphalt is removed; additional limestone base is added as necessary and rolled to grade. Finally a new (2 ½”) layer of asphalt is applied and rolled to a final thickness of 2″.
  4. When should I consider getting my drive removed and replaced?
    The removal of an existing asphalt driveway should be considered when (1) a repair of failed areas and the subsequent overlay is not cost-effective or (2) an adequate slope cannot be attained with an overlay to ensure that water moves away from the house and garage. Because a remove and replace consists of removing the existing asphalt surface, the adding and grading additional limestone (to compensate for what has been lost to time, erosion and removal process) and a new asphalt surface, many of the concerns inherent in an overlay are irrelevant. The asphalt is installed at two and one-half (2 ½”) inches and rolled to grade at two inches (2″).
  5. How long does an asphalt driveway last?
    Conventional wisdom says that an asphalt driveway will last 8-10 years. However, most of the driveways we see are considerably older than that. We have seen many driveways that are 30 years old and still in relatively good condition. Three factors contribute to a driveway’s longevity; geology, construction and maintenance. Poor geology like bad genes can doom a driveway to an early demise. Quality construction can counter some of geology’s anomalies. If the soil is excessively wet, larger stones can be added to stabilize the base before the limestone and asphalt are applied. Strategically placed drainage, i.e. French drains, etc. can also mitigate the effects of too much soil moisture. If geology and construction are optimal, proper maintenance can extend the life of a driveway and add to its appearance. Appropriate sealcoat and crack sealer applications ensure that neither the surface nor the base is exposed to more wear than necessary. As noted below, except in the case of new driveways which require two coats, only a single application of sealer should be applied every other year. Cracks of 3/8ths inch or larger should be sealed with a hot crack sealer.
  6. How long will the Remove and Replace (RR) or Overlay (OL or cap) of my driveway take?
    If you have a typical driveway, i.e. approximately 16′ x 30′, a RR will take roughly three hours; however, these three hours will be spread over two days. The “prep” crew will come on the first day and remove the existing asphalt, apply new #304 limestone as necessary and roll the surface to the appropriate grade. You can drive on this stone surface until the paving is completed. If the weather cooperates, the paving crew will come the following day and pave the drive.An overlay will take only an hour or two and, because we will be applying a layer of asphalt to the existing surface, it will occur in one day.You should not drive on either drive for 48 hours. They should be sealed after one (1) year.
  7. Is asphalt cheaper than concrete? What are the advantages and disadvantages to each.
    B&C Blacktop offers both asphalt and concrete driveways, so we feel that we can discuss the differences without bias. Concrete is typically more expensive than asphalt; however, both mediums have advantages and disadvantages beyond cost. Concrete is perceived to last longer; however, both concrete’s and asphalt’s endurance and longevity are a function of the quality of the mix, geology, installation and maintenance. You should not use salt on concrete during the winter as it will make it spall, i.e. become pitted. You should use a calcium chloride de-icer. Asphalt is not affected by salt. Concrete’s lighter color reflects the sun’s light and consequently its heat. This is advantageous in the summer because the drive remains cooler. However, in the winter snow on the drive melts more slowly because the concrete doesn’t absorb the light and radiate the heat. The exact opposite is true of asphalt. Often the decision between concrete and asphalt is one of aesthetics; which looks better to you. We suggest that clients compare the price of asphalt to concrete and make a decision based on all the criteria important to you. B&C Blacktop can install your driveway in either concrete or asphalt and we will be happy to provide you with an estimate of both mediums so that you can compare costs.
  8. What’s the difference between a cut and patch and an infrared repair?
    Both procedures are designed to repair failed areas of asphalt. The end product is essentially the same. However, cut and patch is employed when the damage has penetrated to the limestone base and little or no asphalt remains in the damaged area. Infrared is used when the damage does not go to the base, when there is sufficient asphalt remaining in the damaged area to be repaired. With cut and patch the damaged area is literally cut out (usually a foot wider on every side than the visible damage) with a saw. It is rebased, i.e. new limestone is added, new asphalt is applied and it is rolled to grade. Infrared heats the existing asphalt to 350° F. The asphalt in the repair area is scarified to depth, i.e. it is heated to the thickness of the asphalt. Rejuvenator is added to the existing asphalt, new asphalt is added and the area is rolled to grade. The difference between the two procedures is in the final product. A cut and patch leaves four cuts in the asphalt that must be crack sealed. If crack sealer is not applied regularly, water will eventually penetrate to the base and make the area susceptible to failure again. Infrared creates a seamless repair. Consequently, it requires no crack sealer and should be less susceptible to water into the repaired area. IR is typically employed where the asphalt is fairly new and when there is not significant sealer buildup on the drive. Excessive sealer prevents the IR from penetrating to a sufficient depth. As noted, the correct procedure depends on the extent of the damage, the age of the driveway and the amount of sealer on its surface.
  9. Are there any temperature constraints when paving a driveway?
    Paving is much less susceptible to temperature issues than is sealing. Asphalt paving can be done until the ground is frozen, usually around mid-December. This is because the asphalt comes to the job site very hot and the air doesn’t cool it very quickly. When the asphalt comes in contact with frozen ground; however, it often will become firm before it can be rolled to grade. Consequently, the final surface is frozen, may appear very rough and tend to “ravel,” i.e. lose stone, shortly after the work is completed.
  10. If I eventually plan to install an asphalt driveway, what is the best size and type of stone to apply in the interim?
    The best initial base for an asphalt driveway that is to be graded and paved consists of an initial layer of #2 stone followed by a layer(s) of #57. To ensure a solid base, these should be in place as long as possible so that the repeated movement of vehicles over the surface drives the stone into the ground.

Grade and Pave (GP):

  1. What is a grade and pave?
    Please see “Grade and Pave (GP) under the “Residential Services” tab.
  2. When can a driveway be graded and paved?
    GP is an option when sufficient stone has been applied to the drive area over time such that it has become deeply embedded in the soil. This embedded stone typically consists of #2s, #4s, #57s, etc., but other stone is sometimes sufficient. The stone provides a portion of the base necessary to install an asphalt driveway. However, an asphalt driveway cannot be paved directly over such a base because such stones do not constitute a structurally sound asphalt foundation. But this stone can be graded to make it level and, with the addition of limestone, can become the base for an asphalt driveway.
  3. What are the advantages of GP?
    If water accumulates on a gravel driveway during the winter, it can freeze and make traction difficult, particularly on a grade. During the spring and summer months, the stones shift whenever traffic passes over them. This ultimately pushes the gravel beyond the initial boundary of the drive. Over time potholes often form in gravel driveways and much of the stone that is pushed to the periphery is lost to the surrounding soil. Of course much of the stone is also driven into the ground by the weight of the cars and trucks passing over it. The end result of the constant traffic is that periodically new stone must be applied. The good news is that over time this stone becomes an excellent base for an asphalt drive. Paving a driveway where the stone has been down long enough to be forced into the soil by continuous traffic is less expensive than new construction (ND) since less labor and materials are involved.There are several advantages of an asphalt driveway over a gravel one. Because its structure is rigid, an asphalt driveway stays in place. Furthermore, an asphalt driveway’s grade can be determined and controlled, so water moves off of the driveway. This improves traction and makes winter navigation less hazardous. Finally, you can shovel or plow an asphalt driveway without throwing gravel everywhere or hanging up your blade in a pothole.

Estimates, Pricing, etc.

  1. How long is my estimate good for?
    We make every effort to honor our estimates to the end of our fiscal year. When we can, we make every effort to honor them the following year. However, due to circumstances beyond our control, e.g. price pressures, we cannot promise this will always be the case.
  2. Do you give free estimates?
    Yes. If you call for an estimate, we will try to get to your residence within five (5) business days to measure the work area. We will send you an estimate within a week thereafter. We do not provide estimates in the field (with the exception of sealcoat) or on-the-fly. When you receive our estimate it will be in writing, on our letterhead and accompanied by other relevant paperwork.
  3. Will you give me an estimate while you are at my residence?
    We don’t provide estimates “on the fly”. Only residential seal coat estimates are given in the field. All other quotes are returned to our office for evaluation and calculation. You should receive a written quote within a week of our estimator’s visit. If you are comfortable with the description of the work to be done and price, simply sign the bottom of the contract and return it to the office. We will schedule your work as soon as we can.
  4. Do you give discounts?
    We give discounts for cash and when more than one client requires the same or similar work done in the immediate area

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