How to Choose the Best Commercial Landscape Contractor in Your City

Today every homeowner, property manager and business in Toronto is looking forward to adding aesthetics to their premises. Just by adding simple elements like flora fauna, lighting, terrain shape, or bodies of water, they are able to transform the whole aura around the property.

There is no doubt that landscaping has a great potential in enhancing the quality of surroundings as well the life of the people residing in it. The addition of green elements produces clean and fresh air along with giving a tinge of uniqueness and beauty.

But, planning the right kind of landscape is a challenging job. Some people call it an art and some refer to as science. However, when observed carefully, it is both science and art.

  • Art – because every single thing has to placed in a way that it compliments other elements around and maximum functionality can be derived out of it.
  • Science – because it demands proficiency in horticulture, soil biology, engineering and a clear understanding of how the planned layout will work out.

Having said that, assistance from a professional is a must if you want to get the job done with great perfection and efficacy. Getting the right kind of commercial landscaping company on board is essential for transforming your dreams into reality.

However, with so many landscaping companies operating in the market, how do you choose the best one? Well, don’t panic. Simply follow these tips and find the right one for your needs –

What you need VS What the company offers

This is the first thing you should do for getting one step closer to the most suitable landscaping company in your city. Asking yourself about your needs and whether or not the company will provide you with the same is a double-edged question which will be helpful in picking the best contractor.

Getting a landscaper for your property can have an array of purposes. It can be either to create a sustainable surrounding or adding aesthetic appeal to the property or to increase its sales value of. Whatever it is, just have clarity in mind first and then discuss it with the contractor.

Some of the common landscaping services that you might need are:

  • Mowing
  • Mulch
  • Fertilization
  • Aeration
  • Leaf Removal
  • Irrigation
  • Outdoor Lighting Installation and Repair
  • Designing and Enhancement
  • General Maintenance

Sustainable Practices

Sustainable landscaping is the demand of today. The awareness regarding such surroundings has increased manifold with more and more people shifting towards the companies that indulge in eco-friendly practices for protecting the planet.

With so many major environmental challenges being faced by the world currently, a lot of brands are supporting sustainability and undertaking conservation practices. Many renowned companies have started including sustainable practices of landscaping as a major part of their plans and strategies which not only help in contributing to the well-being of the community but also save money and efforts of clients on its maintenance.

That is why it is important to ensure that the landscaping company you hire should:

  • Encourage plantation of native plants requiring less water and maintenance
  • Use organic materials for improving the lawn
  • Use water-conserving irrigation systems
  • Install energy-efficient outdoor lighting
  • Help you in recycling waste like leaves, clippings, fallen branches, etc.

Experience and Qualification

While it may seem obvious, a lot of people tend to turn a blind eye towards the level of knowledge and experience a landscaping company carries. As mentioned previously, a landscape contractor should have great proficiency in horticulture and must be able to understand your landscape site well.

So, when you go about narrowing down your list of potential companies, make sure you carry out extensive research beforehand to avoid unpleasant outcomes later. Speak to your friends, relatives, colleagues or neighbors around to get reliable feedback. Check out the company’s website and online reviews or complaints (if any).

The following things will give you a clear picture of the company’s background and legitimacy:

  • Year of the company’s establishment
  • Licenses to carry out commercial landscaping work
  • Certifications available to the company
  • Insurance and Affiliations
  • Tools & Equipment to work on the landscape

Make sure the company is able to provide you with documentation of each of the above-mentioned aspects as this will have you rest assured in terms of quality of services being offered.

References and Work Portfolio

If you are hiring a landscaping company for the first time, the whole experience can be overwhelming. You cannot figure out properly who is most suitable for your requirements and who will perform the job up to the mark.

In such a scenario, nothing works as wonderfully as taking reviews of the past clients who have similar property likes yours and have hired the services of the prospective landscaping company before. Contacting the references and visiting their site in person can be a great way to have an idea of what can be expected out of your landscape contractor.

A professional landscaping company would never hesitate in providing you with a list of references and photos of their previous commercial projects. They would happily let you evaluate every aspect about them in detail without hurrying you to taking a decision. They trust their capabilities and so will you.

Price Estimates

Nothing in this world comes without cost, nor does the conversion of your plain, monotonous property surroundings into a beautiful landscape. So, planning a desired budget range is crucial for every project.

You have to jot down the kind of transformations you are looking for in your landscape and accordingly decide on a price you are willing to pay to get it done. As per your budget, the landscape contractor would suggest an array of designs and it will be up to you whether or not to go for it.

But remember, there would always be differences in prices of landscaping companies. It might be because of the stuff competition prevailing in the market, or probably because of low-quality materials and equipment being used by them. So, be alert and look for a cost-effective deal. Don’t get enticed by the low prices or go on throwing away your money in the name of quality.

Finding the Best General Contractor for Home Renovation

Nothing is as exciting as giving life to the thought of having your own dream home. But, along with this hefty investment, comes an onus on the homeowner to maintain it properly and keep it in a great condition as always.

With multiple things going on in a house, there happens a lot of wear and tear within a few years of construction. Those fading wall paints, drafty and non-efficient old windows, ripped off floorings, etc. demand repairs and renovations from time to time for maintaining the overall look of the property.

There are also situations where people resort to home renovation just to revamp certain area of the house to attain a new and fresh feel. Anything that looks out of the place can be mended and utilized in a better way.

However, just like every other thing in the world, renovating a home calls for a substantial amount of money and efforts. So, before you go ahead with renovating your home, you should have your mind prepared to encounter stressful experiences and unpleasant surprises lying behind the walls.

Also, you should call for an expert advice from a reputed general contractor who will help you in planning a perfectly constructed building and get you acquainted with reliable electricians, plumbers, manufacturers of building materials, etc.

A general contractor plays a crucial role in renovating a building, so you need to ensure that you hire the right one. Here are some tips to help you in this search process –

Evaluate Your Needs

Assessing your needs should be the first and foremost thing to do for getting one step closer to the best general contractor in the market. You need to have a plan and decide what exactly you want to renovate. Only then you will be able to explain it to the contractor and see if he understands your vision in the same manner or not.

Usually, the general contractors are hired for projects like:

  • Remodeling a kitchen, bathroom or any other area of the house
  • Building an additional space in your house
  • Constructing a new building from scratch

So, spend enough time in identifying your goals and devising a detailed plan. This will ultimately help you in getting an accurate budget range in hand and executing your ideas to perfection.

Carry Out Some Research

When you are done evaluating your needs, you have to find a contractor who has the potential to fulfil your requirements. And for that, some sort of research has to be done on your end. You can start by talking to people around to get any references from them. There are greater possibilities of getting honest feedback from your closed ones and acquaintances.

You can also search online for a contractor. With the expansive network of the Internet, you will be able to fetch a list of all general contractors operating in your city. You can surf through their websites and see how well they have projected themselves. You can interact with people over social media platforms or forums and take recommendations from them also.

This step will be helpful in comparing your potential candidates on a various set of parameters and funnel down your list further.

Consider Experience and Qualification

Having an experienced contractor on board can save you from a great hassle that you cannot handle yourself. A professional who has been in the industry for long possesses the right skills and qualifications to do the job perfectly and identify every possible pitfall in renovating different areas of a building.

Another important thing to look for is whether the prospective contractor is actually experienced in the type of job you want to get done. A general contractor may have several years of experience in building and renovating bathrooms, but does he has the skills and knowledge to renovate your kitchen and other areas of the home as well? Similarly, a contractor may have worked on hundreds of residential projects, but can he execute your commercial renovation project with the same level of efficacy?

Ask the prospective contractors about their specialization and see if that is what you are looking for yourself.

Ask for Client References and Work Portfolio

The best way to determine the level of expertise of general contractors is to check the photos of the projects that they have undertaken in the past. Surf through their websites and check the images or links of their projects before and after renovating.

To judge the honest reputation of the contractor, ask for a list of clients that have dealt with him previously. Talk to them and ask about their experiences. You can also plan a visit in person to these renovated sites to get better clarity and see if the contractor is even fit for your kind of project or not.

Always remember that good contractors happily provide their clients with references and transparency in their past projects. If you find a contractor hesitating in showing you so, then it is surely a red flag.

Verify Licenses and Other Credentials

It is highly crucial that the contractor you are planning to work with is duly licensed and certified. The licenses acquired from the state government or local authorities permit the contractor to carry out renovation work in the community and the certifications, on the other hand, indicate that the contractor has taken formal training in renovation job.

You also need to look into insurance that is provided by the company to save you from any kind of liability that may arise in case any damage is done to your property or if the contractor or his team gets injured on-site.

Reliable contractors always take proud in their affiliations with local home builders associations and accreditations to renovate in adherence to the environmental standards. So, when you hire such a contractor, you can rest assured in terms of quality of services and products being offered by them.

 

Make sure you take a reasonable time to finalize the general contractor you want to work with. Never rush with the process otherwise you will end up with regretful results later in the future.

 

8 Tips for Hiring a Local Demolition Contractor

Home remodeling is a nerve-racking job. Everything starts from scratch in this process along with an additional burden of the demolition of what is not required. From tearing down the unnecessary wall partitions and the out-dated interiors or deconstructing the complete building – everything forms a part of the demolition process.

Remodeling as the term suggests refers to altering the layout or structure of the building. So, to achieve that complete alteration, you would first need a demolition contractor. But hiring one isn’t as easy as it sounds. You have to choose someone who is knowledgeable and knows the work really well, which is no less than a challenge.

Here are some amazing tips to help you get most out of your demolition contractor and have a smooth home improvement project ahead –

  1. Plan it Well

Before you head out to hire a demolition contractor, you have to first ensure that all the work you want to get done is planned out carefully. Whether it is a straightforward demolition or remodeling a part of your house, you have to be clear with your vision.

Is it stripping the interiors? Is it redesigning the whole space? Is it only about re-painting the walls? Are you planning to install new things? All these questions should strike your mind first before you even decide to hire someone. Always remember that no two remodeling projects are the same. The kind of remodeling you would go for will decide what kind of contractor will be best for you.

Also, you should have access to all the essential information like what is the size of the house, what are the materials used in it, how thick is the foundation, will the demolishment affect the nearby surroundings, etc.

  1. Get Recommendations

Word of mouth is the best way to find a qualified demolition contractor in your city. Nothing can beat the prominence of this form of publicity as it solely rests on an individual’s personal experience with the contractor.

So, start your search by asking reliable people around you who have had the similar work done. Speak to your friends, family, relatives for any recommendation they might have. Ask what their experience with the prospective contractor was and what made them give good feedback for him.

There are greater chances of meeting the right demolition contractor quickly through your social circle.

  1. Search Online

For the people who don’t wish to rely on recommendations given by their relatives, they should start searching for local demolition contractors operating in their locality. In the present scenario, there would be hardly any contractor or a company involved in the demolition process which is not listed online or doesn’t have an established online presence.

Checking out the contractors’ website, the feedback and ratings given by their past clients is a great way to judge the quality level of their services. A contractor having plenty of negative reviews should be dropped off from your list immediately.

  1. Look for Specialization

Demolition of a building or a part of it comes with its own set of complications. There are unknown surprises behind the wall, dangerous electrical wiring systems that need to be handled with care.

If you are planning a home remodeling, then you need to find a contractor that has specialization in residential demolition. So, call the local demolition contractors and ask about their expertise. The contractors carrying a similar level of specialty as required by you should stay on your list and the ones that don’t match your criteria should be ignored.

  1. Verify Credentials and Licenses

Nothing is as worse than hiring a contractor who is not licensed by the state authorities. A license is a mandated requirement for every contractor to be able to work in the community and keep it updated as well to continue with business operations.

The certifications indicate that the contractor belongs to a certain organization and abides by its strict rules and ethics and is hence more reliable than any other non-certified contractor in the city. So, never be afraid of asking the contractors for their license numbers and the types of certifications they hold. A contractor denying or hesitating to show you the license number is surely a red flag.

Also, stay away from the contractors that don’t have insurance or else you will land up with huge liability in case any team member or a person walking by your home gets injured during the course of the project.

  1. Be Clear with Your Requirements

As a homeowner, it is your job to have complete clarity as to what kind of job you want to get done. Also, it is a duty job to specify the same to the contractor in as much detailed manner as possible.

Some renowned demolition contractors often ask their clients to send pictures of the site and then discuss what exactly needs to be done. If your shortlisted contractors don’t ask so, you can yourself ask them if you can send pictures or if they are comfortable in visiting your premises personally.

  1. Compare Pricing

When you are done narrowing down your options to 2-3 potential contractors, you should ask them to share the overall cost of the job along the time duration required to complete it.

It is always recommended to get bids from multiple contractors to be able to select the most feasible one. But make sure, you don’t only hanker for the lowest bids and rather pay due respect for the experience and skill of the contractors as well.

Demolition is followed by huge heaps of useless concrete and damaged building materials, so make sure your contractor helps you in disposing it of systematically.

  1. Get Everything in Writing

As a smart customer, always make sure you get all the discussed terms and conditions laid down in a written contract. Have a thorough reading of the documents prepared by your contractor and only after carefully scrutinizing, take it further.

Don’t just rest assured on verbal commitments or you may regret it if any ambiguity arises in the future.

 

Tips for Finding the Right Contractor for Your Renovation Project

Investing in your dream home is never just about finding the right home and paying a hefty price for it. It is also about taking the onus of its maintenance and keep it in great condition as always. With so many things going around in any residential property, it tends to look worn out within just a few years of construction and hence demands reasonable repair, renovations and at times remodeling as well.

For a majority of homeowners, the decision of renovating a home is taken out of compulsion – there may be fading wall paints, drafty and non-efficient old windows, ripped off floorings, etc. While some people resort to renovation by choice, where they wish to revamp their existing house to give it a new and fresh look. Whatever be the reason, it will ultimately pay off in the form of the increased market value of your property in the future.

Before going ahead with the renovation, you should prepare your mind that it can be little stressful, expensive and may involve unpleasant surprises like leaking pipes or faulty electrical wiring behind walls, rotting wood, etc. This is why it calls for a professional contractor possessing all the required skills to carry out the job perfectly.

However, finding the right contractor for your project can be a challenge, especially for the first-timers. So, here are few tips enlisted to ease up the whole process for you –

Tip 1: Know What You Want

Every individual has been listening to this same statement across different stages of life, right from deciding his food to the career. It is because, till the time you aren’t aware of your goals, it is almost impossible to accomplish them.

Similar is the case of picking up a contractor. You should have a clear vision and be very specific as to what changes do you look up to in your home. Knowing about the materials required in the process will be an added advantage.

So, devise a feasible plan and brainstorm some ideas to transform your vision into achievements.

Caution: Don’t get stuck into unrealistic renovation goals that are either too difficult to fulfill or too costly to execute. Create a budget in mind and stick to it.

Tip 2: Ask Around

After you are done assessing your needs, you should start finding contractors who would be able to assist you with it. You can start your search hunt by speaking to people around who have had similar work done recently.

You can also search online for the contractor providing a similar type of service in your locality. Social media is also a great medium to ask for recommendations from people. But, just make sure, whosoever you choose has positive customer reviews and ratings.

So, create a list of multiple contractors to be able to compare their services and shortlist them further.

Caution: Beware of non-reputable renovation contractors who don’t have a strong and established online presence, a basic website or any customer reviews. Also, be cautious of fake testimonials and feedback as many contractors get the paid positive ratings online.

Tip 3: Look for Expertise and Work Portfolio

It is important to choose a contractor possessing the desired skills in the type of renovation you want for your house. A bathroom renovation contractor won’t fit well for a kitchen renovation job and vice-versa. You will need a contractor who specializes in that work and performs it really well.

To get insights into the level of specialization the shortlisted contractors carry, you can ask each of them to present their latest works along with quality pictures and references of their previous clients. You can also surf their websites and see if they have left any link to their recent projects.

Having observed their work and the kind of projects they have undertaken in the past, you will be able to decide whether any of those contractors is fit for yours.

Caution: Look out for the contractors who don’t have enough projects in their portfolio. Lack of images depicting before and after renovating the house is surely a red flag. Also, ensure that the house images (if any) you see on the website are pictures of their original work and don’t belong to anyone else.

Tip 4: Check for the Mandate Licenses and Certifications

The best way to narrow down your list of contractors is to check whether they are duly licensed by the state government or local authorities or not. However, the types of such licenses may vary from state to state.

Every contractor is required to possess licenses and certifications to operate the business. These licenses are indicative of their safe and legal business activities. In addition, they are evidence that the contractors and its team members have undergone formal training to carry out the job. Hence, ensure that the licenses and policies are in place and completely up to date.

Also, check if they provide you with liability insurance in case any damage is done your property.

Caution: Make sure you verify the legitimacy of the contractor before moving ahead. Also, strike off the names of the contractors that are not in possession of the latest licenses and credentials or deny presenting the copy of such documents to you.

Tip 5: Get Written Bids

Now that you are done shortlisting your options to only two-three contractors, you should ask them to share written bids for your renovation project which will help you in evaluating them in terms of quality and price of the services.

After thorough discussions, the contractors share a brief proposal of the work they will perform and the estimated price they will charge for it. This proposal contains other important things as well, like the timeline of the project, the materials that will be used, and any warranty if available.

It is important to note that price shouldn’t be the only judging parameter. Pay enough attention to the quality of services the prospective contractor would provide you with.

Caution: Make sure there aren’t any hidden charges or additional costs. Moreover, don’t fall prey to lowest bids or high discounts. And, always stay away from contractors that try to build up unnecessary pressure by calling you a hundred times and asking you to accept their bids.

4 Great Tips to Prepare Your Outdoor Space

So, it is time to bid adieu to winters and get into the fun mode of summers. Now, you would be experiencing long days and would be spending more time in your backyard, relaxing on the patio or around the pool.

Having a comfortable outdoor space becomes a reason for enjoying with family and friends and recharges you at the end of busy days. It also helps you in getting relaxed and reconnect with nature.

However, creating an ideal outdoor space to boost up your energy levels is a thoughtful process. It is not a weekend project and rather requires full-proof planning to withstand the extreme hot climate and downpours. Hence, taking assistance from a reliable landscape designer is always recommended.

There are some amazing tips to prepare your outdoor space for the season. Have a look –

Create plenty of seating space

The sole purpose of getting an outdoor space designed is to create a relaxed environment. And an area which doesn’t have ample sitting arrangement will not provide relaxation in any way as most of the time would be spent in standing around.

If you want to spend a lot of time outside during this summer and thinking to plan an area to cater to large groups of family or friends, then having comfortable chairs or deck benches is a must.

Use the right kind of outdoor furniture and fabric

One important thing you should note is that when you plan to buy furniture for your outdoor space, it has to be the one that is specifically meant for outside. The furniture used for indoors is very delicate and the same cannot be used for outside, especially if the seating area will be exposed to sunlight and rains.

Outdoor fabrics are water and stain resistant and don’t fade away in the sun. They are slightly expensive than indoor fabrics but totally worthwhile.

Add some decorative elements

Just like for indoors, you should never hesitate in going the extra mile to decorate your outdoors. Using additive elements like curtains, fire pit, floor coverings, and soft furnishings will surely add an oomph factor to the area and give you that luxurious feeling. You can also paint your fence to add a pop of color and create a fresh and new look for the season.

Use some statement pots and plants to add personality to the whole area. And, don’t forget to add accent lighting to add ambiance. You can also use one long strand or connect multiple strands for a dramatic atmosphere.

Install an outdoor fountain

Water fountains are a popular trend nowadays and come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and styles. They accentuate the beauty of the space where they get installed and at the same time keep the surroundings a lot cooler. They are also known to reduce stress, bring relaxation and contribute in a good sleep.

Moreover, they act as natural humidifiers for the space by removing excess dryness around and improve the air quality.

 

Interlocking or Asphalt Driveways: Which One Should You Choose

The driveway is the most prominent part of any home. It is the first thing that the people visiting your home would see. That is why it is important to keep it well maintained throughout the year.

In comparison to the other parts of your home, driveways get the maximum visibility and play a substantial role in keeping up the value of your property. In addition, it drives the highest traffic and demands frequent maintenance than the rest of the home.

Considering the facts, you need to build your driveways with robust materials that can literally withstand the tonnes of daily usage. With majorly two kinds of material (Asphalt and Interlocking) to choose from, people often get confused in regards to what material will be appropriate for them for building the driveway.

Well, here is a detailed comparison between Interlocking and Asphalt Driveways to ease up the whole scenario and help you pick the right option amongst them –

Aesthetics

When it comes to looks, nothing can beat the appeal of the interlocking driveway. The asphalt driveways look plain and boring whereas there are hundreds of different options in interlocking driveways. Every pattern of interlocking is unique and comes in an array of attractive shades, designs, and sizes.

An asphalt driveway works well for those who are fine with the basic looks, but for people who want their house to stand out from the rest of the neighborhood, the interlocking driveway is your go.

Durability

The asphalt is laid 2 inches deep and tends to lose integrity over time. It has a short timespan ranging from anywhere between 8 to 15 years. On the other hand, the interlocking materials are much sturdier and can last easily up to 20-30 years.

However, the foundation beneath these driveways have to be paid close attention otherwise the asphalt can crack and interlocking can sag easily.

Price

If you measure your options on the price scale, then you would find asphalt and interlocking on extreme ends – asphalt is far cheaper than installing an interlocking driveway. It is because asphalt paving doesn’t require much labor and materials and is far easier to install. Whereas in the interlocking process, each stone has to be laid down carefully with the help of skilled labor; leading to high costs.

However, if observed carefully, asphalt is cost-effective only in the short run. It tends to get worn out after some time and demands repair every 3-5 years. If you are looking for long run cost-effectiveness, then interlocking driveway should be on your list.

 

Maintenance

The asphalt driveways are made of rock, sand, asphalt cement, and a tar-like petroleum product which require high-maintenance. You have to pay enough attention to sealing the driveway every 1-5 years to prevent the frost from creating large cracks in the paving.

However, the interlock pavers don’t demand much of maintenance once they are properly paved. All you need is occasional power washing to remove the dirt accumulated in the gaps and refill them to curb the weed growth.

To summarize, both the materials have their own list of pros and cons. So, you should consider all aspects before you make your final call.

 

,

First Meeting with your Landscape Consultant: What All to Expect

Renovating a property from outside has a great potential for enhancing one’s quality of life. Using items like patios, arbors and lawns around your property elevates the whole look and ultimately contributes to adding up to its value.

Landscaping is one such technique that not only adds an element of uniqueness and beauty to your property but also improves the air quality around. With uncountable benefits it offers, landscaping has become the trend of today.

Landscaping is no less than an art where every single thing has to be placed strategically to offer maximum functionality and compliment the overall architecture of the house.

That is why hiring a landscape designer is crucial to transforming your vision into reality. Though many people always remain apprehensive about hiring one, the outcomes they would get after having the right designer on board will be incomparable.

So, if you are participating in a landscape design consultation for the first time, here is what all you should expect –

Surveying the Current Landscape

The first and foremost discussion during landscape consultation involves the condition of your current landscape and how you wish to transform it. The initial visit to your place helps the landscape designer to survey your premises properly and suggest the scope of improvements henceforth.

The expert designers assess your needs and the space to decide if they can help you in accomplishing your requirements or not. With the expertise and skill, they can present you the overall design and the ways to execute it perfectly.

Discussing the Budget

One of the important aspects that need to be evaluated and discussed in detail is the overall cost estimation of the project. Nothing comes for free today, nor does the conversion of your dream space into reality.

So, creating a budget beforehand is important to calculate what kind of transformations would fit into the range and what would burn your pocket. Even a landscape designer can provide better design advice only if there is clarity of the budget on both the ends.

Brainstorming of Ideas

After observing your premises, the designer starts generating various options by considering the vision and budget you have given for your space. Whether it is just the basic improvement in the front yard or creating an entertainment area in the backyard, they will discuss everything in detail.

Moreover, they would suggest the best ways of converting the whole space according to your personal style and the functionality you want. It can be including a play area, a barbecue space, a flower or vegetable garden – everything will be customized according to your requirements.

Devising the Plan

After a thorough brainstorming session with you, the designer will make use of the ideas generated and present it on the paper in the form of the loosely-drawn sketch with few other details. Typically, they would give you a rough idea about basic layout, colors, textures, and other landscape items that can be used.

The first cut then can be revised and converted into a final plan with more specific details.

There are higher possibilities that by the end of the consultation session, you will have a clear idea of how your new landscape would look like and what budget you would require from starting to the finishing of the project.

 

How to Install Interlocking Stone Pavement The Right Way

Installing and managing interlocking stone pavement can be a tedious task. Before attempting to do so all on their own, any wiser person would devote at least some time to do ample research about the whole process of installation and management of the pavement. A lot of extensive knowledge, experience, and access to proper resources and equipment is required to successfully complete any such interlock stone pavement project. Many a times, DIY enthusiasts find themselves in a confronting situation while attempting to perform such a skilled task all on their own.

If you have an idea of attempting to install interlock stone pavement for your driveway all on your own, beware of the fact that you might get stuck on an incomplete project, with no idea what to do next. For acute and proficient stone interlocking pavement, however, you can outsource professional paving contractors. But if you are a dedicated DIY enthusiast who is keen to learn the whole process and just do it, don’t worry. We have got your back with our tips to help you interlock stone pavement installation with relative ease.

An easier way to describe what it is like to interlock stone pavements is by looking at the stones like they are pieces of a jigsaw puzzle. Interlocking stones are pieced together to cover the whole intended surface. Unlike tiles, interlocking stones do not require a non flexible surface for securing. However, a separate kind of bonding material, which is usually sand, is required for interlock paving. A little preparation is also required to make the base suitable for the project.

In other words, installing interlock stone pavement is a lot more than just laying stones flat on a surface. To perform the job correctly, proper and skillful effort is required. If you really want to take a shot at installing an aesthetic interlock stone pavement all on your own, read the following points to understand what do so is all about–

 

  • DEMOLITION

The first step to consider is demolition. Preparing the surface calls for the need to demolish the area that has to be paved to clear it off of any structure and make it plain. Brace yourselves with the right tools to make the process more easier. Equipment like a jackhammer, a small bulldozer or a bob cat, along with some other construction equipment is required to perform the job efficiently. Keep in mind that in order to be able to use such equipment, you should also have the basic knowledge about how to use them.

The targeted area should be the existing walkway, sidewalk, concrete, grass, deck, patio tile, etc. Work your way through these objects with the help of the required equipment and make the area smooth and clean. Make sure there is no residue at all.

 

  • LEVELLING

To smoothen the surface entirely, you need to make sure that the area you demolished is cleared of any debris. The next step is to flatten it and level it to an even and apposite depth.

You need to excavate the soil a little deeper and add a base or foundation to a surface area to make it more sturdy and strong. The whole point of having a sturdier foundation is for the pavement be able to hold the heavy weight of all sorts of vehicles without getting destroyed. This is undoubtedly, the most time-consuming step in the entire process, even with the help of professional equipment. Using just shovels and wheelbarrows to carry out this work is out of the question and even if you do it, expect it to cause you a lot of unnecessary stress, frustration, and lots of time.

 

  • CLEANING

Once the targeted surface area is properly levelled, there will be a lot of dirt, debris and soil left over. Make sure you provide for a dumping service to get rid of all the mess that follows surface preparation for interlock pavement installation. A professional pavement service is likely to provide you with a complimentary dumping service, which leaves you stress free. However, if you are performing the job all on your own, you need to make arrangements for dumping the trash. You might need to rent a truck and find a proper dumping ground where you could throw away the trash and the organic matter (if any).

 

  • INSTALLATION

After all the preparation and the cleaning is where the real work begins. The targeted surface area, thoroughly cleaned is secured with a woven geo-textile fabric. The fabric, which is installed over the excavated area, but under aggregate rock foundations, restricts the foundation base rock from sinking into the clay soil. This helps to maintain the sturdiness of the interlock stone pavement. The permeability of the base, allows water to flow through the pavement without jeopardizing the structural integrity of the pavement and foundation. Once this is installed, a class II base rock foundation and bedding sand is added and secured properly on top. Using the proper rock base material is imperative to ensure an accurate and effective interlocking stone pavement job. If the base is installed properly, there is only little or no requirement of maintenance of any sort over the following years. Your pavement will be secure and ready to hold any weight. The last part is arranging and fitting the stones to form a beautiful pavement.

 

  • ARRANGMENT

Arranging the interlocking stones into an aesthetic pattern is much of a creative task than a skillful one. If you cannot decide what pattern to follow, go out to seek some motivation from sidewalks or walkways in the park. The idea is to keep placing interlocking stones adjacent to each other until they complete cover the targeted surface. Compare the stones to jigsaw pieces, which you need to put together in a pattern to make sense out of them. Be careful with your pattern and make sure each one is properly placed and well aligned. The pieces should always be in a straight line. Remember that just one piece is enough to mess up the whole alignment of the pavement. So, make sure that you take your time while arranging the pattern to get the desired result.

Professional Tips on How to Maintain a New Asphalt Driveway

Getting a driveway coated with asphalt can be an expensive service. What more? It is not every day that you get your driveway asphalt coated. So, you would want to take every precaution, whatsoever and employ adequately skilled paving contractors to do the job to the best of their ability.

As necessary as it is to ensure that you hand over the job of aestheticizing your driveway to an experienced paving contractor only, it is equally important to also make sure that your new driveway gets as much care and maintenance as it gets attention.

Did you too, got your driveway beautifully paved with asphalt? Well, great if you did! But, are you also providing it with the care it needs to retain its freshness? If you are absolutely clueless about what we are talking about, hang on! We’ve got your back with some professional tips about how to maintain your new asphalt driveway. A bunch of simple steps is all that will be needed for the maintenance of your new driveway. We’ll, that and some effort on your side. These simple steps will make sure that your brand new asphalt coated driveway stays protected and functional for many years to come.

Find below, some reliable examples of the ways through which you can maintain your asphalt driveway. Also, do not worry, as you would not have to shed big bucks to hire a professional paving contractor for the regular maintenance of your asphalt driveway. With the following tips, you can take care of your driveway all by yourself!

 

Remember to note the following tips down to get some help in keeping your asphalt driveway looking good brand new at all times. You would also not have to incur unnecessary expenses on unexpected repairs if you follow the following steps–

 

  • SEAL COAT YOUR NEWLY COATED DRIVEWAY


A large number of driveway repaving that is performed today is in the first place, needed because of a previously performed bad sealing job, or because the wrong materials having been applied to the surface of the driveway by the previous paving contractor. Do not use materials that are water or latex based as they tend to dry out the surface and cause cracks because of the presence of certain additives. You wouldn’t even know and your asphalt coated driveway would have become a mess within just the first three to five years.

Also, you wouldn’t want to repave your driveway again that quickly, or would you? It might be tempting for you to get over enthusiastic and head straight away to your local home improvement store to get some cheap repaving materials to quickly glam up your driveway again. In general though, doing that will only prove harmful for your driveway. Those materials are usually of inferior quality and will result in a low-quality job only.

  • EXTRA CARE DURING THE FIRST YEAR AND A HALF

 

Sealcoating is not the only step when it comes to looking after your driveway. There are also some other steps that you can take to maintain the surface of your newly coated asphalt driveway. For an example, if you are driving a car on your asphalt coated driveway and the car is not moving, you should totally avoid turning on your power steering. Doing so is important because it can loosen the surface stones and create scruffs on the asphalt. In a matter of seconds, your asphalt driveway would have turned into a mess.

If you want to know why this happens, do not worry, we have an answer.

It takes anywhere between twelve to eighteen months for brand new asphalt coating to fully cure. So, during that time, it is more susceptible to marks and indentations which could be hard to remove at times. If such an accident does happen to your beautiful driveway, you can perform a little trick to help smoothen the scruffs. Driving over those scuffs will help smooth them back into a plain surface. However, the area might still appear darker than the rest. This will hamper the aesthetic of your brand new asphalt driveway. So, why take a risk? It is better to take precautions to avoid making such a mistake altogether than going here and there,
stressing over on finding a way to rectify it.

 

  • PROTECT THE EDGES

 

Every newly coated asphalt driveway is supposed to be kept a watch upon. Not doing so might prove unlikeable for your driveway. The most sensitive area, however, in a newly coated asphalt driveway, are the edges. The vulnerable edges of a new driveway are prone to accidents. Also, your asphalt will often require backfilling to prevent the edge from falling away. The edges are responsible to keep the whole asphalt stick together. Therefore, it needs some extra attention than the rest of the driveway. Keep certain things in mind while on the driveway. Do not drive along or off the edges, as this could easily result in breaking the edge off. If the edge is lucky enough to not fall off entirely, the chances of at least some serious cracking is high.
However, the possibility of such accidents should not bother you if you are taking adequate precautions to avoid them. One way or avoiding such an accident, as suggested by a professional paving contractor, is to make sure that you engage in proper backfilling with topsoil in any areas that have lawn, mulch or gravel. What this would do is, it will make the asphalt driveway and the are around it lie on the same level. That way, the chances of anything hitting the edges of the asphalt driveway will reduce in a great way as the ground is now plain. This will not only help to maximize the life of your newly done asphalt driveway, but will also make sure that it’s appearance is not compromised
with. Your driveway would not only be protected from accidents but will also retain its beauty and strength for years to come.

 

,

A Complete Guide to Seal Coat Asphalt Driveway

People often ignore their driveway, despite the fact that they do a lot for us. It allows you to park off the street and close to your home. For businesses, it’s a basic necessity and even a reflection of your company because a well-paved driveway leaves a great first impression on customers. For all these reasons, it is necessary to treat your driveway and parking lot nicely to ensure that it is convenient and well-maintained.

Your driveway and asphalt pavement endure harsh weather conditions. It has to put up with the oxidization from the sun, rain, snow, as well as, freeze and thaw cycles. All these extreme climatic conditions result in deteriorating the life of an asphalt driveway. Without proper maintenance, the binders in the asphalt dry out and start to flake and chip away, which ultimately lead to complete failure of an asphalt driveway.

While parking lots and driveways may go unnoticed, but taking a moment to consider its condition and age is crucial to improving the condition of your pavement surface. As a homeowner or property manager, you need to understand the importance of maintaining your property, including your driveway. As such, to take care of your driveway, it is imperative to know when and how to seal coat it or when to have it repaved.

 

What is a seal coat?

A sealcoat is an emulsion type product which has a thick semi-fluid consistency and a dark chocolate brown color. There are three major types of seal coatings- Refined Tar-based seal coatings (RTS), Specialty resins, Asphalt Emulsion-based Seal coatings (AE) which work very well in maintaining the surface integrity of asphalt pavements and keep cracks from appearing.

 

Why sealcoat an asphalt driveway?

Constructing a pavement is a big investment which means you need to take extra care of it. Sealcoating should be a part of your regular maintenance program as it acts as a right “barrier coat” between asphalt surfaces and destructive elements such as ultraviolet rays, gasoline, oils, salts, fat etc. Sealcoating is proven to extend the life of a sound pavement by more than 300%.

Every year, usually around September and October driveways and parking areas are to be seal coated. However, people often undermine the need and importance of seal coating driveways and asphalt pavement. Before you consider to sealcoat an asphalt pavement, make sure to know the basics of this process.

Asphalt surfaces are most susceptible to wear and tear, both from weather and from automobile traffic. The process of seal coating involves applying an emulsion type product over the asphalt pavement to seal and fill small cracks. This process is immensely useful to extend the life of an asphalt driveway, as well as, to give your driveway a beautiful, new, rejuvenated look. It helps you save thousands of dollars in replacement costs by preventing additional damages to the pavement by weather and chemicals in contact with the driveway or parking area.

Thus, the benefits of sealcoating the asphalt driveway or parking lot includes:

  • Sealcoating the asphalt helps in filling the small cracks that can turn into large holes and thus it prevents water from seeping down to the base material.
  • Sealcoat improves the appearance of asphalt and makes your driveway or parking lot look near brand new.
  • It protects the asphalt from the sun, as well as, the harmful effects of chemical spills such as oil and gasoline.
  • It acts as a waterproofing agent and helps in preventing the seepage of water and moisture from rain and snow.
  • If done correctly, it helps in preventing the oxidation and erosion of the top layer.
  • It is a cost-effective way of repairing or surfacing the existing pavement by extending the life of the pavement and driveway.

 

When and how often to apply seal coating?

This actually depends on the traffic and pavement conditions, as well as, pavement contractor’s recommendations. After the installation of new pavement, it is recommended to apply seal coating after every one or two years. Ideally, when you start noticing signs of deterioration and the color of the individual stones that make up your asphalt surface, it’s time to seal it up. Moreover, always make sure to protect the area for at least 36 to 48 hours after you seal coat driveways and pavements. Before you think of seal coating, consider the outside temperature first. The right time is when it is 50 degrees or higher for the sealer to adhere properly.

Tips to apply seal coat properly

Before applying, the sealcoat product should be diluted as per the directions of the manufacturer and typically two coats of sealer are to be applied. Sealcoat can be applied in many different ways- by squeegee machine, brush applicator, spray and hand squeegee. Crack filling, repairs and sealcoating will extend the life of your asphalt and make it look like a new one. Following tips will help you in seal coating you asphalt pavement and driveway in a proper manner.

  • Since the process may stain other areas, it is important to first cover anything nearby that might get stained or damaged before applying it.
  • Do not use the seal coat process to fill up potholes. If cracks are bigger 1/4 inch, make sure to first patch them with a hot rubberized crack sealer and then only proceed.
  • To achieve more consistency and avoid a slippery surface, you can mix sand with the product before seal coating.
  • In case of treating a larger area, make use of spraying instead of seal coating with squeegees.
  • Never start this process, if the temperature is not more than 45 degrees, otherwise, the coat will not adhere to the substrate.
  • With the help of a pressure washer, prepare the driveway by cleaning all cracks and removing all debris and vegetation in cracks.
  • Remember, as compared to applying a thick layer, a thinner layer would be better. Always apply the product using a criss-cross pattern, the first layer in one direction and once it has dried, apply the second coat in a perpendicular motion related to the first layer.