Hard Surface Solutions

A Division of Hard Surface Solutions, Inc.
A full service asphalt and concrete maintenance company in the Chicago area.
Call 1-888-WESEALL!

Seal-Kote Services was ranked one of the top 100 sealcoating contractors in the USA by the leading pavement industry trade publication Pavement Magazine.

The 5 Biggest Mistakes About Sealcoating in Chicago

5 Biggest Mistakes

Click to skip to Commercial mistakes.

The 5 Biggest Mistakes Homeowners Make When Hiring a Contractor to Sealcoat Their Driveway.

  1. Taking the Cheapest Price
  2. Now, I’m not here to tell you how to spend your money. If service and quality are not overly important to you and your budget is tight, then by all means take several bids and choose the contractor who shoots you the lowest price. But don’t kid yourself. Just like with everything else in life, price and quality go hand in hand. When you choose the lowest price you are choosing the contractor with the least incentive to keep you happy. After all, you’ve already communicated that price is all you really care about. Your decision to shop for the lowest price stands as irrefutable evidence.

    When you bought your last car, did you buy the cheapest one you could find? Do you by generic food? Do you do most of your shopping at the Dollar Store?
    Then what would possess you to hire the lowest priced contractor?
    If it sounds too good to be true…. it is.

    Most good contractors have similar costs. There are marginal differences but if someone is 25% less you should ask them why? We all pay around the same price for materials, labor, and insurance. The quickest way to bring our costs down is to cut corners. Sad but true.
    They are possibly not insured.
    They are possibly not local.
    They will possibly sealcoat your driveway too thin with watered down materials and may not treat cracks.
    YOU MAY NOT BE ABLE TO FIND THEM WHEN FUTURE PROBLEMS APPEAR. DON’T DO IT!!

  3. Hiring an Uninsured Contractor
  4. Although you may not feel much can go wrong when having your driveway sealcoated you definitely don’t want a contractor who’s uninsured. For instance, an unexpected rain storm can splash sealcoat material on a homeowner’s garage door, siding, and concrete or brick sidewalk. Even though a contractor can’t control the weather, if they have the proper insurance you will be protected.

    A few years back in July we were very backed up with work and had a lot of work scheduled for that day with 3 crews out in force to sealcoat some 25 driveways. The forecast as is typical in the middle of the summer was for a 30% chance of PM rain. On days like that we monitor the weather throughout the day and there was nothing on the radar, so I sent the crews to work. Around 3 PM I noticed a storm on the radar about 50 miles north basically moving east. I called one of my crews and told them to finish up the job they were on and go back to the yard. Not more than 15 minutes later the storm came south. The sealer was still wet by the garage doors that were not getting any sun. Not only did the storm wash off wet sealer on the driveway, but splashed black material on the 1 year old steel garage doors. Despite our best effort in cleaning the doors it just wasn’t quite acceptable. This was baked on vinyl siding and they didn’t want latex paint over the doors, so painting was not an option. These were custom doors costing over $3000 a piece so we had to make an insurance claim to replace these doors. The claim turned out to be just over $7000 since the door frames also had to be replaced. No matter how careful a contractor is rain storms like this are part of the business so you definitely don’t want to take the chance of hiring someone without insurance.

  5. Only Sealcoating Your Driveway When it is in Need of Repair or Replacement
  6. Although sealcoating greatly enhances the appearance of your driveways as well as giving significant protection against the elements, there is really no structural benefit to just sealcoating your driveway. If your driveway has low spots, unevenness, and badly cracked areas you probably have a base problem and should repair damaged areas or possibly replace the entire driveway.

  7. Sealcoating your Driveway Too Often
  8. Since residential driveways are generally low traffic areas a good sealcoat job should last 2-3 years and that’s mainly since most driveways in Northern climates get plowed and salted in the winter months. You don’t need to sealcoat every year. Often when driveways get coated too often the sealer builds up and may crack and peel.

  9. Failing to Check References
  10. Demand references. People you can call and interview about their experience. And don’t just call the select list of people the contractor claims has given permission. Demand a contact list of all the clients the contractor has worked for in the last 3 to 6 months and call three or four at random.

    Join and check the feedback on Angie’s List (www.angieslist.com). Membership is around $50 a year and it gives you access to feedback on companies who provide services to home owners. Angie’s List lets you look at detailed feedback written by previous customers. Check with the Better Business Bureau. See whether the contractor has had several complaints lodged. If a contractor is going to take care of you, his past clients will sing his praises. If he isn’t going to, the stench of his past performance will stink to high heaven. All you’ve got to do is a little due diligence.

The 5 Biggest Mistakes Commercial Property Owners and Managers Make When Hiring a Contractor to Sealcoat Their Parking Lot.

  1. Taking the Cheapest Price
  2. Now, I’m not here to tell you how to spend your money. If service and quality are not overly important to you and your budget is tight, then by all means take several bids and chose the contractor who shoots you the lowest price. But don’t kid yourself. Just like with everything else in life, price and quality go hand in hand. When you choose the lowest price you are choosing the contractor with the least incentive to keep you happy. After all, you’ve already communicated that price is all you really care about. Your decision to shop for the lowest price stands as irrefutable evidence.

    When you bought your last car, did you buy the cheapest one you could find? Do you by generic food? Do you do most of your shopping at the Dollar Store?
    Then what would possess you to hire the lowest priced contractor?
    If it sounds too good to be true…. it is.
    Most good contractors have similar costs. There are marginal differences but if someone is 25% less you should ask them why? We all pay around the same price for materials, labor, and insurance. The quickest way to bring our costs down is to cut corners. Sad but true.
    They are possibly not insured.
    They are possibly not local.
    They will possibly sealcoat your driveway too thin with watered down materials and may not treat cracks.
    There are many factors to consider when getting bids to have a commercial property sealcoated. Are all the contractors making apples to apples bids? Is the contractor bidding 1 or 2 coats? Many commercial parking lots receive a lot of traffic and a1 coat application often will not last very long and isn’t consistent with manufacturers specifications. Will the coating be spray, brush or squeegee applied? Is sealing of major cracks included in the bid? Are they using a hot cracksealant or cold pour crack filler? How are they preparing the cracks prior to crack sealing? Recommend that the contractors bidding on your parking lot itemize everything they are doing. How much for 1 coat, how much for 2nd coats, how much for crack filling, how much for patching, etc. Also make sure they’re specifying materials used as well as method of application.
    IF YOU CHOOSE THE LOW BID YOU MAY NOT FIND THEM WHEN PROBLEMS APPEAR. DON’T DO IT!!

  3. Not Keeping Traffic Off the Freshly Sealcoated Parking Area Long Enough
  4. Sealcoated material needs sufficient time to cure. (Ideally 24 hours, but at least 8-12 hours under ideal weather conditions including several hours of sunlight.) If a parking lot is opened to traffic, before the material has fully cured the coating will wear off prematurely. You may consider doing the job in sections. If your business will suffer significantly by keeping traffic off the lot for a sufficient amount of time you may be better off not sealcoating and just perform crack filling, patching and restriping in your pavement maintenance program.

    Several years ago a paving contractor we subcontract out a lot of work from signed a contract to sealcoat several 24 hour convenient stores. They wanted them started after 11PM. So we did the jobs and they were opening up the lots to traffic by 6AM. Needles to say they called a few weeks later saying the jobs are already wearing off. We tried explaining that we can’t baby sit the parking lot after we leave the job and that they need to keep traffic off for longer. They didn’t believe us and refused to pay for the entire bill. We learned and expensive lesson. Since that job; on all my contracts we will guarantee all 2 coat jobs against abnormal wear provided the owners keep traffic off for the recommended 24 hour time period.

  5. Not Confirming That Your Contractor is Properly Insured
  6. Although you may not feel much can go wrong when having your parking lot sealcoated you definitely don’t want a contractor who’s uninsured. For instance an unexpected rain storm can splash sealcoat material on the building’s garage door’s, siding, and concrete or brick sidewalk. Even though a contractor can’t control the weather if they have the proper insurance you will be protected.

  7. Failing to Check References
  8. Demand references. People you can call and interview about their experience. And don’t just call the select list of people the contractor claims has given permission. Demand a contact list of all the clients the contractor has worked for in the last 3 to 6 months and call three or four at random.

    Join and check the feedback on Angie’s List (www.angieslist.com). Membership is around $50 a year and it gives you access to feedback on companies who provide services to home owners. Angie’s List lets you look at detailed feedback written by previous customers. Check with the Better Business Bureau. See whether the contractor has had several complaints lodged. If a contractor is going to take care of you, his past clients will sing his praises. If he isn’t going to, the stench of his past performance will stink to high heaven. All you’ve got to do is a little due diligence.

  9. Not Maintaining Your Lot Frequently Enough
  10. It’s an inconvenience to many commercial property owners to close off sections of their parking lot for maintenance. In addition your parking lot is not an income producer so many property owners don’t want to maintain it every year or 2. However, when asphalt cracks water and ice penetrate into the pavement, which causes more cracking and eventually pavement failure. Cracks should be treated with a hot crack sealant and proper prep work every year or 2 to prevent water infiltration. Parking lots should also be seal coated every 2-3 years (possibly more often on very high traffic areas) to keep the surface smooth for easier cleaning, black to absorb heat and melt snow and ice faster and to maintain good appearance. Damaged areas and catch basins should be hot patched as soon as significant damage or potholes occur.

Thumbtack Best Pro of 2015