[Pro Tip] Before you hire 2018-05-09T17:33:36+00:00

Hiring a Pro in 3 simple steps…

The 16 Questions you should be asking when hiring a Brick Paving Contractor

1. How long have they been installing pavers? What is the contractor’s primary business?

Since 1993, Old World Brick Paving has focused solely on paver brick installation. Beware of others claiming to have been doing pavers for a long time, when actually their companies (I.E. concrete/landscapers) have been in business for that amount of time, but only have been doing pavers for a short time with no training. Landscapers usually have no certification to do the work and are considered unskilled labor.This is very important in insuring a job is done by professionals. To insure a job is done correctly only accept estimates from qualified brick paving professionals

2. Does the paving contractor use company employees or subcontractors who might not have Workman’s comp insurance?

We only use trained men on our payroll and never subcontract out our work to unqualified laborers. Beware of anyone that claims to do everything. They most likely subcontract out their work to unqualified contractors, that work very cheap. They work cheap because they have no training or insurance and take a lot of short cuts that you will unfortunately figure out later.
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3.Is the paving contractor ICPI (Interlocking Concrete Pavement Institute) Certified?

Yes, We have been using ICPI Training and manuals to train our men since they have been published. We do continued education with ICPI and brick manufacturers (Unilock, Belgard, Paveloc) yearly.

4. Is the contractor authorized from a major brick manufacturer such as Unilock or Belgard?

Yes, we have been attending training seminars with the brick manufactures for 21 years.

5. How will your contractor grade the brick installation for proper drainage and water runoff?

We go over with every customer where the water is going to shed and if there are any problems with that direction. Proper pitch is about 1 inch for every 6-10 feet . Any less and the water does not runoff properly. If there is too much, then you’re sitting crooked with pencils rolling off your table. It’s very easy to make something pitch very fast, but a true professional knows that perfect pitch that you will feel comfortable with and that will be best for your home.

6. Will the excavated area be a minimum of six to 12 inches wider than the actual paved area to insure proper edge stability?

Digging wider gives your edge restraint a good solid foundation to sit on so that it can hold your pavers tight and ensures that the edges don’t slump off. Other contractors cheat in this area to save money on base material and labor costs. They figure if you can’t see it, you won’t have anything to complain about. By the time their poor craftsmanship becomes evident, their warranty on their work has probably expired.

7. What type of edge restraint are they going to use? What size are the nails they utilize to secure the edging?

We use snap edge or beast edging. Why? Because these are proven to be the best edge restraints on the market and have proven them self over the years. Other contractors use other restraints like steel or aluminium not because they are better, but because they are cheaper. You have to also ask how long are their spikes or nails? Are they 12 inches or 8 inches? 12 inch spikes give better penetration into the ground and hold better. A lot of contractors use 8 inch spikes. Why? Because in a 50 Lbs. box you get more 8 inch spikes than 12 inch spikes and therefore they save money, and you get cheated on hold and penetration.

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8. Will the brick contractor excavate a minimum of 16 inches for vehicular brick pavements and 12 inches for pedestrian brick pavements?

We supply you with a cut away view of our installation. For a driveway we put down 12 inches of stone and 1 inch of sand and then the pavers. This equals a 16 inch excavation depth. For walkways, we put down 8 inches of stone, 1 inch of sand and then the pavers. This equals a 12 inch excavation depth. This exceeds all manufacturer’s and local requirements. Some may call it over kill? We call it preparing for that once in lifetime event that seems to come every 2-3 years in our book. Chicago freeze-thaw cycles can be brutal on pavements. A lot of contractors tell you that they do the same thing, but they don’t put in writing or actually do the work. Make sure you have it in writing!

8. Will the brick contractor excavate a minimum of 16 inches for vehicular brick pavements and 12 inches for pedestrian brick pavements?

We supply you with a cut away view of our installation. For a driveway we put down 12 inches of stone and 1 inch of sand and then the pavers. This equals a 16 inch excavation depth. For walkways, we put down 8 inches of stone, 1 inch of sand and then the pavers. This equals a 12 inch excavation depth. This exceeds all manufacturer’s and local requirements. Some may call it over kill? We call it preparing for that once in lifetime event that seems to come every 2-3 years in our book. Chicago freeze-thaw cycles can be brutal on pavements. A lot of contractors tell you that they do the same thing, but they don’t put in writing or actually do the work. Make sure you have it in writing!

10. How long will the contractor offer their guarantee, and what will the guarantee provide?

We offer up to a 5 year warranty on labor and lifetime on materials. Because we are an authorized contractor through the material companies we provide we are able to offer their warranties.

11. Does the contractor carry all necessary insurances including workman’s compensation?

We Do! on all of our men.

12. Does the contractor use virgin material with proper gradation or will they use recycled base material?

We use virgin material on 95% of our jobs. What’s the difference you ask? Recycled material is made up of old crushed up concrete. It’s not the crushed concrete that is the problem, it’s all the other adulterated garbage (i.e. dirt, clay brick, grass clippings and sometimes auto fluff) that’s mixed with it that causes issues. All of these adulterants stop water from flowing freely through the base material back into the water table. What does that mean? It means that your base is very weak and holding water in the winter freeze-thaw cycles and it makes your pavers heave more and not support the load your putting on it. My Grand father’s old saying that 20 tons of virgin stone, and 1 ton of dirt equals 21 tons of garbage is true! Virgin stone has a stronger load bearing capability than recycled stone and drains much better. Why do other contractors use recycled stone? Because it’s cheaper of course. Make sure that the contractor is using your investment for your project, not to line their own pockets.

13. Will the gravel base be compacted with proper water moisture and in equal lifts to achieve the best compaction?

We compact every 2-3 inch’s and wet the stone as we are going up in lifts. Most contractors put all their stone in at once and only compact the top. Why do you ask? Because it will take 4 times longer to do it in lifts. Therefore saving 4 times the amount of time and labor. By doing each lift, we achieve 97% compaction or greater. This means no soft spots and no sinking or moving of finished brick. Using sub-standard compaction methods guarantees that you will be fixing their work in a couple of years at double the cost of the original installation.

14. Will the plate compactor used produce a minimum of 4,000 pounds of force for pedestrian pavements, and 7,000 pounds of force for vehicular pavements.

What does this mean? The trench plate compactor that we use cost $13,000 dollars new. It puts out 19,000 PSI at 30 inches deep, insuring that the compaction of our stone is greater than 98% at up to a 8 inch lift! Other contractors either rent or use a 5 HP plate compactor that cost $1,200 dollars. Now who do you think is more serious about doing the job right and guaranteeing their work?

15. Does the contractor use ICPI recommended torpedo sand for bedding not more than one inch to 1-3/4 inches thick?

We use angular sand ASTM-C-33 cement sand. 95% of other companies use number 2 round torpedo sand. What’s the difference you ask? Round sand moves freely like ball bearings and angular sand locks together to give you a more solid setting bed.Why do others use round sand? Most cases they don’t know the difference. But the main reason is because round sand cost 5 dollars a ton, and angular sand cost 20 dollars a ton. Quality never equals cheaper.

16. Is the contractor licensed and bonded with the City in which the work will be performed? Do you pull the permit or does the contractor?

We always have the home owner pull the permit. And only after the contract is signed do we pull the license and bond which cost us on average $200 per village. So you can see why we don’t file for our license or bond until we have a job in that town. Sometimes we already are licensed that year because of a previous job . But with 52 different towns that we work in a year it becomes costly do so until a signed contact. .Why do we have the home owner pull the permit you ask? It takes a plot of survey to pull the permit which the home owner always has, and if the permit is denied which does happen sometimes. The homeowner is right there and the building department can explain why. There for changes can be made quickly with the understanding of the homeowner. The other reason is you have to watch contractors that say they are pulling a permit for you. I have seen some very big companies that say they do this for you but they don’t. Why? Because it cost me 30,000 dollars in insurance a year just to be able to get a license and bond in your town. And a $200 fee with time costly inspections. This happens a lot, more than you think in this business. Make sure you get a permit for your job and it gets inspected. If you don’t it will come up when it’s time to sell or the work starts to fall apart.