large puddle in brand new driveway

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  #1  
Old 05-11-20, 12:58 PM
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large puddle in brand new driveway

Hi all, thanks in advance for any input/advice. I had a new asphalt driveway laid down last Thursday. The next day we had some rain, and I quickly noticed the large puddle shown in the photos below, two of which (the sunny ones) were taken on Saturday, a full day after the rainfall. That day (Saturday) the puddle was still about 10' by 5'.

The contractor said that the only thing they can do to address this is to cut out that area and fill it in again with new asphalt.

I've pondered opening a 4" hole at the lowest point and driving down several feet of PVC, capped with a drain cover. Not sure how realistic this is.

Any thoughts on what i should do with this??

Thanks!
 
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Old 05-11-20, 01:03 PM
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Any pipe would quickly get waterlogged if it doesn't have a drainfield.
 
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Old 05-11-20, 01:25 PM
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Any pipe would quickly get waterlogged if it doesn't have a drainfield.
Yeah I figured that idea is probably not practical. In any event, I just paid $6000 for this driveway, and I don't think I should have to launch into a DIY fix three days later!!!
 
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Old 05-11-20, 01:58 PM
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The paving contractor was going to make the repairs on his dime, correct?
 
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Old 05-11-20, 02:00 PM
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The paving contractor was going to make the repairs on his dime, correct?
That's correct. He only conveyed that by text message: "Only thing we can do is cut it and try to put a patch."

Even on his dime, I regret that a brand new driveway will not be uniform throughout...I expect the "patch" will be obviously visible...
 
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Old 05-11-20, 02:05 PM
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I would think so also. I'd ask him about it and see what he says.
 
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Old 05-11-20, 03:01 PM
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Its unfortunate but it sure seems like the repair may be worse than the problem.

How deep is the low spot?
 
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Old 05-11-20, 03:12 PM
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Its unfortunate but it sure seems like the repair may be worse than the problem. How deep is the low spot?
It's about 3/8 inch deep. Takes quite a while for it to dry up once it's full.
 
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Old 05-12-20, 07:25 AM
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Don't know what the contractor means by "cut it" but a cut down to the gravel or anywhere in between will always be visible as it is impossible to weld the patch at the cut. Tell the contractor to redo the complete driveway. Most contractors base their price on the basis they may have to redo the job.
 
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Old 05-12-20, 07:33 AM
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Don't know what the contractor means by "cut it" but a cut down to the gravel or anywhere in between will always be visible as it is impossible to weld the patch at the cut. Tell the contractor to redo the complete driveway. Most contractors base their price on the basis they may have to redo the job.
Beelzebob - thanks for your input. I've been torn about this situation. The job is originally sold with a certain assurance about the expected useful life of the new driveway. I agree with you that cutting down to the gravel and filling it in again is guaranteed to be visible. More importantly, I imagine that doing so also reduces the integrity of the driveway and will reduce its lifespan.

That said, I paid $6000 for this driveway (approximately 2000sqft), and I feel like I should receive a product of a certain quality for that price. That 'certain quality' definitely does not include a patch. And yet I also feel pretty bad setting back a tradesman like this, by demanding a re-do of the entire thing...and yet that's technically what should be done.

He's offered to do the patch already. I haven't asked him yet about a complete re-do. I have no recourse here, as I've already paid him; what happens if he says no?
 
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Old 05-12-20, 07:39 AM
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My 2 cents. As a new driveway, it's not bad. But over time it will get worse. You paid $6000 and got a $3000 job. He should replace the whole thing. And this time properly level and compact the ground. A patch is not acceptable.

The ideal situation is to rip it up, compact it and let it set for 1 or 2 years before laying new asphalt (or concrete). Here is a possible compromise. Have the contractor put $6000 in escrow and after one or two years he or another contractor replace it. Or would you accept a $3000 refund?

My father-in-law had a 200 foot asphalt drive. Before having it laid, he had it graded, stoned and compacted. Waited 2 years before paving. In over 20 years never had a crack or dip ever. Once every 3 years gave it a coating.
 
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Old 05-12-20, 08:00 AM
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I've already paid him; what happens if he says no?
You know the answer to that!

So in the eyes of the court , their role would is to "make the person whole"

Definition: topayorawarddamagessufficienttoputthepartywhowasdamagedbackintothepositionhe/shewouldhavebeenwithoutthefaultofanother.

And there is no reason to believe that anything will get worse, it was an area where an insufficient amount of material was placed, not a defect in the material.

Would the court look at the situation and determine that an entire driveway should be removed to remedy a single low spot especially when the contractor has agreed to repair, I highly doubt it.

Your in a situation of either allowing the repair to take place or live with it. Going to court is an absolutely the last resort.

The best case situation would have been to not have paid him, then there would have been more leverage!
 
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Old 05-12-20, 08:04 AM
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The best case situation would have been to not have paid him, then there would have been more leverage!
To the naked eye, it was impossible to see that there was a low spot. So i paid him on the spot, which I think is more or less customary... It became evident only during the first rainfall after the job, which happened to be the very next day.

Here's an excerpt from the Rhode Island construction standards document I found online:

22.2 Ponding / Puddling of Water
Performance Standard
A limited amount of ponding / puddling is common. Ponding / Puddling in excess of 1/4"
measured in an 18" diameter is considered a deficiency in critical areas only, 1/2" in 24" in
other areas.
Builder Repair Responsibility
Builder to repair or replace within the first year after completion

Not sure what a "critical area" entails, but it seems to me highly unlikely that i'll be getting a complete re-do... I think the best I may be able to get is this patch and a free sealcoat next year.
 
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Old 05-12-20, 08:12 AM
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The best case situation would have been to not have paid him, then there would have been more leverage!
So how does one go about doing that? When the job is completed, one pays the contractor.

Offer him a compromise. Give back money and repair. Get other contractors to quote or comment. Threat of law suit might help and the threat of social media "advertising" or reviewing his workmanship.

Realistically, the only real problem with that dip is ice in the wintertime. Possible safety issue. After the sting of paying for new drive but getting a bit less wares off, you won't notice it as much.
 
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Old 05-12-20, 08:16 AM
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I would talk to him about maybe putting another 2" layer over the entire surface if possible. I will be interested in knowing the result either way since I am about to have 3500 ft of drive repaved this year.
 
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Old 05-12-20, 08:24 AM
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From the contractor by text just now: "Honestly in my opinion I would leave the puddle instead of putting a patch. I told you you were going to end up with a few puddles because of there being 0 inches pitch from your garage to the side and minimal pitch to the road. If you want to leave the puddle i will give you a free seal coat when you are ready for one. Or if you want the patch I will do it. I personally would leave it. Your decision"

Can't overlay any additional inches on top of this, because the surface of the driveway is just a hair lower than the surface of the garage.
 
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Old 05-12-20, 08:54 AM
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I told you you were going to end up with a few puddles because of there being 0 inches pitch from your garage to the side and minimal pitch to the road.
That's no excuse. The pitch should have no bearing on making it level or flat. However, I would counter with a no patch, free coating and $1000 refund. The point being, it will only get worse as time goes on.
 
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Old 05-12-20, 09:25 AM
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I've exchanged emails with a guy from the Rhode Island Contractors License & Registration Board, full dialogue below for anyone who's interested. This supports the remedy of patch + seal coat.From: Hoyle, John (DBR)
Sent: Tuesday, May 12, 2020 10:52 AM
To: Jonathan Fishman
Subject: RE: [EXTERNAL] : contractor question



Jonathan,



We agree that sealcoating should not be applied to a new driveway. If their recommendation is a minimum of six months, then that should be the plan. We would also recommend that the patch be done as soon as possible, so the new asphalt can cure before the application of the sealcoating. I have witnesses various methods for patching asphalt in addition to infra-red, however since I do not claim to be an expert in this field I will leave that recommendation up to the contractor. It sounds like the contractor is willing to take responsibility for the issue, which is encouraging. I do hope it all works out. Should you have any additional questions, please let me know.



John



From: Jonathan Fishman
Sent: Tuesday, May 12, 2020 10:34 AM
To: Hoyle, John (DBR)
Subject: RE: [EXTERNAL] : contractor question



John, thank you so much for your prompt reply and advice. Just a couple of follow-up questions: 1) Iíve been told that sealcoating should not be done immediately on a new driveway; the contractor I used said we should wait at least 6 months or up to a year. If thatís the case, then possible paths forward would be to patch now and sealcoat in the Fall, or to do both in the Fall. Is that right, and would you prefer one of those paths over the other? 2) in addition to infra-red treatment, can you name other acceptable seam treatment technologies? Iíd like to get all of this in writing from the contractor; the patch, the seam treatment, the sealcoat, and the timing on all that.

Thanks again very much, John. The feeling of having paid so much for a deficient product is pretty terrible; the feeling of setting back a tradesman is also pretty terrible. Getting this advice from you makes a big difference, though.



Jonathan





From: Hoyle, John (DBR)
Sent: Tuesday, May 12, 2020 10:14 AM
To: Jonathan Fishman
Subject: RE: [EXTERNAL] : contractor question



Johnathan,



Depending on the size of the low spot, an acceptable remedy would be to saw-cut the affected area, regrade and patch. There are various technologies, such as infra-red treatment of the seams, that when properly employed will ensure the expected lifetime of a driveway. With a new driveway, our position is that after the patch is completed, the entire driveway receive a sealcoating, so the entire driveway looks new, as expected. If you have any other concerns, or if the contractor is not willing to fully cooperate, you may utilize the Boardís claim process and we will attempt to resolve any potential disagreements.



Respectfully,



John



From: Jonathan Fishman
Sent: Tuesday, May 12, 2020 9:50 AM
To: Hoyle, John (DBR)
Subject: [EXTERNAL] : contractor question



John, I found your contact info at the ri.gov website. Iím writing because I have a question about the asphalt driveway that was installed last week at my primary residence. In short: the driveway was installed on Thursday, and thereís a significant low spot right in the middle (see photo below, which I snapped on Saturday morning after getting rain on Friday). I made my final payment to the contractor on Thursday afternoon when the crew finished the job. The total was $5975 (~2000sqft driveway). The contractor has offered to come back, cut out the low spot, and re-fill that area with new asphalt. Iím not an asphalt expert, but I expect that this will result in a visible seam around the Ďpatchí as well as reduce the expected useful life of the driveway. I believe the appropriate remedy is to re-do the entire driveway, but would really appreciate some professional advice. Are you able to offer advice on this matter, or can you refer me to someone who can?

Thanks in advance,

Jonathan
 
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Old 05-12-20, 10:14 AM
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Fish,
I think this is the best you're going get. But I strongly suggest the patch asap and then wait a full year for a seal coat. FWIW, I had a similar ting done about two years ago. The town had to dig up a portion of my blacktop drive near the sidewalk and the contractor (town engineer) offered to cut the whole width by about 6 feet long. I said sure. The first year it was a very obvious repair. But after applying the seal coat the year after it's not nearly as bad. And I have a strong driveway where the repair took place vs what would've been done.

Sometimes you pay full price and only get partial product. It happens. Even a brand new house has problems. It seems as though the contractor want's to make amends. Go for it. But I think he should give back some kind of monetary amount. maybe $500?
 
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Old 05-12-20, 02:49 PM
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Sometimes you pay full price and only get partial product. It happens. Even a brand new house has problems. It seems as though the contractor want's to make amends. Go for it. But I think he should give back some kind of monetary amount. maybe $500?
Feels like it happens to me quite a bit!! Luck of the draw, I guess...

For now, I'm pursuing the remedy that was suggested by the Board guy: patch + seal coat. So far the contractor has not agreed; he's arguing with me that he told me at the time of the job that we'd have puddles because there's near zero pitch between the garage and the road/far end of the driveway. My counterargument was that even with a near zero pitch he should be able to produce a flat surface; what I got instead was a bowl. Anyway, still waiting for him to reply to my last email. Unfortunately, without a reply, I'll have to assume that he does not agree and will have to file a claim with the Board... Serious bummer. Not my intention to make his life difficult; i just want what i paid for.
 
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Old 05-12-20, 03:18 PM
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I agree, regardless of the pitch the surface should still be flat. He did not grade the driveway properly. Even though he warned you of the possibility. That just shows he can't do the job. If he does not cooperate, by all means go to small claims court. If it gets that far then ask for all your money back. Most likely you'll get most of it back. Don't know what part of the USA you're located in, but if it's the northern snow area then hit hard on the safety "ice" issue. If he fights back, use a written form to him and the state attorney's office putting him on notice of a safety issue and holding him responsible for any and all injury. It may not hold any actual legal claim but the threat may be enough to make him comply. You might also contact you insurance company and let him know you are doing it.

Good luck.
 
  #22  
Old 05-12-20, 03:48 PM
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Does the driveway drain towards the road, or away from the road?
There SHOULD have been at least some sort of crown along the driveway, and some thought to have the parking area at least level, not dished; but it's a bit late now.

Given a 3/8" area of ponding, and freshly laid asphalt, here's what I'd do.

Having done tree work for a few years, I am VERY much ware that you drop something heavy on a new asphalt driveway, you can put a hole or 1" dent in the driveway very easily. That MAY be useful.

So, because this was recently done and the asphalt should still be somewhat soft, I would ask the contractor to come back with their stream roller, lay out several 2x4s between the low spot and the wood pile, and drive the roller from the lawn out to the low spot, with the goal of putting a subtle dent or drainage channel into the driveway. Follow up with a liberal spray of cut-back or emulsified asphalt, and re-roll with the steamroller.

And get a free sealcoat next year...


 
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