Important Note:  This site has been established to describe our experiences with Pat Gorman/Gorman Paving located in Manassas/Gainesville, Virginia*.  Pat Gorman provides asphalt paving, seal coating, and paver installation services to both residential and commercial customers throughout Northern Virginia. You, as the reader of our story, must draw your own conclusions and determine for yourself whether you should hire this company.  We make no attempt to advise or persuade you regarding that decision, which should be made pursuant to your own judgment based on a totality of the circumstances and information available to you.


Read on to learn our story. . . .


This is the worst experience we have had with a contractor, and we have worked with many contractors while renovating four houses during the past ten years.  We would not agree to work with Pat Gorman again, even if he offered to pay us for the opportunity.


We'll start with a brief summary of the main issues, for those who do not want to read a lengthy tail, then relate the whole story in detail.  Here are the primary points: 

1)  Mr. Gorman misrepresented his intentions and the ability of his crew in order to induce us to sign a contract with him.

2) Mr. Gorman took on work that he and his crew were not qualified to perform.

3) Mr. Gorman repeatedly personally observed that his crew’s work was sub-standard, yet he tried to get us to accept it anyway.

4) Mr. Gorman made assurances and promises to us regarding the control of water flow that he did not fulfill, and, in fact, later denied that he had any intention of fulfilling.

5)  Mr. Gorman’s workmanship was negligent, did not meet industry standards, and did not fulfill his agreement with us by failing to properly grade the area and direct the flow of water away from nearby structures.

6)  Mr. Gorman stated that he would perform specific tasks
that he did not, in fact, perform.

7) Mr. Gorman’s manner in dealing with us was highly unprofessional, insulting, and inflammatory, eventually resulting in his own crew physically removing him from our property.

8) Mr. Gorman abandoned the work site, leaving unqualified workers to determine the scope and method of performing the work without any level of qualified review or instruction.

9) Mr. Gorman charged us the full, original contract price of $16,786.00 for work that, portions of which, he misrepresented to us and could not competently perform.

10) Mr. Gorman damaged our property by severing our electric fence--including completely removing a section of line approximately 50 feet long--despite having been cautioned repeatedly about its location and importance.  He has offered no reimbursement for that damage.

11) Mr. Gorman’s contract terms are unconscionable and were used by him--after we complained about a problem with the work--to threaten and intimidate us into silence.  Specifically, he threatened to walk off the job and sue us for breach of contract, to put a lien against our house, and to cancel all warranties, simply because we expressed dissatisfaction with the work.

 Now, the full story. 

We hired Pat Gorman based on the fact that he re-paved an asphalt driveway for a neighbor.  Unfortunately, we did not check the Better Business Bureau, where he already had four complaints (now five, and ours will be the sixth) on record--our first mistake.

During the initial meeting with Mr. Gorman, he talked a good game, claiming to be an expert in all the things we needed, which included resurfacing the driveway, laying concrete paving stones between our house and garage with a path leading to the back patio, and expanding our front porch and covering it in paving stones.  However, at that same meeting, he displayed his lack of flexibility and lack of concern for customer preferences when he didn’t want to use the same stones that we had used on our back patio because they are approximately ½ inch thicker than a smaller version
he preferred.  We should have dismissed him at that point--our second mistake.

During that first meeting, we walked the entire area with Mr. Gorman and discussed, in particular, our concerns about drainage.  We specifically focused on the need to control the flow of water between the house and detached garage and where the driveway meets the garage to avoid damage to either of the two structures.  He casually dismissed all our concerns, stating that he would take care of the drainage, no problem at all, this work is what he does, etc.  We did not require that Mr. Gorman record in writing the particulars of how the drainage would be handled, other than that the area would be “graded”.  Instead, we trusted him to be true to his word--our third mistake. 



Work eventually commenced, starting with raising some sunken patio stones on our preexisting back patio and laying new stones in a path leading to the front porch.  Leveling the sunken areas on the back porch turned out to be problematic, because Mr. Gorman only wanted to raise and re-level two or three stones, apparently with the misguided impression that doing so would level out a sunken area that was at least 10 feet in circumference.  His approach to that problem revealed immediately that he and his crew did not intend to perform the work we had hired them to do.  Moreover, he accused me of increasing the scope of the job by telling them to level more and more stones.  That accusation was ridiculous; the sunken areas did not change in size, rather he simply did not want to take the time to lift all the stones required to level out the entire dip, and I would not approve the incomplete fix.  Mr. Gorman ultimately did not fix the sunken areas completely, and many of the stones in those areas are still recessed. 


At the same time that work was being performed, other members of his crew were laying stones on the path.  From time to time, Mr. Gorman would call me over to see if I would accept stones or collections of stones that were obviously unlevel.  When I asked him if he would accept such workmanship at his own home, he admitted that he would not.  Yet, he asked me to accept it at mine.  Also, on several occasions, I pointed out a problem, and he replied, “I was afraid you were going to notice that.”  This approach to the work turned out to be typical, i.e., he would deliberately ignore a problem with the hope that we would not notice it or would accept it anyway.  He routinely failed to correct his mistakes voluntarily.


After the stones were laid between the house and detached garage, it was apparent that the drainage concern that we had discussed with him had not been successfully addressed.  We pointed out to Mr. Gorman that, due to the angle and height at which the stones had been installed, water would run away from the house and pool against the garage.  Additionally, not only were the stones pointed downward toward the garage, but also they had been placed to end up at virtually the same height as the foundation of the garage, which made it likely that water would travel directly into the garage under the garage wall. 

When we pointed out the drainage problem to Mr. Gorman, he quite glibly stated that there was no problem at all, and he would prove it to us.  He then used the garden hose to spray water in the area.  The water immediately created a large pool right up against the garage wall where the wall meets the foundation.  The water took about 20 minutes to disperse, and the area was still damp over an hour later.  And that was on a hot, dry, sunny, summer day.  

When Mr. Gorman saw that he had, in fact, created a drainage
problem, he became extremely angry.  He immediately threatened us and our neighbors—who had signed a contract with him for driveway paving earlier that morning—that he would put a lien on our houses if anyone refused to pay him or tried to cancel a contract.  He then started screaming that we were a “nightmare to work with” and “the worst customers he had ever had”.  He accused us of having made all kinds of changes to the scope of the work.  (We had, in fact, made only one slight adjustment to the width of a step, a change which was so minor that the subcontractor hired to do that portion of the job implemented the change at no additional cost to us.) 

Mr. Gorman further stated flat out that he would not take up the stones and re-grade the area to allow for proper drainage.  His only offer was to charge us $2,000.00 more to put in a drain against the garage wall.   Mr. Gorman also denied that he had ever discussed any drainage issues with us, and further stated that he does not “guarantee drainage.”  Of course, this was quite a surprise to us, since we hired him to address those very issues, and the contract even specified that the areas would be properly graded.  At no time previous had he explained that he does not deal with drainage—on the contrary, he had assured us that he could, and would, properly handle all drainage issues to divert water away from both the house and garage. 


After his initial outburst, Mr. Gorman continued, for several more hours that day, to be extremely insulting to both me and my husband, calling me a mental case, among other things.  At one point, he even started screaming at my husband, “Make her go in the house!”—meaning that my husband should make me go in the house.  Sexist enough for you?  Eventually, my husband became so offended by Mr. Gorman’s behavior that he strongly cautioned him to discontinue the insults.  Mr. Gorman laughed at my husband and continued the insults and jibes until he eventually worked himself into such a state that he appeared both mentally and physically out of control.  Observing this, a couple of members of Mr. Gorman’s crew stopped work and forcibly removed Mr. Gorman from our premises.  Mr. Gorman never returned to the site, though work continued for several days thereafter. 

Two days after this incident, while the crew was taking the weekend off work, I decided to wash the stone dust off our house.  Mr. Gorman had promised to clean the house after all the stones had been cut, but he did not do it, and his crew had removed their hose from the premises, indicating that they had no intentions of cleaning up after themselves as promised.  As I washed the house, water splashed into the area between the house and the garage.  My husband, who was working in the garage at the time, advised me that water was coming into the garage between the wall and foundation.  The pool of water in the garage was precisely adjacent to the area where Mr. Gorman had made the water pool two days earlier.  With the help of a neighbor, we moved our belongings out of the way of the water to avoid damage and took a picture of the water inside the garage.  We then sent the photograph to Mr. Gorman via e-mail, again requesting that he properly grade the stones, as damage to our garage was now imminent.  The photograph that was provided to Mr. Gorman is included at the top of this Web page.

Mr. Gorman responded to our e-mail with a message that
included the implication that the water had not really come from outside the garage and referred to our attitude towards having water penetrate the walls of our finished garage as "childish".  He did, however, agree to send one man over the next day to look at the problem, stating that there would be no guarantee that he could, or would, correct the problem. 

As Mr. Gorman expressed uncertainty regarding how to accomplish adequate drainage in the affected area, we offered in our reply e-mail to retain a drainage expert--at our own expense--to advise him regarding what should be done to correct the problem. We even offered Mr. Gorman the opportunity to review and approve the credentials of any
such expert prior to agreeing to implement his/her recommended solution.  Mr. Gorman did not accept our offer.  Our email exchanges with Mr. Gorman, as well as a picture of the water coming in from under the garage wall, have been provided to local authorities, including the Better Business Bureau and the Virginia Department of Professional and Occupational Regulation. 


The following day Mr. Gorman sent an employee who, by his own reporting, had only been employed by Gorman Paving for one day previous thereto and was a brick mason who had never professionally installed patio stones.  That employee, and other members of Mr. Gorman’s asphalt crew, then spent several hours discussing what should be done to correct the problem.  It was quite clear that Mr. Gorman’s crew had no idea how to correctly grade an area for patio stones, as evidenced by the following events:


  • Rather than propose an appropriate solution to the problem, Mr. Gorman's crew demanded that we instruct them on how to address the drainage issues.
  • Mr. Gorman’s crew did not know what grade should be used to control the water flow.  We explained that a 2% grade is the minimum recommended by the industry, and we provided documentation from the patio stone manufacturer to support that assertion.  
  • Mr. Gorman’s crew did not know how to calculate a 2% grade over the site area.  We calculated it for them, and told them exactly how many inches the area needed to be graded downward from side to side and lengthwise to allow the water to flow away from the two structures and into the yard.  We even drew a picture to help them understand how the ground needed to be sloped.
  • Mr. Gorman’s crew did not know how to grade the area to the required slope, even having been given the depth in inches.  They had the proper tools, i.e., a string level with grading marks on the level, but they did not know how to use it, as evidenced by the fact that the string was installed backwards, with the grade marks facing in the wrong direction.  We pointed this out to them and explained what to do, but they could not understand how to use the tools correctly. 
  • Mr. Gorman’s crew then proceeded to “grade” an area of approximately 140 square feet one patio stone at a time using a small level.  Not surprisingly, this approach was not successful in accomplishing the required slope over the entire area.
  • At the end of the day, Mr. Gorman’s crew had managed to install only about 4 feet of stones.  Placement of a long level on those stones revealed that they were consistently sloped downward from the house and toward the garage and that they were placed to end up at the same height as the garage foundation.  In other words, the crew had managed only to recreate the same problem that they had created the first time, and it was extremely likely that, with the first heavy rain, we would have a flooded garage.

The next day, the brick mason on Mr. Gorman’s crew returned—now his third day on the job—and started to continue installing the patio stones in the same manner as the day before, following the same inappropriate slope as the day before. We pointed out that all the stones installed so far were sloped toward the garage and were placed high enough to force the water between the garage wall and foundation.  Mr. Gorman’s employee agreed with the problem but wished to finish laying the stones anyway, without correctly grading the area.  At that time, we terminated the work in an effort to mitigate our damages, as it was obvious that our garage and its contents would be flooded during the next heavy rain.  We asked Mr. Gorman’s crew to remove the stones that they had installed incorrectly so that water could drain into the ground rather than into the garage.  We are now seeking another contractor to install the stones correctly.

Mr. Gorman charged us $12,500 for stone work that he and his crew could not perform.  Rather than tell us up front that he lacked expertise in laying patio stones, that he did not know how to address drainage issues, and that he did not guarantee good results, he took our money, then failed to perform the work as promised.  He has never offered to return any of our money to compensate for his failure to perform.  In fact, he threatened to put a lien on our house if we did not pay in full, including for work that was never completed.


During the course of the work, we were provided with an e-mail written by Mr. Gorman and directed to a potential subcontractor.  That email is dated just a few days after we hired Mr. Gorman.  Mr. Gorman’s intent in the e-mail was to subcontract the paving stone work, because he did not have the crew to handle it--despite having presented himself as fully prepared to do such work when we signed the contract with him.  That email message has been provided to local authorities, including the Better Business Bureau and the Virginia Department of Professional and Occupational Regulation.  

Mr. Gorman was not successful in subcontracting the laying of the stones in the area between the house and garage, and instead used his asphalt paving crew to do the work.  (He did, in fact, subcontract the expansion of our front porch.  That work appears, at this point in time, to have been done competently, so we do not take issue with that portion of the job.) 

As for the driveway paving, we now know that industry practice is to adhere an old asphalt driveway to a new asphalt overlay with an adhesive, which is called a tack coat.  We should have researched the correct way to repave with asphalt before hiring Mr. Gorman or anyone else--our fourth mistake.  Mr. Gorman never mentioned a tack coat to us, even though he agreed that our existing driveway was probably original to the house, making it nearly 40 years old. Our neighbor, who did research industry practice, asked for a tack coat on his driveway, and Mr. Gorman agreed to put one down for him.  Mr. Gorman also told our neighbor and his own crew that they would put a tack coat on our driveway as well.  However, he did not do so.  When our neighbor asked Mr. Gorman why he had not applied a tack coat to our driveway as promised, Mr. Gorman stated that we did not get a tack coat because we did not personally ask for one.  So, Mr. Gorman was not true to his word and did not follow well documented industry practice, nor even advise us of the option so that we could choose to adhere to industry standards.  


Mr. Gorman’s contract terms also deserve discussion.  In regard to driveway paving, he states that he will not guarantee proper drainage.  So, if water flows into the garage or house, understand that—despite anything that he says prior to signing the contract--his contract indicates that drainage problems and consequential water damage created by his asphalt paving work are the customer’s problem.  Also, his contract requires the customer to stay 20’ away from the job site, and any attempt to communicate job requirements or specifications to his crew will be considered interference and will void all warranties.  We did not read Mr. Gorman's contract carefully enough, with a view toward how it could be used against us by an unscrupulous person—our fifth mistake—and Mr. Gorman then threatened us repeatedly with those terms.  Specifically, he claimed that we had no right to be on the work site or to advise his crew—even though both he and his crew routinely asked for our input.  He also stated that, per his contract, he does not care about, or guarantee, proper drainage, thus directly contradicting everything that he promised to induce us to hire him.  No one who does quality paving or patio stone work should neglect to accommodate proper drainage, as it is a crucial part of doing the job right and avoiding consequential damage to customers’ property.


Last but not least, Mr. Gorman’s crew severed our electric dog fence, including cutting out a section of the fence approximately 50’ long.  The electric fence wire was repeatedly pointed out to Mr. Gorman and his crew, and they were cautioned not to cut it.  They cut it anyway, and Mr. Gorman has never offered us any compensation, or even an apology, for the damage.   


Good luck to any who hire Pat Gorman/Gorman Paving. 


* Note that this company has several addresses associated with it, i.e., 9532 Liberia Avenue, Manassas, VA; 12215 Sour Gum Court, Gainesville, VA; and 8033 Sudley Rd, Manassas, VA.  Phone numbers include 8669-BLACKTOP, 800-425-5867, 703-257-3880, and 571-233-5187.  Pat Gorman’s Virginia contractor’s license number is 2705-075084A.