How to Find a Good Patio Contractor
Have you decided you want a flagstone, limestone or concrete patio for your Washington home. Wondering how to get it done and who you should use? Well, I’m going to tell you how. I’m going to give you a step by step process stating the 3 red flags that signal a bad or uneducated [tag] contractor. These 3 things will ensure you get it done the right way, by the right licensed concrete contractors contractor in Washington .
Steps To Finding The Right Concrete Contractor in Washington
First step, first things first. Every Stone Installation Needs A Concrete Footing which might also be called a concrete foundation . This is not opinion but fact. If you want it done right and want it to withstand the test of time, this is the way it’s done, no exceptions. A red flag should go up when any contractor is offering bypassing a concrete foundation as a cost saving option. Unfortunately 85% of the licensed concrete contractors contractors out there will tell you they can lay the stone right on top of compacted granite or base material. This type of contractor is exactly who you want to avoid. While what they are recommending to you gives the appearance of a patio, it won’t withstand the climate, erosion and soil movement beneath the patio in Washington .
BEWARE OF CONCRETE CONTRACTOR SCAMS
You might get a few crackless years at best, until it begins to fall apart. This method is the most recommended scam or shortcut of trying to lower pricing and still get the job. Notice the price came down because the concrete footing was removed from the job cost. This option of ” no concrete necessary” is most often offered to those with strict financial limitations. The contractors offering this solution don’t care about your patio or home, they just want your money.With no concrete foundation you get a type of patio, but it’s really just a veneer laid on the ground.
How much concrete do i need?
A concrete patio or sidewalk slab or footing should be a minimum of 4 inches thick. This is sometimes reduced to around 3 1/2 inches due to preexisting structural limitations for licensed concrete contractors in Washington . If you encounter space limitations, you really do need a good masonry contractor to resolve the issues with other options. this leads us to our next step.
The 2nd step is hire a knowledgeable masonry contractor in Washington . Do a little research before you start getting pricing. Most good masonry contractors will be able to talk concrete chemistry and technology with you. Yes, I said technology. In the last 10 years there have been some really cool advances in concrete additives and mixes. These advances have provided solutions for the problems and limitations of old. A true patio or masonry professional will be able to talk shop with you, it’s his livelihood. A contractor who can’t do this or doesn’t seem comfortable is more than likely a novice at best. This should be the other red flag that goes up. Basically, Concrete slabs and mortar are like a cake mix. Correctly mixing the ingredients and correctly letting the slab or masonry product cure, are the factors that determine a good solid installation. Again, Talk with your contractor and Make sure he’s knowledgeable about the chemistry, additives and curing process of concrete & masonry. If he is this will ensure the likelihood of a great patio. 3rd step and last but definitely not least, Check references, check reviews and ask to see work they’ve done. Really check this stuff out and try to look at at least 1 job they have done. Ask point blank if the previous client is related to the contractor. Any resistance or confusion in this process would be red flag number
3.So, in order from 1 to 3. All masonry installations need a concrete footing. Make sure your patio contractor is knowledgeable about masonry chemistry, additives and enhancing solutions. Check references, reviews and stay away from the dirt cheap deals of a lifetime from any concrete contractor in Washington .If you get even 1 red flag, get another contractor. There are enough guys out there that do know what they’re doing.
Sturdy, durable and economical, concrete is one of the most frequently used construction materials in the United States. Called pourable stone, it was once used by the Egyptians to build structures that still stand more than 3,600 years later. The standard concrete used by most Minneapolis general contractors combines sand, gravel and water with Portland cement.Different Concretes and Their UsesMany different varieties of concrete exist and a Minneapolis construction company generally chooses a particular variety for its purposes based on its particular compressive strength, a quality expressed in terms of pounds per square inch (psi) and megapascals (MPa). Some of the different types of concrete are:Regular Concrete - Standard, or regular concrete, comes in a variety of pre-mixed packages that vary in their water-absorption and setting qualities, depending on the specific aggregates used. For the most part, regular concrete mixes offer a compressive strength in the range of 1450 psi (10 MPa) to 5800 psi (40 MPa). As such, it is not recommended for heavy, load-bearing structures. Minneapolis general contractors commonly use regular concrete for basic installations in residential buildings, for lining curbs and for strengthening sidewalks and driveways. Pervious Concrete - Studies show that the use of regular concrete adversely affects groundwater supplies as its compact nature prevents water from reaching the ground. One solution for a Minneapolis construction company is to use pervious concrete, which allows a small amount of air or water to pass through the material. The Environmental Protection Agency encourages the use of pervious concrete when other methods of preventing storm water runoff prove impractical. Although this type of concrete has a reduced strength when compared to regular concrete, a number of formulations nevertheless provide enough strength to meet the requirements for a range of applications.Stamped Concrete - Stamped concrete is concrete that is treated while still wet to mimic the outward appearance of other materials such as brick, cobblestone, wood or other materials. Typically, builders use concrete with a compressed strength of 3000 to 4000 psi for stamped concrete applications. Also known as architectural concrete for its decorative nature, it is most commonly produced by adding a primary color as well as an accent color to the concrete mix. The wet concrete is then poured and stamped with a polyurethane stamp. Nowadays, it is common to see a Minneapolis construction company use texturized stamps to create a look that is closer in appearance to natural brick and flagstone.Stamped concrete is ideal for decorative purposes as it is easy to clean and offers superior durability when compared to materials such as brick or slate. Most Minneapolis general contractors recommend it for landscaping purposes as it does not have any cracks or edges and will not allow any vegetation to grow through it. Shotcrete - Also known as Gunite, shotcrete is generally used where formwork is unnecessary, such as when building against rock surfaces or vertical soil. It is also used for rock support, especially while tunneling. In some cases, additives such as fiber reinforcement and accelerators may be added to the mix.Concrete, in its myriad of forms, has become an indispensable part of our everyday life. All forms of concrete have to undergo the correct hydrating and hardening process to optimize their unique physical and chemical properties. In particular, care should be taken to mix the cement blend thoroughly in order to produce uniform, high-quality concrete. The right Minneapolis general contractor will be able to use a variety of types and styles of concrete to make your construction project the best and most cost-efficient that it can be.
Building a concrete patio is not a real major project for a homeowner. With a little help on pour day to move and finish the concrete, you can depending upon the size of the patio, form and prep a patio one weekend and pour and finish it the next. If you can reach the patio with the redi-mix concrete truck the work is much easier but if you have to wheel barrow the concrete, you need to look real hard at what is involved. We will use a ten foot by twenty foot patio as our example.That size patio four inches thick would use 2.45 cubic yards of concrete. (10 x 20 x.33 /27=2.45) You would order three yards of concrete. A real good idea is to pre-make some stepping stones forms and use whatever concrete is left over from your patio pour. Once your new patio area is cleared of any rocks, brush or other debris you must remove any topsoil or sod that remains behind. Topsoil is very unstable when wet and can cause the ground to shift and thereby crack the patio. If you are filling in an area and want to pour right away it is strongly suggested you fill in the low areas with pure gravel. Gravel does not compact like earth and will not sink when wet. If you do not plan to pour the patio until a few months pass, you can use earth as back fill. Mother nature will help compact the earth with rain. If you can use a mechanical vibratory tamper, so much the better. In any case the ground beneath the patio has to be rock solid. If the patio has square edges you can form the patio with two by four lumber. Since the edge face of the patio will not show, the condition of the two by fours only need to be straight to provide a nice straight edge of the concrete.Knots or other blemishes do mot matter. Frame the patio edge and anchor the two by fours using wood stakes driven flush with the top of your form if possible. This will make screeding (leveling) of the concrete and edge finishing that much easier. If you desire a curved edge to your patio, cut some 1/4 inch plywood strips for forms as they are easily bendable.A ten foot by twenty foot patio can easily be poured and finished by two people. Tools you will need are, a straight edge twelve feet long, hand trowels or magnesium floats, edging finisher tool, center line finisher tool and a light wide broom for finishing. Assume that you can access the patio with the concrete truck, starting at one end the driver will drop the concrete right across the form work as you use your straight edge and trowels to push the concrete into its rough shape. A good driver can see how fast you are working and speed up or slow down the concrete placement.He can also place the concrete at a almost perfect four inches thick or nearly so. This saves a lot of back breaking labor pulling and shoveling the concrete into place. Once the concrete is in place some edge work can be done right away to smooth any areas that did not come out properly using the screed board. The concrete will have to sit for a short time depending on the weather and outside air temperature to get whats called an initial "set".You must keep a careful eye as if the concrete sets up too much it will become unworkable for finishing. As soon as a finger leaves a dent in the surface when lightly touched, use he edger tool and place a nice smooth rounded edge on the exterior of the patio. Using the center line tool with creates a double edge crease, place a dividing line in the center of the twenty foot dimension, making two ten by ten foot squares. This is done to control any cracks that may develop later.Using your hand trowels, gently smooth any ridges left by the edger tools. There is a magical moment when you must start using the broom to apply a broom finish. Too wet and the broom will sink, too dry and the broom will not leave brush marks. Just keep checking and you will know when to start. DO NOT leave the concrete to go eat or whatever. It is often a grave mistake that may ruin the entire job. Some words of caution. If you are pouring on a hot summer day in the sun, the concrete will dry very quickly. Make sure you have enough help to handle the concrete. Lastly if you cannot access the patio area with the redi-mix truck use this info to help figure how many extra people you will need. A yard of concrete is approximately 6-7 masons wheel barrows. Not the homeowners little plastic barrows, but the steel deep wheel barrows used on construction sites. They will be very heavy. Uphill they are even heavier. Three yards means there will be eighteen to twenty-one trips made back and forth. You will be placing the concrete as it comes to you so you need plenty of extra hands. Tools all have to be washed after using them as well as anything that the concrete was splashed on during the work. Concrete has lime in it which will etch glass, anodized finishes, cloth, vinyl siding and so on.Remove it as quickly as possible. Lastly, wear protective goggles and long sleeved shirts if your skin is sensitive. If you wish to apply a concrete stain for color, keep foot traffic off the patio to keep it clean and apply stain at the manufactures recommended time.
Washington patio concrete contractors