Bothell american concrete company

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 top 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 top 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 .


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 top 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.

Weaknesses and Strengths of Masonry

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.

Concrete Contractors

Cement or concrete is one of the most common materials used for building patios. Cement patio designs offer various advantages: it's durable, versatile and relatively cheaper than other materials such as stone.Start creating your design by first determining what purpose your patio will serve. Patios are essentially outdoor extensions of rooms. So, if you want a patio that will serve as an extension of your living and dining areas, a 12 by 12 foot patio offers enough space for furniture as well as room to walk around in. If you want a patio that will visually connect your house to your garden, then you will have to incorporate more landscaping features into your patio design. Some great ideas include plant boxes, alcoves for shrubs and small trees, and maybe a trellis where you can grow flowering vines. The design ideas you can choose from are limitless. Some homeowners build patios that connect with other features in their yard such as a pool or a gazebo. You can also do this by creating a concrete path from the main patio to the said feature. If you already have an existing pool you can introduce a relaxing resort feel to your yard by creating a cement patio design that evokes the look and feel of resorts. Concrete is a versatile material and you can choose from different looks and add-ons to create the look that you want. A network of walkways will surely add to the beauty and functionality of your patio and yard. You can also add furniture such as umbrellas, rattan or wicker chairs, and lounges for that genuine resort ambience.When designing your cement patio, an important consideration is the size of your property. The patio should be proportionate to the size of your house and yard. A large patio can overwhelm a small house and will look out of place. Similarly, a small constricted patio will look awkward in an expansive yard. You should also check with your local building codes and zoning laws. Another important factor is of course, your budget. If you are working on a tight budget, then a cement patio design is the better choice for you. Concrete patios don't have to look grey and boring. You can always perk it up by using your creativity and usefulness. For example you can use blocks of wood, pieces of ceramic tiles, and even sea shells to accentuate the patio floor. Take a quick look at some online resources for patio design ideas and you can find a wide range of creative solutions for cement patio designs.

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