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How to Find a Good Patio Contractor

Have you decided you want a flagstone, limestone or concrete patio for your FLORIDA 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 small concrete contractors contractor in FLORIDA .

Steps To Finding The Right Concrete Contractor in FLORIDA

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 small 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 FLORIDA .


concrete wall demolition

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 small concrete contractors in FLORIDA . 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.

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The 2nd step is hire a knowledgeable masonry contractor in FLORIDA . 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

concrete contractors

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 FLORIDA .If you get even 1 red flag, get another contractor. There are enough guys out there that do know what they’re doing.

Ditch the Concrete: 6 Innovative Options for Driveways

pouring concrete driveway

Geothermal / Radient Heat

Snow and ice covered driveways and walks have been plaguing man for many winters now. we have created tools and machines to assist us in our efforts of snow removal, but they still require bundling up and facing the cold. Would it not be wonderful to watch the snow melt away as it lands on your walk, no matter what the current weather conditions? I think I have formulated a solution to achieve this kind of winter wonderland.

To get started we will be discussing to types of heating systems; geothermal and in floor radiate heat. Then we will combine them as one and use them in a different way then normal, let us begin.

Geothermal Heat pump / Ground Source Heat

A ground source heat is an alternative energy heating and cooling system that uses the natural heat of the earth to heat and cool our homes. The concept is simple, below the frost line the ground maintains a constant 65 degrees F. Water or a water antifreeze mix is circulated in pipes that are buried below the frost line or deeper, they are connected to heat exchanging unit in the home where the heat from the earth that has been transferred to the water is used to warm the home. In some cases the water may be heated by other means ( lp, natural gas, electric)once in reaches the exchanging unit. This is actually an efficient way to heat your home, due to the fact that you are only heating the water from its already warm 65 degrees.

In Floor Radiant Heat

In Floor Radiant heating is a heating system which uses heat conduction to warm the floor then the heat rises and warms the room. Most commonly these systems consists heating and circulating warm water in a closed system of pipes. Similar to our previously discussed ground source heat, water is used as the medium for heat transfer. I believe that a combination of these system has been used before for in home heat, but we are talking about warming our walks to melt snow.

Now on to the system.

Snowless Sidewalk

Now to the topic at hand, there may be a system that does warm the walks and melt the snow as it falls but what I am purposing here is a system that uses little to no additional energy. Combining these to effcient heating systems to create a warm, snow resist, shovel free walkway is easy. Frist we aquire some tubing like that used in the ground source system and that used in the radient floor system and design a system of circulation. Then using the figure below as a guide we will need to bury some of it below the frost line and lay some in the poured concrete of our walks and ways. This will need to be done at the time the walk and driveways are poured or the exsisting will need to be destoyed and replaced, unless you can figure out a way to lay the tubing under your exsisting walkways without damaging it (if you do let us know). I will guess that a 4 to 1 ratio of tubing will be sufficent to accomplish our goal. This means we will bury 4 foot of tubing for every 1 foot in the walkway. We will also need a pump to circulate the water and a few valves for maintenance access and system bleed. I suggest laying the tubing in a zig zag pattern with about 8-10inch gap between lines, see figure for illustration. Now our goal is to keep the walk way surface above freezing which is 32 degrees F, so if the water from the earth is 65 degrees then there should be no need for additional heat. With that in mind the only energy require to run our system is a small amount of electrical for the circulating pump. Any small electrical pump will work just fine. For complete efficiency I suggest a small DC pump and small solar panel kit and battery to run it, this can provide circulation at no additional cost. Now you can sip your coffee while standing in the window watching your neighbors shoveling their walks in the freezeing cold.

This hub it not very detailed or specific and the contents are purely speculative and theoretical. This design has not been proven or tested in anyway. I in no way claim to be an expert in the areas I am about to discuss. I also take no responsibility of damages or expenses cause by the implementation of these ideas. I recommend researching the two heat systems mentioned before attempting to build a system like this. I also recommend professional asssistence in any DIY project.

With all that said I am greatly interested in comments and discussion from expert individuals who have or are willing to experiment with the following idea.

Thanks for reading, I look forward to your comments.

Ditch the Concrete: 6 Innovative Options for Driveways

poured concrete wall construction

Patios create one of the great living spaces in our lives.  On a patio, parents sit back and watch their children play, husbands grill hotdogs and hamburgers for weekend cookouts, families and friends gather for impromptu gatherings, and couples enjoy the fall or spring weather together. These outdoor living spaces add great quality of life to our busy schedules. Like the lawn and plants, concrete patios require regular maintenance to keep them looking their best and functioning at their highest capacity.

The best maintenance is the preventive kind. Daily preventive maintenance involves cleaning and a good broom. Any large corn broom works well for the outdoor areas and makes quick work of sweeping away errant leaves, dirt left by shoes, and the dust and dirt kicked up by wind or rain. Sweeping the patio daily keeps this buildup of dirt and dust at a minimum and makes giving the patio a more thorough cleaning easier. Just like inside the home, the outdoor areas benefit from daily spot cleaning and pick-up

A more thorough cleaning may be needed every week or a couple of times a month, especially when the patio is used often or when it rains daily, such as in the summer. A light buildup of dirt is easily scrubbed away with a scrub brush and a hose with a high-pressure nozzle. If dirt or mildew builds up in corners or where water collects, use an environmentally-friendly bleach or soap to scrub the concrete. Rinse it with a jet nozzle and the concrete will look nearly new.

An annual pressure-washing powers out the deep-down grime that sweeping and scrubbing won’t clean. Concrete patios and walkways are often pitted and porous, giving grime an easy place to hide. After a good pressure washing, those nooks and crannies are clean and ready for another year of use. Many people now own pressure washers. For those of you who don’t, tool rental companies rent them at a reasonable cost or hire a handyman.  They often charge a reasonable rate to complete the pressure cleaning.

Long-term preventive measures for maintaining concrete patios and walks include elastomeric paints and concrete stains. Concrete stains provide a great look for a concrete patio and walkway, giving them new beauty. Stains are permanent, permeating the top layer of the concrete so it doesn’t flake away or chip off like paint. The stain will wear away, however, as the concrete does in traffic areas. Manufacturers recommend applying a sealer annually. The sealer repels dirt and water and helps prevent wear.

An elastomeric coating goes on like paint but protects against wind-driven rain and debris. The coating is like a thick, elastic film and conceals hairline cracks, patches and other irregularities. Like concrete stains, elastomeric paints beautify and protect concrete.

Versatile and cost-effective, concrete patios and walkways are ever more popular today. Proper maintenance and care insures the patio and walk will remain pleasing to the eye as well as functional for years to come.

Want to extend your concrete patio? See my hub about extending concrete patios using brick pavers:  How to Extend Your Concrete Patio Using Pavers

Other Patio and Outdoors-related hubs:

The Ever-Loved Adirondack Chair - Not Just for the Mountains Anymore

Using Landscape Stones and Boulders

FLORIDA biggest concrete companies