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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 decorative 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 decorative 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 .


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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 decorative 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

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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

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Lay Your Own Natural Stone Flooring - For Almost Nothing!!

Finding the perfect flooring to enhance the natural features of a rustic home, or outdoor space, is not always an easy task and by no means is it cheap. Forget buying expensive floor tiles, laminate, carpet or wood. Try using natural river or beach stones for your floor.

Laying a natural stone floor is easier than you may think, and the results are truly impressive. But most important of all, you have created yourself a low-cost, practical, natural floor.

What do I need to lay my own Natural Stone Floor?

  • River Pebbles
  • Sand
  • Cement
  • Grout (professional and waterproof grade)
  • PVA/latex liquid

What tools do I need to do my own Natural Stone Floor?

  • Rubber grout float
  • Sponge
  • Stone liquid sealer
  • A level
  • 3 x 3' straight-edges
  • Bolts, screws, wall plugs
  • Cement mixer or equipment to hand mix the mortar mix


(1) Collect your river stones or beach pebbles.

It's best to collect more than you need in case some are unsuitable when you come to use them. You can always use the surplus for other projects in the future.

How many stones do I need?

Measure out a square meter with a tape on the beach where you are collecting the stones and arrange some collected stones within this square. I like the stones to be touching but the spacing and resulting grout width is up to you. Bear in mind that the finished grout lines will vary in thickness due to the random shape of the stones. The number of stones in this square meter will give you a rough idea of how many stones you are going to need. Multiply this amount by the number of square meters of your floor and then add some extras just to be on the safe side.

Which are the best stones to pick?

When choosing stones it´s best to look for ones with a flat face. This may not be possible depending on the type of stone and where you´re collecting it from, but it makes the job easier and the result more pleasing to the eye.

(2) The Base

Make sure that you have a good, sound base upon which to lay the stone floor.  Ideally, you will be laying the pebble floor on top of a flat concrete base that has had sufficient time to cure to take the additional weight of the stone floor finish.

Prep the base. I usually use a watered down PVA/latex solution to prime or prepare the concrete so that the new floor will bond to it better. Check the manufacturer´s label for the solution concentration as this varies depending on the product. Paint it on with a brush or roller.

(3) Set up level datums

There are different ways of doing this. An easy, adjustable way is to drill holes into the concrete floor, put in a plastic wall plug and fix a screw in to the level that you want the finished floor to be, minus the thickness of the straight-edge. Drill a square matrix of holes 2' 10'' apart from each other over the area of your floor. Repeat the plug and screw fixing procedure, making sure the top of the screws are all level with each other. Be fussy as it makes the next steps easier.

Alternatively, you could lay a border of rustic tyles/bricks to finished floor level to act as your datum, then fill in the remaining space in-between with the river stones. It´s your floor so it´s up to you how you proceed!

(4) Wash the river stones to remove dirt and dust.

(5) Lay the mortar bed and set the level datums

Mix the sand and cement in a 4:1 ratio with water to the consistency of a stiffish porridge, but not too wet. You want the stones to move a little in the mortar but not excessively as they will sink in too much. You will see what consistency works best for you when you have tried steps (6) – (9).

(6) Bucket mortar onto the concrete slab to cover one of your 2' 10" 'squares', with a screw in each corner. Be careful not to cover the screw heads. You may need to add or take away mortar depending on the thickness of the stones.

(7) Place one straight-edge on top of two screws/bolts and then the other straight-edge on top of the two other screws/bolts so that the straight-edges are parallel to each other. The top of the straight-edges will be your finished floor level.

(8) Laying the stones

Place stones in the mortar, flat-face up, so that they are slightly above the finished floor level. Continue placing stones until the square is full. As I mentioned above, the spacing is up to you. I place the stones so that they are touching and this still gives a fairly wide grout line in places. Due to the random shape of the stones the grout line will vary, unless you manage to collect very uniform stones.

(9) Hold the level or third straight edge with a hand at each end. With a tapping motion, use the straight-edge to bring the stones to the level of the two parallel straight-edges. The bottom of the straight-edge in your hands should be touching the surface of the two parallel straight-edges and the surfaces of all the stones.

(10) Clean off the stones

Use a soft brush and water to carefully clean any of the stones that get dirty or they will be stained. Make sure that the level of the mortar is low enough so that you can add the grout to the correct thickness. Check the grout manufacturer's guidelines for the required thickness. Remove any excess mortar carefully so you do not disturb the stones or the level.

(11) Repeat steps (6) – (10) for the rest of the floor. Leave floor to rest for a few days.

(12) Seal the stones according to manufacturer’s guideline, after checking that they are clean and dust free. This is to prevent them staining when applying the grout.

(13) Grouting

Mix the grout according to manufacturer’s guidelines. Use a rubber grout trowel to apply grout into the joints between the stones. Clean off the residual grout with a sponge and leave it to cure for a couple of days.

If you prefer to save money at this stage, rather than using the waterproof pre-mixed grout, it is possible to use a standard 4:1 sand and cement mix for outdoor or general flooring.

(14) Clean off any residual dust. Re-seal the entire floor with liquid stone seal. Your beautiful natural stone floor is complete. Sit back and enjoy.

When you have mastered this technique you can try being more creative using patterns and combinations of other floor materials to create a more varied floor finish.

How to Do Your Own Low-Cost Natural Stone Floor

pouring concrete driveway

Concrete surfaces and structures don't last forever, so if you require a concrete cutter, we may think it is best to hire skilled and properly qualified operator to create cracks and to facilitate the demolition. Drilling down and cutting down are always followed with a huge mess and dust so it is always better to find local, professional concrete cutting contractor. They can do a much cleaner and more efficient job. On the face of it, you need to visualise someone with proper equipment and skills together with maximum resources. Hiring concrete cutters with a proven track record and plenty of experience is the first criteria when making such a huge decision.

1. You need someone with Good Reputation

The cutting service provider must be capable to build a positive reputation. They must possess knowledge and experience, so you can have confidence even for the most difficult and delicate projects. There are always plenty of contractors to choosing from, but their reputation is the main consideration you need to go for. Furthermore the final price, arranged deadlines and personal skills, can be the deciding factors after the professional competence. Inspecting out the reputation of a local concrete cutter is quite easy, with a few different avenues to take.

3. Equipment and Technology

By definition, the local concrete provider you will choose must have the complete facilities to maintain every single project successfully. Of course, if the provided equipment is good enough, it can repair the damage effortlessly and the demand of labour is eased considerably.

4. Accredited by Progressive Association

Choose a local concrete company that is accredited as a member by a national or international association or federation. Somehow, you will have a further guarantee that the contractor adheres to the working standards, respecting all safety regulations during the cutting process.

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