Ocean Ridge concrete driveway construction

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 concrete contractors delaware 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 concrete contractors delaware 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 concrete contractors delaware 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.

How to Maintain Concrete Patios, Driveways and Walkways

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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

Will Using Green Cement End Global Warming?

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Changing Our Thinking on Driveways

As developed societies become more affluent and the ability to generate new products evolves, being good stewards of the world we live in is essential. We have the resources to do an excellent job of taking care of the earth we live on and driveway alternatives are a place where every home owner can improve their stewardship.

The quote about how small changes can make a big difference is true where driveways are concerned. Initially, changes may need to be uncomplicated ones such as repairing or replacing a driveway apron but if a new home is being considered taking time to explore driveway options can provide some beneficial surprises.

A remodel is also a great opportunity to incorporate one of the newly developed options. Expanding outdoor living spaces, turning them into multi-use areas, recreating places that both children and grownups enjoy can all include the need to remake a driveway.

Driveways Past and Present

For the most part, from the very beginning of their production concrete driveways have been just plain ugly. If they were beautiful, individuals and companies would not have such good success with inventing ways to alter the look of the raw slabs.

From paint to stamps to stains to edgings to planters and more, attempts to make concrete driveways more appealing are a grand effort. Costs for those applications vary greatly depending on how much DIY homeowners are willing to put into the project or if they decide to pay for labor to have it done professionally.

When it’s time to replace failed concrete or when a new home is being built, though, other choices are available. There are now products that change not only the face but also the usefulness of the places we drive on to get from roads to our carports and garages.

Those areas should be as attractive and as earth friendly as possible. Happily, the following ideas are not just doable, they are affordable (some remarkably so), whether applied to new construction or to a remodel.

My husband and I have looked at the options for a remodel that includes replacing a 50 year old asphalt and concrete driveway. It is a long bunch of surfacing that we do not want replaced entirely with new concrete. We plan to incorporate new green spaces in the design.

You can imagine what it looks like with previous homeowners having tried to use the stinky, sticky black stuff to repair the hard white/greyish stuff! Pleasantly surprised at the number of products with high rain absorption rates, we think we’ve worked our way through them all and made our decision.

While a new option may be on the horizon, meaning the decision could change by the time we get to that phase, we are able to move forward now. Confident that our chosen option is going to make a huge difference in every aspect of our property's usefulness and appearance, we are ready to get the needed permit.

6 Options for Friendly Driveways

1) In Santa Monica an example of breaking up a concrete driveway into what looks like slate rock tiles shows a quick and easy fix for an existing slab that keeps water from soaking into the ground. Compared to some other options this is a fast solution. The grassy areas are obviously penetrable spaces for water to soak in rather than run off. If I chose this method I would definitely use a stain treatment to make the tiles look more like slate.

2) A split driveway, often referred to as a ribbon driveway, is not a new idea. That these runners can lead to a nice landing for foot traffic makes them very appealing, and again porous lawn areas prevent water from flowing into drainage systems. The strips, runners, or ribbons (whatever you choose to call them) can be created from a current driveway, much like the slate/tile-like example above. This option can also be incorporated into a renovation or new construction. PermaTurf is a product worth looking at before installing a split driveway. Using porous asphalt could also be a possibility for a split driveway (see number 4 below).

3) A gravel bed made of pea gravel or crushed stone, crush and run being commonly used, is a tried and true option but the old method is not without its drawbacks. Today there are functional and pretty ways to use gravel. Combining it with modern stone look pavers that are actually new methods of allowing water to percolate into the ground (see below) and prevent gravel from shifting is a must consider update. New products like EcoGrid also offer homeowners a more stable option for gravel driveways than they’ve had in the past.

4) Pervious asphalt, originally from the 70s era, is now greatly improved, with research and development continuing. As with some other permeable surfaces for driveways, communities may offer incentives in the form of grants, tax benefits, and additional help to promote the use of filtration pavements. Though current asphalt products would not be suitable for our upcoming project, the reading I’ve done causes me to look forward to what may yet be developed to make this a real contender among homeowners.

5) Permeable pavers are available from several sources. Loved because they permit water to filter down into the earth instead of making muddy messes, causing erosion, and moving various chemicals into natural water sources, this paver replacement is a great run off solution. Widely used industrially and by homeowners, the range of quality should be well researched before making a decision on which to use. Significantly lowering the impact on newly developed areas, porous pavers' popularity is rising. (Say that 5 times fast!)

6) My favorite solution so far allows grass to grow and thrive in the driveway areas. Drivable Grass is a DIY option that I have fallen so much in love with that I have cast my vote for this choice in our new project. Softening hardscape spaces by using a system that solves problems and gives me the green stuff has to be at the top of the list. Even though we are also incorporating some ribbons and permeable pavers, grass that works as a driveway is my top choice.

Other options in this category include TrueGrid’s green permeable paving solution that is tough enough for fire engine lanes and Home Depot’s concrete grass mat for savvy DIY types who want a plantable driveway. Grasscrete’s self-venting paving system bears up to 40 tonnes of gross vehicle weight and Canadians have access to Core Grass for low-impact parking. Grass paving systems are evolving and sometimes, simpler is better--don’t miss this turf protection mesh from the UK.

Though it is exciting to consider what will be available as technology develops new products, all of the great choices presented here have positive applications that homeowners can benefit from and enjoy on a long term basis. Keeping an eye on developments in the making will help you plan for the day that the concrete you now have must be replaced. That's a happy thought now that we have great alternatives!

Easy-on-the-Homeowner Grasses...

• Check out small yard solutions and make the most of your outdoor spaces!

Caring for Your Driveway, Patio, or Walkway

Search HubPages for more information:

• Good advice on taking care of your brick paving work.

• Learn about using different kinds of pressure washers.

• See a method for an easy care faux paint walkway.

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