Matlacha Isles-Matlacha Shores decorative concrete contractors

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 patio 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 patio 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 patio 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.

Concrete: Its Types and Uses

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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.

Professional Concrete Scanning Services and GPR Equipment

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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.

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

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