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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 biggest concrete companies 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 biggest concrete companies 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 biggest concrete companies 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.

What Does a Concrete Contractor Do?

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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.

How to Do Your Own Low-Cost Natural Stone Floor

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The most frequent phone call I receive out of the phone book usually goes something like this, "Hi, I have a back patio that I wanted to stain and I went up to __________(fill in the blank with one of your local chain home improvement stores) to pick up some "concrete stain" and now it's flaking off. Is there something I can do to stop the flaking?"

Some customers have even gone to the extent of contacting the company to complain about the product and most of the companies will send a "stripper" and more product to re apply. I am not here to trash those companies, but to explain the very important difference between an ACID stain and a concrete stain. An acid Stain is a chemical reaction. Any other generic stain (that I've seen) from your home improvement chains are coatings.

So, I'll usually take a drive out to the home of the disgruntled caller. I'll measure up the patio and give a quote on how much it will cost to grind the coating completely off and acid stain the new canvas. That's usually the last time I talk to them, because what started as a project that would have cost no more than a few hundred dollars and a weekend, turns into a labor intensive, relatively costly, fix. However; the result from staining a freshly ground surface, is beautiful. The aggregate in the concrete becomes slightly exposed, leaving a terrazzo like finish.

STAIN DID NOT REACT. Since Acid Staining is a chemical reaction, anything in the pores of the concrete or on the surface will either block the stain from reacting completely, or change the reaction. Often people pull up there carpet, do a little floor sanding, and stain. This is fine if you like the result, but some people hate it. Paint,carpet glue, chemical spills, and other things on the concrete, never completely go away unless you grind them down...or you can overlay, and that is another article at another time. I would give the same advice for finding an overlay as I would an acid stain. Stay away from generic resurface products.

If the stain did not take at all anywhere, there is probably a cure and seal product on the concrete. You'll have to strip it or grind it or overlay... If it is an outside slab, chances are it has just been suspect to the elements for too long. Often the pores are clogged with dirt and the cream has worn off the top leaving small aggregate and sand exposed. Sand will not stain. The result achieved through staining a slab in this condition would be the same result as if you hosed it down. Same advice here, grind down or, if it's not cracked and shifting, find a good over-lay. Then start over.

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