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How to Find a Good Patio Contractor

Have you decided you want a flagstone, limestone or concrete patio for your GEORGIA 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 american concrete company contractor in GEORGIA .

Steps To Finding The Right Concrete Contractor in GEORGIA

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 american concrete company 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 GEORGIA .


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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 american concrete company in GEORGIA . 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 GEORGIA . 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 GEORGIA .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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How to make Forms for Concrete Slabs is...

Step by step instructions Written for the do it yourselfer who wants to pour their own concrete slab... Maybe you want to pour a slab for a Patio,Jecuzzi or shed? This article will tell you how to make the forms needed.

For information on Screeding and Concrete work, see my other articles:

  • http://hubpages.com/hub/How-to-Screed-Cement-Concrete-or-Base

See also this excellent article from the Quickcrete Company on how to use premade paving forms and adding colors to the concrete for a look that never wears or washes away...

  • http://www.quikrete.com/athome/walkmaker.asp

Understanding the work...

1. Understand the concept of a form and you will be in a better position to make what you need.
The form not only acts as a box to hold the concrete while it is setting up, But it also serves as a Level for the top of the concrete and a guide for when you screed the top.

2. Part of the forming process is the dirt work that is done before you make the actual Box of the Form. You will want a level area to work with. You will also want this area deep enough that the top of your concrete will be at the level you prefer. This is especially important if you are pouring a slab next to an existing structure.
Use you tape measure and determine how much digging you need to do.
Drive a few stakes in and run some string lines across the area tight and level.
You can buy string line levels at the local Home Improvement Center.
As you dig and level the area, measure from the strings down to the ground until you have the desired depth evenly across the entire slab.

If you need the slab to have a slope or grade to it, so that water runs off properly then position your string lines with this drop in mind and set your forms up to make this slope.

3. Lumber
For a 4" slab, you can use 2x4's as your forms... If you want a 6" thick slab.. you can use 2x6's etc.
Lay the Form lumber in place where you want the form to be. Measure the distances from any existing structure to insure that your position is correct. Cut your Form boards to the proper length and overlap the ends. Use Wood screws (Star drive deck screws are preferred) to attach the Form Boards one to another and make the Box. Be sure that your top edge is even and without any nails or things that would obstruct the Screeding process. You will drive stakes next to the box to hold it where you want it. Be sure to drive the stakes deep enough to hold the form securely in place. The stakes will also prevent the sides of the box from bowing out with the pressure of the concrete. Be liberal with your stakes. Better to have too many than not enough. There is nothing quite like the feeling of watching your form fall apart when you need it to hold together.... Lost time, effort and concrete means lots of clean up and financial loss. Make sure the form is strongly built and well staked.

4. You will probably notice about this point that your lumber is not exactly the right width... ( a 2x4 is actually only 3 ½ inches wide) This is ok don't sweat the small stuff.
You are only worried about the position of the Top of the Form... not the bottom. (See Step 5 :you can always fill a hole at the base of the form with packed dirt.)

When you have your boards in place and have formed the box, Position some stakes next to the boards (on the Outside) and drive them in deep.
Use long stakes, drive them deep just leave enough sticking up out of the ground to attach your form Boards to.
Now measure and make sure that the top of the form is at your height required... If not... raise it up or lower it down until it is the right height. then Screw it into place.

Star Drive deck screws make this a much easier task.. you can back them up, move the lumber and make corrections easily this way... Much easier than with Nails.

If there is a little gap at the bottom of the form... No problem its normal at this point.
Now attach the form boards to the stakes with wood screws. (Again: I prefer star drive deck screws for this as you can remove and reuse them more easily)

Use your level frequently and get the top level correct. If it needs to be sloped.. do that with the forms at this time. make all corrections at this stage of the game... once you start mixing and pouring concrete its too late for last minute changes.

After you have the form in place where you want it and Have well secured it to the stakes...
You can go around the form with a saws-all or circle saw and cut off the tops of the stakes flush with the top of the form. (use a Cordless)

Again: There should be nothing that protrudes above the top edge of the form. If there are any nails, screws or stake tops, or any other thing in the way...Get Rid of them.

5. Remember those little Gaps at the bottom? Underneath the form? Now you can go around the edge of the form and add some dirt to any gaps you see under the bottom of the form.

Do this by digging from the inside of the form edge and adding it to the OUTSIDE of the form.... Remember that the edges of the slab needs to be thicker and not thinner than the desired slab depth. It is better for you to dig a sort of "Footing" around the edge on the inside than to have places were the concrete is not as thick as it should be...

6. If the area to be poured is larger than 8 or 10 feet wide you may also want to divide it and pour it in drifts. This will help when you are trying to screed the concrete and also when you float it. To do this just stake down another form board through the middle and do the pouring in a couple of sections... when one section is dry enough you can remove the partition board and then screed from the cement to the other side of the form.

7. Before pouring the concrete you may want to coat the inside face of the forms with diesel fuel or Kerosene so that you can more easily remove the forms when you are ready after the job is finished.

If you want a Rough texture for walkways etc: Wait until the top of the concrete is starting to get thick and then take a broom and lightly rake the broom ever the top evenly and carefully.

Test the cement in a non-visible area first: If your brooming looks too rough wait awhile longer before brooming the area... it is a little better to have the appearance smooth and "Lightly Broomed" than get hasty and have it too Rough.

Things you will need:

Wood for forms

Cordless drill

Screws (I prefer Star Drive deck screws... they are much stronger and easier to use)

Stakes of wood (2x4's for extra strength and you can split some of them to make 2x2's for reinforcing trouble spots.)

Professional Concrete Scanning Services and GPR Equipment

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What can be done to combat climate change?

Most scientists believe that the earth’s climate is warming, because automobiles and various smokestack industries are pumping more carbon into the atmosphere than the planet’s ecosystem can absorb, potentially leading to the calamities of climate change about which folks have been hearing for many years. Most of the change appears to be in the Arctic and Antarctic, where ice is melting at an alarming rate. For those who don’t believe the earth’s climate is warming, look there!

Fortunately many people, countries and companies throughout the world are trying to reduce carbon emissions. One major way to accomplish this task is to produce “green” cement. Please read further and find out how using green cement could greatly reduce humankind’s “carbon footprint” and perhaps help save the planet in the process.

What Is Cement?

The Romans invented concrete and built their marvelous empire with it, using a mixture of lime, volcanic ash and chunks of stone to construct immense buildings such as the Pantheon and Colosseum. These days, the primary ingredient in concrete is cement, commonly known as Portland cement, which is produced by burning limestone, mostly calcium carbonate and loaded with CO2, to which clay is added, and then water, sand and aggregate to produce concrete, which is inexpensive, pourable and dries as hard as a rock. Concrete is essentially artificial stone.

According to the article “Green Cement” in the December 2011 issue of Smithsonian magazine, in 2010 the world produced about 3.6 billion tons of cement, and that amount could increase by a billion tons before 2050. Interestingly, the only substance the world uses more than concrete, in total volume, is water!

Why Is Cement Dirty?

As useful and cheap as cement is, it has environmental drawbacks. Fossil fuels are used to burn the limestone at 2,600 degrees Fahrenheit, and this process releases large amounts of CO2 into the atmosphere. Cement production accounts for five percent of the world’s human-produced carbon dioxide emissions; only automobiles and smokestack industries used to make electricity and steel release more greenhouse gases in the United States and China, the world’s largest producers of cement.

Per an article entitled “Cement from CO2: A Concrete Cure for Global Warming?” in the August 2008 issue of Scientific American, making a ton of cement results in the emission of roughly one ton of CO2.

What is Green Cement?

The Smithsonian story mentioned above stated that since 2004 companies throughout the world have been trying to make Portland cement more environmentally friendly. Producers have added steel byproducts, such as slag; coal residues, such as fly ash and other materials to try to bulk up concrete, thereby requiring less Portland cement in the mixture. They’ve also used mineral additives, trying to reduce the temperature needed to prepare the materials, thus reducing the CO2 spewed when heating the limestone. Unfortunately, compounding the problem, nobody understands exactly how Portland cement works!

A potential breakthrough came when researchers at a company named Novacem, located in the United Kingdom, began using magnesium oxide instead of limestone to produce the primary ingredient in cement. Magnesium oxide can be prepared for cement by heating it to 1,300 degrees Fahrenheit, half of what is required for limestone. But something else had to be added to the magnesium oxide to make the cement harden, so magnesium silicates have been put in. These carbon-free compounds are made from talc, serpentine, olivine and other minerals, all of which are quite plentiful and found throughout the world. Otherwise, Novacem’s process is kept a secret.

Of some importance, Novacem’s cement is pure white, rather than gray like Portland cement. White cement can be colored, enhancing its possibilities, particularly when used to make houses and office buildings.

Available on the Internet, the company overview for Novacem claims that for every ton of Portland cement replaced by Novacem’s, emissions will be reduced by 850 kilograms. But the jury is still out on whether Novacem’s cement will be as strong as Portland cement. If it isn’t, few construction companies will use it.

Recycling CO2 to Make Green Cement

Calera, a company in California, has an innovative procedure, perhaps the dream of recyclers. It uses CO2 emitted from a power plant and mixes it with seawater to create carbonates used to make cement. These carbonates can be added to Portland cement to replace some or all of the limestone. Using similar technology, the Chinese plan to build a cement plant next to a coal mine in Inner Mongolia, where they hope to use the carbon emissions to produce cement.

More Ideas

Researchers at Louisiana Tech University are doing away with limestone entirely, using instead a paste called geopolymer, which is made of fly ash, sodium hydroxide and potassium hydroxide.

Calix, an Australian company, makes cement by using superheated steam, which modifies the cement particles and make them purer and more chemically reactive. The process also makes it easier to separate the carbon dioxide and keep it from escaping into the atmosphere.


The stakes are high to produce green cement, for cement production is a $170 billion-dollar per year industry. Make it, and many construction companies will come. Naturally the stakes are also very high for the planet to significantly reduce its output of greenhouse gases. It appears the technology is emerging. It will simply take time to find the best “green” cement.

Please leave a comment.

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