North High Shoals concrete foundation companies

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 concrete driveway construction 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 concrete driveway construction 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 concrete driveway construction 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.

Concrete: Its Types and Uses

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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

Solar Powered, Geothermal Heated Snowless Driveway and Walkway

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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:


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...


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.)

GEORGIA licensed concrete contractors