View Full Version : I could not believe my eyes

DVS Hardscaper
07-11-2007, 08:30 PM
This kind of stuff makes my blood boil.

Someone can call me every name in the book, and it will not affect my heart rate.

But when I see work not being done properly - you'd think someone just shot one of my loved ones.

This week we are similtaniously doing 2 jobs on the same street. And a few houses away another contractor is doing a patio. This othr contractor does a lot of work in that community and is somewhat of a large company. I have seen their finished work and it has always looked decent.

But today, I saw their work in PROGRESS, and I saw something disturbing.

They were installing the gravel base. Now depending on the size of the plate tamper, an aggregate base must be compacted in 2 to 4 inch lifts. the bigger the tamper - the larger the lifts acceptable. the smaller the tamper - the smaller the lifts. Their tamper was visible, and it was bigger than ours - but only very SLIGHTLY larger.

Today they had 5-6 inches of base down, and it had NOT been compacted ONCE. With the tamper that I saw they have, there is NO WAY this patio will last 3 years.

And the sad thing is - their client will see the pretty pavers down in a nice pattern, and will be happy with the work as they don't know better. (yes, I discuss our compaction process when I initially meet with a client).

This is a fine example of how other contractors can shave down costs, thus offer an inviting price.

It's poor workmanship. And it's gonna fail.

I wanted to capture a picture, but it was impossible as their 4 man crew was right there.

07-11-2007, 08:56 PM
What size compactor was it? I do 5-6in lifts with my 3050b.

DVS Hardscaper
07-11-2007, 09:08 PM
I dont know the size, but it was not very big.

07-11-2007, 09:43 PM
Do most of you guys use plate compactors for the full base?

In our region, the common practice is to use a jumping jack (rammer) for the base in 3" lifts and then the final pass on the 0-3/4 with a plate before screeding.

07-11-2007, 10:09 PM
I've got ICPI but don't qoute me........I think a jumping jack is not acceptable compaction method. It is different from a plate tamper in that the plate tamper vibrates with waves vs ramming.

Does the base get hard with the jumping jack, sure. I always use a plate tamper and 2" lifts but I rarely do a paver install anymore.......stone.

07-11-2007, 10:21 PM
That's not the worst thing that can happen. There is a big difference if you rake 2-3" of base and it's bone dry VS. 4-5" of base thats damp and has optimum moisture content before tamping. You would have better long term results tamping the 4-5" of base thats wet from a recent rain than 2-3" that was put down on a hot summer day and allowed to dry out.

We use a 5,500 lb. Stowe and it may take 10 passes to reach optimum compaction. (tamper will almost bounce)

07-11-2007, 11:02 PM
yes, with the rammer, the base gets like concrete. It is hard to break back into it with a rake if you need to for any reason. We always ensure that it is wet during the compaction.

We install a lot of agg. for our bases. A normal pedestrian walkway gets 9" (12" excavation) and driveways get 18" plus. Clay soil and heavy freeze thaw are hard on the work here.

07-12-2007, 12:12 AM
I love it when people do half ass work! no wounder people ask 10,000 questions when we do there work!

PAPS Landscape Design
07-12-2007, 08:36 AM
oh no not 5-6'' lifts !!! its tragic !!! you must have been up all night thinking about it...??

07-12-2007, 03:23 PM
:laugh: :laugh: :laugh: :laugh: :laugh: :laugh:
Good one

oh no not 5-6'' lifts !!! its tragic !!! you must have been up all night thinking about it...??

John Zaprala
07-12-2007, 06:04 PM
One thing I want to point out, there are many contractors out there making even more mistakes than this on a regular basis. That could just be a shotty crew for that particular company. Never down talk a competitor, always tell the customer the good points of your comapny without mentioning the competition. We put in writing on our contracts we will meet or exceed ICPI and NCMA specs for proper installation. Then I explain to the customer BRIEFLY what ICPI and NCMA is, and how we exceed their specs as a standard. 6" of compacted base minimum on every patio, block filling all steps, minimum of 6" over dig, etc. The customer values YOUR professionalism by doing right by them. When that neighbor has settlement problems and needs it fixed, I'll bet you'll get the call and not the other company.