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BOEpavers
07-14-2008, 12:59 AM
The article referenced by the following link appeared in our local Sunday paper. My wife was livid when she read it and I wasn't any better. It is no wonder we professionals have such a hard time justifying our quotes to the general public. What blows my mind is it states the article was "assembled with help from the Interlocking Concrete Paving Institute". Some of the rules must have changed since I took my certification! Please read and comment.

http://www.philly.com/inquirer/columnists/al_heavens/20080502_Cheat_Sheet__Install_a_patio_yourself_with_interlocking_pavers.html

newtostone
07-14-2008, 01:18 PM
WOW i don't even know what to say, thats just a shock to see something so direct in its knowledge but so wrong.:dizzy:

JimmyStew
07-14-2008, 01:22 PM
I'm not sure what your all worked up about? We always use 2" of sand over roofing felt!

Surface preparation is critical, so don't attempt to prep and install the pavers in the same weekend. For proper water runoff, a drop of 1/4 inch for every foot of bedding surface is advised.

Very true, too bad he didn't tell the reader how to actually prepare the base.

Wow, that is the worst DIY directions I've ever seen. Someone should fire that guy, or better yet how about he pays a professional to come to his house and install a patio in just the manner he described. I bet he wouldn't call that money well spent.

LawnVet
07-14-2008, 06:53 PM
Next article "How to build your own house on a $1499 budget"

Step 1. The junk yard has tons of wood and brick just sitting there. Bring it to the build site.
Step 2. Prepare the build site. Lay some concrete down on the flattest area on the property.
Step 3. Go buy $1498 of nails from the local hardware store. Any size will do.
Step 4. Hammer nails into the wood and other junk you found, but use a rubber mallet because metal pieces could fly from a regular hammer.
Step 5. Give the dude installing your neighbor's carpet the last $1 and he'll give it to you and install it for you for free...if not, he should.
Step 6. Enjoy knowing your money was well spent on the house of your dreams. Now you can sleep at night knowing you didn't get conned by some greedy contractor.

JohnnyRoyale
07-14-2008, 06:58 PM
Thats funny!!!!:laugh::laugh:

"Surface preparation is critical, so don't attempt to prep and install the pavers in the same weekend."

BOEpavers
07-14-2008, 07:21 PM
In addition to all the wrong ways to install, several other statements bothered me moreso. First, pricing. I don't know where he got his pricing for "octagon" pavers, I assume one of the big box home centers, but for $4 a sf I can get top of the line tumbled pavers in multiple sizes. Secondly, his statements set expectations for homeowners so when we come in and say we need to excavate 9", need Mirafi, need 6" of base, need edge restraint, and oh yeah, your backyard isn't level so we need some wall to hold up the outer edge of the patio, they look at us and say "the newspaper guy said we could do this for $400". If by chance we would get the job, then they're questioning our installation methods and why are they different than the newspaper (or DIY TV Show, or Family Handyman Magazine, etc. etc.) guy. I really wonder about the statement about the help from ICPI. He may have contacted them, and referenced their materials, but I don't think anything in that article could be found in ICPI recommended installation guidelines. In essence, he further diluted the validity of the ICPI certification. I guess I have to go out and get some roofing felt to keep in the trailer - the newspaper guy said so!!!

Lite4
07-14-2008, 08:19 PM
After that homeowner has been striking the cold chisel with the RUBBER mallet for about an hour to make his first cut, I am sure your phone will be ringing and they will be cussing out this ignorant reporter.

shovelracer
07-14-2008, 08:23 PM
Place the blade on the scratch mark and strike the chisel. Don't use a hammer; metal chips might fly.

Articles like these are the reasons we get to go on estimates, only to be questioned on our practices, told to only use 4" base to save money, and then rejected cause 14K is a little more than the $1500 the homeowner expected to spend.

Lite4
07-14-2008, 08:27 PM
Articles like these are the reasons we get to go on estimates, only to be questioned on our practices, told to only use 4" base to save money, and then rejected cause 14K is a little more than the $1500 the homeowner expected to spend.

Some homeowners must believe that we are all independently wealthy. "You should only be charging me this much because you don't need to make a living at this, Ha, Ha, your doing it because you love it.....Right?"

JimmyStew
07-14-2008, 09:49 PM
Hey guys, I was just wondering...I'm putting together a proposal for a patio for this fall. I noticed I had a few rolls of plastic in the shed. I was wondering if I could substitute that for the roofing felt? That should keep the weeds down as well, shouldn't it.

shovelracer
07-14-2008, 11:24 PM
It should be fine as long as you poke some holes along the edge. This will assist with the drainage into the 4" gravel base. Also make sure you water the base and bedding sand real well every day for a week or so before you lay the pavers and the plastic. This will compact the base and provide a longer lasting finshed product.

PlatinumLandCon
07-14-2008, 11:36 PM
Also, make sure you buy your materials in 50lb bags since they're easier to transport in your sedan.

***Another money saving tip***: A few cases of beer and boxes of pizza gets you alot of friends to help you build your patio, then you can all enjoy it after!

Lite4
07-15-2008, 02:26 AM
Hey guys, I was just wondering...I'm putting together a proposal for a patio for this fall. I noticed I had a few rolls of plastic in the shed. I was wondering if I could substitute that for the roofing felt? That should keep the weeds down as well, shouldn't it.

Probably, but old carpet scraps are preferred for underlayment. :laugh:

amscapes03
07-16-2008, 05:00 AM
That diy article should have been placed in the comics section of the paper. As far as ICPI, it must have been the 18 year old blonde receptionist that gave him all those really helpful hints, tips and sound advice on laying pavers.

tallguylehigh
07-16-2008, 12:01 PM
I think the article would be good for you guys. With an articlelike this, people will think they can handle it, bite off more than they can chew, get about a third through the project before they realize how difficult it is and call up a pro to come in and fix the situation. For a tidy sum of course. :)

MarcSmith
07-16-2008, 12:53 PM
look at the "reporters title"

Inquirer Real Estate Columnist

so hes a freeking real estate columnist, which means he's a failed real estate agent...and has zero knowledge of landscaping. Sigh....

Is what some of you need to do is offer Al to come out on a job with you watch everything you do start to finish so he can rewrite his story....Correctly...

his description of paving is about like this description of painting a room

"open can, dip brush, proceed to paint"

Al,s resume

All About Alan J. Heavens

Experience:

1980 - present: The Philadelphia Inquirer, Philadelphia, Pa. (Philadelphia Media Holdings LLC). Hired as a copy editor in July 1980, I began freelancing real estate and home improvement in 1989. I became the full-time real estate columnist in 1994. My articles and columns - On the House (Sundays), Cheatsheet and Your Place (alternate Fridays), and a weekly centerpiece for the real estate section - are distributed to 300 newspapers in North America on the McClatchy Tribune wire. I do an interactive Q&A on the Philly.com Web site.

1978-1980: The Hartford (Conn.) Courant. Copy editor and slot.

1977-1978: The Journal-News, Nyack, N.Y. (Gannett Westchester/Rockland). Copy editor, layout editor, features writer.

1972-1977: The Danbury (Conn.) News-Times (Dow Jones Ottaway). Suburban reporter, city reporter, copy editor, slot.

1967-1971: The Evening Sentinel, Ansonia, Conn. (Thomson Newspapers). Correspondent, summer intern, music columnist, reporter, copy editor, wire editor.

Additional experience:
2001-present: RealtyTimes, columnist.
2005-present: Temple University Real Estate Institute, instructor.
1998-2001: "The Gadgeteer," Home Matters, The Discovery Channel.
Freelance: Popular Science, Consumers Digest, Urban Land, National Real Estate Investor,
Woodshop News, Preservation News, St. Petersburg Times, The Jewish Exponent, Flight Line Times, other newspapers and magazines.
Author: What No One Ever Tells You About Renovating Your Home (Kaplan, 2005).
Radio: announcer, WOWW, Naugatuck, Conn.; WMBO, Auburn, N.Y., WSFW, Seneca Falls, N.Y.; WEOS-FM, Geneva, N.Y.

Education: B.A. degree, history, Hobart College, Geneva, N.Y., 1972; M.A. degree, American history, University of Connecticut, Storrs, Conn., 1985.

MarcSmith
07-16-2008, 01:21 PM
I sent al a letter

You really did you readers a disservice by publishing such an article.

Your article makes it look like laying pavers is cheap, easy, and fun.

How about explaining to someone how easy it is to install a hot water heater: copper pipe, a few fittings, and some propane, or how to re-roof a house: shingles, hammer, nails, and a ladder, or re carpet their home, or install custom cabinets.....

Those of that do this kind of work professionally do appreciate such poor reporting. Many homeowners will buy the material get into the project and then realize that "Wow, this is alot harder than Al said it was, I can't finish so now I need to call a contractor to come in and finish what I started" which usually ends up costing them more than the project would have if they had called a professional in the first place.


I have included the text from the ICPI website. Maybe you could re read it and re print your article with the proper techniques and tools at a later time.


Regards

Marc Smith

BOEpavers
07-16-2008, 11:19 PM
Tallguy -

These articles are a double-edged sword. They work against us when the homeowner reads one, decides they'd really like a patio, etc. but don't want to do it themselves. Based on the article they figure it can' be too expensive and get total sticker shock when we present them with a proposal to do the project the "right" way. Of course their wish list also grew from the flat patio/walk described in the "how-to" article to a multi-tierd patio, columns, lighting, firepits, etc., but that should'nt add much to the cost!!!

Then, as you say, it could inspire homeowners to try to do it themselves and they quickly get in over their head. We are working a project as we speak that was just that scenario. The homeowners attended an EP Henry DIY class at our distributor. We were there as well. My wife was talking to one of the attendees who mentioned that she and her husband just got a new pool ant they were going to do the pool deck. My wife gave them our card and said if they run into problems give us a call and we'd walk them through it. This spring we got the call, only it wasn't to help with a problem it was to provide them a quote to finish the project. Long story short it turned into 3000 sf of pavers, 500 sf of wall, lighting, etc.

Unfortunately while we can measure those "wins" it's difficult to quatify the losses due to such articles (and the DIY TV Shows).

JohnnyRoyale
07-17-2008, 07:38 AM
I have replaced a few retaining walls in the past where the homeowner decided to build the planter wall to match the grade and not level horizontally. They wondered why all the soil would wash down to the bottom end when their self installed sprinkler system was turned on.

Some of the things we do are nothing more than a series of basic skills with direction, others are more advanced and require experience and working knowledge. A supplier of mine commented once how he knows what was on HGTV by what the homeowners come in and ask for.

I believe in hiring a professional for the job, whatever it is, accountant, lawyer, doctor, painter, plumber, electrician, whatever. Some people just don't realize the true costs of getting it done right, nor do they know what right is. They have no price tag associated with their own personal time, and figure they could save a bundle doing it themselves in their spare time when in the end it would cost them more.

Reality is there is no such thing as spare time in the end, and I dont want to be the one wishing I could have spent a few more minutes, days, weeks, years with loved ones or doing something I enjoyed instead of attempting to save money in my spare time.

MarcSmith
07-17-2008, 08:11 AM
Reality is there is no such thing as spare time in the end, and I dont want to be the one wishing I could have spent a few more minutes, days, weeks, years with loved ones or doing something I enjoyed instead of attempting to save money in my spare time.But for some tinkering the lawn is a hobby and as such is not seen as "lost time", but rather time well spent.