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View Full Version : Fixing someone else's screwy flagstone job . . . Gator Dust and Flagstone


Century Landscape
08-17-2011, 03:22 PM
Hey guys,

A few questions about a flagstone job I went out and looked at this morning. This potential customer had another guy who installed about 1500 sq ft of flagstone for him and man! is it screwy. The stone is completely unlevel, has 3 or 4 really large sunken areas, and the polymeric sand he used to fill the 1"-3" joints is washing out in a lot of places. In addition to the huge drainage problems, this guy has several gutters draining directly onto the patio.

Okay, so I'm pretty sure I know all the things that need to be fixed and how to fix them, but just wanted to double check a few things and get some opinions.

1. Do you typically install underground drainage for flagstone? This guy installed perforated pipe underneath his gravel base ( not even sure what kind of base he has right now, I have to check ) that all ties in to a sump pump. Some of his drainage pipe is not coming from any surface drains - it's kind of a French drain style where it would all seep in. This perforated pipe is buried in the base beneath the flagstone and polymeric sand, which the installer was going to seal again. If you install polymeric and seal it, would any of the water drain off the patio, through the sand, and into the perforated pipe anyway? It seems like it would just runoff - isn't that one of the points of polymeric and sealer, to keep water from seeping in? Which brings up my next question

2. Does Gator Dust drain? Gator Dust is what I told the customer he would need to go back with due to his large joints, but I don't think the Gator Dust is permeable necessarily - is it? I planned on just re installing the flagstone with enough slope to facilitate runoff to the sump pump drain.

3. Can you seal Gator Dust anyway? Won't Gator Dust be already sealed due to the polymeric in it?

4. Shouldn't the gutters be drained underground to sump pump? I would think that it would certainly be best to close in the gutter system instead of having it spill all over the patio and then have to worry about draining it to another location or providing a piped open drain. Wouldn't you agree?

5. For underground drainage, do you find that rigid perforated PVC works better than the corrugated stuff? I've never used either, but seems like in the long run, the PVC would hold up and drain better. A few thoughts and some experience on that if anyone could offer would help.


In summary, I'm thinking I'll probably have to remove all the stone, or at least most of it, along with the sand. Then verify the base this guy used, grade and level it, then correct all the above listed drainage pipe and gutter drainage issues, and reinstall all the flagstone with Gator Dust instead of polymeric sand. Anything I missed? or any pointers?

Thanks for all the input. You've just got to love cleaning up after other people:hammerhead:

DVS Hardscaper
08-17-2011, 03:29 PM
hmmmm......ok, let me get this straight. So you need to know how to build a patio so you can fix someone else's flawed patio????




,

Century Landscape
08-17-2011, 03:47 PM
Ha!

No. What I was wondering about was if you typically install underground drainage other than having the proper base underneath. If I had installed this for this customer, I would have used 3/4" minus limestone or road base as a base, then some stone dust underneath the flagstone. I always understood that the 3/4 minus would provide the drainage underneath whatever type of patio you install. The person who did this install used some type of stone compacted with a hand tamper, and buried perforated pipe underneath. To me it seems unnecessary. If you have low spots or need the patio to slope to a drain, drain it there with a surface drain, piped underground to a sump pump. I just don't see the need for the perforated pipe generally spread out under the patio. Do you normally install that type of drainage? that's my question.

I do appreciate the fast response.

The drainage wouldn't be nearly so much of an issue anyway if he had installed the patio with the proper slope. This dude didn't grade or dig out any of the places he should have. he just put some perforated pipe in the ground and thought that would get the job done. Big surprise, it's not working out.

It just seems strange to me, that's why I'm looking for a few other opinions.

Thanks

Bru75
08-17-2011, 06:28 PM
I don't know why the perf pipe would be needed unless there is some sort of ground water issue.
I would run the downspouts under the patio in schedule 40 pvc to daylight, never over it. I would also suggest that you don't drain the gutters to a sump pump, what happens when the pump is overwhelmed by a downpour or the power goes out?

PatriotLandscape
08-17-2011, 07:01 PM
Who uses sump pumps outside?

We usually use drywells.

Chances are if this guy just paid to have it done he won't want to pay you to do it right the second time.
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Century Landscape
08-17-2011, 07:26 PM
That's what I was thinking on the perf pipe. He's had the sump pump for years and loved it. His drainage problems now all stem from his really uneven patio. Big bellies and dips.

I don't know if he'll want to pay to get it done right once I give him a proposal, but he pretty much can't leave it like it is and he told the other guy to not come back to his house.

scagrider22
08-17-2011, 08:28 PM
hmmmm......ok, let me get this straight. So you need to know how to build a patio so you can fix someone else's flawed patio????




,

Lawnsite should take after facebook and add a 'like' button! :laugh:

GroundOneMN
08-17-2011, 11:49 PM
Say what?

I am going to go out on a limb and agree this HO will not pay for the proper installation as it is evident that he went with the cheapest guy who thought perforated tile under a patio was the correct thing to do. I do wanna see pictures though of this maybe it will explain things better.

Century Landscape
08-18-2011, 12:19 AM
I'll post some pics real soon. So far I just did an initial consultation, but have to go back in the next couple days to actually pull some of the flagstone up and see what I'm working with underneath. I'm sure curious to see!

PatriotLandscape
08-18-2011, 08:20 AM
Why waste your time. Give him a ballpark and we if he is interested. Don't chase a job where the last guy got thrown off. It may be the customers fault not the contractor. Two sides to every story
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DVS Hardscaper
08-18-2011, 10:12 AM
Why waste your time. Give him a ballpark and we if he is interested. Don't chase a job where the last guy got thrown off. It may be the customers fault not the contractor. Two sides to every story
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Those were my thoughts last night. Often times clients get theirselves in such situations. All too common with hardscapes. It's a luxury service. And people try to get the luxury by paying as
Little as possible, like I do when I buy toilet paper and paper towels.

Give a ballpark price. I net you never hear back. And you may be thinking "but I need to make my truck and phone payment". Well, chasing a dead end lead won't help.

I had a guy call yesterday wanting some small stuff done. Sounded like a small $1500 job. He sounded like a tire kicker. So I said "can you email me
Pictures and I'll give you a rough cost"? He said "sure". I have yet to receive the pictures. As time goes by veteran contractors become more cautious about chasing down every call that comes across our desk.

.
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Century Landscape
08-18-2011, 07:42 PM
Those were my thoughts last night. Often times clients get theirselves in such situations. All too common with hardscapes. It's a luxury service. And people try to get the luxury by paying as
Little as possible, like I do when I buy toilet paper and paper towels.

Give a ballpark price. I net you never hear back. And you may be thinking "but I need to make my truck and phone payment". Well, chasing a dead end lead won't help.

I had a guy call yesterday wanting some small stuff done. Sounded like a small $1500 job. He sounded like a tire kicker. So I said "can you email me
Pictures and I'll give you a rough cost"? He said "sure". I have yet to receive the pictures. As time goes by veteran contractors become more cautious about chasing down every call that comes across our desk.

.
Posted via Mobile Device

I appreciate the advice, I probably should have ballparked him something, but I'm gonna take a look tomorrow and post some pics. Ya'll are gonna appreciate how rich this job looks! :laugh: Anyhow, so far the guy's got about $13 grand tied up in this job, I'll get measurements tomorrow on square footage, but doesn't look all that big. In my neck of the woods, that's a pretty good chunk of change to spend on a patio. Ah well, I'll see tomorrow based on how much it is, but I don't think the guy was trying to go cheap. Oddly enough, the installer who goofed it up was actually recommended to him by the stone supplier who recommended me to fix it! I think this poor customer just got the shaft.

scagrider22
08-18-2011, 08:06 PM
I appreciate the advice, I probably should have ballparked him something, but I'm gonna take a look tomorrow and post some pics. Ya'll are gonna appreciate how rich this job looks! :laugh: Anyhow, so far the guy's got about $13 grand tied up in this job, I'll get measurements tomorrow on square footage, but doesn't look all that big. In my neck of the woods, that's a pretty good chunk of change to spend on a patio. Ah well, I'll see tomorrow based on how much it is, but I don't think the guy was trying to go cheap. Oddly enough, the installer who goofed it up was actually recommended to him by the stone supplier who recommended me to fix it! I think this poor customer just got the shaft.

Sounds like he might get it again :laugh:

Century Landscape
08-29-2011, 02:23 PM
Here's a picture or two. I'm going to be completely removing most of this flagstone and relaying it properly. This guy told the customer that his joint lines would be no more than 1/2", as that's what the polymeric sand required. Well, he was right about the joint requirements, as you can see from the photo where all of his sand washed right out. Also, I don't know if you can tell, but the stone is different heights EVERYWHERE. Talk about some toe-stubbers!

Talking with the customer some more, he told me the guy used a hand tamper for 1200 sq feet and no sand/stone dust under any of it. Just some rock spread with a garden rake. Gotta love it!

Sorry if the quality's not too good on the pics, my digital camera is on the fritz so these are from my phone.

As soon as I get this job rolling, I'll post some pics of the install.

CALandscapes
08-31-2011, 09:43 PM
Sounds like you might want to tie the downspouts in to the sub-surface system. We generally use SDR-35 PVC for drainage, as it holds up better than corrugated as well as is easier to get a proper grade on.

Good luck - everyone has to learn somewhere. Hopefully this doesn't turn into an expensive lesson! :drinkup: