Reatining wall quote for homeowner

Discussion in 'Hardscaping' started by jsmonroeCT, May 14, 2005.

  1. jsmonroeCT

    jsmonroeCT LawnSite Member
    from CT
    Posts: 82

    Hi all. I'm a home owner and I just put out to bid a stone retaining wall that measures 25-30 ft long with the highest point being 7 feet (it slopes up hill so the highest point is 7 ft and lowest is 3ft to stay level) and will have new steps (about 8-10) created in the center of the wall (recomended by all contractors who bid on the job).

    Of the 6 masons i called, 3 came to give an estimate and only 2 got back to me. Here is the dilemma. Of the two estimates, one came in at $6700 and one came in at $13,4xx, both including materials and labor. Both are providing the same service - removing the whole wall and existing steps, laying new wall and new steps, drainage, etc.

    Since the prices are so far apart, which of these is the more realistic price? Ive seen examples of the work and both are very nice.

    The stone were going to use is going to be field stone, which I was quoted at $90/ton. Also, how many tons of stone for a job like this? I just want to make sure that both masons are doing their homework and know what theyre doing.

    Thanks.

    Jeff
     
  2. treedoc1

    treedoc1 LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 319

    I would be closer to your higher estimate. Quick calc shows that I would use around 16-18 tons of stone. Dig footings, rebar the footings, mortar the wall, weepholes along with the drain to daylight behind, debris disposal, etc.

    PICT0039email.JPG
     
  3. YardPro

    YardPro LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,563

    if you are talking a SRW (keystone/ephenry/versalock, etc...) the wall needs to be engineered..... this will add $500-$1K to the job....

    my suggestion is to get some referances and go LOOK at the contractors work....
    seeing thier finished work is the best way to see what you're getting...
     
  4. jsmonroeCT

    jsmonroeCT LawnSite Member
    from CT
    Posts: 82

    Thanks guys. I did looks at both masons' work and both are nice. The first estimate (the lowere one) calls me back the same day when I call, very quick to furnich references, etc. The second mason, the higher one, brought a very nice photo album with all their work but calls back at very late hours (after 9:30 at night), doesnt get back to you staright away when you have questions (waits almost 4-5 days), couldnt tell me what stone the sample were but was able to give me a price, etc.

    treedoc1, the higher estimate came in around 30 tons of stone (which I think is a lot). Thoughts?

    YardPro, were going to use field stone for the wall.

    You will see the existing wall and the steps to be removed. The old wall is such crap that I can pull stones out by hand so I dont this removal will be hard.

    DSCN1350.jpg

    DSCN1349.jpg

    DSCN1347.jpg
     
  5. treedoc1

    treedoc1 LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 319

    Don't underestimate the removal...you aren't thowing it up on a truck and then having to pay to dispose of it. Your pictures indicate around $1000 for demo and disposal in my area. We don't have much waste, but we are using our own product from our own quarry, the pallets don't have much filler. I get 20 face feet per pallet of 3000# from my own material. Adding in the steps from your photo will eat up stone in addition to the amount I indicated. That was just for the wall.

    Why do you care about the amount of stone and how much it costs? If they underestimate are you going to pay for the extra? If they overestimate are you going to be left with a pile of refuse? Don't you just want the completed wall? That could be a difference betwen quotes.

    As far as phone calls...it's hit or miss with me between Nextel's crappy coverage and being busy. After work is my best time to catch up. E-mail saves me with many clients. Call the references from both guys and ask how the site was kept clean during the project. Was the damaged turf reseeded, how was final cleanup, how did the length of the project last. In my opinion it's a crew of 4 for two weeks.
     
  6. jsmonroeCT

    jsmonroeCT LawnSite Member
    from CT
    Posts: 82

    Treedoc1,

    Thanks for the reply. I just returned from the stone quary and I have my answer to the reson in the price difference. Once mason is using field stone, which runs about $75 ton and the other is using stone that runs $265/ton.

    I know I have/had a lot of questions but its a lot of money i'm spending. The guy were going to choose told me there is no overrun - if he underbid the job, then he wont charge me for material.

    I do want to thank you for all your help - it has answered a lot of questions I had.

    Jeff
     
  7. TLS

    TLS LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 7,940

    I don't know for sure, but I'd call for more estimates. Maybe the guy with the $13K bid doesn't really want the job, and bid sky high hoping NOT to get the bid. Thinking if he does get it, it'll be worth the aggravation.

    I'd personally rather see a block (Versalok,EP Henry, etc) wall and steps there. Fieldstone isn't as "forever" as block, and finding someone knowledgeable with fieldstone is tough, where there are a LOT of guys into block walls.
     
  8. jsmonroeCT

    jsmonroeCT LawnSite Member
    from CT
    Posts: 82

    I think the first does want the job but he was just using a different stone than I asked for. No big deal there - I'll just tell him what I want. I called another guy today, recomended by the rock quary, which will be the seventh guy I called.

    I like the look of blocks myself but the wife isnt as partion to them - she likes the fieldstone look better.

    Once agian, thanks for the help.

    Jeff
     
  9. kootoomootoo

    kootoomootoo LawnSite Platinum Member
    Posts: 4,369


    The second mason, the higher one, brought a very nice photo album with all their work but calls back at very late hours (after 9:30 at night), doesnt get back to you staright away when you have questions (waits almost 4-5 days)

    .......thought you were talking about me..... what do you think we are doing from 6.00am until 9.30pm...dont knock until you try it.
     
  10. jsmonroeCT

    jsmonroeCT LawnSite Member
    from CT
    Posts: 82

    I wasnt knocking it at all and I didnt mean to come across that way. I guess everyone has their own idea of what late is regarding phone calls and after 9:00pm is late for me.
     

Share This Page