Help! 2 days before they pour Concrete Patio directly on dirt!

Discussion in 'Hardscaping' started by Smigler, Jul 28, 2007.

  1. Smigler

    Smigler LawnSite Member
    Messages: 7

    My concrete contractor is constructing an 800 sq. ft. patio here in Utah. After removing the sod, and packing down the "fill" dirt from the original home construction (6 years old) with the skid steer, he said that they can pour directly on this surface.

    The picture is 2 days after the rain showing where the water is still evaporating at the edge of the grade and the rebar that they put down. It has rained once (the grade seems ok) and the dirt is now very hard, but it varies in texture from organic to primarily gravel near the house and under the previous steps and stair landing. You can also tell the difference in soil composition by how quickly the water has evaporated.

    I am in a hurry because they will be pouring this week and I want to know if this is an acceptable practice and what are the problems with it and what would be the benefits of laying down a consistent gravel base. This is just a patio, so I will never be parking on it or putting anything heavy on it. We do get several freeze/thaws a year. Should I request that the gravel be included in the cost as it was something that should have been done from the beginning?

    Thanks in advance!!

    concrete patio.jpg

    concrete patio 1.jpg
  2. newz7151

    newz7151 LawnSite Silver Member
    from Tejas
    Messages: 2,419

    Not in this business, but, sure doesn't look like much steel. Also, are there chairs under it or have they just not put them in yet?
  3. Smigler

    Smigler LawnSite Member
    Messages: 7

    They have not put the chairs in yet. As far as the rebar is concerned, I received about 5 quotes for this job and only one (this one) recommended the rebar at all. It's every 4 ft. or so. If I need more, then I will have them do it.
  4. mverick

    mverick LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 307

    If you have freeze thaws. Put gravel down. 4in. Your drainage underneath with have something to move/adjust if it get's water and freezes. I usually don't put in rebar either. Or tie it to the house. Some do.

    One thing I will guarantee you. It will crack. It is concrete and no matter what you do. It will crack. The bar helps tie it together. If they don't put the chairs in it's worthless though. Bar will always go to the bottom. And, I'd lay the net instead of the bar. More to net and you're not looking for the strength of the bar.

    They have done this for years. I know people who put down sand. Which holds water and still use it for fill. I use 4in of 3/4 gravel. grade 8 holds water too...

    Oh, since he doesn't put down gravel that would be why he was cheaper. For 4in of 3/4 clean to be excavated and laid down you're looking at another $1800 or so.
  5. mverick

    mverick LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 307

    I decided not to tell the way to build it.
  6. mverick

    mverick LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 307

    Oh, why 5 quotes? What where all the prices and the one you chose?

    Pay someone that knows what they're doing. It costs more. But you get a better finished product.
  7. Smigler

    Smigler LawnSite Member
    Messages: 7

    Thanks for the feedback mverick. To answer your questions:

    yes that is one layer of masonite, but we were looking for the flowing "organic" look so as long as the edges are square, I don't mind if it bows out a little.

    As far as the quotes are concerned, why five quotes? Well to make sure that everyone was at least in the ballpark. We DID NOT go with the lowest bidder, in fact he was one of the higher 2 bids. Unfortunately, around here it is very difficult to actually get a formal written quote. We have a real problem with gypsy bands of tongans and samoans, local and out of California (all named Sione for some reason) that share 1 business license doing unprofessional work. (a tip off is that they do not want to submit a written quote, they share a business license under a cousin's name, and want to start the job immediately). That means that most of the "legitimate companies" are very busy doing commercial work and at this time of year do not have much time for residential work. So, of the written quotes by legitimate established companies we chose this contractor.

    We chose him based on his overall professionalism and references. He was also the most thorough in breaking out his quote. He called and visited when he said he would. He was prompt in our meetings. He gave us references that we could check out (as was mentioned on this site before we didn't just check the newest jobs). He seemed to be the most knowledgeable about stamping and staining.

    As far as pricing is concerned, the TOTAL prices ranged from $7700 to $8800 with his near the high end of this range. The patio will be 800 sq. feet. These prices included Prep, pour, finish, stamp, stain, fibermesh, rebar, skid steer rental for sod removal and removal of 2 existing 4x8 concrete pads, grading, grading, concrete pump rental, and all forming.

    Without the stamp and staining the flatwork is going for about $4 sq. ft. here in Utah and there is too much business. That is why we are seeing a big influx of shady (no pun intended) characters coming in from Las Vegas and California.

    Do you see a huge problem with pouring directly on the dirt?
    Thanks again for taking the time to educate.
  8. Smigler

    Smigler LawnSite Member
    Messages: 7

    Would you pm me with the sample pricing breakdown for base that you had broken out before you removed the post?
  9. mverick

    mverick LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 307

    $4 a sq foot is Cheap, Cheap, Cheap. no wonder no names do that. $7-8 is low here. For all the extra you quoted. $14 for the stamped and colored. For the tear out and Rock another $2000 to $2500.

    Nothin for the soil to expand contract in means it will push the concrete. Crack and heave.

    For the pad you need rock and drainage. Under the rock put down fabric so the dirt wont perculate into it.

    Your masonite will bow. A lot. You need heavier bracing for it. Even if you want it to bow.
  10. Smigler

    Smigler LawnSite Member
    Messages: 7

    $4 is the going rate here. I explained that we did not go with the no-names, but only accepted quotes from the large established companies in the area, members of the BBA, locally owned for at least 5-10 years, and parade of homes sponsors were the minimum requirements.

    6.0 engineered concrete is about $111/yd. delivered and the road base is priced as below with a $50 delivery fee:
    Product Price per ton
    6” minus, Pit Run $2.50
    3/8” Crusher Fines (Breeze) $2.95
    3/8” Slurry (Type II) $5.00
    3/8” Washed Chips $12.75
    1/2" Washed Chips $11.75
    3/4” Road Base $3.85
    3/4" Rock $6.95
    3/4” Washed Chips $10.75
    1 ½” Road Base $3.20
    1 ½” – 3/4” Rock (Ballast) $5.15
    1 ½” – 3/4” Northern Sunset $8.25
    For wet processed material add- $1.50

    I am not sure why there is such a disparity in pricing between here and there, but these prices were not the low-ball no-names. Those jokers were talking about $5-6K for everything. Maybe there is more competition here. So stamped and colored with simple excavation is about $9-12 /sq.ft.

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