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I couldn't believe it

Discussion in 'Hardscaping' started by LB1234, Mar 26, 2008.

  1. LB1234

    LB1234 LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,208

    Met with a customer a few weeks ago regarding a patio install. Explained a lot about what makes a paver 'interlocking'. I encouraged them to get other quotes but cautioned them to compare my specs with other contractors specs to get a fair comparison.

    Get a call back from her today and she says she went to the icpi website and looked up some other certified installers. One came out last week and met with them. The homeowner asked what he would use for is bedding material, his reply was stonedust. He begins to explain to her how its fine to use because it drains better than sand!! She then starts asking me "I thought you said concrete sand was to be used under the pavers? How come this guy is certified doing the wrong thing?"

    WHAT!!!! Now I'm stuck trying to defend ICPI. My response was you need to find a contractor that will meet or exceed ICPI specs and just because contractors are certified doesn't mean they are going to follow the specs.

    What would you have done/said?
  2. Lawn-Sharks

    Lawn-Sharks LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 912

    I would have said well evey professional has their own opinion on "whats best" and that
    stone dust & Concrete sand have no solid proof of any drainage differance and that out of the two that you do not use stone dust because of the possible lung hazards it may impose upon you and your employees during installation. Also that stone dust is just a newer methode that contractors are using over the proven concrete sand..
    ...................Sounds good huh?
  3. BOEpavers

    BOEpavers LawnSite Member
    Messages: 92

    I also would have offered to show her the ICPI specs that specifically state that concrete (ASTM-33) sand is to be used for the bedding sand. Explain that while he is certified, that doesn't necessarily mean he is going to follow the "rules". Therein lies one of the problems with ICPI certification - no audits, no value.
  4. bigviclbi

    bigviclbi LawnSite Senior Member
    from nj
    Messages: 900

    Simply tell her that the lifetime warranty on the pavers are only good if you use concrete sand and to check her catalogs for that fact.
  5. McKeeLand

    McKeeLand LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 681

    the primary reason stone dust is wrong, and its that just wrong, is that it does not provide an interlock. the particles are too large to migrate upwards when you do your compaction. it also increases the amount of efflorescence that the pavers produce. next time they ask why someone else would use them, tell her the truth. some contractors refuse to use concrete sand despite the proven construction benefits because its easier and faster to use stone dust, however it builds and inferior product that will not last nearly as long.
  6. MassSteelerfan

    MassSteelerfan LawnSite Member
    from Mass
    Messages: 45

    McKee is right on. Alot of guys don't want to be bothered with taking a seperate trip to go get sand. Sand is the right way to do it, but day after day I see alot of patios and walks being done with stone dust.
  7. KAT_Ayanami

    KAT_Ayanami LawnSite Member
    Messages: 41

    Why do you say is easier and faster? Isnt it the same installation??
  8. LB1234

    LB1234 LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,208

    Post got a little off topic...whatever...don't really care.

    I know the stonedust vs. sand for the bedding thing. My point was the lady listened to me and looked up "ICPI Certified Installers" and the clown said stonedust is better than sand. I know why its not, but it seems as if in one fell swoop ICPI lost its "upper hand" b/c some moron went took and test and can now be listed on the website.

    I did tell her just because your certified doesn't mean everyone follows the rules and I'll have everything spec'd in the contract. I dunno, just left a bad taste in the mouth is all.
  9. gammon landscaping

    gammon landscaping LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 553

    well guys in the icpi you are correct i took the jdlu class for in this winter and got my certification and i have never laid a paver in my life, now that said i have read so much stuff here i figured that i need to get my facts straight before i started. and i Can say that i an certafied
  10. shovelracer

    shovelracer LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,008

    Nothing on you Gammon, cause I appaude your effort to try. However this is the major flaw of the ICPI & NCMA cert world. Anyone can go take a classroom course and get certified. Heres the problem, Joe Pro has been laying pavers since the streets where paved in Rome and has a portfolio 100 pages long of the best work youve ever seen, but he hasnt taken a test in 40 years and has a hard time with the scantron. Billy Kid is 19 and daddy gave him 500K to start a business even though he's never had a real job a day in his life. Bob the Builder has been laying pavers for a large development company for several years, but really is just focused on getting each job finished so he can start the next.

    Now they all meet at the convention hall for 2 days. Joe Pro hits it off and gets much respect for his useful advice and practical tips. Billy appears to be spoiled and cocky, and acts like someone made him be there. Bob makes comments like "I price by the square foot", and "we've been laying on stone dust for years", and "I use irrigation line for edging cause its the cheapest."

    Test time comes Joe Pro has problems understanding the questions and filling out the answers, he fails. Billy fresh out of school with lots of scantron experience scores a 95%. Bob skates by with an 81%. Now Billy and Bob can go around talking about ICPI certified and this and that, but neither of them practice what they learned, cause Billy does things his way, and Bob does what is fastest and cheapest. Meanwhile Joe Pro has to defend himself everytime a customer asks if hes ICPI certified, cause they got a quote from Billy.

    The ICPI and NCMA are good resources, but by no means are the end all be all of contractor selection. Although it is a good sales tool. Most homeowners are blind and dumb so once they hear something like ICPI certified they will believe everything that they hear. These people like reality TV, and one day want to be on the show survivor or wife swap.

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