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New Construction installs, what do you different?

Discussion in 'Hardscaping' started by MJK, Mar 9, 2013.

  1. MJK

    MJK LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 356

    We are looking at a new construction home. The house was complete in June of 2012. My question is, what do you guys do different in the base prep on new homes, if anything at all.

    Are you just excavating your base as normal? As long as you’re not pulling up all kinds of debris do you just dig to your typical base depth, or are you automatically digging a deeper base?

    Last question, since the house already sat through a winter, should I not be as concerned with this issue?

    Thanks in advance.
  2. DVS Hardscaper

    DVS Hardscaper LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,602

    you talking house construction or paver installation?
  3. zedosix

    zedosix LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,665

    Soil conditions play a big part in what your next step should be.
    Posted via Mobile Device
  4. MJK

    MJK LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 356

    Yes as to paver installation on a new construction home.

    As to soil conditions, its in clay soils since its buy one of the great lakes. Without putting a shovle into the ground thats about all I can say to soils.
  5. DVS Hardscaper

    DVS Hardscaper LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,602

    MJK said in another thread:

    "I made this exact discussion a topic yesterday, asking what to do different on new construction installs.

    After reading around the only answer seems to be stated that you need to do something different, what that different is never seems to be stated and then the words don’t do it, or tell them to wait follows shortly after.

    I’m pretty sure everyone isn’t turning away new home installs since they are some of the most profitable kinds of installations we can do. Unless everyone only works on homes that are built on estate size lots, you really have no choice other then to put a patio right off the door wall of the house.

    So again I ask, what can you do different when installing?"

    Yes, we do turn away work for new construction depending on the type of work and depending how "new" it is.

    My name is on the job. I can not afford failure (financially and reputation-wise).

    If the customer demands something be done that I as a veteran contractor know not to do - then by all means - let someone else do it!

    Brand new construction - I'm not doing block steps. And I'm probably not doing a raised patio.

    Brand new construction - Ground level Patio:
    No block steps. And I'll probably pull the patio away from the foundation, as thats where the settlement takes place.

    This past November we rebuilt steps that we installed in 2010 at a home that at the time was 5 yrs old. The steps settled. It took 2 men about 5 or 6 working days to rebuild the steps. I had to supply aggregate, 1 pallet of block, and mucho adhesive to rebuild these steps. You do the math. And to top it off - 2010 was when the recession was slowing ending. This job was sold cheap as it was.

    Or - you may have to excavate the overdig and backfill and compact with gravel. Doing this correctly doesnt happen in mere hours. This is costly. And the cost of excavating the overdig and backfilling with aggregate may make the job not worth doing for the customer.
    Last edited: Mar 10, 2013
  6. MJK

    MJK LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 356

    Thanks DVS, thats what I was looking for.
  7. ryhenry09

    ryhenry09 LawnSite Member
    from NY
    Messages: 9

    We do alot of new contruction (house built within 1 yr of installation) and have had no problems.

    The key is to have the correct tamper (at least wacker 3450 power or more) and also to excavate the overdig (typically 1-2 around foundation.
  8. DVS Hardscaper

    DVS Hardscaper LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,602

    Also - usually the problems surface in 3-5 years. With the average being 3.
  9. clipfert

    clipfert LawnSite Member
    Messages: 204


    Google. EP Henry Overdig Stablization

    This will get you a PDF drawing detailing what you should be doing around foundations with patios and steps at the foundation. This is what we follow.

    You should really consider this method on new construction as well as old construction. You can simply take a grade stake starting at the foundation and see if you can push it into the ground. Work out from the foundation. You will find at one point you will not be able to push the pin into the ground easily. You will probably find the extent of the over dig about 3 - 4 ft out from the foundation. It sounds to simple but it works.

    Is this more expensive for the client? Sure it is. You will find that this will probably get you more jobs. A lot of contractors don't mention this to the homeowner. The ones that are serious will want it done right. The ones that don't are doing you a favor. Just walk away. They are the ones that will be calling in a few years because they have settlement.
  10. DVS Hardscaper

    DVS Hardscaper LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,602

    Well, lets not get too carried away! Honesty usually wins a prospective client's respect.

    This isn't a one size fits all. (referring to clients and individual projects)

    But sometimes it's simply better to advise the prospective client to simply wait a few years. If it's not a lare project, from a financial stand point it probably isnt worth the expense of excavating and backfilling and compacting.


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