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Stonemakers Corporation

Discussion in 'Hardscaping' started by ehmalexan, May 26, 2010.

  1. ehmalexan

    ehmalexan LawnSite Member
    from Zone 7
    Messages: 10

    Has anyone bought into this Stonemakers system? I am thinking about it but just wanted some feedback or any other recommendations you could give me.

  2. Leon

    Leon LawnSite Member
    Messages: 39

    I a seriously looking into it. Have you gotten anything new?

  3. PlatinumLandCon

    PlatinumLandCon LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,315

    Apparently just looks really fake.... plus its expensive to get into IMO!
  4. 2low4NH

    2low4NH LawnSite Bronze Member
    from NH
    Messages: 1,890

    i know a few guys that bought in to it. its dry slump concrete cut with trowels to form the shape then they dye the stone with brushes. It looks like garbage in person but people still buy it.
  5. JimLewis

    JimLewis LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,872

    I haven't bought into it yet. But I did buy a series of DVDs from one of their competitors / predecessors a few years back for a good $800 or so. I was going to attend the training school too. Had paid my deposit for that. But then something came up last minute and I had to bail out. I never got through the DVD training set. But I think it's pretty cool stuff. What I've seen done with this is pretty impressive.

    I'll tell you one thing, the single most successful wall building company in our state does walls in a very similar style. They charge 2-3x what everyone else in the area charges for walls and they got customers lining up to hire them every day. Extremely successful company. And they do basically the same style of wall. I guess people like it because it looks different than your regular rock or SRW walls. People like something that is unique. The local co. I am referring to is; http://www.bythewall.com/
  6. jamo1911

    jamo1911 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 65

    I just joined the StoneMakers dealer network. Check out my blog article on it.
  7. JimLewis

    JimLewis LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,872

    The company I was referring to in my earlier post (who is a competitor of StoneMakers, it seems) is JPG Technologies, School of Synthetic Rock Construction. http://www.jpjtechnologies.com/

    James, I gotta say those video pique my interest. But it certainly seems like a lot of laborers in that video. I'm not really sure there is a labor savings with this kind of wall vs. a standard rock wall. Certainly looks nice though.

    StoneMakers claims you can build walls in 1 day that used to take 5 days. Yah, maybe if you have 10-15 workers on the site, like in that video. But with my normal crew of 2 or 3 guys, I don't think that a wall they would usually do in 5 days (which would be like a 100-150' x 4' tall dry stack rock wall) could be done in a day with the same number of guys.

    My other concern is stability, long term. We get a lot of rain and there is always a lot of hydrostatic pressure behind walls here. Most concrete walls I've ever seen have large cracks in them. I replace concrete walls every year with SRWs or real rock walls. They just don't seem to last long-term like SRWs do.

    I'd hate to get all excited about this concept, go out and start installing them by the dozens every year and then find in 3 or 4 years they were all starting to fail. Doing the warranty work on that many walls would put me out of business! I just don't have a lot of faith in concrete walls for this area.

    I remain intrigued but not convinced. I don't think I can afford to take the risk that this doesn't work as well as it says.
  8. jamo1911

    jamo1911 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 65

    Hi Jim,
    I had a lot of the same concerns that you did as well. The videos do show a lot of people there as it was a training session for new dealers. To be completely honest I am not sure exactly how much work my crew will be able to do in a day. I have a crew of 3 guys plus myself. Also in the training, whenever we learned a new aspect or the next step if you will, everybody wanted to try at once then 15 minutes later 2-5 guys were working. In this video we did a 75' long 4' tall wall in 5.5 hours then colored in 1 hour the next day.
    As far as strength, I was concerned too. I've done my fair share of SRW walls and pavers and never really had any big issues. Went through 5 cases of bad glue a few years ago - that sucked. But we fixed it and moved along. The real strength of this product lies in the ingredient that allows you to use concrete at a low slump of 2.5 to 3. PSI ratings should easily top 6000 on a 9 sack mix. When I build my walls I will core test the mix. And I will be making a few test cylinders to test in the shop this winter and doing a video on it. My idea is to take 3500 psi concrete and make 3 cylinders and then make the same mix with the stonemakers product added and take 3 cylinders. From there I will test both after 24 hours, then 30 days then 90 days to see what happens. I know it's not real scientific but it may be helpful.

    Where I am I replace every type of wall and make a good living at it to boot, Speak of the devil I'm replacing both a concrete wall and srw wall today - my guys are there now. We are going to use SRW's in this case because. 1 - the StoneMakers product cannot be allowed to freeze and it's 20 or so out right now, 2 - they are trying to match a wall they had built last year on the other side of the driveway.

    After seeing this product in person I can say that SRW's cannot be as strong. First the strength in a SRW wall comes from a combination of weight, static friction, mechanical bond(pins, lip etc) and soil reinforcement (grid, soil type etc. On this wall you may still and should in some cases use geo-grid. The mechanical bond is replaced by a monolithic pour and the weight, well lets see. Using some round numbers the wall we made was 75' long x 4' tall and used 20 yards of concrete. That would be roughly 20 yards x 3915 pounds per yard I won't count the gravel it's the same for both - that's 78,300 lbs.
    Now block 75' long and 4' exposed 6" buried a total of 337.5 face feet of wall. I use CST Versalok standard which is .66 face feet per block which would be roughly 506 blocks and with each block weighing 88 pounds we would be at 44,528 pounds of wall material. That's almost twice the weight.
    I can say from being there and doing the work and seeing the end result it passes the common sense test. It's abundantly obvious that the StoneMakers wall is stronger. Heck we had a piece of concrete that was not cleaned up as it should have been before it had cured. The concrete was one day old and we were taking turns trying to break a 4" thick slab with a 12 lb sledge and a bosch brute jackhammer. after 2 hours they brought in a tow-able compressor and 90lb jack hammers for 15 square feet of concrete.

    Drainage has to be addressed just as you would do in any type of wall. Water will break any wall if allowed to sit. I think the reason yourself and I replace so many walls is because of the original installer. And if the wall failed because of hydrostatic pressure then it was 100% the installers fault or engineers for that matter. Also typical concrete walls are not monolithic and they are poured with a weak (wet, 6-7 slump) concrete to get into and fill all of the voids in the forms. This creates two problems, 1- a cold joint between the footing and wall (it's not monolithic as a StoneMakers wall) usually only supported by some rebar going vertical. 2- Thirty-five hunderd psi concrete diluted down to 2-3000 psi concrete.

  9. DavidinTulsa

    DavidinTulsa LawnSite Member
    Messages: 1


    I was at the training with Jaime and the other trainees. I would agree with everything Jaime said concerning Stonemakers products. This past summer, I visited older projects that were installed as much as 9 years ago using the Stonemakers system. This is the real deal.

    Our 57 year old company has proven that any system will fail if improperly designed or executed. We have replaced SRW's, stone walls, and concrete walls. All had numerous problems mostly due to ignorance. These installers didn't do a poor quality job to cheat someone, they just didn't know better.

    Education is the key to success in any endeavor. Dave Montoya and the Stonemaker team truly have learned and are now educating others in a better and more profitable system
  10. PatriotLandscape

    PatriotLandscape LawnSite Bronze Member
    from MA
    Messages: 1,209

    I am not calling into question the strength of the stonemakers system.

    SRW walls rely on more than the weight of the block for its strength. The block really only decides the amount and size of grid used in the wall. the retained earth is the major factor in the strength of a wall. the block is merely a facade or veneer. the actual weight of an SRW is calculated with the retained earth plus backfill stone.

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