What should you look for in your concrete contract and contractor?
Always try to get 2 -3 bids as a form of comparison.
Compare what each contractor is providing. (If done correctly, concrete should last several years.)
Does the contractor’s bid include specifications for preparation, i.e.: excavation, installation and compaction of a stone or rubble base. Does it address grading problems, run off from down spouts etc.?
Does he specify the type of concrete (P.S.I. rating)?
Have him provide references. You should be able to obtain at least 10 for the kind of work you want done, especially if the contractor has been in business for a period of time. Use the reference list and go take a look at the work.
Stamped concrete work requires several months to train a crew. If that is what you want, get bids from contractors that stamp on a continuous basis.
You might be tempted to go with a cheaper price, but if you have existing concrete that shows signs of cracking or settlement, make sure it is removed.
NOTE: if there is no cracking or any sign of wash out you can safely pour a minimum of 2" of concrete onto the existing concrete. Concrete does not bond to concrete and is not considered a structural material until it is 2" thick. Adding new concrete over existing concrete that has settled is only adding more weight to an unstable base.
Finally, do you feel comfortable with the contractor? If you don’t, trust your feelings and find someone else.
Concrete colors, and should you seal?
There are two processes for coloring concrete: integral and color hardeners.
Integral: Color can be introduced into the truck as a dye and mixed on the truck.
Color Hardeners: Color can be applied to the surface, after the concrete is poured.
Although we sell integral colors to other stamped concrete companies, we do not price the process unless it is specifically requested. A salesman selling integral colors will explain that the color goes all the way through the concrete, so if it chips, unlike with color hardeners, you still have color. It is true that color hardeners that are troweled into the surface do not usually penetrate more than ¼ inch. Listed below are the reasons we recommend the color hardeners:
The E.P.A. has determined that integral colors create an environmental hazard when the concrete trucks are washed out.
With integral colors, the color that you end up with is a combination of the dye and whatever the mix is on the truck.