This blog is written on well over 20 years of concrete construction, and landscaping experience serving both Walla Walla, Washington and Richland, Pasco, Kennewick (the Tri Cities WA areas), also outlying towns like Dayton, and Waitsburg WA. But the primary knowledge needed before you start your concrete project is pretty universal, anywhere.
This blog covers in depth the pros and cons of the wide range of concrete work you could have installed in your landscaping from:
- Stamped Concrete
- Raised Aggregate Concrete
- Broom Finished Concrete
- Decorative Stamped Concrete
- Stone Concrete Work
- Concrete Stains
- Flatwork Concrete
- Flagstone in Concrete
- Stamp Concrete Curbing
This blog also covers in depth the various locations in your landscaping where concrete work would add a great deal of value to your home, your families enjoyment of your home, from:
- Pool Decks
- Landscaped Pathways
- Steps, & Stairways
- Landscape Curbing
- Natural Stone Patios
- Patios With Fire Pits
As with any home improvement you make to your landscaping, you will hopefully raise the value of your home, or you could also lower its value. You could hire a professional concrete contractor to build a very beautiful, and structural, stamped concrete patio, driveway, steps, or sidewalks for your yard with concrete landscape curbing around your raised flower beds. Or you could have a raised aggregate, or more economical broom finished concrete job installed. No mater the concrete you choose to have installed in your yard, the decision to hire a professional concrete contractor to install your new concrete project will definitely add a great deal of benefit to you, and your family for years to come. So it is a very important decision you make, weather to do the concrete work yourself, or hire a pro concrete contractor. If you due the concrete work yourself, be honest with yourself as to your experience, and knowledge in building a well designed, attractive, and structural concrete slab.. I strongly blame the DIY shows, and information out there for the vast majority of screwed up settling, or cracked concrete slabs out there. Those shows make it look easy, but if you miss one critical part of the job, you will pay a very big price for your mistake.
But the simple facts are you, need to have many, many years of experience to draw up a detailed blueprint for your decorative, broom finished, raised aggregate or stamp concrete work. You also need the knowledge in how to properly install your concrete, so that it will look great, but most importantly stand the test of time.The same way any professional home improvement project gets done right you need to follow these common sense guidelines to get your project done right, and on budget.
Here are the 10 most important things you need to know before building any type of either Stamped, Raised Aggregate, Broom Finish, Decorative Stamp, Stone, Concrete Stains, Flatwork, Flagstone, or Stamp Concrete Curbing:
1. What are the local codes in your city, pre-existing covenants in your subdivision, and do you need a permit
This is obviously very important, to find out. Your pro concrete contractor should know immediately what are the codes in your area. You definitely do not want to spend a bunch of money on your new fence, only to find out you will have to pay a fine, by the city, or pay to remove your concrete job. Also remember some neighbor hoods do have additional concrete regulations, on what type of either, Stamped, Raised Aggregate, Broom Finish, Decorative Stamp, Stone, Concrete Stains, Flatwork, Flagstone, or Stamp Concrete Curbing you are allowed to have your concrete contractor install.
2. Hire a professional concrete contractor
I have written some very helpful guidelines in my blog, for you to look at before you hire your next concrete contractor. The blog is: Hiring a great garden landscaping contractor (see link to blog at bottom of page). This is also a very useful blog to read before hiring any concrete, or construction contractor.
3. Get a detailed blueprint
This is a definite must before you pour any concrete. You need to now exactly where the concrete will be installed. This way you have time to think about your job before it is started. It is also good to have your pro concrete contractor flag, or spray paint out the area where your pour will be, so you can get a more accurate feel for where your pour will be. Also place chairs, tables, out in this area to get a better grip on the size and usability of you concrete slab.
4. What is under your slab!
Your Pro Concrete contractor should immediately want to know what is under the pour, but I am sorry to say that most of your budget, and inexperienced contractors will not care about this. They just want to get in, get paid, and get out. Which could easily leave you with a wide range of concrete nightmares down the road. Lets say a pipe breaks, under your slab, and you have to cut up your slab to get to it. I strongly recommend that drain field lines, sprinkler lines, or anything else under your slab, be moved to the side of the slab, for very obvious reasons. (some sprinkler, or drain field, lines could be left under the pour if you trust the quality of your pipes) its your decision to make.
5. Now its down to the easy part of picking out the type of concrete you like
Here the sky is almost the limit from; Stamped, Raised Aggregate, Broom Finish, Decorative Stamp, Stone, Concrete Stains, Flatwork, Flagstone, or Stamp Concrete Curbing.
There are obviously endless possibilities out there. Once again get the recommendations of your professional concrete contractor, as to what type of concrete he personally recommends, for both durability, and budget. I do my concrete work here in the Walla Walla and Tri Cities Washington areas, and the vast majority of my work is stamp concrete, simply because it is very structural, attractive, and I use a textured stamp for increased traction. We also do a lot of more economical broom finished pours, to custom exposed rock pours. There is really not much difference in quality, and durability. With most concrete work, it usually comes down to price, and your personal taste.
6. Color used in your stamp, exposed rock, or broom finished concrete
Once again this is basically a decision based on your personal taste. Some of the material cost of different colors does slightly raise, or lower the cost of your pour. But if you are going to the trouble and expense to hire a pro concrete contractor to install you a quality slab, Then you should pick out the color you want. Here at Ace landscaping we like to use a solid color, that goes threw the whole pour, and a release agent is then used at the surface of the concrete to give it the two color look. This, as with most of our concrete, landscaping construction work is not the cheapest way to do the job. But it is definitely the best way to do the job, if you want a high quality concrete job done.
7. Choose a stamp concrete design or look
There are literally hundreds of stamp concrete designs, or patterns you could chose for your concrete patio, driveway, or sidewalk. Your pro concrete contractor should be able to show you these options, to help you find the design that best suits your job. These stamp forms used to do stamp concrete are very expensive, so your contractor may only own a few of the more common stamp designs, and may have to either buy or rent a stamp, if you chose a custom design. This will raise the cost of your job, so just be aware. It may be a smarter business move, to pick a stamp that he caries, not only for job cost reasons, but he also will have a lot more experience using his own stamps, verses a rented stamp. This could definitely affect the job quality, if you hire a low bidder, or inexperienced concrete installer.
8. Concrete footings are very important
A footing, is simply the amount of compacted rock product used below your pour. You should consult your pro concrete contractor, as to the thickness, and the size of rock he will use below your pour. Load bearing pours like driveways obviously need a deeper footing, that non load bearing pours (or not as heavy load bearing pours) like patios, and sidewalks. Here at Ace Landscaping we take our work very seriously, and take pride in overbuilding all our concrete pours, way above and beyond what other contractors are doing in this Walla Walla WA, and Tri City Washington areas are doing to follow code. We may not be the cheapest contractors in the game, but we definitely turning out some of the best concrete work in this area.
9. Rebar, expansion joints, and cut joints
Most homeowner and inexperienced contractors, over look the importance of rebar, and this can explain a wide range of settling, and cracked concrete jobs out there. Proper rebar spacing should be used in all pours. This along with the type of concrete you pour is very serious, as to how your pour will hold up. Spacing of cut or trawled in joints, is also of vital importance. My rule is joints should not be more than 8’ feet apart or closer. No matter the quality of your pour, concrete will expand and contract. You definitely want any cracking or slab movement to be done at these joints, where it will not be visible. Lastly expansion joints, are usually a product that will allow for the concrete to move, without damaging your pour or the structural concrete, around your pour. These points are often overlooked, and are all of vital importance to any type of concrete work you have done from; Stamp concrete, broom finished, or exposed rock concrete.
10. Watch the job
Now if you have followed even half of the guidelines listed above, you will be 100 times ahead of your average customer. The only last thing I would recommend is to, “ if you have the time” to watch your job being done, or at the very least, pop in on your lunch break, to inspect you concrete landscaping job in progress. This will not only give you very valuable knowledge about your job, but will help prevent any mistakes from occurring on your job, or catch these mistakes before they become huge mistakes. I know all of this seems like a lot of work on your part, but my hope is that you will not only be able to hire a good, but a great concrete landscaping contractor, on your next project.
Now that you have done your concrete homework, and hired a professional slab poured in your yard, it’s time to sit back and enjoy a job well done.
Please contact Ace Landscaping if you would like more detailed information on Stamped, Raised Aggregate, Broom Finish, Decorative Stamp, Stone, Concrete Stains, Flatwork, Flagstone, Stamp Concrete Curbing, or landscaping. We would like the chance to earn your business for years to come.
Thanks for reading my landscaping blog!