How to Find a Good Patio Contractor
Have you decided you want a flagstone, limestone or concrete patio for your TEXAS home. Wondering how to get it done and who you should use? Well, I’m going to tell you how. I’m going to give you a step by step process stating the 3 red flags that signal a bad or uneducated [tag] contractor. These 3 things will ensure you get it done the right way, by the right concrete foundation companies contractor in TEXAS .
Steps To Finding The Right Concrete Contractor in TEXAS
First step, first things first. Every Stone Installation Needs A Concrete Footing which might also be called a concrete foundation . This is not opinion but fact. If you want it done right and want it to withstand the test of time, this is the way it’s done, no exceptions. A red flag should go up when any contractor is offering bypassing a concrete foundation as a cost saving option. Unfortunately 85% of the concrete foundation companies contractors out there will tell you they can lay the stone right on top of compacted granite or base material. This type of contractor is exactly who you want to avoid. While what they are recommending to you gives the appearance of a patio, it won’t withstand the climate, erosion and soil movement beneath the patio in TEXAS .
BEWARE OF CONCRETE CONTRACTOR SCAMS
You might get a few crackless years at best, until it begins to fall apart. This method is the most recommended scam or shortcut of trying to lower pricing and still get the job. Notice the price came down because the concrete footing was removed from the job cost. This option of ” no concrete necessary” is most often offered to those with strict financial limitations. The contractors offering this solution don’t care about your patio or home, they just want your money.With no concrete foundation you get a type of patio, but it’s really just a veneer laid on the ground.
How much concrete do i need?
A concrete patio or sidewalk slab or footing should be a minimum of 4 inches thick. This is sometimes reduced to around 3 1/2 inches due to preexisting structural limitations for concrete foundation companies in TEXAS . If you encounter space limitations, you really do need a good masonry contractor to resolve the issues with other options. this leads us to our next step.
The 2nd step is hire a knowledgeable masonry contractor in TEXAS . Do a little research before you start getting pricing. Most good masonry contractors will be able to talk concrete chemistry and technology with you. Yes, I said technology. In the last 10 years there have been some really cool advances in concrete additives and mixes. These advances have provided solutions for the problems and limitations of old. A true patio or masonry professional will be able to talk shop with you, it’s his livelihood. A contractor who can’t do this or doesn’t seem comfortable is more than likely a novice at best. This should be the other red flag that goes up. Basically, Concrete slabs and mortar are like a cake mix. Correctly mixing the ingredients and correctly letting the slab or masonry product cure, are the factors that determine a good solid installation. Again, Talk with your contractor and Make sure he’s knowledgeable about the chemistry, additives and curing process of concrete & masonry. If he is this will ensure the likelihood of a great patio. 3rd step and last but definitely not least, Check references, check reviews and ask to see work they’ve done. Really check this stuff out and try to look at at least 1 job they have done. Ask point blank if the previous client is related to the contractor. Any resistance or confusion in this process would be red flag number
3.So, in order from 1 to 3. All masonry installations need a concrete footing. Make sure your patio contractor is knowledgeable about masonry chemistry, additives and enhancing solutions. Check references, reviews and stay away from the dirt cheap deals of a lifetime from any concrete contractor in TEXAS .If you get even 1 red flag, get another contractor. There are enough guys out there that do know what they’re doing.
Don't Hire a Concrete Contractor Before You Read This!
Many people use their garage to store anything that they can’t or would rather not have in their living space. With valuable space at a premium, people are often forced to keep their lawn mower, gardening implements, tools, sports materials, bicycles and seasonal items in their garage. If you have room in your garage for anything but your car, then it might be time to invest in quality garage storage solutions.
Step into your garage and what do you see? Maybe some unopened boxes from when you moved in a few years ago. You have no idea what’s inside them but you also don’t want to throw them away. You see your old golf clubs, musty and covered in cobwebs. You try to remember the last time you played golf but it escapes you. You move around some boxes to make space and you find the bikes your children have outgrown, and toys they no longer play with. You remember your youngest is going to uni in a couple of months. But where’s your car? Oh, right, it’s parked out in the street.
Quality storage can help give your garage some much-needed organisation. Some would say, “Garages are meant to be messy.” Anybody who has said that has never had the benefit of a tidy garage. Organising your garage can help reduce the clutter, make finding and storing things easier and more convenient, and most importantly, free up space. Getting the most out of your garage space is the goal, and to do so you must plan carefully what to store, how to store it, and where it should be placed. Here are a few tips and pointers for taking your garage back.
What to keep in your garage
Even if you’ve invested in expensive home security cameras and alarms, your garage is rarely as secure as the rest of your home. Garage doors and windows are most likely to be left unlocked or open. If you’re storing items of value in your garage or thinking of doing it, It is important that you take measures to secure the space to prevent unauthorised access and theft.
The conditions in the garage are also sure to be different from the rest of your home. Garages are seldom climate-controlled, and you will need to modify the room before storing items that are sensitive to temperature and humidity. However, garages are excellent spaces for storing non-perishable food so you better take advantage of bulk discounts at your supermarket.
Measuring the garage
When taking measurements for anything, be sure to measure twice and do it once more to be 100% certain. Getting the wrong measurements could cost you a lot of time, effort and money. Be sure to get the accurate width, length and height of the area where you want to add storage. Double-check if the walls are at an exact right angle.
When planning the layout, take into consideration the locations of plumbing and wiring as the storage solutions may impede access to these. You don’t want to tear down your cabinets just so the plumber can inspect a pipe that may or may not be leaky.
Lastly, when thinking about the space you need, volume almost always beats area. Storage with a small footprint but wide clearance is always better than one with a wide area but low clearance.
Storage cabinets are the most common storage solution for garages. Many people find them to be the best option, as they can be used to store practically anything. Storage cabinets typically fall under three categories: base cabinets, wall cabinets and utility storage.
If you want to maximise your storage without using floor space, then mounted wall cabinets are your option. If not set too high, mounted wall cabinets allow for immediate access to storage without taking up space on the floor. Wall mounted cabinets can be either horizontal (wide footprint, low clearance), or vertical (narrow footprint, high clearance).
For freestanding storage, you can always go for a utility storage cabinet. Perfect for small lawn care items, gardening supplies and other accessories, utility storage cabinets can comfortably fit long, narrow items, and can include partitions and interior shelving.
Base cabinets are similar to modular kitchen counters, and are a cheaper alternative to inbuilt cabinets. A standard base cabinet has two or three drawers, or a combination of drawers and shelves. They can also include features like key locks, countertops and rubber edges for protection.
If you own bicycles, sports equipment or gardening tools like spades and rakes, storage racks are a must-have for your garage. Storage racks allow easy access to commonly-used objects while keeping clutter and accidents to a minimum. It can be either wall-mounted or freestanding.
You can have a dedicated storage rack for your sports equipment, one for gardening and another one for general hardware. These racks can feature protective mesh, utility trays or side hooks.
Ceiling mounted racks are useful for seasonal or rarely used items. They utilize ceiling space instead of wall or floor space, so the positioning of lights in the garage should be taken into account. Ceiling mounted racks are only recommended if space is limited.
Clearing your garage and organising its contents and layout takes practice and planning. Check your garage needs and wants so you can optimise the space to its fullest extent. But adding in racks and cabinets is half the work— you have to strive to keep your garage clean and free of pests. Your garage may be better organised now, but it’s barely better than your old one if it’s infested with rats and cockroaches.
U.S. Concrete, Inc
Concrete cleaning can be a lucrative business to start. Here are some tips which will help you do it right.First and foremost there is one thing you need to understand when you are cleaning concrete and that is that concrete cannot always be restored to its virgin state after it has been stained. You can always get stains lighter or bleached but completely removing it is very difficult. So when talking to a customer explain this to them otherwise they will be asking for a job that just can't be done unless the entire concrete slab is ripped up and re-poured. Now with that in mind let's talk about equipment that is needed for this type of work. Remember safety is always important when working with a pressure washer. Some times there are chemicals involved in cleaning some stains. Thus, you should always use some type of eye protection. Also, when you are using chemicals you need to wear jeans to protect your legs.Chemicals made for concrete are very strong and should not be toyed with. Would a person rather work with dry feet or wet? It is recommended that you get rubber waders or some type of rubber boot. They will keep your feet from getting wet and keep them from getting burned by the 250 degree water. Orange cones are also important to have for this job. These help make people visually aware that you are there if you are in a high traffic area or where there are a lot of contract workers at say a newly constructed house that needs the concrete cleaned. This makes everyone around you safe and you are helping prevent accidents. Of course you are going to need a Hydro-Twister for this job. You can technically do the job with a wand but it will take a lot more time and water, not to mention you can cause streaking if you are not using even strokes across the slab of concrete. Most of the new car wash trucks come with them now but if you don't have one and or you need a second unit and go to buy one be sure to get the larger of the two. There my be only a 5 inch difference in surface coverage but it is well worth it when you are trying to save time without cutting corners.Remember this business is all about time relevant to money. You want to be making at least a $1 a minute when doing concrete work at a minimum and aim for $100 to $200 per hour. If you are not achieving this income level then you work too slowly or you did not bid correctly on the accounts you are taking. You need to have a work order form. This form should have an area for time it took to do the job, how many people were on the job, gas to get to the site and mileage to get to the site. If you need a sheet like this the trainers (Jason & Rand) in Scottsdale will be more then happy to fax you one. Call them at 1-602-432-1308. For your wand you need to use a green tip for steam and a yellow or 15-degree tip for breaking up dirt from an area or pushing the dirty water from an area. You need to have an extra one hundred feet of pressure hose with you on the truck. This extra hose needs to be available when you are at a job site where there are many contract workers and space is limited. More then two hundred feet of hose will be required to get to places like the back yards of houses. You will also need two hundred feet of garden hose. More often than not you will have a job that requires more than 200 gallons of water or multiple jobs on a single day that will use more than 200 gallons of water. You have to remember that hard water is not really all that important when doing concrete. Soft water is good for doing vehicles to help prevent hard water spots but is not necessary for concrete. Plus, it is not worth the time to refill your water tank just do concrete. If you have a regular concrete cleaning customer you may just want to tell them you will use their water and you will decrease their bill by about fifty dollars a month to help cover their water bill.You need a push broom or hand brooms to help move lose dirt before starting the job. On larger jobs you may want to consider a blower, the type that are used for lawns. This will help move more dirt faster. You need a floor squeegee for helping push water out if you are in a garage or other area where water should not stand very long. The half-moon shaped floor squeegee works best. Plus it helps identify an area that you may need to go over again or chemically treat to get the stain out. A flat-ended shovel is important to have if you have concrete that has spilled on the flat slab already or small rocks that have accumulated on the concrete. If you spray the concrete when these little rocks are still on there and you hit them just right; they may catch a nearby window and cause damage. You could break up the excess concrete with the pressure wand but once again this is wasting time and money that you could be making at your next job. A very important item to have is some type of cover plate. This plate will be placed in front of doorways or floorboards when you are using the wands to get around the edges of the concrete. A lot of the competition does not make this additional effort when doing a job. This is what makes us the best because we care about the work that we do.The truck should be set up so that you can use a garden hose and external water supply should we need one for concrete or other types of jobs. The trucks should come with quick releases between the tank and the intake tube to the pressure washer. There should also be a valve that is turned so the water is running from the black tank that now holds the external water that comes in. There needs to be a connection for a water hose that is on top of the black small tank. The inside of the tank can be fitted with a floater in it so water will not run over when you are not depressing the trigger and letting out water. When cleaning concrete always use 3000+ PSI and 250+ degree water. These two elements are key to cleaning concrete effectively and correctly. Now let's talk about chemicals for a minute.To clean rust there is a product made by Simonize (that can be ordered from Howard at AAA Pressure Washers)http://www.aaapws.comthat is called Concrete Cleaner and Etch. This chemical is an acid and can be very dangerous. To apply this chemical you can spray it with a metal hand held spray canister. If you use a sprayer that has plastic parts to it, the sprayer won't last more then a one or two times before the parts melt and it is useless. The chemical should be mixed 50-50 with water. If you are using it on colored concrete try a test patch first because this stuff bleaches and lightens so it might make it lighter than the original concrete. For removing oil or grease stains Simonize SC-260 can be used. It is a granule type chemical that looks like kitty litter. To apply it you need to wet down the area to be treated first then spread a thin layer of it over the spot. Take a brush and agitate it to work it in. Let it set about fifteen to twenty minutes before removing it. Make sure you are very through in removing the granules. This next chemical should be used for emergencies if at all possible. This stuff is very thick and should be applied with a roller brush that is an adhesive type roller. Let it set for fifteen to twenty minutes and then remove it being very careful not to get it on you or any of the other chemicals for that matter. To develop the most efficient use of time at a concrete job site one person should be sweeping up loose debris from the work area while the other is setting up the equipment. Be sure all the corners are swept well because this is the area where most lose dirt seems to end up. Remember that when you hydro twist an area that you are simply lifting the dirt and stains. You need to go back over the areas afterwards to move the dirt away from the concrete. After you have used the hydro twister on the area you then need to cover all siding up with your cover plate or what ever guard you find works best and proceed to hand wand any trouble spots and the outer edges of the concrete. Finally, when working where a lot of contractors are working be sure to be polite and try to work around them. You never know who they have contacts with. They may refer you to some one else. Concrete is a great "filler" account if it happens to be raining. You can always do concrete in any type of weather and it pays very well for what you to do for the job. So remember, concrete work is always good to have.For ideas on marketing it might be a good idea to go to;http://www.concretewashguys.com