Concrete Repairs pending

Hi, I've never posted on this forum, am a female, 64, and have never done anything with concrete other than play jacks on it, etc.
Here is all the work I want, make that badly need, done, and don't even know the right questions to ask. I have one estimate for $1650 which probably isn't too bad, but I just realized that is the cost of a lens I want.
Here's what needs done. Click on the first thumbnail and you can click through the rest, five images in all, let the pictures speak for themselves. I asked on another group, no responses yet, put up the photos this way so people wouldn't have to have them constantly reloading if a threaded discussion ensues, the whole thread is replayed everytime you click on the OP which is the only way to get to anything on it (home repair forum on gardenweb.com).
http://www.white-peacock.com/Galleries/Concrete /
$150 to patch both front porch corners (will have custom rails made on the front porch (broken corners, also goingdown the back steps) and anchored further back in the old undamaged part and perhaps one end to the house, not sure about that yet), $1200 to pour new steps (6) plus the slab which is uneven abutting them, and $300 to pour a new back slab which has sunk toward the house (see photos). I did read sometimes you can jack slabs up and fill them underneath to level them.
This is bugging me because I know a guy who does pretty decent cement work reasonably but he also likes to drink and this is his heavy work season, he lays around all winter. He said he'd come one Sunday and didn't show so that is risky business. I hate paying a contractor when I know what I want and how I want it; they will just skim money off the top and get somebody else to do the work. I don't need a building permit for this in my town, but I do if I want to install any kind of exterior door on my house.
Problem is I can't find anybody who would moonlight a job like this and was wondering if my family pitching together could do it cheaper. Probably not. I think I could almost fix those broken porch corners myself, guy wants $150 just for that. I know I can't do any heavy sledgehammer work or build forms. But I can call the cement company, tell them what mix I want, and when to come pour.
I also found some concrete forms in the yellow pages (4 local ones), thought I'd call them just to see what they offer.
I don't want the pre-poured steps, they aren't quite the right size, have those raised spots, and I don't like them.
Ideally I'd like to have everything on my property torn off and concrete foundation with brick overlayment, but I that is too much and brick would be more likely to deterioate faster, especially since we have pretty cold winters here and I have to salt the front porch and steps..
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The price you have sounds reasonable. Have you ever worked concrete? It is heavy and hard work. Doing the steps as a starter is a rather risky way to learn. Having all the concrete delivered at one time can be tough unless you have people that know what they are doing in place. Is all of this accessible from the truck? Do you have to wheelbarrow some of to the slab? Can you do those corners while everything else is going on? The corners should be hand mixed. Just bring home a couple of those 80# bags and you are ready to go.
Very heavy material, limited working time, no easy way to do it over if you goof up, no way to store mixed concrete if you run into a problem mid-pour, . . . . Your decision. I'd pay the money.
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wrote in message I rebooted and looked up the error and seem to be able to read messages again.

No, I haven't, never thought much about it until I took a lot of photographs of men doing the concrete work at the end of repairing a water or sewer line. It was neat how they coordinated it all and the work flow. I think the concrete part of that job was easy compared to this. The hardest part I saw on the street repair was the guy hand digging in the bottom of the trench.
It is

Yes, I know it is. My son and some of the younger guys in my family are strong, but they lack the experience. The guy with the experience I fear I can't depend on. The one bid I have was recommended to me by a neighbor who happens to be a neighbor to us both.
Doing the steps as a starter is a rather risky way to

Those would be out of the question. Any explanation except in the simplest terms would be over my head. I just wanted some input from disinterested third parties.
Having all the concrete delivered at one time can be tough unless

I would know when things were ready to pour, but there'd probably have to be two, three or more to work all those spots with one delivery. Maybe the bidder was figuring on reparing the broken corners separately by hand mixing.
Is all of this

I think not. I can't think of any way to get the mixed cement to the slab except by brute strength or rigging up some kind of pulley device. Maybe there is something besides a wheelbarrow they use. Even if they pushed a wheelbarrow from the alley which would be a lesser grade, it would be further and there is an incline to deal with, maybe 30 degrees. That terrace is almost 45 degrees by my guesstimate.

I couldn't lift an 80# bag, could hardly drag it. I'd have to get smaller ones. With some mentoring, I could probably cobble together a form, but think it is not worth it to save $150; I'd have to buy a few things so I wouldn't save that much.

I've been reading things to that effect. At least whatever is done, I'm not going into this completely blind like I have placed my complete trust in other contractors to do the right thing. Too many times they do only the minimum and don't even tell you you really should do it this way even it it is more work for them and costly for me. I won't say I was screwed, but if you don't inform yourself ahead of time as best you can, you can end up with trouble like I did with my combination storm windows and kitchen cupboards. I can't get at parts of the glass even if I slide the glass and screens every which way. I just used that for an example. So many things have turned out that way, and these were people recommended to me by people who dealt with these things all the time. Just about every thing I have had done, I have ended up with problems, and I don't want it to happen with this job. Won't go into the kitchen cupboards, a complete disaster, can't even remember the name of the guy who did those. Some of that wasn't his fault; some of it was.

I think I'm going to have to bite the bullet and spend the money. I know it is hard work, the hot weather is coming, and I didn't mean to make light of any of that.
Thanks very much for your input. That is a lot of money to me with some other things that I'm having done; I know in other parts of the country you may not be able to get all that done for anything close. I have several things going right now because I put them off for so long and can't stand looking at it or living with it any more if I don't have to. The back steps have been like that for several years now, a little worse every year. I'm used to them, but others aren't. I could get along without them, but I'm afraid someone will fall because I think they have become dangerous. The rest apart from missing hand rails and possible water drainage toward the house is mostly cosmetic. It would probably look nicer to repour the whole front slab, but it would take too much to explain why it wouldn't make that much difference overall.

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I can't see your reply nor a lot of others for other threads and groups tonight. I'll check back in the morning. All I get are blank messages or message is not on server, blank in your case.
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wrote:

That's been en epidemic lately. I have had the same problems in the past few weeks.
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snipped-for-privacy@UNLISTED.com wrote:

Might have something to do with the massive amount of spam or virus messages. I've gotten wierd error messages about NNTP server having too many connections .. as I understand, that is a limit for the number of users at one time. Just started behaving a few minutes ago but has been problematic on and off for few days. Also found a virus last evening, first time in years. Could be some virus infected computers dumping stuff on the ng, but I don't know.
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My isp got it fixed about two days ago. No probs since then. Whatever it was, it must have affected more than one isp.
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I Love Lucy wrote:

Lucy - Have it done professionally. You may be able to save a few $$$ if you get your cheap young labor to remove all the old concrete from the area first. You will get a better job with replacement versus repair. For example, that slab that is sunk on the house side. If they just pour on top of that then it is likely to move again. It moved because the soil below was not compacted, the slab did not have a proper base and you may also have some water issues. It should be removed, the soil compacted, 4" of stone put down and compacted and then the new slab formed on top of that. I would also have it sloped away from the house a little (1/4" per foot slope).
Steps are more tricky - If you can get pre-formed steps that may be easier and better if your contractor is a little green.
As for payment - Do not pay for the job up front. Do this - 10% deposit when a date for the work is agreed upon. - 50% when job starts - 40% upon completion
Better yet is 100% when complete.
When I do work for folks I do not ask for ANYTHING up front. I just ask them to pay me when complete and when satisfied.
Inviato da X-Privat.Org - Registrazione gratuita http://www.x-privat.org/join.php
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If you want to save money, break up the concrete yourself and get rid of it. Have these guys come in a set it up, pour it and then finish it.
Nothing can piss someone off more than concrete being done incorrectly and cracking. Looks like crap then.
If you have never floated concrete and dont even know what that means (not trying to be mean) then doing this job is not for you.
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You might be able to do the corners yourself. You can get 40lb bags of cement at Lowes which most like aren't too heavy for you to carry. the rest I would have contractors do. Price looks OK to me.
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Guys, thanks much. Still get a blank page when I open a mesage. Checked status with my isp, they say it's almost fixed. Whatever. So I went to the archives and pulled up my post, read all your good advice and will try to respond individually if they get this thing back up again.
If the strong young 'uns will break it up and we can haul it to some landfill (another problem), I can call the bidder and ask him how much he would reduce it by, if any.
No I have never "floated concrete" so that means I don't know anything about concrete.
Salvaged a bunch of glass blocks out of somebody's trash and got my son an old steamer trunk and hauled that in the house up five steps. I'm pooped just from lifting that stuff, so it would be better just to pay and do other things I can. I might be able to do the corners. Couldn't today. I'll think about what that would involve and talk to the guys at the hardware store who are helpful.
If I forgot anybody or think of something else, I will try to get back to you. Thanks much. I always try to pay when job is done, but sometimes front money for materials only. I got screwed on my daughter's roof job. They had part of the garage left and got the full payment out of me then skipped out, never came back to finish it. The guy I mentioned in the OP was one of them, and I told him I was po'ed about that. Somebody finished it for her for nothing.
Lucy
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It's back for now. My news server. I'm back for now. Thanks to all who helped. The back sidewalk and steps, cement slab, all are out, the whole part leading to the top of the stairs now, part of the forms are up, and things are moving at a fast pace.
I will tell you all about it if it turns out ok. If it doesn't, well I'll be unfit to write anything coherent.. Right now the only problem we are facing is getting rid of all those cement chunks and finding someone to help with the estimated 30 wheelbarrow loads of concrete to be hauled from the alley on CEMENT DAY.
They wanted $150 for a jackhammer and compressor for one hour delivered and picked up, so he did it all with a sledgehammer. I called every rental place in the Yellow Pages and a few that weren't. I think we could have done most of it with a $20 per hour 80# electric jackhammer rental from the hardware store, but that was decided in the negative. Not my call as I could have picked it up and got it in the trunk of my car, but not the one that works off a compressor which is hauled on a trailer so I'm told.
It's nasty work, but I don't have to tell you that. Really hard work. Good thing we got a break from the heat but humidity is up.
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