I'm trying to get a exposed aggregate patio under my 2nd story deck in
the Tacoma, WA metropolitan area. Size of the patio to be poured is
21'x32'. It's not to grade and will need to be excavated some as
there is a 3 degree slope towards the house.
This past week I've called 8 different contractors. Two set times to
come out for estimates and then never showed. Called them back and
they rescheded and didn't show again. Another contractor said he was
on the road and would call me back when he pulled over. No call back.
The rest don't call back when I leave messages.
A neighbor who's a plumber specializing in commercial construction
said that with all the new construction going on, nobody's going to
leave the big jobs to do a one-shot patio. He gave me cards on two
contractors who never returned my calls. Within two miles of my house
there are 3 new subdivisions going up with about 200 homes planned.
(Zoning lets them build them 12 feet apart and people still pay
What do I need to do? Should I mention to the contractors that I'm
willing to pay cash? Do I wait for the economy to go south again?
Do I get out my pick and shovel (lots of rocks) and do the excavation
myself? There's room to manuver a bobcat but I've never tried one.
last resort, go to the jobsites and quietly ask the foremen of the crews if
they are looking for any side work. Do not make a big deal about it and be
sure to size up the situation before you start yelling "side work" at the
top of your lungs. If the boss is about they will say no. Becareful you may
get exactly what you asked for. Payment should be as the job progresses. If
you decide on this method make sure you get the concrete ticket from the
cement truck. That will be the proof of what the mix really is. Do your
home work before deciding on this method
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Sub out the excavation and forming, then shop for a "finisher". A guy may not
be interested in screwing with a lot of grunt work but they might show up to
float it and expose the aggregate. Have them order the concrete and own it.
tell em you have a 650 sq ft project and ask if they wanna do it, ask enough
and one will do it, you might have to ask 25 companies, or more...
or have one of the warehouse stores deliver enough concrete to your location
(many have a nominal delivery charge of $40 or so if you're in their
delivery zone and it comes palletized and sealed in plastic usually)
to do the job then pour it in sections, it could be mixed in a wheel barrow
This is the busiest time of year for most contractors and areas that
freeze as everyone that put off their jobs in spring want it done now
before it gets to cold, Anybody good may be booked till it is to cold
to pour safely You can try stores that offer contractor lists and
concrete companys. But a big word of caution here. I hired a guty on
the same premise it was late in the year. Well a long story made short,
he screwed up, I sued I won I cannot collect as I am #20+ in line, he
takes anyones money and doesnt do the work but starts and leaves so he
can not be charged with theft and everything even the Mercedes is in the
wifes name. You must be real carefull since you are desperate you are a
target of a crook of shoddy work. You must even verify everything
yourself , even the conctete mix ordered by calling the concrete
company. If you cant get someone good, wait till you can. There is
nothing worse than getting ripped off or a substandard job. Get a
permit, and do not pay till it is inspected and be on top of your job
from start to end.
Thanks for the tips. I'll try getting it excavated first so all they
have to do is set the forms and pour.
BTW, I did some checking on the state Licensing web site and found out
that two of the 8 contractors I called have their contractors license
suspended... these were the two that set times for estimates and
One has had a judgement against it and previously was licensed,
suspended, re-licensed under the wife's name and now again suspended.
They're still advertising in the paper so perhaps the state has
out-of-date info. Maybe it's for the good that they didn't show.
Regards to all and thanks again. Rog
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