Getting contractor proposals for covered patio

garya505June 10, 2013

I'm getting a patio built so I'm getting proposals from contractors. I'll need the slab poured as well. I have a couple of questions for you all.
First, regarding the proposal process. I had one guy come over and look at what the house and yard, then ask me a few questions about what I wanted. After that he wrote a proposal with pricing in about 10 minutes. He seemed very experienced and appeared to know just what to do. I did find it interesting that he had all the costs for everything in his head, and was wondering how well thought out his proposal was. I also found out he has an electrician license and not a general builders license. I had two other guys come over and they both said they would get back to me in a couple of days with their proposals. So, my question is, can a good proposal actually be generated that quickly, and is the license important?

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Also, I'm wondering about anchoring the patio posts to the concrete. Seems everyone wants to do it differently. One guy says to put some anchor bolts in the concrete when it's poured (not sure how the post is attached to the anchor bolt). Another guy says just drill a hole, put in a piece of rebar, drill a hole in in the bottom of the post and just set it on there. How should they be anchored? We don't get hurricanes here, but we do get high winds at times.

    Bookmark   June 10, 2013 at 5:29PM
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Quick quote generating isn't necessarily slipshod, any more than slow quote generating means better thought-out. In my business I quote $70,000 products (which can have many options) over the phone, using a spreadsheet where I can check off options and spit out a number. Given that, I find it frustrating that some of our suppliers take 4 days to turn around a quote for a $2000 subsystem we use that's much less complicated.

It's useful and efficient to be able to generate quick budget quotes that help weed out people it's too expensive for, instead of spending lots of detailed time on precise lists of materials for people that only have a budget of half that.

So a quick quote could be good or could be bad. No way to tell unless you get other quotes too. And always ask him to put a detailed quote in writing so you can make sure what it includes.

I'd use Simpson post anchors to anchor your posts to the concrete.

    Bookmark   June 15, 2013 at 10:23AM
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Ok, I'm making some progress. I've gotten 3 proposals so far. I have a preference for a company that actually is a lumber company that makes the beams and corbels for a lot of contractors and has been in business for about 50 years. The only real problem came when I asked about the concrete slab, which is the only thing they subcontract out because they don't do concrete. The slab will be 4" with 12x12x24 spot footings on the corners where the posts will be. Two things I asked about were 6 inch mesh instead of fiber, and rebar "dowels" into the existing adjacent slab to avoid getting a step if the old and new slabs don't settle together. He didn't mind doing the mesh, but tried to talk me out of the rebar dowels, saying I don't need it. He then said the mesh and rebar dowels would add $600 to the regular $900 for the slab. I don't know anything about concrete, but I have the feeling they don't really want to do the dowels so are quoted it high to discourage me from requiring it. What do you think?

    Bookmark   June 26, 2013 at 11:03PM
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I should mention that frost heaving is not an issue here as the ground doesn't normally freeze, and is mostly dry sand.

    Bookmark   June 27, 2013 at 12:09AM
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And one more thing. The rebar dowels would be going into the existing 4" slab, which concerns me since I think dowels are normally done in 5" or thicker slabs. Am I risking cracking the existing slab?

    Bookmark   June 27, 2013 at 1:18AM
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I've decided to handle this project myself, and contract with the concrete company and porch company directly. I spoke with the local permit people, and this is OK if I submit drawings for both together. So, now I'm working on the design specs for the slab. This will be a 4" monolithic slab. I can either go with a "turned down edge" full perimeter footing (A.K.A. frost wall), or spot footings where the patio cover posts will be. The spot footings would likely be 12"x12" (or 16x16) and 24" deep. Our frost line is 16". We don't have much of a problem with frost heaving, but I'd like to overbuild it to make sure. Since this will be butting against the existing 4" porch slab which is part of the house foundation, I want to minimize the potential for vertical movement of the new slab. I have ruled out dowels into the existing slab because it's only 4". I believe that to pass inspection the full perimeter footing would need to be deeper than 16". I know the full perimeter footing would cost more due to more concrete and rebar, and labor. The slab is 9'-6" by 15'-6". Pros and cons?

    Bookmark   July 1, 2013 at 3:28PM
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sounds like you'd benefit from hiring a designer.

    Bookmark   July 1, 2013 at 9:38PM
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Yes, that thought had occurred to me.

    Bookmark   July 1, 2013 at 11:20PM
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You might also try posting the concrete question in the Remodeling forum. There are some pros that hang out there that might be able to offer more.

    Bookmark   July 2, 2013 at 10:34PM
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