Concrete patio disaster - HELP!

caligirl_cottageJuly 21, 2009

Okay, so we saved up our pennies for a concrete wrap-around patio. I did my research on contractors, the stamping, the integral color of concrete, etc. Since there was so much of the patio to be done, it was poured on a number of days, yesterday being the last and BIGGEST POUR. Also the most important location, the main part of the patio where we'll entertain and enjoy our space.

The PROBLEM. The concrete truck ran out of concrete, the contractor ordered more, when it arrived it was the WRONG COLOR integral concrete (it's DARKER). Instead of refusing the new material, the contractor poured the concrete (maybe he didn't realize it until too late, I'm not sure). ANYWAY, the concrete supplier wants to be paid for the extra material, the concrete contractor wants to be paid to fix the color with stain and I want the patio that I ordered and expected!

Any ideas? My husband is threatening to have the patio jack-hammered out and re-poured to our specifications. I'm willing to comprimise and have the contractor stain the entire thing to match, but I feel badly that he'd have to spend yet more time fixing the supplier's mistake.

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tommyw

Staining is not going to work, the fade over time will be different. The contractor is at fault for not inspecting the load before the pour. The contractor should be required to removed the material and repour to provide you the patio that you agreed on at no additional cost to you. If he is unwilling to do this then ... hire an attorney.

    Bookmark   July 22, 2009 at 12:47PM
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caligirl_cottage

Thanks Tommyw, I was afraid of that. This really sucks because my contractor really underestimated the material on this job and I'm pretty sure his profit was nearly eaten up before this dumb mistake. I don't sue people, I just don't. Too much time, frustration and in the end nobody really "wins". But this will irritate me forever if I have to look at this stupid patio with two different colors.

I think I'm going to have to get him to remove it and replace it and I'll have to eat the cost of the materials so that at least he's not in the hole even further than I think he probably is. I wish he had just stopped the pour, sent the wrong material back to the supplier, and waited until the next day for the right concrete. He rushed and he blew it. Stinks.

    Bookmark   July 22, 2009 at 1:08PM
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aidan_m

This seems like a total lack of experience on the part of the contractor. Concrete people know how to estimate volume. This guy did not. I always remeasure and calculate the volume again the day before the pour to make sure the calculations are correct...before I confirm the order with the supplier. Too late is too bad. Tell him to take remedial math at the local adult education outreach center before his business fails. He still needs to fix this and eat the cost.

    Bookmark   July 22, 2009 at 5:00PM
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caligirl_cottage

Thanks Aidan, I don't know what really happened with all of this, it does seem like a very bone-headed maneuver. I do think this guy is stretched too thin right now and knowing that business can dry up at any time, he's taking all the projects he can, even if he doesn't have hours in the day (or brain cells perhaps) to handle them.

I did speak to him today and he agreed with Tommyw that the stain will not provide us with the result we want and that taking the slab out and re-pouring the correct color is the only option. While he seemed prepared (but reluctant) to eat the whole cost, I agreed to pay for the new material (since it's going to be my concrete) and he's going to pay for the labor to demo and re-pour as well as the fact that he's still going to have to duke it out with the supplier in terms of paying for the original incorrectly colored load that he placed instead of sending back.

I may be a sucker, but I believe in paying for what I get and if I get 9 yards of concrete I should pay for 9 yards of concrete, not 7.5.

    Bookmark   July 22, 2009 at 7:14PM
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aidan_m

I didn't realize you live in the Bay Area. I may know your concrete guy, but I hope not.

Due to budget cuts, I had to lay off a really excellent carpenter/mason a few months ago. He is a laborer from the Philippines, and he always gets concrete volume calculations perfect. It is really too bad that people are unemployed who can do the job right, while other guys are in business and are understaffed, underqualified, or whatever. I wish your contractor had this guy working for him, you would be a happy customer right now.

    Bookmark   July 23, 2009 at 10:35AM
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sameboat

Can we see it in a photo? Maybe there's some creative decorating we could help you with to offset the difference in color and make it look intentional?

    Bookmark   July 26, 2009 at 9:35AM
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caligirl_cottage

Hey Samboat, My pic uploading skills are awful and the contractor himself as well as his "artistic" laborer agree that the coloring options just won't do the patio justice and since it wraps around the house, goes up some stairs, it either has to break at some point or it's a lot of work. The only option really is to jack-hammer it out and re-pour this section. NOW, if I could only get my contractor to come back and get it done!

    Bookmark   July 28, 2009 at 1:33PM
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big_deck

Been there done that.

We paid for composite patio material - having a senior moment so not sure it is called composite. They add pea-gravel and once it is almost set up hose the 'icing' off. The end result was supposed to be semi-smooth surface like you would want around a swimming pool. Good enough to grip but not sharp enough to hurt your feet or be slippery when wet.

Our patio took 3 pumper trucks of material and destroyed my landscaping in the process.

When they began hosing the froth off it became apparent that the mixture was wrong. The supplier was Alcon - a large concern in our area. When the problem was seen their rep said that the mixture must be wrong (he was there during the pour) and they would tear it up and repour.

We felt bad for our contractor as well as it would have involved more of his time and therefore come out of his pocket. We ended up being bigger than he planned for a variety of reasons that were not his fault, and he did not jack the price up.

So the Alcon big-wig (blow hard) comes out to look (it is not even fully cured yet) and says that the mixture is right and they are not going to do anything about it.

We would have had to sue Alcon, but at some point we just got tired of all the stuff going on and decided to live with it.

Now it is starting to crack and I am not pleased at all. Can't walk on this 2,000 sf patio without shoes as the gravel hurts.

My wife just says let it go, but once you get attorney's involved, the only people that win are the attorney's.

Anxious to see what you really end up with.

Seems that the american way is to screw up and then pass the buck - it's not just in Washington, DC, it's everywhere!

My penny's worth!

    Bookmark   July 28, 2009 at 4:56PM
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caligirl_cottage

Hey big deck, I'm thinking you mean "aggregate" was your surface. I think that in your case I wouldn't just let it go. What is a pool patio that cannot be walked on with bare feet? Makes no sense. Perhaps you could get your contractor to put on a topping slab, (can't recall the name of that one either, but it's a newer process that doesn't pop up, it's chemically bonded to your original slab).

As for me, my contractor did agree to jack hammer out the old stuff and install new, but I haven't heard from him in a week, so I'm beginning to wonder if I'm not headed for small claims myself. I wonder what people like this do when they run into customers who aren't as reasonable and fair as we are!? How do they stay in business?

    Bookmark   July 28, 2009 at 5:22PM
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big_deck

Thanks -- aggregate is right. I was having a bad hair day when I posted. Long story, but we planned on building an in-ground pool, but after they scooped the first two scoops (about 6') we discovered that a nearby mine portal was feeding 16-18 million gallons of fresh water under out property (even though this water did not make it to the surface to keep anything but weeds growing) - so, the pool became a 1,940 sf deck and the patio is in another area.

See link! :-)

Here is a link that might be useful: What the pool became

    Bookmark   July 29, 2009 at 9:37AM
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caligirl_cottage

Okay, so the mystery of the flakey contractor has been solved. My concrete contractor surfaced to tell me that he's financially under-water, couldn't make payroll, lost his crew and is on his own now just long enough to finish his projects and then close his business. Since the solution to my concrete patio color problem was that he'd jackhammer it out and re-pour (including stamping) with the proper color, and by my calculations it's about 2-3 yards of concrete. This ISN'T a one man job.

Going back to the idea of keeping the incorrectly colored concrete and fixing it, has anyone tried to make dark color concrete lighter? Say with muriatic acid? The concrete we ordered (and like) is a light sandstone color, and the last pour he did (which is right next to the first) turned out darker greyish red.

Although he's promised to "make this right" he simply can't, unless we shell out thousands more to pay his labor directly out of our pocket. Maybe that's just what we have to do.

This is very frustrating and sad.

    Bookmark   August 2, 2009 at 9:02PM
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