Contractor screwed up my patio installation - what should I do?

slugg

Diamond Member
Feb 17, 2002
4,722
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I hired a contractor (licensed, insured) to pour a concrete slab and enclose it in a screen room/lanai. When the concrete was first poured, I a huge mess was made (they got concrete all over my wall, door sill, etc) and the slab itself was screwed up. I mentioned (and took pictures) that the slab was not smooth, very inconsistent, and had humps and dips all over. They came back on Thursday to "fix it" and all they did was put some more QuikCrete on top, effectively widening the giant hump in the middle, plus making *new* ridges, dips, etc.

Yesterday, the actual enclosure was installed. All the QuikCrete is just flaking off and the slab just looks terrible. When you walk on it, you feel like you're walking up and down hills, plus the surface is all wobbly. The other thing that really bothers me is the unnessessary amount of grade; when you first step onto it, it feels like you're standing on a ramp!

The contract says there is a one year labor warranty. Is that what I should ask for? What exactly should I do at this point?
 

Captante

Lifer
Oct 20, 2003
27,171
8,168
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Sounds like the only way to fix it may be to remove the entire thing and start fresh. Hopefully he'll stand behind that warranty!
 

jaedaliu

Platinum Member
Feb 25, 2005
2,670
1
81
hire a lawyer?

The problem with hiring a crappy contractor is that you need to pay him for crappy work unless you can convince him that he needs to fix it at his cost.

Hopefully you can get him to fix the concrete (which I can't imagine that he would do correctly because fixing it is harder than doing it right the first time.) to your liking on his dime.
 

waggy

No Lifer
Dec 14, 2000
68,145
9
81
I don't know what you can do.

But to me it sounds like it needs to be torn up and redone. i wouldn't be happy with a little bit slathered on top.

sounds like a lawyer may be needed.

im rather shocked a good contractor would do it that bad to begin with. a good foundation is rather important.
 

nickbits

Diamond Member
Mar 10, 2008
4,122
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Don't pay until you're happy and sue if they don't. But best case if they are docks is that you just don't pay for what they did. You'd then have to pay someone else to remove everything and start over.

But not paying always worked for my dad. He's had contractors rip out and start over a few times. Never came to a lawsuit. Personally I've never been in that situation.
 

purbeast0

No Lifer
Sep 13, 2001
52,089
4,717
126
ouch that sucks. i'm looking at getting some major patio work done myself and hope to not run into any issues like this.

all i know is that from what i've learned, you pay 1/2 up front, then 1/2 when they are finished. it sounds like they aren't finished because they haven't given you what you agreed to, so you shouldn't have paid them the 2nd half.

pics of work?
 

Hoober

Diamond Member
Feb 9, 2001
4,361
13
81
Don't pay until you're happy and sue if they don't. But best case if they are docks is that you just don't pay for what they did. You'd then have to pay someone else to remove everything and start over.
This, though look at the expense of following through with a lawsuit. And bear in mind, the contractor may try to put a lien against your house.
 

Markbnj

Elite Member <br>Moderator Emeritus
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Sep 16, 2005
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Well, what you don't want is for the same guy to do another pour. He obviously doesn't know what he's doing. So my suggestion is document the crap out of it, inform him that you aren't paying for the job until he rips out the bad pour, and brings in a subcontractor to do another pour. He'll refuse, in all likelihood. At that point you may have to fire him, bring in another contractor, and sue to recover the sunk costs.
 

mrjminer

Platinum Member
Dec 2, 2005
2,739
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This, though look at the expense of following through with a lawsuit. And bear in mind, the contractor may try to put a lien against your house.
For OP, this is called I think this is called a "Mechanic's Lien"
 

Markbnj

Elite Member <br>Moderator Emeritus
Moderator
Sep 16, 2005
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www.markbetz.net
One thing to take away from this is that all the official crap a contractor shows you, license, bond, insurance, doesn't really mean squat. Any idiot can get all of those things in most states. What is important to me when hiring a contractor is local customer references. I want to talk to people he's done work for, and see the results.
 

Jimzz

Diamond Member
Oct 23, 2012
4,398
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106
Can you post pictures? How thick is the slab? And the QuikCrete could have been a leveler which does work if done correctly. The problem it sounds like is he did not add the primer/coating to get it to stick properly.
 

edro

Lifer
Apr 5, 2002
24,328
68
91
Did the contractor outsource the concrete work?
That's a commonly outsourced task. He may have chose a cheap concrete contractor.
 

momeNt

Diamond Member
Jan 26, 2011
9,297
351
126
How can they not get a slab flat? Just screed it as it cures and poof, flat slab.

Hope it works out okay for your OP, if you end up needing to get another contractor to fix it, do not hesitate to share your experiences on yelp and similar sites to make sure word gets out.
 

Hugo Drax

Diamond Member
Nov 20, 2011
5,647
47
91
I hired a contractor (licensed, insured) to pour a concrete slab and enclose it in a screen room/lanai. When the concrete was first poured, I a huge mess was made (they got concrete all over my wall, door sill, etc) and the slab itself was screwed up. I mentioned (and took pictures) that the slab was not smooth, very inconsistent, and had humps and dips all over. They came back on Thursday to "fix it" and all they did was put some more QuikCrete on top, effectively widening the giant hump in the middle, plus making *new* ridges, dips, etc.

Yesterday, the actual enclosure was installed. All the QuikCrete is just flaking off and the slab just looks terrible. When you walk on it, you feel like you're walking up and down hills, plus the surface is all wobbly. The other thing that really bothers me is the unnessessary amount of grade; when you first step onto it, it feels like you're standing on a ramp!

The contract says there is a one year labor warranty. Is that what I should ask for? What exactly should I do at this point?
Did you do it with permits. This happens anytime someone hires someone with no permits, (no inspection of the work etc..)
 

feralkid

Lifer
Jan 28, 2002
15,927
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Did you do it with permits. This happens anytime someone hires someone with no permits, (no inspection of the work etc..)

Nope.

It happens anytime someone hires someone with no skills or integrity.


A permit isn't a magic wand that makes the world a perfect place.
 

Red Squirrel

No Lifer
May 24, 2003
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Can you dig in the concrete with like a spoon or something? It almost sounds like he used an old batch. I learned the hard way last year that concrete does go bad after a while. It basically wont cure properly and it turns into similar consistency as hard packed wet beach sand.
 

monkeydelmagico

Diamond Member
Nov 16, 2011
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Nope.

It happens anytime someone hires someone with no skills or integrity.


A permit isn't a magic wand that makes the world a perfect place.
Adding a screen porch doesn't require a permit in most places either.

If the contract the homeowner signed is set up properly he can refuse to pay the remaining balance and follow the arbritage clause. Your contract DOES have these things in it, right?
 

momeNt

Diamond Member
Jan 26, 2011
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Did you do it with permits. This happens anytime someone hires someone with no permits, (no inspection of the work etc..)
Outside patio work is permit work for probably only the strictest of towns. Most towns you probably only need a permit for additions to your house which require an extension of your roof. Not all towns even have permits for plumbing, electrical, or gas installs.
 

Red Squirrel

No Lifer
May 24, 2003
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Permits are just a money grab and I find the whole concept retarded as we should have the ability to rightfully own our land 100% and be allowed to do what the hell we want as long as it's not harming anyone. But sadly not how it works these days.

That said, I'd still get a permit just because they can tell you to take it down. They check satellite images and if they see anything different from last set of images they'll send a bylaw enforcement officer and make you take it down.

Though check the local rules, I know here as long as it's not higher than like 2 feet off the ground you don't need a permit.

But that's besides the point. The contractor screwed up, and should fix it. It's also the contractor's responsibility to get any permits that are required and work that into the price.
 

JoLLyRoGer

Diamond Member
Aug 24, 2000
4,154
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You should try your very best to work it out with the original contractor until you are happy with the job.

If that doesn't work then the next step before getting lawyers involved is to have the work inspected and then threaten to file a complaint with the registrar of contractors. Let your contractor know these are your intentions ahead of time and see if that will "motivate" them to get out there and fix the job right...

If they still refuse to fix it right, then file the complaint. It could eventually result in them loosing their contractors license if there have been enough other complaints filed. If that doesn't get them out there then I'd take the legal route in small claims court.

You don't want to just not pay though because they can put a contractor's lien against your home as already mentioned.
 

slugg

Diamond Member
Feb 17, 2002
4,722
73
91
I'm trying to work it out with the contractor. He said he'll pay for it, but that it shouldn't be that expensive - like around $500. But the thing is that I've called maybe 20 concrete contractors today and nobody says they can fix it. One contractor says he's coming by to take a look later today...

Bad news: stupid me didn't realize that I already paid in full.

FML. This is such a high amount of stress for me right now.
 

Puppies04

Diamond Member
Apr 25, 2011
5,909
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I'm trying to work it out with the contractor. He said he'll pay for it, but that it shouldn't be that expensive
Tell him if it isn't expensive he can arrange the labour and pay them. It isn't down to you to find someone to put the work he has been paid for right.

End of conversation.
 

MarkXIX

Platinum Member
Jan 3, 2010
2,642
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71
Permits are just a money grab and I find the whole concept retarded as we should have the ability to rightfully own our land 100% and be allowed to do what the hell we want as long as it's not harming anyone. But sadly not how it works these days.
My brother just started his own plumbing business and says it's a racket. Says that most of the inspectors are buddies with most of the builders and that if you're not a "good ole boy" your work gets hammered while friends get a pass.

Upside is, he says he ends up getting a lot of repair work from shitty initial work and easy inspections. Then, he gains customers because they usually know what contractor did bad work to begin with, so they don't get a call anymore but he does.
 

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