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

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MagnusTheBrewer

IN MEMORIAM
Jun 19, 2004
24,135
1,594
126
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.

Unless you get lucky and the contractor stands behind his work, you're going to have to go to court. Unfortunately, there are more sleazy contractors out there than good ones. It's going to be an expensive lesson, you never pay a contractor the full amount up front period.
 

rh71

No Lifer
Aug 28, 2001
52,853
1,048
126
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.

This is true, however there are small jobs like fencing or a stoop I won't call prior customers about as long as he has a reasonable list of referrals/reviews, I'll take them for their word. A patio is borderline to me. Of course we called references for when we did a whole 2nd floor.
 
Sep 29, 2004
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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.

In the adirondacs where my in-laws have a summer place you don't even need to be licensed.
 

olds

Elite Member
Mar 3, 2000
50,053
710
126
Pics?
Probably have to be torn out and redone.

I had a patio poured. The contractor set the forms and I noticed that they looked like the slab would drain towards the house. I pointed it out and he told me it was an optical illusion. It wasn't. He had to break it out and do it again.
The second slab drained better but the finish (rock salt) looked like crap. I sued him in small claims and the judge awarded me 1/2 my money back.
What a huge PITA.
 
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slugg

Diamond Member
Feb 17, 2002
4,722
73
91
Can you post some pics so we can judge how bad it really is?

Here is a link to a Photobucket album I made for it: http://s45.photobucket.com/user/sluggxp/library/Bad%20Concrete

^^ Pictures don't do it justice. It's worse than it looks like in the pics. It's kind of hard to portray it; I'm not much of a photographer.



I had a concrete repair specialist come over. He told me that this will be prohibitively expensive to fix, as far as having a "flat" slab is concerned. He did say that you definitely want to have it graded slightly, but that it should be consistent and not all deformed like my slab. His recommendation for the cheapest "repair" is to actually tile the area with large-format tiles, using special thinset that can be applied up to an inch thick. He said that with careful installation, this would be the cheapest way to mask the problem and have a decent solution. He did say that the entire slab will have to be ground down a bit and pressure washed to get the quick-crete and other contiminants off. He'll have a quote for me tomorrow... *sigh*
 

slugg

Diamond Member
Feb 17, 2002
4,722
73
91
Pics?
Probably have to be torn out and redone.

I had a patio poured. The contractor set the forms and I noticed that they looked like the slab would drain towards the house. I pointed it out and he told me it was an optical illusion. It wasn't. He had to break it out and do it again.
The second slab drained butter but the finish (rock salt) looked like crap. I sued him in small claims and the judge awarded me 1/2 my money back.
What a huge PITA.

See I really don't want to go through the hassle of a lawsuit. I don't have the time or money to sue someone. I kinda hinted to the contractor "don't you have insurance for this kind of stuff?" He told me that the insurance covers damages to the property, not the quality of the work.

Even if I did sue the guy, I don't think he has any money to pay for restitution. One thing is suing, and another is to get them to actually pay. And that's even assuming that I can sue... I don't have any lawyer friends, I know nothing about law, I don't have time to figure this stuff out, etc.

What I'm really hoping for is to get a couple quotes to do the tile *with* flattening the surface and maybe get him to pay for it. I really doubt that's going to happen...

I really don't know how to approach this. Tons of stress about this right now, combined with a really tense situation at work. :'(
 

purbeast0

No Lifer
Sep 13, 2001
52,855
5,726
126
yeah you want it graded for run off. the landscape designers that came over to do my patio told me that the standard is like a 2 degree angle i believe.

but wow, those pics do look pretty bad. the concrete splashed on the glass doors and wall is ridiculous. the edges also look terrible. the dips you can see from the level is awful too. that one drop in angle is also terrible.

i'd be pissed off too if i were you, hope you get it straightened out. that looks like a big time hack job that anybody could do.
 

rudeguy

Lifer
Dec 27, 2001
47,371
14
61
Here is a link to a Photobucket album I made for it: http://s45.photobucket.com/user/sluggxp/library/Bad%20Concrete

^^ Pictures don't do it justice. It's worse than it looks like in the pics. It's kind of hard to portray it; I'm not much of a photographer.



I had a concrete repair specialist come over. He told me that this will be prohibitively expensive to fix, as far as having a "flat" slab is concerned. He did say that you definitely want to have it graded slightly, but that it should be consistent and not all deformed like my slab. His recommendation for the cheapest "repair" is to actually tile the area with large-format tiles, using special thinset that can be applied up to an inch thick. He said that with careful installation, this would be the cheapest way to mask the problem and have a decent solution. He did say that the entire slab will have to be ground down a bit and pressure washed to get the quick-crete and other contiminants off. He'll have a quote for me tomorrow... *sigh*

I really wanted to come into this thread and flame you for having first world problems. Then I thought maybe the ground just settled under it while it was drying. Then I saw the pics....

Make him rip the whole thing up and do it over. DO NOT ACCEPT A PATCH JOB! Was it the actual contractor that did the work or was it his workers? I suck at concrete but I could have done better than that.

Be a dick on this one. Don't get sad or worried, get pissed off. This guy TRASHED your patio. Let him know that you will settle for nothing short of perfect on this.
 

feralkid

Lifer
Jan 28, 2002
16,467
4,534
136
Here is a link to a Photobucket album I made for it: http://s45.photobucket.com/user/sluggxp/library/Bad%20Concrete

^^ Pictures don't do it justice. It's worse than it looks like in the pics. It's kind of hard to portray it; I'm not much of a photographer.

Oh they do.

That, sir is an unmitigated disaster!

It shows not the least bit of competent workmanship; indeed it looks like someone just "guessed" how concrete should be finished.

That is not someone having a bad day, that is someone who has no clue what they are doing and who is incredibly lazy, to boot.

Demolish and re-pour. By someone who knows what they are doing.
 

Phoenix86

Lifer
May 21, 2003
14,643
9
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That's fucked up. They didn't prep the original concrete before they topped it so the top layer didn't adhere to the original. You think it's bad now, give it a year.
 

SaurusX

Senior member
Nov 13, 2012
993
0
41
Ask yourself how a company paying for construction would respond to a job like this. Would they think this is OK and cut the check? HELL NO!

This kind of thing would drive me absolutely bat-shit insane. No way could I live with this knowing that I just got taken for a rube.

I absolutely agree with others here that this project needs to be started over and done right from the beginning. This isn't rocket science. Concrete gets poured level every single day.
 

smackababy

Lifer
Oct 30, 2008
27,024
79
86
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.
When you paying that guy you picked up from the Home Depot parking lot to do your electric work starts a fire and burns down the block, you're "permits are just money grabs!" argument is bullshit. There is a reason things, within a municipality, must be built to code and inspected that they are done such. It is for the good of the morons who think they can do it themselves, and they can't.

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.

My father does building inspections in the own he lives in. He has said a lot of the contractors hate him because he does follow the rules. It was a 'good ole boy' system before he took over (having virtually zero ties to the town or the people a year or so before he took the job). The good contracts (the ones that do it right, the first time) love him for driving out all the shit guys that got a pass before. Just hearing his stories about how many times he's told people to rip it up and do it right is hilarious.
 

Markbnj

Elite Member <br>Moderator Emeritus
Moderator
Sep 16, 2005
15,682
13
81
www.markbetz.net
I really wanted to come into this thread and flame you for having first world problems. Then I thought maybe the ground just settled under it while it was drying. Then I saw the pics....

Make him rip the whole thing up and do it over. DO NOT ACCEPT A PATCH JOB! Was it the actual contractor that did the work or was it his workers? I suck at concrete but I could have done better than that.

Be a dick on this one. Don't get sad or worried, get pissed off. This guy TRASHED your patio. Let him know that you will settle for nothing short of perfect on this.

Agreed, that is completely horrible. Unfortunately anyone who goes around doing work of that caliber is probably not going to be an upstanding guy when it comes to rectifying the problem. You're going to have to be outraged, OP, and seeing those pics it shouldn't be too hard to get there.
 

smackababy

Lifer
Oct 30, 2008
27,024
79
86
Agreed, that is completely horrible. Unfortunately anyone who goes around doing work of that caliber is probably not going to be an upstanding guy when it comes to rectifying the problem. You're going to have to be outraged, OP, and seeing those pics it shouldn't be too hard to get there.

I'd make him rip it up and then I'd fire his ass. Don't pay him a dime. Hire someone else to do the job correctly.
 

Hugo Drax

Diamond Member
Nov 20, 2011
5,647
47
91
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.

It raises the bar a bit. And when it comes to a situation where a lawsuit is involved, the story changes when there is no permit/inspections.

At least with inspections, there is a third party involved to make sure things meet code, things you would not be able to see with your eyes.

Typically a contractor will make sure the work is up to par and that they send nonhacks when they know the homeowner wants a permit pulled and inspections done during the different stages of work.

Otherwise they will just send in the truckfull of mexicans they picked up from the homedepot parkinglot to lay your foundation.
 

smackababy

Lifer
Oct 30, 2008
27,024
79
86
I believe he already paid the dude.

If that is the case, I'd request he tear it up and then fire him and demand a refund or have him pay for another contractor to pour the slab correctly. If he refuses, sue him. It really sucks those are pretty much his only options. I mean, threatening to ruin his reputation might be enough to convince him, but I hardly believe that.
 

rudeguy

Lifer
Dec 27, 2001
47,371
14
61
Agreed, that is completely horrible. Unfortunately anyone who goes around doing work of that caliber is probably not going to be an upstanding guy when it comes to rectifying the problem. You're going to have to be outraged, OP, and seeing those pics it shouldn't be too hard to get there.

I'm outraged for him and I don't have to see the thing every day.

I can see how the tool marks around the edges could happen, that's sloppy work. I can see how the quickcrete would flake off, I would actually expect that. But what in the hell is the hump in the middle? It looks like one of those old cartoons where Jerry tricks Tom into laying down then pours a load of cement on him.

OP where do you live? I'm coming over.
 

Hugo Drax

Diamond Member
Nov 20, 2011
5,647
47
91
Unless you get lucky and the contractor stands behind his work, you're going to have to go to court. Unfortunately, there are more sleazy contractors out there than good ones. It's going to be an expensive lesson, you never pay a contractor the full amount up front period.

I would say 90% of Contractors and Tradespeople are sleazy.

This is why you should spend lots of time checking out who you will hire by checking references,etc.. country records for any complaints etc..