Things to ask when seeking quotes?


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Old 09-01-08, 11:59 AM
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Things to ask when seeking quotes?

I am seeking quotes for a driveway that will connect concrete street approach to the concrete garage approach. The driveway will be 108' long x 11' wide. The difference in elevation between one end of the pour and the other is about 15 feet. A large propane truck backs up the area a couple of times a year otherwise just cars will travel on it. I could move the tank closer to the street if it makes sense.
I heard from a friend that rebar or wire mesh is recommended to hold the slab together in areas where the ground freezes or is in earthquake prone areas. Is that true. No freezing soil here and no earthquakes either.
Contractor1 said I won't need steel in it, Contractor2 said he won't pour without steel in it. What do you think?
Contractor1 said he will dig down to the bottom level of the existing slabs and pour over native soil which is decomposed granite. In the rutty spots he would use the existing 3/4" gravel rock already there for fill. The contractor2 said he would have to remove the 3/4" gravel rock and put down a thick bed of sand to pour over. What do you make of that?
Contractor1 said he could throw a bit of tan tint on top of the pour since I didn't want a stark white driveway so long a distance. He also said that mixing the color at the plant would add about 2x the cost of the concrete. Contractor2 said he would add the color at the plant. His quote was almost 2x the other for the job. What do you think of that?
Since each quote is so far apart I need to go back and ask questions. And get a couple more quotes from others. What questions would you ask?

Asphalt is another option to consider.
 
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Old 09-01-08, 01:51 PM
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Things to ask when seeking quotes?

Since you are do not have an idea of what you want, you are letting the contractors dictate and you may easily take the cheapest price and a driveway with the shortest life and greater liklihood of problems. You are setting yourself up to being steered since you have no idea what you want.

Contractor1 sounds like a quick dump and run job with no guarantee. If you mentioned asphalt, he may have taken the cheapest way out by offering hand tossing pigment. Any contractor that is not doing anything about reinforcement or crack controll wil never be around later.

Contractor2 sounds like a guy that does things right and probably has better jobs to spend his time on, rather than getting into the penny-ante quibbling about prices when there are no specs. He also sensed you were a shopper interested in the cost only, so you got a quick "comp" quote. Color usually does not add 100% to the cost of concrete materials, but hand casting colore adds labor if done right.

Concrete will has longer than asphalt. Asphalt may be cheaper, depending on the price of oil, but requires more maintenance to keep it usable.

It like you just have looked at two conreactors and got two opposite ways of doing or getting work or interests in dealing with you. You may be better off setting up some sort of requirements and give it back to them and finding a third contractor.

Did you ever ask about control joints (1" to 1 1/2" deep), spacing and methods of creating them. - All concrete shrinks and will crack. The rebar and wire mesh will minimize cracks and the control joint determines where they are, so the driveway looks and performs better.

What strength of concrete were they quoting?

I will bet that contractor1 comes back with something like fibermesh that solves all problems.

Dick
 
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Old 09-01-08, 02:34 PM
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Neither contractor guaranteed anything except that concrete will crack. They also both said they would put control channels in minimize cracking elsewhere. I did not discuss asphalt with them. As far as not knowing what I want. Frankly I feel the contractor should educate me so that I can make informed decisions. If I knew everything about concrete I'd not bothered to post.
I want a driveway that I can afford and won't fall apart first and foremost. Where I live there are many many asphalt driveways as long or longer than mine and they are still in good condition 20 years after. Many concrete ones too. I'd rather have concrete but if it's many thousands of dollars more than asphalt then asphalt will get the nod. I can apply sealer once in a while.

Setting up more requirements as you say is a good idea. If I knew what requirements to add or set up I would. Again that is the purpose of the post. If you can help me as well as anyone else reading this thread please do. What requirements are necessary to insure a good concrete driveway? What requirements are necessary to insure a good asphalt driveway?
 
 

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