What to do with this outdoor concrete slab??

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Old 05-09-09, 12:01 PM
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What to do with this outdoor concrete slab??

Hi,

We bought a 60 year old home a few years back that needed a lot of work, both in and out. I've accomplished most of the important stuff so I decided to tackle a little used corner of my house. It was a section of the yard that was ivy covered, next to a deck that we needed to replace.

So I started cleaning off the area and to my great surprise, there was an inch or so of dirt over a concrete slab. The slab runs along the house in back and goes into the yard about 12feet. It looks like it might be about 20' long, depending on whether or not it is under the deck. My guess is that it is, I'll find out shortly.

So when I cleaned off the first section, the concrete is pretty dirty with some cracks and pits. I'll get a power washer to clean it off - not sure what the best cleaner will be.

Since a project for later in the summer is to replace the deck, my wife and I are trying to decide whether to just junk the existing deck and use the slab as a patio. We're kinda of leaning that way, assuming we can spruce up the slab. Once I get more of the ivy & grass off, I'll take a picture and post it.

So my question is how to treat the existing slab. I know there is concrete resurfacer material - how deep is the minimum and maximum? Or would it be better to just pour new concrete over it (say a couple of inches)? And not knowing what sort of underlayment is under the concrete, should I expect more cracking where the existing cracks are?

Thanks!
Bob
 
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Old 05-09-09, 01:59 PM
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Resurfacers are meant to go on about 1/8 to 3/8 inch thick maximum. Any existing cracks will absolutely transfer up through the overlay. A heavy duty gas powered pressure washer will clean it about as good as it's going to get.
 
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Old 05-09-09, 03:43 PM
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Thanks for the reply Pecos.

Hmmm, after some more clean up I see that the concrete is in worse shape than I thought, here's a picture. I don't know if you can tell by the picture but there's a large crack down the middle and the slab is tilting in along that crack.

I not sure if this can be done but can this slab (with a bit of work) be used as a foundation for a new layer of concrete? I don't mind pouring a new layer of a few inches give or take, but I'm not sure I can prevent the new slab from cracking. Any thoughts?

Bob

<a href="http://s25.photobucket.com/albums/c62/bclasen/Misc/?action=view&current=concrete2.jpg" target="_blank"><img src="http://i25.photobucket.com/albums/c62/bclasen/Misc/concrete2.jpg" border="0" alt="concrete"></a>
 
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Old 05-09-09, 07:11 PM
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It would be best to just remove the slab and start over from scratch. I have capped many slabs but this one looks pretty bad. If you do go ahead and cap it, place a bond braker such as roofers felt paper or plastic sheeting down first to completely separate the two slabs. That way, the existing cracks won't transfer up into the new slab.
....But I would remove it.
 
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Old 05-09-09, 09:38 PM
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My 2 cents as a Creter is ripp it out without a doubt. Use 4" 2b clean stone and 4" 4,000 psi and have a real walk. Start with crap end up with crap..
 
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Old 05-10-09, 07:44 AM
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OK guys - I got the hint! Rip it out & replace it. A couple of questions:

1. Is ripping up concrete a DIY job? I imagine I'd rent a jackhammer, though I never used one.

2. I know a guy who is a Creter - he does mostly typical jobs, sidewalks, pools, slabs of various kinds. In browsing the web (mostly at Concrete Patios), I like the look of stained concrete, concrete pavers, stamped concrete, etc. Is this a job for a specialist? Or can a Creter with no previous experience with this do it? Can he do the legwork (prep, forming, stone laying & pouring) & the fancy stuff is done later? I guess I'm not sure of the steps involved.

Thanks again!

Bob
 
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Old 05-10-09, 11:24 AM
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I have been a concrete finisher for about 24 years. The last 16 have been decorative concrete almost exclusively (stampng, staining, stenciling, concrete countertops). Your guy could certainly do the concrete pad, but if he hasn't stamped before, he probably wouldn't do a great job of it. There's quite a learning curve. He could probably also do the acid staining, or you could. It's not all that difficult as long as you follow directions well. I know a lot of great finishers who couldn't turn out a decent stamped job.
The tear out can be a diy job depending upon your physical abilities. If you've got a weak heart or are a smoker you may have a bit of trouble. Tearing it out isn't the worst part. it's moving it and getting rid of the chunks. If you do it, make sure to rent an air powered (big, tow-behind compressor) jackhammer. The electric ones are very weak and would take a LOT longer. Good luck.
 
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Old 05-10-09, 08:01 PM
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Pecos,

Again, thanks for the reply!

When you say that my concrete guy could do the pad job, does that include the pouring of the concrete (and leveling, etc.)? Or just the framing & underlayment (stones)? If he can pour, how long after the pour would the stamper get to work? I'm not sure of the flow here.
If my guy can pour, in general, are there stampers out there that are free lance (as opposed to working for a company)? I imagine if it were a company operation, they may insist on doing the complete job, A to Z.

Bob
 
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Old 05-11-09, 10:04 AM
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Stamping is done while the concrete is still soft, basically within an hour or so after the concrete is poured from the truck. Timing varies with weather and mix design. The stamper would have to be there from the start of the pour in case the concrete started setting up very quickly.
You may be able to find someone to do the stamping only. It may be attractive to them that they can get in and out quickly without having to do the hard labor of excavation, forming, and actually pouring the concrete. I have done this on occasion. However, I'm fairly sure they won't warranty the work because someone else poured the concrete. Good luck.
 
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Old 05-11-09, 10:07 AM
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Thanks Pecos!

Now to think about design .... time to look around at some more websites!
 
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Old 08-28-09, 09:39 AM
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Pecos & all - thanks so much for the advice this past summer, what I did was rent an electric jack and with the help of some guys I tore out the old patio. Man, ripping that out and hauling it away was a job. Anyhow that being done I hired a local concrete firm that has done a lot of stamping in the area and put in curved patio - 17' x 24' in size. We had it colored and stamped and are very pleased with the outcome, thanks for the suggestions! Here's an after picture (before sealer):



Anyhow we love the patio, I just build a little porch over it, put up an awning and am working on finishing the border (a curving flower bed). One question - the company installed some expansion material along the edge of the house, makes perfect sense. Should I finish that off by caulking it so water doesn't creep into the basement or is this fine the way it is?

Bob in Maryland
 
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Old 08-28-09, 10:46 AM
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Nice looking patio. I am very jealous!
 
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Old 08-28-09, 11:55 AM
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Looks great. I'm glad I could be of some help. As to the expansion joint material, what kind is it? Is it the 1/2 inch thick black fiber/tar stuff or 1/2 inch foam? If it's the foam, it will be easier to cut a trough in it to apply caulk. It may even have a "zip strip" which is a perforated edge that tears off to allow easy caulking. If it's the black tar/fiber stuff, then you can cut it down about 1/2 inch as best you can (razor knife or grinder?), then lay in a bead of caulk. It can never hurt to caulk, so I would go ahead and do it.
By the way, if you love the patio now, wait till it's sealed! It will enhance the color dramatically. Make sure they add a slip resistant additive such as H&C Shark Grip (from Sherwin Williams paints) to the sealer to keep it from being slippery when wet.
 

Last edited by Pecos; 08-28-09 at 11:58 AM. Reason: add'l info
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