Who do I hire for this job???

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Old 03-05-14, 08:26 AM
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Exclamation Who do I hire for this job???

I have a split foyer 70's home with concrete stairs leading up to a large (7 x 5?) landing at the entry, which is bricked to match the house. The stairs have settled and pulled away from the landing and the landing itself has some cracks and sounds "hollow" when you stomp on it. We suspect it's been undermined by chipmunks. They've lived there eating my flowers for a while now.

We've gotten some estimates on mudjacking, but the last fellow told us he thought that might just make the stairs pull further away from the landing and we'd have to have them replaced anyway - not good since the bid to do the job is nearly $1,600. I don't want to spend that and still need to have the steps replaced!

My photos aren't great, but perhaps they'll give an idea. (Yes, it's a mess and the red boards you see is a planter.) The separation has gotten much worse this winter and we are planning to sell in a year or so - even if we were staying it would need done though. I literally have no idea what to do here. Do I hire a concrete contractor? A masonry contractor? A just general construction contractor? I don't even know who to call. Can a concrete guy do the brickwork, or will I need to hire a separate brick mason?

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Old 03-05-14, 05:13 PM
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Choosing a specialty contractor (or any contractor, for that matter) is always a gamble. Even some of those with excellent credentials and references can do work that doesn't meet expectations. I'd suggest having a few concrete specialists take a look at what your situation involves, and furnish quotes for how they would correct things. Most will likely have a masonry subcontractor do the brickwork, unless they are large enough to provide both services.

Under no circumstances should you pay an entire quoted amount up front, before any work is done. That's an invitation for your hard-earned $$$ to disappear, followed by weeks and months of trying to get the guy to come and do the work, if he hasn't skipped the country. Best references are provided by friends and/or acquaintances who've had similar work done and are pleased with the results.
 
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Old 03-05-14, 07:03 PM
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Thank you for your advice. I'll get three or four names and call them and see what they say. It's going to be a pricey repair I'm afraid.

If only I'd let my husband kill those darn chipmunks. (Which I no longer find remotely cute.)
 
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Old 03-07-14, 05:01 AM
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IF you can get the right guy, he can overlay the steps - google decorative concrete - a regular mason would be buying mtls from the apron/vest store & they won't last,,, oh, 1 more thing - buy some mothballs
 
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Old 03-07-14, 06:22 AM
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Mothballs? What does that have to do with chipmunks?
 
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Old 03-07-14, 06:53 AM
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I don't know that it's ever been proven but moth balls are thought to be deterrent for rodents including snakes. While I'm not 100% convinced they work, I've used it in my crawlspace .... it's not like it costs much
 
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Old 03-07-14, 06:56 AM
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Well I'll certainly give it a try. Not like I grow any vegetables there and there are plenty of holes to drop them down. Thanks.
 
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Old 03-07-14, 08:38 AM
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Personally, I think it is more than chipmunks that made the concrete slab settle. To me it looks like the base below the concrete slab was not compacted fully and eventually over the years the base has settled. Perhaps mud jacking may take care of it. At least it will drive out the chipmunks!
 
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Old 03-07-14, 09:36 AM
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As kids growing up, our house had a dry-stack stone retaining wall running the full length of the back yard. The spaces between stones made ideal habitat for chipmunks, and a large colony thrived there. My older brother befriended a few of them one year, giving them names and teaching them to eat peanuts and other tidbits out of his hand. Ma had a small fit when one rode stowaway in her laundry basket one day, as she was bringing in clean laundry from the clothesline--she made my brother lure it back out of the house (using peanuts, of course), and told him to stop feeding them.
 
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Old 03-07-14, 10:39 AM
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Oh I'm sure the problem is more than just chipmunks...but they're good to blame since they can't talk back and defend themselves.
 
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Old 03-09-14, 05:49 PM
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Another question...

The concrete guys pretty all much agree that the brick wall is coming down around the landing. Therefore we'll have to have it redone with something, since we aren't going to be able to save or match the brick. We're thinking a concrete "stone" block will be best...we can match it to a small retaining wall and planting bed along the front. But we planned on doing the retaining wall and bed edging ourselves. How difficult is it to do a wall like this? I've looked and looked on-line but I'm only finding brick veneer or brick walls, not brick up against what we believe we'll find is a cement block or concrete wall.

Do you think a couple of diy newbies could do that part? Or are we looking at a mason too, on top of the concrete guy?
 
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Old 03-10-14, 04:05 AM
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It would require a lot of work but careful deconstruction of the wall and cleaning of the brick would allow you to reuse most of them.

A brick veneer over block is fairly common. There should be brick ties every so often that are used to tie the brick to the block wall. IMO laying brick isn't all that complicated. I'm a painter and can lay brick/block although I am very slow compared to a mason.
 
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