Driveway problem -- laying the entire driveway again..not happy!!


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Old 06-18-14, 03:35 PM
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Question Driveway problem -- laying the entire driveway again..not happy!!

Long story short....laid my driveway (~900 sq. ft) last year this time. i had some MAJOR spalling on the driveway....after 6 months of arguing with the contractor, he agreed to redo the whole work. He literally JUST left my house having finished the driveway (minus the apron) and i'm NOT happy. I think he was unprepared and understaffed (5 people total), or didn't know what the hell he was doing. the driveway is not smooth...has small bumps and valleys....and overall looks tacky!
The concrete was getting hard faster than he could finish....i think.

take a look at this video from about an hour ago....they're "finishing it up". is this normal???????

vid #1: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HUul4v7VGc4

vid #2: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BoSNGq9IK-E
 
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Old 06-18-14, 04:04 PM
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It looks like the concrete has taken its initial set while they were still trying to work it. Take a look at the batch plant ticket--it should tell you what time the truck was loaded, and most mixes can be worked for at least an hour following that time. If there are mitigating circumstances, such as a hot load, or dry/windy conditions, or an accelerator having been added (not usually done this time of year), the workability time will be decreased. Don't be surprised if more spalling and scaling show up again, as that's often the result of water being used as an aid to finishing the surface.

It looks like you're stuck with the job, as the contractor isn't likely to pull it all up again and replace it a third time. Did you happen to choose the lowest bid of all the quotes?
 
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Old 06-18-14, 04:58 PM
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This contractor did work for us 6 years ago. He also laid the foundation for my parents' house.
I asked him if it'll spall again and he said no way....you can see me ask him in the video if 'this is normal' and he says yes. i'm weeping as i watch videos on youtube of how it 'should' be done. smooth...quick.....perfect.
i'm so upset already and it hasn't even been a day. he's coming tomorrow to do the apron and clean up.
on one hand, i want to tell him stop work, i'm taking you to court (cause i know you're right. he won't do the work a third time....and even if he does, he'll F it up again like the first two times.)
on the other hand, i don't want to be left with Crap on my currently marked up and screwed up apron.

I think i'm going to let him finish it all up, and then tell him i'm not happy. i'll ask for my money back or a redo (???) which he will of course refuse.....at which point, i'll start court procedures.

THIS SUCKS!
 
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Old 06-18-14, 07:17 PM
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if that's all the help on the job, they were short-handed, too,,, vibrating screed would've made much quicker work of the job,,, don't see many residential guys using them, tho,,, somehow being short-handed is always less expensive, i guess,,, that's why finishers often ' bless ' their work
 
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Old 06-18-14, 08:24 PM
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Typical private contractor work. There should have been an experienced contract inspector there to monitor the work, and reject anything that's not done in accordance with specifications. And FWIW, "blessing the surface" with additional water, done by all contractors if no one is there to tell them not to, increases the water/cement ratio in the top 1/4" or so, which ruins the concrete's durability. And which is where you can count on more scaling and spalling to occur. I've lost count of the number of full water buckets I've thrown over the side of bridge deck placements over the last 40 years, even a few of which with finishing tools still in them--it's the only way some dense contractors learn the meaning of the words "No Added Water!"

Also, anytime someone says having 5 people on a 900 S.F. concrete placement isn't enough help, he must be employing too many grunts and not enough skilled concrete people. In my working days, I've placed and finished several 500 S.F. pours without any help of any kind, other than the ready mix driver manning the chute.
 

Last edited by BridgeMan45; 06-18-14 at 08:42 PM.
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Old 06-19-14, 03:40 AM
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As bridgeman said, it's more about the finisher's skill level and willingness to work than the amount of help. I once saw a contractor pour and finish 2 truck loads of concrete by himself [his crew didn't show up] I felt sorry for the guy, he worked non stop until the job was finished. I'm a painter not a concrete finisher but the job looked good to me. I don't think any extra water was added but I was busy painting
 
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Old 06-19-14, 05:50 PM
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Thank you everyone.
Attached is a pic from right after they were 'done'! (click on pic to see full size picture)

I'm very upset and i keep looking at the youtube videos of other jobs people are displaying, and i see how it 'should' have been done.

The first time they did this, last year, the didn't check the weather, and in the middle of doing the apron (oh, and they did the apron FIRST! how stupid is that???) it started raining cats and dogs. it ruined the apron by discoloring it due to the mud overrun!
This time, i told him the day before...hey have you checked the weather? it says it'll be sunny and 98! isn't that too hot? he said no, it's good.

and here we are....i'm stuck cause i don't want to say anything right now (although i did tell him already that there are uneven spots and he said let's look at it tomorrow and see how it looks).....because i'm afraid he might just pick up and go. at the same time, i don't think i can live with this....AGAIN!!!!!

This has been nothing but headache and trouble!




screen cap


free photo hosting

 
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Old 06-19-14, 06:20 PM
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Here's another video you might find interesting......

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MooaKGALw6A
 
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Old 06-19-14, 07:19 PM
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i like the tres amigos
 
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Old 06-19-14, 08:58 PM
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I think you may do well to just live with what you have, despite all of the surface flaws and bird-baths that are visible. You will have a very difficult time in small claims court, trying to prove the contractor didn't live up to the terms of the contract. If you do go that route, at least take some measurements using a 10' straight-edge, and note the locations where surface deviations greater than 1/8" (high or low) are present. If no formal curing was placed or applied, it only worsens potential performance problems.

Don't be a bit surprised when transverse cracks develop before too long--they placed a nice grooved longitudinal joint at the width midpoint, but there appear to be long expanses without any transverse joints in the other direction (unless they're just outside of the photos' view). Concrete shrinks as it cures, especially as it cools from having been placed at almost 100 degrees F. Most government specifications don't allow concrete placement when ambient temps are greater than 90 degrees F., but private work is usually a different story. The ACI should have some placement guidelines you could use to bolster your arguments in court.
 
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Old 06-19-14, 09:43 PM
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A few more comments after having just now looked at the most recent video:

1. The welded wire mesh reinforcement looks to have just been placed on the grade, instead of being supported with bar chairs or dobies, such that it's located within the slab instead of on the bottom of it. Doing absolutely no good where it's at, which means you paid for steel reinforcing but really don't have any.

2. That's a very wide placement, but I didn't see any indications of using a false form down the middle for striking off and to establish grade. Nor did I see any use of a bull float with handle extensions, or even a darby, which is also unusual. Good placements can be done with skilled hand floating, under the right conditions, but for wide pours at close to 100 degrees F. it's next to impossible to achieve satisfactory placements having true finished grade.

3. I still don't see any transverse control joints, both in the driveway and even the narrower sidewalk leading around the side of the garage. Unless he came back later and sawcut some transverse joints, you will have uncontrolled cracks developing, along with their associated problems.

4. Concrete placed in "layers," where the bottom layer has taken its initial set before more fluid concrete (he did add water to the truck, evidenced by the noise of the mixing revs) is placed on top of it (without any spading to work the fresh material into the underlying, semi-hardened material), is never a good practice. Horizontal cold joints are often the result, and may not show up until after a year or two of service.

I realize I'm just a lazy ex-DOT engineer making these comments (but with more than 40 years of concrete construction experience, both professionally and as an avocation), so you can take them for what they're worth. But I'd also like to retract my earlier statement, and think you have enough documentation with the pix and videos to make a valid claim in small claims court. Whatever you do, don't give this guy another chance to screw up--get at least 3 quotes from reputable contractors who truly know concrete, and use the average of them as a basis of your monetary court claim.
 

Last edited by BridgeMan45; 06-19-14 at 10:01 PM.
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Old 06-20-14, 12:50 PM
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....annnnnnd he's digging it all back up and re-pouring on Monday! I don't now if i should be happy or terrified!
 
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Old 06-20-14, 05:09 PM
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You are definitely more of a gambler than I am. How likely is it that the job will be done properly, after showing you twice already that he's incapable of doing quality work? Just make sure to take lots of pix and videos (again), for the impending small claims court proceedings. And also remember to ask him how he's curing it, and how many transverse control joints he'll be installing, and how far above the gravel base the wire mesh will be placed.
 
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Old 06-20-14, 06:03 PM
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Can you please explain what you mean in each of the below?

- ask him how he's curing it? (i've seen in videos that contractors spray sealant 'right after' they broom the driveway. I've also read that you have to seal 5-7 after the job is done....once the concrete is cured.

- how far above the gravel base the wire mesh will be placed


What do the above bullets mean?
 
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Old 06-20-14, 08:17 PM
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"Curing concrete" is the term for describing the method used to prevent premature moisture loss (needed for cement particle hydration) from happening. It should be done immediately after initial set, or even before if done carefully, and is usually done by spraying a liquid curing compound on the soft concrete. Keeping it wet with a water fog-spray, and covering with plastic or visquine, are also options. During warmer, windier conditions, excess moisture loss can cause a significant reduction in concrete strength and durability, and also increases the potential for map-cracking on the surface. Contrary to what many people think, concrete continues to cure and gain strength for many years, and it's been proven in laboratories that concrete that's 50 years old will be stronger than that from the same batch which is just 40 years old (provided a source of hydration moisture is available). If your contractor gives you a funny look when asked about curing, it's just additional evidence that he doesn't know concrete. But he really should consider investing in a bull float with handles, along with a walking edger and groover--there's even a brass grooving attachment that fits right on the bull float, eliminating doing it by hand along a 2 x 4 and then having to hand-float out the resulting depressions.

The mesh should have at least 1-1/2" of concrete under it to properly reinforce the slab. As I mentioned earlier, laying it on the grade and pouring concrete on top of it does absolutely nothing to strengthen the slab. If he tries to tell you his boys pull the mesh up with claw hammers during the pour, that's a very poor practice (if it gets pulled too high, he'll never get it back down), and just another smoke screen to hide the fact that he doesn't really know concrete, by normally just laying it on the base grade unless questioned.

You never answered my earlier question--was his the lowest bid you received?
 
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Old 06-21-14, 03:06 AM
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iirc correctly, aci specs 2" of conc ' cover ' above AND below any steel,,, it also sez wire mesh must be placed @ the vert mid-point +/- 5% - for a 4" d/w, that's .2",,, when conc jabonies finish trampling thru the mud, what're the chances it'll be there when conc's placed by hand ? in my experience ( admittedly i'm only a dumb contractor ) & aci's view, mesh ONLY adds tension strength to conc when in its ' green ' state - not plastic or hard,,, after the conc cures, it adds a large pita factor when removing the work,,, better the job has a good jnt pattern than mesh.

same w/rebar - it adds NO compressive strength + it still needs the same ' cover ',,, it will add flexural strength which' why we add 2 or 3 mats of steel to bdge decks for instance.

typically, after the bleedwater's come out of the conc, the surface is ' broomed ' & a curing compound applied by spraying,,, this reduces the hydration rate & promotes slower curing thereby resulting in stronger conc

jnt pattern - a formed longitudinal jnt's fine but aci recommends ea clab be no more than 19 x slab thickness by inches expressed in feet - eg, 4" thickness X 19 = 76 or 7'6",,, more importantly, conc likes to be square - if your jnt pattern doesn't allow that, it will often crack by itself as a result of tension forces,,, smaller slab dimensions are better than large to reduce the danger of random cracking

placing conc in layers is often done for hgwy const where there's a ' paving train ' - lead by a placer, followed by a screen or mesh cart, finisher, transverse tining bridge, & a curing spray bdge to complete the train,,, diamond saws are next but can often be delayed from 3 to 8hrs,,, jnts are sawed when the conc sez, not specs so there's not a spec mentioning time other than ' when / as possible '

never saw 2level placement done on a d/w, tho
 
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Old 06-21-14, 05:19 AM
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I just watched the 4th video and there is no sense of urgency. I wouldn't let these guys pour a pad for my dog. Somebody needs to teach these guys how to pour concrete. Outdated tools, a fresno with a jointer on it is so much faster and does a better job than a old brass jointer. The finishers are very slow, that is why they lose the slab.
 
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Old 06-21-14, 07:04 AM
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I didn't really shop around since this guy was 'my concrete guy'....had done work for me before doing our basement; had done the foundation for my parents' house; had done my parents' driveway and patio area.....no issues before.....
so when he gave me an estimate that was very good compared to how much my neighbors had spent on their driveways, i went with it.
 
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Old 06-29-14, 10:08 AM
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So tell us, Sam, was the third time indeed a charm? I suspect you would have posted more pix if it hadn't been done to your satisfaction, right?
 
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Old 07-20-14, 03:41 PM
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Not sure where you ended up going with this, but I would take it to court if you have to. There was no need to "look at it tomorrow". Concrete does not magically finish itself correctly overnight.

These guys had zero ide what they were doing, total hack work. Maybe they bit off more than they could chew by pouring it all at once?

Hopefully you took it to court. I have no idea if it is even possible, but I would have asked for the full money back plus the cost to remove the crap they poured. Then hire a competent person.

That concrete truck driver must have been shaking his head.
 
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Old 07-21-14, 04:36 AM
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iirc, according to aci specs, welded wire mesh must be placed at the vertical midpoint of the work ( 4" slab = 2" ) the spec does allow for +/- 5% ( .1" ),,, you can readily understand how any jabonies trampling thru the ' mud ' can't possibly put it in the right place,,, for ANY reinforcement to be properly placed, aci recommends 2" of conc cover - top AND bottom so, to be in compliance, the minimum thickness would be 4 1/4" thick.

welded wire mesh ONLY adds strength while the conc's taking its initial ' set ' ( in its ' green ' stage ),,, after that period passes, the only thing it does is make tearing out the conc a LARGE pita adding steel rebar doesn't make conc gain a higher compressive strength however it WILL add flexural strength - that's why bdge decks have mats of steel
 
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Old 07-22-14, 11:35 AM
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Despite some people's dislike of mesh and reinforcing steel, one thing not mentioned very much is the shear resistance steel provides. Most unreinforced concrete has an allowable shear strength of just 100 PSI, which is many times smaller than its compressive strength. In large concrete flatwork placements where settlement voids often occur underneath the slabs, shear cracking can be avoided by placement of reinforcing steel or mesh in the slab to compensate for its (otherwise) low shear resistance ability. Mesh and rebar will also stabilize slabs where cracking has already occurred by preventing the cracks from getting wider and minimizing the chance for differential vertical displacement (settling) between expanses of adjacent cracked concrete.
 
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Old 07-23-14, 04:10 AM
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good point, bdge, & 1 that's often overlooked,,, its not only for load transfer from 1 slab to another all that being said, we rarely use it in d/w's / slabs unless spec'd,,, same w/vapor barriers on ext slabs
 
 

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