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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2019
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    4

    Angry Concrete Patio Cracked Almost Immediately After Being Poured

    My question involves a consumer law issue in the State of: Mississippi - City of Olive Branch
    Two weeks ago I hired a contractor (and he sub-contracted) to pour a concrete patio on the back of my house. Long story short:
    - We requested redwood expansion joints, got the cheapest knotty pine available (didn't remember our conversation)
    - You can no longer see the nice brown dye (at cost of $380) we had pre-mixed as it has all turned grey (excuse is too much water in the mix)
    - Their finish work was of poor quality (we just expected perfection)
    - They placed the wire mesh on the ground and then walked on it while pouring, some was actually under the sand base (says it's supposed to be that way)
    - We have a growing crack up and across the face of the pour directly between joints (not a big deal)
    - On expansion joint is cracked through to the ground on the end
    - When I did a a rain test the water pooled and actually ran toward the house, no drainage at all (says it was my fault because I only wanted 1/4" slope)
    - That cracked expansion joint - you can now see water wicking through the boards all along two edges of it
    Last but not least - their crew dumped their waste concrete and washed out their buckets in the back corner of my yard, so now my fence is concreted to a cinder block and a fish tank stand....

    Yes I paid them but at that time we were just haggling about the color - everything else started to manifest in the following week. What are my options - the job is now 10-days old?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Posts
    38,532

    Default Re: Patio Disaster

    The difference in the wood: hard to prove if it isn’t in writing. I am curious though. How thick is the slab and how tall was the lumber used?

    The color issue: who mixed the concrete?

    The dump spot: that ones easy: call them and tell them to clean it up and restore any damages to pre dump condition

    the improper mesh: could be a real problem. Given it’s supposed to be Midpoint or above, it simply not perform as expected if it is too deep, or outside of the pour.

    Was this a permitted and inspected job?

    the growing crack: that is what the mesh is intended to help prevent.

    the poor finish work: depends on what you are actually referring to.

    The slope: your building department may have a requirement for that. Other than that, you say you specified a 1/4” slope. Do you mean per foot?

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2019
    Posts
    4

    Default Re: Patio Disaster

    Thanks for the quick response JK!
    It's a 6" slab and 1x4 joint boards
    The color was mixed on site - I believe Solomon dye - 1 bag per yard to spec and thoroughly mixed
    No permit required here, unfortunately
    Finish work: Nicks, dings, broom marks not consistent/wavy, spots, humps along the outside where the form support posts were and they had to go over them, ridges etc.
    Slope: We discussed at 1/4" per foot
    The problem is the contractor will not even listen to any blame on the sub at all. The loss of color was likely from excessive wet brooming, we watched them did the broom and sling it on the pad (and they were even nice enough to leave the bucket here)

    Is it customary to apply a stucco finish around the outside after the forms are taken off? That's what this guy did and I've already got one popout and I'm sure it will flake as soon as winter hits and water gets in the cracks.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Posts
    38,532

    Default Re: Patio Disaster

    If concrete was mixed onsite and it was too wet, well, it seems like he was calling himself incompetent.

    but even worse: concrete that is too wet also is too fluid to produce a good installation. Too much water equals additional slump equals weaker than designed concrete. It also causes more shrinkage which, as it appears you are finding out, creates cracks. It’s probably pointless to ask but did the installer check the slump of the concrete prior to pouring the slab? I suspect not.


    At this point I suggest speaking with some concrete pros in your area. The install may not even be good enough to leave in place. Too many poor installation issues in my mind. Be cautious of the guys saying whatever it takes to get the job of replacing it. I would try to talk to as many different sources as possible and use the information to find somewhat of a consensus on the matter. If you have a ready mix company in your area you might try to chat with them. They are typically a wealth of knowledge.

    If you have a building department, a chat with those folks may give you a lot of info as well.

    part of the problem: you can’t fix things like too soft of a mix or improperly installed mesh. It requires a complete do over. If it was only the wood separators and clean up, the story would be different.


    Btw: 1/4 per foot appears to be quite acceptable for the slope. In checking on that I ran across a forum where one of the posters added (sarcastically) based on the installs I’ve seen, that’s 1/4” per foot towards the house.

    It appears you are not alone regarding bad concrete installers.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2018
    Posts
    1,290

    Default Re: Patio Disaster

    I'm not entirely sure I understand your question. If you can't convince the contractor to correct or replace the things you don't like, your recourse is to sue. Did you not know that?

    Some cities in Mississippi require contractors to be bonded. If you're in one of those cities, I suggest you look into whether the contractor was, in fact, bonded.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2019
    Posts
    4

    Default Re: Patio Disaster

    Currently the contractor refuses to address the wire mesh installation (or lack thereof) and is proposing either a French drain across the slab surface (flatly refused) or a cap to remedy the slope issue. Since he's not addressing the improper wire mesh installation (laid on top of fill sand) I'm not sure a cap of any nature will be a long term fix if the pad beneath starts to crack.
    I believe I have the right to refuse any fix that doesn't meet the contract stipulations (or code) and insist on a full remedy. My question is that if I end up suing my choice would be to either remove and replacement, or remove and refund. In an instance like this are we stuck in small claims court or can we go past that given the scope of the required remedy?
    I know you're probably not a lawyer so I'm hoping for just best recommendations based off experience.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Posts
    38,532

    Default Re: Patio Disaster

    You’re correct I’m not a lawyer


    I’m also not a concrete guy but have worked in the construction industry for 25+ years so I’ve seen some things and some stuff (personal inside joke). I’ve had discussions with the various trades and have learned a lot.


    A cap is going to raise the level of the pad. I doubt making the cap thick enough to be beneficial would be acceptable. Even then it would require other means to strengthen the overall construct to prevent cracks from the base being transmitted to the cap. A thin cap not only would not provide a remedy for the issues with the pad, it would bring on its own issues such as cracking and premature failure. Concrete doesn’t work well in thin lawyers. It isn’t meant to be thin as it has little strengthen of its own. It depends on mass and added reinforcement for strength.

    A french drain can be a great idea and prevent water issues at the associated building if placed properly but it does nothing to address the structural issues of improperly placed mesh.

    I don’t see much of a solution short of removing and replacing. Again I suggest you have back up testimony from concrete experts, or at least other contractors (not implying they can’t be experts but experts can be people other than installation contractors and obviously not all installers are experts on the topic)

    you can file an action in whatever court is appropriate. For most people, for anything behind small claims court would require the aid of a lawyer. Costs of that lawyer are generally not recoverable. If your claim exceeds small claims limits, you can still file in small claims court but your award would be limited to the small claims cap.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Posts
    16,868

    Default Re: Concrete Patio Cracked Almost Immediately After Being Poured

    Quote Quoting Dale Peay
    View Post
    Two weeks ago I hired a contractor (and he sub-contracted) to pour a concrete patio on the back of my house.
    This hasn't been covered yet.

    Were these contractors licensed and bonded?

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Posts
    38,532

    Default Re: Concrete Patio Cracked Almost Immediately After Being Poured

    Quote Quoting adjusterjack
    View Post
    This hasn't been covered yet.

    Were these contractors licensed and bonded?
    What hasn’t been covered yet? Ops contract and action is with the entity he contracted with. The original contracting parties are bound to the contract unless the contract has actually been assigned to a third party by either of the two original parties

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2019
    Posts
    4

    Default Re: Patio Disaster

    Thanks for the response. I'm reaching out to a concrete leveling company that may be a cost-effective option. I guess we'll see - what a mess.

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