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Old 03-24-2009, 09:33 AM   #1
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Need some help picking a contractor.


I fancy myself to be quite the handyperson but a concrete driveway is not something I want to tackle in my city due to the hoops they would make me jump through.

Anyway, our house was built in the 1960's and it appears that when it was built they put down two strips of concrete for a car to park on the closest of which being 3 feet from the house and running about 40 feet long. Over time it seems that a pour was made in the center for whatever reason and then a third pour was made against the strip farthest from the house that is about 2 feet wide and maybe 30 feet long. All of this is now catywampus and none of it is level so I cant even change my own oil in my own driveway! We also have to jostle our two cars if one has to leave before the other and the cars werent parked correctly the night before. We also wanted to put up a fence for our dog and where the driveway sits now would cause uneven spans in the type of fence I was planning to use.

So, what needs to be removed is the whole of the driveway, a small sidewalk to the front door off of the driveway that is cracked and kinda out of place, and a set of steps (2 high) to the side door of the house directly connected to the driveway that have broken off and are now tilted back against the basement wall.

(excuse the MS Paint drawing)

I decided I would go out with my flags and at least mark out an area in the yard and test driving my car and my wifes car onto it to make sure it was wide enough to park two cars side by side. What I ended up with is a driveway that starts 7 feet from the edge of the house and at its widest is 18'x16' then from the apron (10') it flares out over 16 feet to meet up with the 18'. The apron is also getting moved over about 2 feet which means part of the curb has to be re-poured. A 10' portion of the pedestrian sidewalk must also be replaced due to code issues. All we want put back is a new driveway, I will be handling the front walk and back step on my own, most likely with pavers (I've laid hardscapes for over 6 years).

(again, excuse the crappy MS Paint drawing)

As luck would have it the day I was flagging I had a contractor driving through the neighborhood who was stopping at houses and took my measurments. He came back yesterday and his bid was not very in depth as far as materials or the type of concrete he would pour but it will cost us $4700 to remove the old drive and put in the new one to my measurments. They have financing.

The second contractor will remove all the stuff I want removed (and this is where it gets tricky) and install the new driveway for $2995. Payment is due on completion.

His bid looks like this:

Concrete 4" thick
Double reinforcement
-10 Gauge mesh/fiber
-Class C Mix (Someone care to explain this, Ive searched everywhere)
-Tamp Base
-Expansion/ Control Joints
Cleanup

Our third bid was from a guy who rolled up in a pickup covered in concrete spatter looking like Joe Dirt and had a million tools in the back (first impression was not so good). His cost for the same project is $6254. Payment is half down, and half on competion .

His bid looks like this:

Remove concrete and soil (837 sq ft)
Cut curb to make new approach
Form and pour approx 513 sq ft fo 4" driveway with six bag, air entrained redi mix w/ 6x6x10 gauge wire reinforcing (broom finish)
Form an pour approx 120 sq ft of 6" city sidewalk & apron with 6 bag mix, air entrained redi mix concrete
Supply and install all expansion joints & control joints
Spray apply cure and seal all new concrete
Remove existing steps and sidewalk

Im not sure what is up with the last guys numbers unless he thinks we dont have money (wife is in grad school but I have a ton saved up from farming in high school) and just wanted to get it over with.

Anyway, for someone who only plans on living at the house for another 5 - 10 years who would you choose? And could someone explain the 6 bag vs Class C mix? We wont be parking tanks or large vehicles on it so as long as it holds up to some parked cars Ill be happy!

Thanks for reading that long winded post!


Last edited by khellendrosXS; 03-24-2009 at 09:55 AM. Reason: Added pictures
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Old 03-24-2009, 09:59 AM   #2
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Need some help picking a contractor.


You need to make sure you're getting apples to apples bids, and right now I don't see it.

6 bag mix is 6 bags of Portland cement per cubic yard of mix, which is pretty normal for the stuff we do (alley ways in chemical plants, etc).

Class C mix sounds like a DOT spec. Different ratios of components (cement, sand, aggregate, etc).

If it were me and this was my driveway, I would make sure I wrote out exactly what I wanted, give it to these 3 guys again, and have them confirm in writing that was what I was getting. But I know the trade (we do pours regularly). I'm a little pressed for time today, but if I have time tonight I'll try to write something up and you confirm it.

Also, what state are you in, and can you sketch the plan view of what you want out and somehow get it to me. I have a couple hundred concrete scopes of work on my laptop. I can put one together in about 20 minutes if you get me your location and a sketch of what you want done. I can't help you design anything (my license is good for NJ only), but helping you write a scope for what you want is ok.

Scratch that, I see you just posted sketches. Let me know your location.

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Old 03-24-2009, 10:02 AM   #3
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Need some help picking a contractor.


I guarantee you that you're going to have to run this by the zoning department. You're adding more impervious area to your property.

Also, it looks like you're widening your "curb cut", which is the opening in the curbing for your driveway. You're going to want to call the town and ask about a zoning permit to do this.
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Old 03-24-2009, 10:15 AM   #4
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Need some help picking a contractor.


Aggie,

Thanks for the quick replys. We live in Toledo, Ohio and it is my understanding that the contractors are required by the city to take care of securing permits for this work. As for zoning, the city could give a crap as long as you paid for the permits to do the work. We have a house down the block that is mostly concrete in their yard, and of course my drawings are not to scale. Heck, some houses have nothing but concrete in their back yards leading to a 2 car garage with a strip running down the one side of the house. Im also not too concerned because there are at least 5 houses on the block with this same layout and a garage in addition to the added concrete, but I thank you for at least pointing that out.

-edit-

As for the second and third bids while they arent broken down the same on paper I was assured of the work that was going to be performed (verbally) was exactly the same, the only differences I could spot were the types of concrete they planned to pour. The contractor with the $3000 bid actually has the dimensions drawn out on his bid sheet so I know its what I want. The $6200 bid guy just listed his measurements but they add up to what the total area would be. The first guy just sat down and added the square footage of the removal and the subsequent installation to arrive with his number, no specs whatsoever except to say they havent had a BBB compalaint in 6 years. I would assume that a DOT spec crete would be fine for a driveway? If its good for road use it should be fine for parking (or maybe I have no idea)?

Last edited by khellendrosXS; 03-24-2009 at 10:24 AM.
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Old 03-25-2009, 12:31 PM   #5
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Need some help picking a contractor.


Anyone else at least care to comment?
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