Your Questions About Concrete Stamps

Robert asks…

What is the normal size of an outdoor patio ? (Not attached to the house)?

I have a fairly large backyard and looking to have lounge chairs, sofa, gazebo, and firepit but would like to have decent walking room.

Also, do you recommend concrete or pavers ?

Thanks

Doug answers:

There is no normal size, it’s what fits your yard and your budget. I would prefer pavers over anything else. Plain concrete has a tendency to crack when poured in large slabs, even with expansion joints,reinforcing wire, and fiber. Stamped concrete is more expensive and requires maintenance to keep it looking fresh. Pavers will last a very long time with no maintenance, and cost a little more than plain concrete, but about half that of stamped concrete.

Richard asks…

How much does it cost to resurface or repave a driveway?

I have a two-car garage in Florida. My driveway is probably 35-feet long by about 10-feet wide. It’s over 30 years old and beat up. How much would it cost to have it resurfaced or repaved?
I have a two-car garage in Florida. My concrete driveway is probably 35-feet long by about 10-feet wide. It’s over 30 years old and beat up. How much would it cost to have it resurfaced or repaved? Homeowners restrictions require concrete.

Doug answers:

Concrete resurfacing is not a terribly difficult project, but for your highly visible and homeowner-restricted driveway, I suggest you hire a local, reputable concrete contractor.

For a plain, gray concrete resurface of < 1" thick, expect to pay about $2 a square foot.

For a really bad or porous existing surface, or for special patterns or colors of stamped concrete, expect to pay between $4 – $8 a square foot.

You can save a lot of money doing some or all of the work yourself. You can at least scrape away the loose material and clean it thoroughly.

Here's an excellent article for more detailed information, as well as some helpful do-it-yourself tips.
Http://ezinearticles.com/?Resurface-Concrete—Dont-Remove-and-Replace-It&id=2086255

Donald asks…

What is the best and cheapest way to make a path from my driveway to my front door, 93 feet away?

93 feet from my driveway to my fron door. Need info on best and most ecdonomical way to make path.

Doug answers:

If you don’t have to worry about it being washed away, small gravel ((approximately 1/2″ size) is the cheapest and fairly durable way. If you have to worry about water runoff washing the gravel, then a layer of large gravel (approx 1″ size or larger) with a top coat of small gravel to make walking easier.

Next in cost is probably stepping stones, concrete or flagstones. One of the most practical and economical walks with a lot of choices in appearance is stamped concrete. We have three walkways that are stamped concrete as well as our patio.

Laura asks…

How can you repair a limestone stoop cap without having to replace it?

It has weathered pit marks that are less than an inch. I wonder if cement (and what kind) would be able to do it.

Doug answers:

You could try concrete product, acid etching, color and stamp it. Should be fairly easy. Good luck

Carol asks…

What is the significance of timber to a civil engineer?

What is the significance of timber to a civil engineer? Why is it important for a civil engineer to know about the properties of timber and its uses?

Doug answers:

Essentially the same as lumber to a civil engineer, the allowable values for stresses are lower because it is harder to find a nice piece of timber, lumber is smaller and easier to get a let’s say clear piece (strictly a clear piece has not knots anywhere), when I say clear here I mean not that knotty, pretty straight.

If you want to get really picky, timber is what we call poles and larger pieces of wood, more commonly used dimensions are called lumber. Availability of timber is an issue and sometimes a size isn’t available, but usually anything larger than 6×6 is timber, including circular poles. You can get some very nice looking, dramatic houses if you pay for the engineering.

We’re still using the NDS and underlying ASTM testing to determine values. If you’ve seen a Gander Mountain store, there is a lot of timber on the outside, for appearance, but nonetheless designed by a structural engineer to stand up to wind, snow, etc.

Timber is also commonly used in Post and Timber construction (an alternate to “stick frame” construction), as well as figuring in to a lot of religious structures in the U.S.

The ASTM testing standards are extremely important to the civil/structural engineer working on wood structures. But they are not very visible at the design level.

X) Offhand, I don’t know the ASTM tests, but you can try asking someone over at the American Wood Council for specifics, awc.org, they have an email, a blog, and a phone number. They’re a great source of information.

X) Massively significant, wood is a grown material, so testing is needed to establish confidence in what loads wood (lumber or timber) can safely support. The National Design Specification (Standard? I forget what S stands for), is released every four years or so, 2005, 2001, 1997, 1994, 1991, etc. It establishes safe stresses for wood design for most structural species (softwood, typically), including Southern Pine, Spruce Pine Fir, and Douglas Fir-Larch (the three most common structural grade species in the US). Since the forest folks are cutting the lumber faster and faster, growing them with chemicals or who knows what, the allowable stress values in lumber tend to decline every four years, meaning if you use old values, you are potentially unsafe. This has to do with the rate of production of the material and the quality of what is being cut down (old growth timber is now quite rare, and that stuff usually gets diverted to furniture or planking that people get to see anyway, not hidden inside a wall at the prices they want to charge for it).

X) As above, you need the testing (the NDS, not individual testing on the wood you’re going to use on a project, it isn’t like concrete where you take batches and test them every time you pour, wood typically doesn’t have testing of material specific to the job), to design properly. The NDS is the critical reference for wood design in the US, the ASTM tests are behind the numbers in the NDS, no testing, no NDS, no wood structures stamped by a civil/structural engineer.

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Your Questions About Concrete Stamps

Susan asks…

What is the difference between a concrete stamp and a skin?

I am looking to buy a stamp for roman slate and all I can find are the skins?

Doug answers:

This web site will give you all the information that you are looking for. The Concrete Network’s Shop Smart Series:
Guide to Buying Stamps and Skins

Thomas asks…

I like to learn how to stamp concrete ?

I want to do my back yard with stamp concrete

Doug answers:

We just had a professional contractor do two walks and a patio for us in stamped concrete. I don’t think you want to try doing this on your own. After watching it being done, I can tell you there is a good deal of art, experience and manpower involved. This is not something you do a few hours here and a few hours there. It all is done at once. Also you will need a set of matched stamps which I suspect you will have a hard time getting.

About the only type of concrete you might do on your own would be scored and stained concrete. You can score the concrete in a tile pattern using a skill saw and a masonry saw. Then the concrete can be stained and sealed.

John asks…

where can I find Decorative Concrete installers in Puerto Rico?

I need someone to install stamped concrete on floors, walls & BBQ.

Doug answers:

Yellow pages?

Ken asks…

How do pavers compare with patterned or stamped concrete?

Which is better for my pool deck?

Doug answers:

Patterned concrete pavements are merely slabs of concrete that are embossed with a pattern. Therefore, they are prone to the same problems with freeze/thaw cycles, namely cracking and spalling. Pavers won’t crack or spall. Stamped concrete requires expansion joints every 10 feet or so, which are very distracting in some patterns. Also, unlike pavers, patterned concrete pavements don’t allow access to underground utilities or the ability to make repairs. At virtually the same price per square foot installed, pavers are clearly a superior choice.

William asks…

I have round concrete steps and I want to tile around the edge, what is the best way to do this?

I was wondering if I could go back over the edge with some more concrete and stamp it.

Doug answers:

Are you refering to tiling the riser or the edge of the tread portion of the step?

One thing you could consider in either option would be using a tile with a bullnose edge. This will wrap back to the concrete step and leave a nicer finished edge.

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Your Questions About Cost Concrete Patio

Richard asks…

10 x 19 concrete patio behind the house total cost $2500, sound like a reasonable price?

includes all labor, equipment, material cost.

Doug answers:

Thats about right, Tell them you want a 4″ slab with #3 rebar @ 24″o.c. And a compacted base And expansion joints on a 45 degree angle ( 4′ or 5′) It will look somewhat custom, they might not want to do the joints but it’s so small they should, I would throw them in at that price

Maria asks…

I need a contractor and rates in central Mississippi for concrete?

I am looking for a contractor in central Mississippi to lay down concrete for a patio in my backyard. I would like concrete to be covering a 20 X 20ft area. I would like to know an estimate for the cost for the contractor and rates for the area of concrete. Thank you!

Doug answers:

Hi MPC

Rates for concrete work vary depending on how busy the contractors may be and how close you are to a plant.

Your best bet is to get 3 concrete men to come and give you an estimate for the job. Choose the best one based on price ability.

NOTE! Do not pay them anything in advance. Pay them when the job is completed and not a penny before. If he is so desperate for money he can’t complete such a small job without a draw, you need a different contractor.

I hope this helps

Johnny

John asks…

Geomerty Help please?

Concrete can be purchased by the cubic yard. How much will it cost to pour a slab 11 feet by 11 feet by 3 inches for a patio if the concrete costs $63.00 per cubic yard?

Doug answers:

Hello, you have about 1.5 cy, if you planning go order the cement from a batch they will charge you whats called a short load, that price will include environmental fee, delivery charge, taxes in the end it will coast about $300 more or less, don’t forget you’ll need a pump to pump the concrete to the working area.
Let me know if you have any questions.

James asks…

Advice on Laying Patio Stones?

Hello. Right now i am laying patio stones in my backyard and I have a few issues I was hoping you guys could help me with. First of all, my backyard is about half concrete (from the door outward) and the other half is dirt. I’m basically wanting to cover the ENTIRE dirt part with pavers. The pavers are just a little more than 1 inch thick and so far i’ve removed about 1.5 inches of dirt giving me about a 3-3.5 inch depth compared to the concrete part. I know a lot of professionals say you should started with some kind of thick crushed rock/gravel base, but I realized that if I did this, I’d have to remove a lot more dirt than I already have (which is A LOT) and it would cost more, so I’m pretty much just using a completely sand base. Now, the main problem I’m worried about now is that there are gophers in the dirt part and I was wondering if I should totally kill them off so that they don’t dig up under the stones making it uneven. Also, I was wondering if putting down a layer/layers of weed blocker before the sand makes sense or would a thick layer of sand be enough to stop most weeds and grass.
Thanks in advance!

Doug answers:

Regular treatment with insecticide will kill of the prey for gophers and moles.
Weed barriers tend to rot after a few years and are not cost efficient. Herbicide is the answer to the weed problem.
A thick layer of sand will do very well, but without a tie down strip you’ll end up with the blocks drifting, eventually. Still, not a hard fix with a good pry bar every year or so.

Jenny asks…

Advice on Laying Patio Stones?

Hello. Right now i am laying patio stones in my backyard and I have a few issues I was hoping you guys could help me with. First of all, my backyard is about half concrete (from the door outward) and the other half is dirt. I’m basically wanting to cover the ENTIRE dirt part with pavers. The pavers are just a little more than 1 inch thick and so far i’ve removed about 1.5 inches of dirt giving me about a 3-3.5 inch depth compared to the concrete part. I know a lot of professionals say you should started with some kind of thick crushed rock/gravel base, but I realized that if I did this, I’d have to remove a lot more dirt than I already have (which is A LOT) and it would cost more, so I’m pretty much just using a completely sand base. Now, the main problem I’m worried about now is that there are gophers in the dirt part and I was wondering if I should totally kill them off so that they don’t dig up under the stones making it uneven. Also, I was wondering if putting down a layer/layers of weed blocker before the sand makes sense or would a thick layer of sand be enough to stop most weeds and grass.
Thanks in advance!

Doug answers:

You want 4 inch. Sand, then it has to be tamp or at least packed so it is fairly firm. Sand has to be as firm as possible. Then you have to secrete it so it is flat and smooth like a table top. Place the paving stones tightly together using a rubber mallet to place and snug them is a good idea. As for the gophers stick some rocks and sand in the holes and bary them. If you need to cut the blocks rent a guillotine block cutter to break them accurately this is a safe tool to use then sweep fine sand over finished project and sweep off so all fine spaces are filled

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