Tips and suggestion that can help the homeowner understands if the contractor has done a good job.
Most often the homeowner fail to asked the contractor to sign a written contract before the work begins.
As a former mixer, my job was to mix concrete to local & large size contractors. Home owners who might be planning to repair their side walk, drive ways, back yard & basements, this information is for you to know. As a former mixer, I can help you the home owner understands a few key components about the work done by the contractor you have hired to do the job. Knowing what these key components are, you’ll be able to detect from the start if a job is not being performed to your satisfaction.
First, you must be cautious about the contract you signed to have this work done. You should know that the contract you signed, most often is referred to as a bilateral contract. In this case, the home owner promised to pay the contractor X amount of money to repair his driveway, side walk, back yard or whatever it maybe. And considering the price and capacity of the job, the contractor may accept the offer. If the contractor accepts, you’re now engage in a bilateral contract with the local contractor. In this situation, this contract is said to be a binding contract because all the requirements that is necessary to make it so are present.
However, most often the homeowner failed to ask the contractor to sign a written contract before the work begins. In this particular case, the offer is known as an implied contract, this type of contract although it is equally enforceable as a bilateral contract; it's harder to dispute it in the courts of law. The main different between bilateral and implied contract are merely the manner in which the parties manifest assent. Assent is the act of agreeing to something after thoughtful consideration.
Therefore, homeowners must make sure that they "execute" or sign a bilateral contract. All subjects that are part of the job must be included within the writing contract; otherwise once the contractor received most of the payments, they can easily excuse themselves from the obligation. They often tell the homeowner that this or that was not part of deal. Until all work assigned under the contract is executed, the contract is said to be in its "executory" stage. However, if you're told by your contractor after making your paying, that they're not responsible for a particular project, even if it was not written in the contract you should not let slip by. They do that occasionally, especially if they have another job line up or the contractor miscalculated the capacity of the job and realized that his been under paid.
Concrete prepared for foundations are much thicker in concentration than most common jobs.
Now, with that in mind, learn a few tips of the trade so that you don’t get rip-off completely. You should know that the concrete floor that embraces your drive way, back yard or side walk is composed with four main ingredients. And there are: 1) Cements 2) Sands 3) Stones & Water. They maybe additional options but that will depends on quality, design and the nature of the work involve. Nonetheless, the mixture of these four ingredients creates the hard concrete floor that prevents mud and dirt from collecting in your back yard or driveway pavement.
Depending on the job and equipments being used to retrieve the concrete will determine the grade of the mixture. As a home owner, it’s not necessary that you know all the different grades by which the mixer mixes the load but what’s important to know is what comprises a good mix for the type of work you seek.
There are different conditions that can effect how those ingredients are mix but no matter what the conditions are, your work should not suffer as a result of it. Good quality work is what you the homeowner pay for and looks forward to. The mixer will mix according to contractor’s satisfaction; the problem though is that some contractors don’t know the basic concept in laying out concrete. They’re farting higher than their noses can smell. Meaning they're taking work that is beyond their capability and most often cannot finish them. That happens frequently in the construction industry.
the composition of concrete varies depending on the job it is being use for.
The conditions that effects how a load of sand, stone & cements are mix together with water are as follow: 1)The nature of the job, 2) temperature 3) weather conditions 4) the equipment that is being used to retrieve the mix & 4) time. Time is a factor because the longer it takes for the contractor to retrieve the mix from the truck barrel, the hotter the mix gets and the harder it becomes to work with. Especially on a hot day, the mix can get very hot in that barrel. Taking into account that the mixer must keep the concrete in motion to help prevent it from forming meatballs, the possibility for it to heats up under high temperature is likely. For that reason, the faster the contractor retrieves the cement the better the concrete will hold.
Any mixture that reaches a temperature above 100 degree Fahrenheit should not be used, except perhaps in extreme cold conditions where water, sand and broken stones are heated up so that when they mix together with cements to be poured, the temperature is below 100 degree. In cold temperature, it is common for the plants that load the barrel to add salt into the water. This is done to prevent concrete from hardened but for this practice to serve its purpose, the temperature must not be too low (below 0) otherwise they will be lumps and frost in the mix. The salt is added to the water so that it lowers the water’s freezing point in extremely cold temperature but it does not keep it warm.As a home owner, you’re not aware of all these conditions so therefore they don’t concern you. However, it is until the job is complete, 2-3 months later that you realized the new laid concrete has starting to crack. That raises suspicion, you try calling the contractor back, you can reach him, when you finally got him he tells you he’s not responsible. Since they were no written contract, it’s now his words against yours. So he changes the terms and conditions applied in the oral contract, making it harder for you to beat the case. You should always make sure you have a bidding written contract before you hands out any money. As a mixer, we won’t even mix a load for a contractor without getting our money first, less off drop it and we deal with them on a daily basis
If a pump is used, the concentration of the mix will be degraded but that also depends on the diameter of the tubes.
Weather conditions can affect a contractor’s job performance. For instant if the temperature is too hot or it suddenly started to rain. If it's too hot, it maybe required that the mixer mix the concrete to a lower grade. In this case the higher the number the lower the concentration of the mix. When water is added in a mix, it increases the volume and decreases the temperature of the mix; it does not improve the concentration. As a matter of fact, the less water in a mixture the stronger the concentration, but without water they is no concrete. Therefore, we can say water is the main ingredient which links sands, stones, cements together for these products to be useful.
However, if the job requires that the contractor pours the concrete in a basement, a pump maybe necessary. In which case a lower concentration will be necessary, it will all depend on the size of the tubes diameter that are used to carry the mixture to the area in construction. Nonetheless, whether the job is in a basement or not, any concentration above grade #7 will be unacceptable. As it should be known, the more diluted the existing cement within the mixture is, the lesser the strength of the concrete.
Anyhow, another important point is that as a home owner, you should never offer to buy the concrete from the supplier thinking that it will alleviate you from the total cost bared by the contractor. If anything you’re alleviating the contractor from his obligation because now his no longer fully responsible for the job. So do yourself a favor, allows the contractor to get all that is necessary to get the job done, engage in a written bilateral contract with the contractor and be there when the concrete is being poured. As they say, an educated customer is the best customer. Well, be that educated customer; make sure you get what you paid for- the end result should be to your satisfaction.