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Please note: this page contains reviews and opinions sent in by Berkeley Parents Net subscribers. Your own experience may be different. Please always check references before hiring!
We are looking for a someone to repair the brick walkway and landing leading from our driveway to our front door, which has settled unevely over the years and is in need professional repair (i.e. grading of the land and relaying of the bricks, possibly with some sort of supporting substructure). Beneath a portion of the walkway and landing is a drainage pipe that's no longer functioning properly so we'll need the drainage repaired as well. If you have any recommendations, please let me know. Thanks.
In repairs like this, you want to KNOW you are doing the right thing ( or you don't sleep at night worrying you are wasting your money on a company that's gonna screw up with 500 pounds of cement in your front yard...like happened to a friend of mine who took a low-ball bid) Anyway, Jason's your guy, I know is website is fancy-looking...but he just puts the rich folk's places on there. He works with regular folks too ;- ) JM
We have a driveway that is on a downslope and in the middle of the driveway is a dirt bed that was intended to grow greenery. However, we have driven over the sprinkler heads enough times to make this impossible and realize that we need to fill in the space (approx. 44' x 3') with brick. I don't know if drainage will be needed, but I do need someone that is quick and experienced. Basically, I want someone that can get the job done well,for a good price, without me having to be around that much. I may have other jobs that involve a bit of stucco work or retaining walls, so those skills could be a plus! Thanks in advance. aaron
Any recommendations for a stone/brick layer who could do a simple front entry stoop which would require some concrete foundation and drainage? Nothing too artful...pretty straightforward --inexpensively?? Kate
Hello, Last year we had a flagstone patio and paths put into our backyard totaling about $20k in work. The flagstone was set into a concrete base that had steel reinforcement and fiber mesh embedded in the concrete. We were happy with the work until recently.
The problem is that cracks have developed in the concrete at the junctions where the paths get thinner. The flagstone path encircles the lawn and meets up with the patio...it has recently cracked at each ''corner'' where the path meets up with a wider section.
I called the contractor to complain and he told me that concrete cracks and insists that there is nothing to do about it. Attempting to cover the crack would, according to him, draw more attention to it....it is essentially the nature of the beast. (Our contract says nothing about cracks).
I am considering filing a complaint with the state contractor's license board, but before I do, I want to make sure I have realistic and reasonable expectations.
What is the best way to fix cracks that develop in the concrete under flagstones? Anyone know about realistic/reasonable expectations regarding the performance of flagstone over concrete? Is there an objective 3rd party I can contact for another opinion? Any other advice or suggestions? thanks!
Those lines in sidewalks are called ''control lines'' ... they're put there to encourage the concrete to crack along the straight line, rather than at a random location. But walk down a sidewalk sometime and you'll see that most of the time, the control lines work and the cracks form in those lines. But there's plenty of times when the cracks zag across the face of the sidewalk.
With embedded flagstones, the flags themselves are the control lines.
Concrete walks without cracks? Unlikely. Rebar and mesh will help. About the only way to guarantee zero cracks is to pre-stress the concrete, and that's a job way beyond your backyard.
Concrete cracks are almost always caused by the top of the concrete being in tension, which is usually caused by settling of the ground underneath (perhaps when it got damp. Or maybe when it dried out - either way, it'll no longer evenly support the slab)
Incidentally, putting rebar under a walkway is overkill unless you expect to drive a car over it. Reinforced concrete in a yard or walkway is very difficult to remove.
I learned to put flagstones into sand, never concrete. They're way easier to change, should we (or some later owner) wish to rearrange our backyard. Oakland homeowner
It sounds like your contractor did a better-than-average job in laying the concrete in that plenty don't bother to put in proper reinforcement for paths and patios, and I'm surprised to hear that cracking in the concrete base is happening already. However, how well the soil below the concrete is excavated and compacted also comes into play with settling and cracking, and poorly done compaction can defeat all the reinforcing in the world. Of course, the reinforcing itself has to be properly installed to be effective, but it would be very surprising if it wasn't.
Another factor is where you live- some areas have more natural ground movement than others, and there's not anything that anyone can do about that.
He's right- concrete does crack, and ''corners'' are vulnerable spots. It's possible that putting in special expansion joints at those places might have stopped it from cracking, but the downside is that they're not especially attractive in the middle of a run of garden paving (not ghastly, but they do break the visual flow a bit, at least as much as cracks do).
He's also right that trying to repair the cracks now will make them stand out even more, it's better to live with them. Right now your eye is going to the problem, you're focussing on it, but over time it's very likely that your eye will skim right over the cracks and focus on the overall (hopefully nice) effect.
As to filing a complaint, I would first try to determine how the compaction was done, which is the only place I can think of where he might have seriously slipped up. Was baserock laid down, leveled, and power tamped? That's the very best way. At the least, the soil below the concrete pour should have been leveled and well compacted. Cece
I'm looking for someone who can lay flagstone for a backyard patio. I don't think it's a complicated or big job--but what do I know or I'd do it myself. :-) Seriously, it's a fairly small space, but I'd like to find someone who really knows what they're doing (we already had a botched job due to inexperience). Thanks for any contacts the group can provide! Tish
My husband and I would like to make a nice patio area (possibly out of flagstone) in our backyard. We are looking for recommendations from people who have had similar work done. Thank you!! Amy
Hi - where is a good source locally (Berkeley-Oakland) for landscaping stone products such as flagstones, builder's sand, river stones and other decorative landscaping rock products? Thanks! Wanting to Rock Out
I am wondering if anybody knows a ''not-so-pricey'' contractor who can help replacing our broken wood fence in the front of the house with a retaining wall made out of stacked stones. We also plan on replacing our old cemented walk way (paint peels off) which leads from the sidewalk to the front of the house with an irregular flagstone path (probably over a concrete base with mortar applied between the joints). Also, we are thinking about breaking up a brick walk way in the back yard and replacing it with an irregular flagstone path (dry-laid and with grass around and between the stones). Can anybody give a recommendation on who to contact if I DO NOT want to spend a fortune on a landscape architect or designer but are willing to pay for quality labor? Having two kids and no experience in laying stones myself, I am not sure I can take on this kind of job myself. Of course this would be the cheapest solution though. Or did somebody do this by him/herself and can tell me how it went? In general, how much more is it to build a stone wall vs. putting up a nice new fence? Need some change
Anyone recommend a good company for rebuilding stone retaining walls? There are two old posts for Jose Galvez of Orinda. Anyone use his company lately and have his contact info? Anyone use Lazar Landscaping? We need some old cement removed and someone with vision to figure out the best way to reconfigure our walls to make our slighty sloped yard more useable.
Once again, I would like to recommend a wonderful mason who has helped us with countless landscaping projects. He has built rock walls, brick patios/steps and flagstone patio/steps. He has also trenched and put in french drains, dug and terraced our yard, and helped us with our planting. He is very affordable and a very nice man. A real find and I am happy to refer him - Arnoldo can be reached at 510-827-8598. Please feel free to contact me with any questions. margaret
Tom Doss does excellent stone work. He specializes in working in harmony with Mother Nature without the use of concrete to create patios, walls and other decorative stone features. 510 655-2839 Melanie
Landscape architect/stone mason recommended
I am writing in response to several posts in the April 22 Digest about landscape architects and garden construction teams. We have recently landscaped the side area to our house in Alameda, and Matt Hornby, based in Berkeley, was an incredibly good landscape architect to work with. He is timely, reasonably priced, and a very good communicator. Matt also has extensive experience as a stone mason and has worked on projects big and small througout the East Bay. He is willing to take on small projects as well. He can be contacted at matthornby72 AT yahoo.com. If you would like more references or to take a look at the brick path and cement driveway he did for us, give me a call. Thanks! Anna
I am looking for a recommendation on where to buy nice stepping stones for our backyard. We looked at the ones at Home Depot which were relatively inexpensive (I believe about $2 per piece)but we did not like the sort of 'artificial' look of them. Does anyone know another place that might have a bit more of a selection than Home Depot but is not much more expensive ? Andrea
In the course of my remodel, my yard got dug up and I need someone to re-brick about half of a small Berkeley yard. There are a couple spots with mildly tricky grading/stair issues, so we need someone that knows what s/he's doing. Can anyone recommend someone to do this work? We would like it done ASAP. Thanks so much! - Catherine
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