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Question DetailsAsked on 7/24/2014


Concrete pad done this way: Floating pad to meet existing sidewalk. SHOULD have dug down 5 inches to accomodate 2" stone, 3" concrete. WAS DONE THIS WAY: dug 3" down, one inch of stone (if that) placed on ground, one to one and a half inches of concrete placed on top, some kind of mortar with a glue mixed in troweled by hand on top. Said it was the "top coat". Not smooth, not level. Pockets of hi/low areas accumulating water. Guy said he needs to put another mortar coating on - "about 1/4 inch to level it off." Thin cracks appearing in that mortar top coat already. No contraction joints cut in. Graded somewhat but doesn't help due to not being level, so water pools.

Question is: this pad will hold a lawnmower, snowblower and large lawn cans. Think it'll hold up, especially in freeze/thaw conditions? Winters can be brutal. Should I make him redo it? (Yeah, that'll go over big) Any advice/help appreciated.

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2 Answers


Sounds like you know the answer, just looking for confirmation from others.

Should have excavated to sound bearing material (which for your loads/use means pretty much down through topsoil and any muddy material), compact the subgrade (for your size job with a tamping foot or plate compactor), place AND compact 2-3 inches base material (bet he did not compact subgrade or base), place and support rebar (probably wire mesh in your case) properly supported on "chairs" so gets properly embedded in center of concrete rather than at bottom, then place MINIMUM 3 inches of reinforced concrete vibrated down into the mesh, properly sloped or levelled as specified, withk contraction joints tyupically every 3-5 feet depending on slab size (except typically no contraction joints if single slab less than 5-6 feet square AND not constrained in any direction), and for your use probably with either a "dry trowel" (troweled after starting to set so comes up slightly rough) or broomed finish to provide some traction. NO leveling or topping coat should be used or necessary - as you see, those generally crack and delaminate in no time unless made of special epoxy modified surfacing compounds. And should have been sprayed with curing compound and wet-cured (kept wet under plastic sheeting) for minimum 3 days and preferably 7 days to gain strength. And concrete mix should have had air entraining additive in it - may or may not have had it, you may not know.

Sounds like this guy has no clue on how to do it - I would require he tear it out and go away for zero pay, based on incompetence to do the work right. Hope you have not paid him anything. And be sure to get written agreement contract is terminated for zero payment required AFTER he is done with the removal. Or if you just want him gone, above agreement and have next contractor remove the concrete and start from scratch as part of his scope.

Be sure to document the "work" carefully with notes and photos - would help to have an independent witness too.

From a practical standpoint, for what you are using it for, while the surface certainly is and will continue to scale and flake off, it probably would have served its purpose for 10+ years were it 3 inches or more thick - but 1-1/2" is highly unlikely to survive more than a year or two before it starts seriously breaking up.

Answered 6 years ago by LCD


Thanks very much for the reply. Yeah..............unfortunately, paid him 3/4 of $$ already. Afraid he's not doing things right. Main concern now is there will be a shed - a lean-to running parallel to the house - on top of and enclosing this pad. I'm really worried about how he's gonna attach it to the pad, especially since if there's only like one and a half to two inches of concrete with MAYBE an inch or so of stone underneath that. I know you have to use some kind of bolt, which means drilling through the stud and into the concrete. I'm afraid that's not enough concrete/stone base to hold it. I also thought of the space between studs lost if he turns studs the opposite way, and how he'd manage that with the 2x4 sill going the correct way.

I called my neighbor over to look at it and tell her my concerns. She agreed with me that it doesn't look right. She's heard me complaining about it from almost day one.

Would you agree that a shed on top of this pad will not hold up because of the faulty base? Or with it being attached to the house (hoping that's done correctly) it will help stabilize it?

Thanks in advance for any help.

Answered 6 years ago by AMH

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