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Question DetailsAsked on 10/17/2012

Is it normal for new concrete to be above ground? Shouldn't the contractor fill in with dirt?

I just had concrete pour in two strips for my driveway. Contractor was quick and it looks great but its standing 5 inches above ground. Is it their responsibility to fill it in?

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3 Answers


Unless you specified that the 2 driveway strips be installed raised up 5" you have a complaint against the contractor. When terms are not in writing the norm is what a reasonable and prudent individual or that the work is in "a workmanlike manner" is the governing standard. Call contractor if you havent done so yet. If you have send him a ceritfied letter pointing out the defects and the remedy you wish. I guess fill dirt and new sod would be one solution. Make sure the fill is sloped a good ways from the concrete stips so #1) when it settles it doesnt leave you in the lurch & #2) so it is a gentler rise from the existing soil.
If he doesnt make you happy go to Angie's List, Better Business Bureau, State's Arrorney General Consumer fraud division, call the local tv station (blank can help) rain the wrath of Jobe on him You can even post a sign in your yard saying for a ripoff Call Joe. I would let him know you plan on making him a Target. You can also persue him for damages in Small Claims Court if you want to fix problem with your money and go after him
Jim Casper 40 Year Contractor.


Answered 7 years ago by jccasper


It's not the contractor's responsibility to add dirt or landscaping, unless your contract with them states that it is. Besides, wouldn't you prefer to have it ABOVE ground level instead of BELOW? You paid for a driveway, not a gully.

If your new driveway is 5" above the street/road in front of your house, that IS a problem. The contractor should have discussed all of this with you. Did you have that discussion, even if you signed no contract? Kinda hard to blame another person for doing things their way if you never told them what "your way" was.

Answered 7 years ago by Oleron


Wow - Jim and Oleron sure had different takes on this issue. It was a little hard to be sure how he felt because he held back so much, but it appears Jim would have Scotty phaser the guy if he could. Pesonally, I don't think quite calls for the Neterprise - contractors routinely do a lot worse than this.

Have you talked to him about whether he is coming back to do this after the concrete has cured - that might be his plan. Also, have you made final payment - if not (and you should have not) then you have a definite hold on him.

Unfortunately, home homeowner jobs have no plans or specs, which would have covered this issue. Without that, it comes down to a reasonable interpretation of what is normal practice and good practice. In this case, for driveways, the norm would be paving so the edge was flush or marginally higher than surrounding ground, so there is no dangerous dropoff for pedestrians or to damage tires. Leaving the concrete high violates that principle, as well as providing no lateral support to the ground along the edge of the slab, which will promote cracking along the edge as the load pushes the soil out from under as load is placed on it, especially when wet. That lack of lateral support constitutes a substandard job as currently finished.

You don't say what is adjacent to the driveway, but it sounds like instead of excavating prior materials to end up at grade after the pour, he just poured on top, so the entire slab is on top of the ground rather than embedded in it. This is definitely not up to snuff.

At a minimum, lacking plans and specs, he should provide a sloping transition of driveable compacted base material along the edge, sloping down to surrounding ground over a space of 10 inches or more (2:1 slope). Because of the fresh concrete, it should be compacted with a plate compactor or sidewalk roller (keeping off the concrete) rather than a full size roller. If you propose this to him, he might agree because the material cost is probably about $50 or less plus a coule of manhours labor, so out of pocket cost only about $100.

You should ensure in advance that his men are going to wash the drive off when done, and should also ensure he does not drive on the fresh concrete (or adjacent lawn or plantings) with anything heavier than a wheelbarrow, so you will have to keep an eye on the proceedings so they do not do a slam-bang dump and go job, leaving you with a cracked dirty drive, smashed lawn, and uncompacted fill windrow.

If he does not buy off on that, then maybe bring Angie's List into the issue with their dispute resolution procedure.

Answered 6 years ago by LCD

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