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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
As a general I had a concrete sub who usually did a good job. But then seem to fall apart on me. On the first of two jobs he sent me a text for his bid number on a job. It was in two different texts and I only got half of it. We discovered it at the beginning of the job. His phone showed the not delivered status and he didn't know what that meant. $3000 error. He has done well for me before so I said I would pay it. Then he did a sloppy job on it. I discovered the issues on job #1 as he started job #2. On job #1 I had to take a lot of extra steps to resolve them, but fine I did it and moved forward.

So the gripe I have is with job #2. He said it would take a couple days to do the work. It was a driveway with an upper level so I figured more like a week or so. It ended up past 7wks from start to finish!!! If I could have found someone else who wasn't swamped I would have replaced him. Lucky for me the customers were understanding about my frustration with him.

Here is what I need advice on. The concrete is over a month old now. And is very splotchy in color a lot of white marks. For instance where a bucket was set down. (Pic 1)

and the walls have a lot of white streaks. The walls were skim coated about five weeks after the wall pour.(pic 2)


And I know concrete cracks but the curb was poured several days before slab and yet the crack telegraphed through both. And what you can't see is the slope in the front of the truck does go downhill pretty fast. I would assume it would crack by the front of the truck more then way back here. And with relief joints applied while wet and only 4ft apart that chances are it might follow them a little better (cracks followed joints in other areas like upper level but joints are 2ft on center skewed pattern) pic 3



Any advice on why would help. And yes I've already broke his dinner plate.
 

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Were there any specs for sub-grade prep?

Any specs for mix design & placement?

Any specs for when & how to cut control joints?

Was there a contract?

Were you onsite during pour?

My initial thought is too much water added at placement.
 

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As a general I had a concrete sub who usually did a good job. But then seem to fall apart on me. On the first of two jobs he sent me a text for his bid number on a job. It was in two different texts and I only got half of it. We discovered it at the beginning of the job. His phone showed the not delivered status and he didn't know what that meant. $3000 error. He has done well for me before so I said I would pay it. Then he did a sloppy job on it. I discovered the issues on job #1 as he started job #2. On job #1 I had to take a lot of extra steps to resolve them, but fine I did it and moved forward.

So the gripe I have is with job #2. He said it would take a couple days to do the work. It was a driveway with an upper level so I figured more like a week or so. It ended up past 7wks from start to finish!!! If I could have found someone else who wasn't swamped I would have replaced him. Lucky for me the customers were understanding about my frustration with him.

Here is what I need advice on. The concrete is over a month old now. And is very splotchy in color a lot of white marks. For instance where a bucket was set down. (Pic 1)

and the walls have a lot of white streaks. The walls were skim coated about five weeks after the wall pour.(pic 2)


And I know concrete cracks but the curb was poured several days before slab and yet the crack telegraphed through both. And what you can't see is the slope in the front of the truck does go downhill pretty fast. I would assume it would crack by the front of the truck more then way back here. And with relief joints applied while wet and only 4ft apart that chances are it might follow them a little better (cracks followed joints in other areas like upper level but joints are 2ft on center skewed pattern) pic 3



Any advice on why would help. And yes I've already broke his dinner plate.
X2 what Griz said, water is definitely an issue with staining...sub-base prep is the issue with cracking... they probably never compacted the base prior to pour and they could used improper control joint placement.
The streaks on the wall that you see is probably from the forms being used... in some cases I have seen before in new construction, you would see something like this when aluminum forms used, they would leave streaks like that.
I spoke to a few guys in the past and they said to prevent that from happening, they would use lime paste (lime mixed with water) to scrub down the forms when the forms fairly new, to prevent that from happening.
As payment goes, its all about your contract, if you still owe him the money, have him to make good on it before final payment is paid... or if there is a hardship between you both already, get some estimates to have that repaired and see what is a feasible solution to resolve this.

On the general note, GC should be on the job to make sure all proper base preparation steps are taken and make sure concrete is not watered down. Many contractors add to much water because it is easier to pour and spread the concrete especially when larger areas in question. They might get away doing that when pouring basement or garage slabs, but when it comes to driveways and poured retaining walls, the structural integrity of the concrete mix makes a big difference.

Good luck.
 

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Too much water changes the viscosity of the mix. Causing weakness. If you don't keep an eye the finishers they will add too much water to make it easier to finish. When they yell to the driver "just a hat full" that's code for too much.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Were there any specs for sub-grade prep? Sadly no (note: I did the excavation as the original drive was so steep just walking up one side was a challenge. The elevation was dropped 4ft to lessen the grade to drivable. I repeatedly asked him to come by to make sure it was how he wanted never showed up when he said he would. Did make it one time for about 2min and said looked good. They did sling some 3/4minus and plate pack it. How much I don't know. I trusted he would do it right.)my fault.

Any specs for mix design & placement? Again nothing on the mix. Rebar was 4 ft OC (whether it was picked up during pour was unknown)

Any specs for when & how to cut control joints? Verbals for skewed pattern 4ft when wet. Expansion joint ( control joint? Same thing or different) were suppose to be put in several areas due to volume of driveway (I assumed ever 25ft or so is kind standard) by then noticed no expansion joints implemented two days after final pour.

Was there a contract? Only with HO and me. (Yes I know! Like I said he did things well for me before. And I take pride in my work.....just assume everyone else does too right?)

Were you onsite during pour? Unfortunately not when truck was there. Did get there when soon after truck so don't know about water added. My guess is too much though.

My initial thought is too much water added at placement. (I think you are wise)
My problem is that I micromanage too much and hover. So I try to refrain from being "that prick GC". (I do try to treat my subs well though, i brought them ice cold Gatorade since it was hot out every time I stopped by and hovered. Help out with a task if I can. I don't beat them up about their price . If there is a problem that comes up with extra charges I work it out with them as long as they bring it to my attention during the issue and don't spike the bill with it later)

Next I spread myself too thin with having too much work going at same time. (More work means more money right) and if I have to babysit the sub and his people then I've hired the wrong guy right? (Note: he did show up on the this project the first day for a couple of hours. But after that I never did see HIM on the job till after it was done and he was crying about no money)
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
The streaks on the wall that you see is probably from the forms being used... in some cases I have seen before in new construction, you would see something like this when aluminum forms used, they would leave streaks like that.
I spoke to a few guys in the past and they said to prevent that from happening, they would use lime paste (lime mixed with water) to scrub down the forms when the forms fairly new, to prevent that from happening.
Wood forms used. Says he uses Wesson oil as a releaser. However new blue metal 5 gal bucket with factory release agent label on side. Don't recall brand but did have an odd name for product. Had sort of a diesel smell to it.

The walls were skim coated to cover several issues in finish. It was with a dry mix bag mortar. However if you look close enough the rainwater afterwards seems to be where white streaks form. Is this from calcium from the upper level? Does too much water at pour make limestone or calcium form all the white splotches or streaks after set up?

As payment goes, its all about your contract, if you still owe him the money, have him to make good on it before final payment is paid... or if there is a hardship between you both already, get some estimates to have that repaired and see what is a feasible solution to resolve this.

I have paid him. I don't like to owe anyone or carry debts. So I pay as I go and as soon as I can.

On the general note, GC should be on the job to make sure all proper base preparation steps are taken and make sure concrete is not watered down.
See above answer about "my bad"

Good luck.
So how do you handle not hovering and barking orders and being one of those guys?
 

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Tell the HO there are two types of concrete: concrete that's cracked and concrete that's going to crack. :whistling:
I had A concrete finisher tell me that concrete's like A woman ...Ya never know what it's gonna do!! [kinda like drywall :whistling]
 

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There is only one way to prevent cracks in concrete- don't pour it.:thumbsup:

Excessive water= Excessive shrinkage, which is the main cause of cracking. However, the fact that two separate pours cracked in the same place would seem to point to some sort of issue with the subgrade. Was there a bond breaker installed between the slab and the curb? If not the slab probably bonded with the curb, so whatever crack developed in the slab would telegraph on through the curb.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Sorry I put answers to question inside of quoted areas! Thought what I typed would stand out better than it did.
 

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Californiadecks said:
Tell the HO there are two types of concrete: concrete that's cracked and concrete that's going to crack. :whistling:

There's two kinds of stucco also
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
mudpad said:
There is only one way to prevent cracks in concrete- don't pour it.:thumbsup:

Excessive water= Excessive shrinkage, which is the main cause of cracking. However, the fact that two separate pours cracked in the same place would seem to point to some sort of issue with the subgrade. Was there a bond breaker installed between the slab and the curb? If not the slab probably bonded with the curb, so whatever crack developed in the slab would telegraph on through the curb.
The curb poured one day and several days later the slab. No bond breaker used that I'm aware of.

Yes sub grade in that area was pointed out to sub. Said not a problem that would put 3/4minus and plate pack. There was sum vegetation in that area that was removed. My worry was greater in another area where tree stump dug out. That area seems ok I figured that would be the first place would have cracked and is further away and had more gravel fill.

If rebar wasn't pulled up off ground and into middle of mix during pour would this add to a troubled sub grade issue?

Would additional rebar in a concerned area greater prevent issues near worry some sub grade areas?

For all I know that area could be less the 2in thick.

With the overall lack of quality and taking 7times longer to do the work. And I get it that cracks happen (on the upper level near were the old wall tied into the new. The old had an old crack and after new slab on top it still telegraphed through. And since no rebar in old wall, short of dumping money there the did the best they could). It's all the white residue everywhere that makes me want to know why and what to do. As far as I know the home owners are fine with it, I am starting on other projects for them this week and my understanding of them being fine might change. I am on my way to making my business better and stronger. I feel he isn't headed the same way. So I will find someone else that takes more pride in themselves. He doesn't know I've broke his dinner plate yet but he will figure that out later.
 

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It's funny you mention how hot is was when the work was completed, as my best guess was going to be that they used calcium chloride in the concrete to expedite the setting of the concrete. It looks relatively dark for new concrete IMO, and that would also explain some of the white streaking.

As for the joints, the placement is certainly close enough, but I doubt the joints are deep enough to be completely effective. Also, the decision to forgo the use of expansion material between the wall and the drive was senseless IMO......
 

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One more thing: As a concrete contractor who actually cares what his work looks like, I really get sick of hearing the same old worn out "concrete cracks, get used to it" non-sense. If you pour concrete for a living, and you can't keep the cracks within the control joints in the first few weeks/months of a driveways lifespan, you probably need to seek out a new day job..........
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
jomama said:
It's funny you mention how hot is was when the work was completed, as my best guess was going to be that they used calcium chloride in the concrete to expedite the setting of the concrete. It looks relatively dark for new concrete IMO, and that would also explain some of the white streaking....
would they add this at the plant? Or mix it in onsite?

My guess is too much water was part of the equation.

My other guess is that lack of preping the ground better and not caring about things (half the crew didn't seem to have knowledge the other half didn't want to be there sort of thing and with the boss never being on job) didn't help.

I texted him a picture of the crack and asked what could be done with it. Funny he hasn't responded. Took the money and ran I guess.
 

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It's added at the ready-mix plant.

If you know who the concrete supplier was it may be worth a call to them to see if one of their QC guys will come out to take a look. Alot of times they don't want to get involved though, as it can obviously create problems between them and the concrete contractor, who they rely on to use their product.......
 
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