7 Questions to Ask your Concrete Contractor

Brown and gray stamped concrete pathway Your concrete needs work.  You don’t have the time to do it.  Neither do you have the desire to do it.  But, somebody has to do the job.  So, now it is time to hire a concrete contractor.

You probably already know how to locate a few, but do you know the questions to ask to help you determine if they are worth the price they are quoting?  If you don’t here are some questions, and the answers that should be provided by your concrete contractor if they are worth their salt.

  1. What warranty do you offer?  Most contractors are happy to provide a one-year warranty.  If no warranty is offered at all, then definitely work with someone else.  If the warranty is longer than a year, learn the details.  More than likely, the contractor’s warranty contains a number of clauses allowing them to not cover the most likely and worthwhile repairs.
  2. What happens if a storm unexpectedly rains on your new concrete?  Your contractor should have been prepared for such a situation, so he or she should be willing to cover any damage the weather causes.  However, you must also be willing to respect the contractor’s decision to pour the concrete a different day if there is a good chance of rain soon.
  3. How long might the job take?  Contractors should finish the job within three days.  If he hesitates in answering this question, he may be the type of contractor who starts the job, leaves for a few days or weeks, and then finishes.
  4. When will you be able to start?  Good concrete contractors are usually booked for a few weeks or so, maybe a month.  If your contractor is ready to start soon, question him a little further.  Who knows?  Maybe he’s been working for someone else for some time and just started his  business.  Maybe he just hit a slow period.  If he seems to feel threatened by your question, then take that as a sign to work with someone else.
  5. Can you provide pictures of previous work?  A good contractor has these readily available.  If he can’t provide pictures, ask for the contact information of satisfied customers.  If that isn’t available, then you’re definitely talking to the wrong person.
  6. How will the site look when the job is completed?  Some contractors get a little careless and destroy a yard in order to do a small job, while others are neat and tidy.  A messy contractor isn’t necessarily someone to avoid working with, but there are probably better ones out there.
  7. How thick will the concrete be?  If you’re having a driveway poured, the last thing you want to happen is for it to crack the first few months after construction.  An appropriate thickness for handling the load placed on the slab by vehicles is 4 inches, with 5 inches being even better.  An additional inch improves load-bearing capacity by 50%.

Now you know some great questions to ask the next contractor you consider working with. The really good ones will appreciate your thoroughness, and the not-so-good ones will get annoyed, upset, or defensive.  But, at least you know who you can work with.

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