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Old 09-12-2013, 12:18 PM  
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Anyone here know concrete?

Disclaimer: This is not about the Chiefs, but nonetheless it is quite interesting. To me, anyway.

My house sits pretty high off the street, so if you're standing on the street, here's what you encounter as you walk toward the front door.

Zone 1. Curb
Zone 2. Small Median of dirt/plants and a couple of large trees (6 feet deep)
Zone 3. Sidewalk
Zone 4. About 8 concrete steps up through a sloped area of plants.
Zone 5. Little flat concrete walkway area through plants and a couple of ornamental trees (4 feet deep)
Zone 6. Concrete open area that goes three directions - left side of house to reach side door, straight ahead to Zone 7, and right side of house to apartment door (10 feet deep)
Zone 7. About 8 more concrete steps up.
Zone 8. Front porch.

Note that I really don't have a classic lawn or "front yard". It's an older home so the house is only about 30 feet from the sidewalk, and it's up a steep slope that's mostly plants and a few decorative rocks that are too small.


Zones 4, 6, and 7 add up to a lot of concrete, and it's pretty utilitarian. While I like the "no maintenance" nature of the concrete, and it's easy to shovel snow, I'd like to increase the curb appeal.

So I talked to a guy today who does landscape construction. He gave me a couple of options:

1. Tear all of the concrete out and replace it with a new concrete that has nice patterns and trim and stuff.

2. "Clad" the existing concrete by putting stone over it and mortaring it in (or something like that).

Option 1 seems nice, but my guess is that it's also expensive. Option 2 seems like it would be more cost-effective, and the existing concrete is in good shape. However, I always worry about creating layers on outdoor stuff. I have this nightmare scenario of water seeping in between the concrete and stone and ending up with a bunch of mold or mosquito breeding ground, or just having the stuff rot and collapse. I don't think concrete really rots, but you know what I mean.

What do you think? What's the better option?
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Old 09-12-2013, 12:19 PM   #2
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How about a picture?
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Old 09-12-2013, 12:21 PM   #3
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Do you ever have to clear snow with a shovel?
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Old 09-12-2013, 12:22 PM   #4
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We had a concrete pony wall and sidewalk in our small front yard when we purchased the house back in 2003. Besides the fact it was ugly and "cold", it was fairly useless for anything other than trash bins (and who really wants to see trash bins in their front "yard"?

So, I hired a cousin of my gardener and paid $500 for it to be removed and another $125 for a trash bin. I had the gardener install a sprinkler system, sod and at the time, three 10 foot Queen Palms.

The yard completely changed the home and made it much warmer and the trees (Larry, Moe and Shemp) are now pushing 45 foot tall, almost as tall as the house.
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Old 09-12-2013, 12:23 PM   #5
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They're both expensive. If done correctly, cladding can be very nice. It's definitely an incredibly curb appeal improvement. But it's difficult to shovel, clean, seal, and maintain. I'm working on a house in a very, very expensive part of town. Let's just say there are 2 sportscars in the garage which cost more than my house. They just stripped all the "clad" stone away from their pool and put in stamped, decorative concrete because the stone was incredibly high maintenance.

Even though you think it's going to be expensive, choose option 1. Make sure you properly vet your contractor. There are a lot of morons out there passing themselves off as concrete experts.
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Old 09-12-2013, 12:27 PM   #6
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Denver had a QB (Griese) who was quite familiar with concrete
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Old 09-12-2013, 12:33 PM   #7
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Old 09-12-2013, 12:41 PM   #8
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How about a picture?
Lemme see if I have one handy.

Ah. Here's one. It's about 10 years old, so the plants have grown in a lot. You can see the first set of stairs, and can probably imagine Zone 6 and the second set.
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Old 09-12-2013, 12:42 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by mlyonsd View Post
Do you ever have to clear snow with a shovel?
It doesn't snow much here in Colorado other than maybe September through April.
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Old 09-12-2013, 12:45 PM   #10
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They're both expensive. If done correctly, cladding can be very nice. It's definitely an incredibly curb appeal improvement. But it's difficult to shovel, clean, seal, and maintain. I'm working on a house in a very, very expensive part of town. Let's just say there are 2 sportscars in the garage which cost more than my house. They just stripped all the "clad" stone away from their pool and put in stamped, decorative concrete because the stone was incredibly high maintenance.

Even though you think it's going to be expensive, choose option 1. Make sure you properly vet your contractor. There are a lot of morons out there passing themselves off as concrete experts.
Y'know, that's kind of what I'm thinking. I plan to live in this house until the sun explodes, so I'm big on doing things in the best long-term manner and with the least maintenance. The guy today was telling me that cladding would be no problem, but I generally am suspect of anything that requires sealing.

How do I vet a concrete guy?
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Old 09-12-2013, 12:48 PM   #11
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It doesn't snow much here in Colorado other than maybe September through April.
Har har. I meant do YOU shovel it or do you make your wife do it.

In retrospect it doesn't matter because with your money Id go option 2 and hire a company for snow removal.
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Old 09-12-2013, 12:53 PM   #12
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Har har. I meant do YOU shovel it or do you make your wife do it.

In retrospect it doesn't matter because with your money Id go option 2 and hire a company for snow removal.

Oh. I understand now.

My wife and I shovel, and it's quite a bit of shoveling. We have the sidewalk, the two sets of steps, the big Zone 6 area, the stairs down to the apartment, the walkway around the house to get to the garage, and then the walkway in the back yard to the garage. (It's a separate freestanding garage.) We don't have the kind of cash it would take to get someone else to do it, and our butler and chauffeur both had it written into their employment agreements that they don't have to shovel.

Is Option 2 harder to shovel? Because I really don't like to shovel even when it's easy.
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Old 09-12-2013, 01:15 PM   #13
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How do I vet a concrete guy?
I don't know if it's available in Colorado but when I had my 1,100 square foot patio torn out, had the underlying concrete poured and re-sloped, then had flagstone installed, I called the Contractor's Guild.

From there, I was given three names and met with each company & contractor. The bids were all within $500 of each other so at that point, it was just a matter of who made me feel most comfortable.

I was extremely happy with the results and have continued to use that same contractor for jobs both small and large for the past ten years.
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Old 09-12-2013, 01:19 PM   #14
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Old 09-12-2013, 01:20 PM   #15
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