Damage concrete sidewalk and driveway

Questions on how we spend our money and our time - consumer goods and services, home and vehicle, leisure and recreational activities
Post Reply
0cean23
Posts: 117
Joined: Mon Aug 08, 2011 6:20 am

Damage concrete sidewalk and driveway

Post by 0cean23 » Mon Mar 16, 2015 11:20 pm

Hi All,

We recently hired a contractor to pave our concrete sidewalk and driveway about 6 months ago. After one New York City winter season the damage is showing. Please let me know your thoughts on this and what are our options to repair? We did not add salt to the pavement. The sidewalk has moderate foot traffic and my car goes in and out from the driveway daily.

-The same contractor paved 4 houses on the next block and have the same issue with their concrete
-A different contractor who paved additional houses near mine is not having this issue
-The concrete was already prepare offsite and delivered on a ready-mix truck to our homes
-According to this contractor, he used 4000psi, four inches, expansion joints, and wire metal. He did not use any gravel during the prep work

Questions:
-Is it possible to patch the damaged sections? If so, will the sections that are not patch come across the same issue again next season?

-If the contractor refuses to help us address this issue, would you recommend taking legal actions towards his company?

-What is the proper prep work involved for a good concrete paving job?

video:
https://www.dropbox.com/s/sdoevxgptz8mr ... d.MOV?dl=0
Last edited by 0cean23 on Tue Mar 17, 2015 8:20 am, edited 1 time in total.

rayout
Posts: 366
Joined: Tue May 19, 2009 11:30 am

Re: Damage concrete sidewalk and driveway

Post by rayout » Mon Mar 16, 2015 11:55 pm

Civil engineer here. I get an error 404 when accessing drop box. Will need to review videos or photos to review the damage and give any suggestions.

2comma
Posts: 1236
Joined: Thu Jul 15, 2010 11:37 pm

Re: Damage concrete sidewalk and driveway

Post by 2comma » Tue Mar 17, 2015 12:32 am

You didn't mention what failures you are seeing in your concrete. Is it cracking or is the top surface failing or?

I am certainly no expert but I have poured a few slabs and a walkway or two. I'm in the south and our "normal" is probably a lot different than what you experience in NY; our codes are probably not as strict (no one uses wire reinforcement in driveways down here) and our weather is much less severe. One issue can be if they add too much water to the mix. This makes it a lot easier to lay the concrete but the final strength will be much less. I have always had them add an extra "bag" of cement to the mix and shoot for 5000 psi instead of 4000. Concrete has to be cured properly; down here many summer days are just too hot and the concrete will cure too quickly so we have many failures of curbs, sidewalks and driveways. Concrete will also expand and contract hence the need for expansion joints. How far apart are the expansion joints on the drive and the sidewalk? The amount of preparation depends on the soil. Down here we have clay so no sand or rock is needed except for foundations - most houses here are built on what is called monolithic slabs so the only part that gets extra prep is around the perimeter, where there will be load bearing walls and other load bearing areas.

I am about to have our drive replaced and to be honest I am not sure how to pick a good concrete contractor. Some that I watched working I thought knew what they were doing but a year or two later it was already starting to fail. I've seen them crack all the way across, spalling or other surface failures/crumbling and one drive that has turned dark as if mold was growing on it. Now I am thinking I need to watch my neighbors driveways for a few years and then use the same contractor they used, assuming I can remember who that was.

Anyway, please let us know how it is failing and perhaps an expert will come along to help.

I had a friend that had a home built and he accidently found out that many areas of his drive were less than two inches thick. The builder wouldn't do anything until he had his lawyer send them a letter outlining the problem. That got them interested enough to tear out the drive and start over but in his case he was able to prove that the thickness did not meet code minimums. I'd start by showing them the failures, the sooner the better and work from there.
If I am stupid I will pay.

0cean23
Posts: 117
Joined: Mon Aug 08, 2011 6:20 am

Re: Damage concrete sidewalk and driveway

Post by 0cean23 » Tue Mar 17, 2015 8:22 am

Thanks for your reply. I just fixed the link for the video in my first post.

As for the damages, I only see a couple of cracks in the driveway which I think is normal due to the car being parked there. But the top surface for most of the sidewalk and driveway if peeling off.

Globalviewer58
Posts: 473
Joined: Fri Jul 18, 2008 3:26 pm

Re: Damage concrete sidewalk and driveway

Post by Globalviewer58 » Tue Mar 17, 2015 8:42 am

The video shows spalling of the concrete surface. Spalling can be caused by water penetrating the concrete and then expanding when it freezes.

Here's a link to a video with a suggested solution. I have not tried this solution. http://www.concretenetwork.com/fix-spal ... veway.html

Search "spalling concrete repair" to see other ideas for repair. After you repair the surface you may want to apply a penetrating sealer to allow water to run off rather than penetrate into the concrete.

2comma
Posts: 1236
Joined: Thu Jul 15, 2010 11:37 pm

Re: Damage concrete sidewalk and driveway

Post by 2comma » Tue Mar 17, 2015 8:56 am

Now I see what you mean! Since you have a CE onboard I'll keep my comments brief (won't throw out my guesses as to why the surface is doing that). That is not acceptable for concrete that is less than one year old. There is no way I am aware of to resurface concrete, many products say they do but I haven't seen anything that lasts. I'd insist on a tear out and a re-pour - that is what you paid for.
If I am stupid I will pay.

BohoBogler
Posts: 8
Joined: Sat Dec 06, 2014 11:17 am

Re: Damage concrete sidewalk and driveway

Post by BohoBogler » Tue Mar 17, 2015 10:20 am

Don't often post but thought I could be of some help here. I am a structural engineer who's research pertained to reduction of cracking/longevity of concrete. Looks like a typical case of freeze/thaw damage to me. Likely the concrete mix used too little air entrainment in the concrete mix.

Yooper
Posts: 327
Joined: Fri May 21, 2010 7:25 am
Location: Nothern Michigan

Re: Damage concrete sidewalk and driveway

Post by Yooper » Tue Mar 17, 2015 6:04 pm

I'll second what Globalviewer stated, apply a sealer as soon as possible after you get it fixed.

I had my (new) garage apron poured last year (September). As soon as the concrete guys had finished "finishing" it and it was hard enough to walk on I started applying Kure-n-Seal 25 (purchased from the same place that supplied the concrete). Funny enough, when I was applying it - a load of topsoil I'd ordered from the same company arrived. "Didn't we just pour that today?" the driver asked. When I replied the affirmative his response was, "OMG, you don't want to be sealing it yet. It needs to cure!" I mentioned that the manufacture's website clearly stated to apply as soon as possible (and while still wet) as it helped the curing process (hence the name Kure-n-Seal....) but he wouldn't let it go. "My friend applied his sealer just like you're doing and the top popped off the first winter..." he warned. I said thanks, directed him where to dump the topsoil, and finished applying the sealer. And once it dried I did a second coat.

This spring the apron's just fine.....

Long and short is don't believe everything you hear, but do spend a little money and protect your investment. Sealer not only protects against water, but also any salt you may carry in with you from the road, along with other stuff you don't want on your concrete.

0cean23
Posts: 117
Joined: Mon Aug 08, 2011 6:20 am

Re: Damage concrete sidewalk and driveway

Post by 0cean23 » Tue Mar 17, 2015 6:35 pm

Great information and thank you all for the replies. My next steps is to contact this contractor and request for him to repave the whole job again.

If he doesn't not agree, I think I should take legal actions towards him. Should I contact the other homes that are having the same issues and hire a lawyer to go after him? I have no experience with hiring lawyers, what type of lawyer would I search for? Any recommendations here in NYC?

2comma
Posts: 1236
Joined: Thu Jul 15, 2010 11:37 pm

Re: Damage concrete sidewalk and driveway

Post by 2comma » Tue Mar 17, 2015 11:29 pm

Just my thoughts but I'd try my best to come to agreement with the contractor if at all possible, appeal to their sense of fairness and quality of work but don't be surprised if they "lie thru their teeth", try to convince you they can patch what they've done or just try to avoid you. But, it is possible his supplier delivered an inferior product and he is in a bad way too (but that is still on him). Either way it might help to get a consult from someone who knows (ask the guy that did the good jobs in the neighborhood what he thinks) just so you know the right words to use with the contractor so he knows you know what you are talking about. That should be a big advantage to you as most people aren't up on their concreteology.

We had a very bad experience with a small contractor that built our sunroom addition including concrete, siding, roofing issues. To our advantage, we paid as we went so once the structure was weatherproof we told him to leave. He threatened a lawsuit but I knew that wasn't going to happen. I'd had enough so I finished the rest myself. I talked with a few of the city inspectors and they let me in on a good piece of advise, if it should go to court it is very unusual for the homeowner not to win. Can you imagine a judge looking at your video and not ruling in your favor? But, I've sat in several courtrooms as an observer and I can tell you my impression, civil or criminal it is nothing like on TV! Most times I'd say that both sides left feeling like they didn't win and it often seemed like they both got screwed. It is expensive to hire a lawyer and very time consuming. However, the mere threat of being sued may convince the contractor it is in his best interest to do the right thing, probably because it actually is. A simple letter from a lawyer, cheap to obtain, would be my approach if he is not willing to fix his mistake, after all, he knows their is a problem - the top surface is crumbling after only one winter - it's hard for anyone to say that's normal with a straight face. As far as having everyone join in on the complaint my fear is he may find it cheaper to just close up business (probably to reopen under a new name).

Anyway, what I'm saying is try to work it out and be willing to compromise, threaten if you have to but lawyering up might not gain you much after expenses.
If I am stupid I will pay.

Post Reply