Floor Installation or Replacement

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Q & A

Answers to commonly asked questions from the experts on Thumbtack.

What is the best sealer to use on concrete?

Because unsealed concrete is porous, it readily absorbs liquids, leading to unsightly stains and freeze-and-thaw cycle damage. For this reason, it’s important to seal concrete that will see spills or outdoor weather.

The best option for garage floors and other high-traffic areas is epoxy, which forms a hard and extremely durable surface on top of concrete. Epoxy, acrylic, and polishes are often used on indoor floors, while acrylic-resin sealers and reactive penetrating sealers are used on outdoor surfaces to repel water and salt. Locate a concrete contractor in your area to help find the best solution.

What do paving contractors do?

Paving contractors can be hired to install a concrete or asphalt driveway at your home, office or property. They can also repave an asphalt or concrete driveway that has been damaged by time, weather or heavy loads. When you are looking for a driveway contractor, request quotes from at least three professionals who are in good standing and have great customer reviews. They should do a site visit and write you a bid, detailing the work involved, materials needed, approximate length of the project and estimated cost.

The site for your new driveway will determine costs and the work required for your contractor. First, the ground must be excavated to lay a clear path. This means removing any trees, bushes and stumps. Next, the driveway contractor will grade the area, making a level surface for the concrete or asphalt. To ensure proper drainage, driveway contractors should install a sub-base of compacted gravel (or similar) 4 inches-8 inches deep, depending on your soil type. Then the concrete or asphalt may be poured and smoothed over the top. Your driveway contractor should recommend an appropriate sealant for your climate and advise you on curing time. When hiring a paving contractor, check out our tips for smart hiring on Thumbtack.

What can concrete contractors do?

Concrete contractors can build foundations, structures, driveways, concrete storm drains, raise or level concrete patios and much more. They can handle every step of the process, starting with framing the mold that the concrete is poured into. They then cut, assemble and tie together the rebar, giving the concrete its tensile strength. Finally, they pour the concrete in, mixing and conditioning it to ensure it cures properly. They will also take steps to ensure that no air pockets are trapped within it. 

If you have a project that requires the help of a concrete contractor, reach out to one today to get a price estimate.

Is it better to stain or paint concrete?

A concrete paint cover is typically opaque and covers up the color of the concrete. This means it provides significant protection to the concrete below. However, if it is improperly applied or subjected to heavy traffic, a painted concrete floor is likely to chip and peel. 

Epoxy and staining are two types of concrete floor sealer. Epoxy is a more durable but often more expensive option than a concrete stain. Epoxy forms a protective layer, while concrete stain is more decorative and requires more maintenance. Because epoxy can be more expensive than concrete stain, it is best used in high-traffic areas or in applications where low maintenance is desired.

A concrete stain, on the other hand, is quick to apply and can show off the textures of the concrete, but it does not provide a high degree of protection for the concrete against spills, salt, water and other contaminants. Staining concrete generally requires a dust mop, a pH-neutral cleaner and water to clean, while epoxy can cause resin buildup that necessitates the use of special detergents.

Find a concrete contractor near you for help selecting the right floor concrete sealer.

How much does it cost to redo a concrete driveway?

 Here are some examples of average costs:

  • The national average cost to hire a concrete specialist is $2,750, but that price can vary greatly depending on the work needed to repair and resurface your concrete driveway, the square footage of the project, current costs of concrete, and regional labor rates.
  • Driveway contractors average $2-$3 per square foot to smooth and resurface your asphalt driveway.
  • Resurfacing concrete driveways averages $3-$10 per square foot. Pricing can depend on repairs needed, project size and geographic location.
  • Nationally, the average cost for resurfacing a 500-square-foot driveway ranges from $2,000 to $5,000.
  • Sealant for a concrete drive can cost $20-$80 per gallon.
  • Sealant for an asphalt drive averages 25 cents per square foot.

What is the best finish for concrete floors?

The best finish for concrete floors depends on your personal taste. An acid stain is a bold, varied look with lots of texture and the potential for earthy tones and a natural stone appearance. A water-based stain might not last as long as an acid stain, but it gives you the choice of many different colors. Epoxy is great for high-traffic areas, kitchens, bathrooms, basements and garages. It provides a glossy, damage-resistant, non-slip coating on your concrete floors. To find out which finish is the best for your concrete floors, contact a concrete contractor near you.

Is a concrete floor cheaper than wood?

Yes, concrete floors are generally more affordable than hardwood floors. Generally, a concrete floor costs between $2 and $15 per square foot, while hardwood floors cost between $12 and $20 per square foot, according to Floor Critics. While concrete requires preparation and pouring, its ease of finishing makes it a very affordable flooring option. Choose between finishes like acid stains, epoxy and more. While hardwood is not cheap flooring, it offers warmth and durability with infrequent maintenance.

If you're stuck between installing wood floors or concrete floors, reach out to a flooring installation professional near you

What's the difference between masonry and concrete contractors?

Masonry contractors build structures with smaller units like bricks and stones, binding them together with mortar to form a larger structure. Concrete contractors, on the other hand, only use concrete to form structures. This mixture of cement, water and other materials is poured into a premade structure and left to cure, forming a single structure made on one part.

Call a concrete contractor near you to replace or repair concrete floors. You can also find concrete masonry contractors in your area to help you with other projects.

Can I use digital payments to pay for concrete installation?

It is increasingly common for concrete installers to accept digital payments instead of cash or check. The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has only served to encourage this practice. Look for payment options like PayPal, Venmo, Square Cash, Zelle, Google Pay or others when you compare concrete contractors online. When you contact a concrete contractor, ask whether the contractor would be willing to accept.

What’s the best way to set up a consultation or an appointment with a concrete contractor during the COVID-19 pandemic?

Setting up appointments and consultations with concrete contractors during the COVID-19 pandemic should be done digitally. The best place to start is with an online search. After comparing local services, contact contractors directly and ask if they can perform an assessment over phone or video. This may be enough for them to give you an estimate. You can then discuss whether it’s safe to perform the service given current restrictions and guidelines.

What you need to know about concrete contractors.

Who delivers concrete near me?

Whether you’re building a retaining wall, installing a driveway or building a concrete patio, having your concrete delivered by a professional can make the job much easier. Search "concrete delivery" on Thumbtack to find concrete suppliers near you. Be sure to read reviews from past customers and get multiple quotes before you make your decision.

Bulk concrete delivery services may also install concrete, so think about all the services you may need before you begin your search.

Who sells concrete near me?

Depending on where you live, there may be multiple concrete services that deliver and sell concrete that's ready to install. If your project requires a large volume of concrete, consider hiring a concrete contractor near you. They will have the equipment and know-how to help with your concrete project. 

Should I use cement or concrete?

It's easy to confuse cement and concrete. Concrete actually contains cement. Cement, when mixed with water, creates a paste that dries to create a rock-hard surface. Concrete, on the other hand, is cement mixed with sand and gravel. 

Your project’s details will help you decide whether to use cement or concrete. Concrete is usually more durable than cement and is typically used for bigger projects. You might opt for cement if your project is smaller. Consult the pros before making a decision about which material to use.

Is it hard to pour concrete?

Concrete may be easy to work with — if you have experience pouring — but installing a larger project (like a patio or retaining wall) is a bit more challenging. If you decide to DIY a concrete project, be sure to budget plenty of time and prepare the site properly. It’s also wise to order extra concrete in case you make a mistake.

In most cases, it's best to leave concrete pouring to the pros. They have the expertise and equipment to get the job done right. 

Is it cheaper to pour your own concrete?

Concrete pricing varies depending on where you live, whether you need short-load or ready-mix delivery and the product's pounds-per-square inch strength. 

Why you should hire a concrete contractor.

While it may seem like it would be less expensive to pour your own concrete, it's important to compare DIY costs and the cost of hiring a pro. Before you opt for DIY, consult local concrete pros to get quotes. You may find that it's not much more expensive to have a professional handle your concrete project. Be sure to ask about concrete costs, delivery fees and extras like stamping, coloring and special finishes. 

Whether you want to lay a new basement floor, repair your driveway, install a patio or build a retaining wall in your backyard, hire a concrete contractor who can repair or install new cement and concrete. Let the pros take care of the compacting, leveling, pouring, and buffing — you just enjoy it afterward. Take a look at the best local concrete contractors and companies below, view their profiles and contact a pro to get pricing and discuss next steps.

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