Concrete Installation

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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.

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 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.

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.

What do concrete contractors do?

Hire concrete contractor services for projects such as concrete foundations, concrete driveways, slab floors and other concrete work. A concrete contractor builds structures from concrete, often handling every step of the process from mixing ingredients to building the retaining structure to pouring and settling the mix. This individual or team supervises delivery and pouring to ensure that it’s done correctly. Many states require concrete contractors to have a license.

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 concrete 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.

Does a concrete contractor need to enter my home?

If the concrete job is 100% outdoors, a concrete contractor will not need to enter your home. However, certain jobs may require a professional to enter your home, including pouring a slab floor or laying a foundation for a fireplace or other heavy object. 

If a contractor needs to see the inside of your home during the consultation, you can ask to video chat and share photos through email and text messages to reduce exposure. Put a plan in place as you talk to local concrete contractors.

Do concrete contractors offer remote or virtual services?

Concrete contractors must be present to pour concrete. If you come across a profile that states the concrete contractor is offering remote services, message the contractor to see what those services include. 

In any case, contact local concrete contractors to ask whether they can perform the job under current guidelines. You can also discuss other strategies to stay safe, like virtual payments and video consultations.

How can I find out if a concrete contractor is considered an essential COVID-19 service provider?

In order to know if a concrete contractor is considered an essential COVID-19 service provider in your city or state, you’ll need to visit your city or state’s official government website.

Another helpful resource is CISA’s website, which includes a guide to Identifying Critical Infrastructure During COVID-19 that provides information on a national level. This guideline presents 16 categories of critical infrastructure sectors, which can help in determining whether concrete contractors are currently considered essential service providers. Some, but not all, jurisdictions follow CISA’s definitions of critical infrastructure. 

Reviews for Bothell sidewalk contractors
Bill A.
We hired Evagreen Contractors to lay an aggregate concrete walkway around our house with a low (two blocks high) retaining wall on the long side of the house. They also needed to dig out the long side of the house so that the concrete would slope away from the foundation. On a scale of 1-10 with ten being the best, we would rate Evagreen Contractors a 6/7. They were very friendly, nice guys and tried to do what we asked, however we are disappointed in their work scheduling and feel their skill level and work quality is poor. Scheduling: On several occasions they said they would be out on a certain day and then never showed up or called. Also, sometimes they would arrive, work a couple hours and then leave with no explanation. We would text the owner/project manager and although he always responded quickly, we had to initiate the text or we would hear nothing. We accepted their original contract on August 30 and the work was completed on October 16 – 1.5 months. They did tell us it would be 3 weeks until they could start--the actual work took them another 3 weeks. We know they were juggling our project with others and we were getting their time as they could fit us in. We thought once they started, they should be giving us a full day’s work and not piece meal here and there. Note: When they did work, they worked hard as this was a labor intensive project. The last night they worked until 11 p.m. to beat bad weather. We were grateful for this, but felt they put themselves in this position because of the erratic work schedule. Skill level: Time consuming and costly mistakes were made such as laying a section of retaining wall where it wasn’t supposed to be which meant it had to be removed. Also, one long section of the retaining wall was so crooked it had to be removed and redone. And, we had to pay extra for that even though it was their error. Our main complaint though is that the aggregate surface of the concrete is very disappointing. We don’t know if they waited too long to rinse off the top to expose the aggregate or not, but it is blotchy and about 60% exposed with the rest having concrete residue and gravel/sand covering it. We expected a nice aggregate surface and only got that in a few areas. Sloppy work: Our existing aggregate driveway and river rock dry beds have concrete residue on them (from washing the new sidewalk to expose the aggregate) and we are going to have to try and clean them up with a pressure washer ourselves. The crew’s trucks also leaked a lot of oil wherever they parked. We talked to them about it the very first day, but it was only the last week when we finally supplied them sheets of cardboard to put under their trucks that they did anything. Neighbors were very unhappy with the oily mess. Another cleanup we had to do ourselves. Two large truck loads of dirt from excavation were left in our driveway for two weeks until we finally asked them to remove it. Also, when they were done for the day, tools were just left lying around along with litter like pop bottles and candy wrappers. Not a big thing, but irritating. All in all, we cannot recommend this business and we would not use them again. Very nice guys but this was a stressful project and definitely not the end result we expected.
Evagreen ContractorsEvagreen Contractors
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