Home Improvement--General/Aggregate concrete


QUESTION: Before I ask my question, I want to find out if you have expertise in hardscape.  My question is about laying concrete in my backyard.

ANSWER: Hello Irene. Yes I do. please feel free to contact me for any reason.

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QUESTION: Great.  We have existing aggregate concrete in our backyard which has been there since before we bought our house some 14 years ago.  It's really pretty, a beige-ish tone (not gray)with inlaid small pebbles that are mainly black and gray throughout.  The concrete is trimmed with a darker brick.  The other half of the yard is grass.

Now we just hired a contractor to extend our backyard patio area, specifically to extend the concrete and brick out to the fence, thus in place of half of the grass area.  The brick and concrete was to match as closely as possible the existing hardscape.  

Last week, the contractors came and dug out the grass and put in bricks in a nice border.  The bricks matched the old ones perfectly.  The final step, they poured the concrete.  When it dried the next day, I was so distraught when it did not match the existing concrete!  Not only was it not the right color (it was gray), but it didn't have any stones/pebbles at all in it!!!  It had what appeared up close to be gravel.  From a few feet away, it looked like plain old sidewalk concrete!  My husband had the contractor come back the following day and he admitted he made a mistake and offered to discount the job.  That's nice and all, but now do we have to live with a poorly done job?  It's downright embarrasing...it looks terrible that half the patio area is one kind of concrete and the other is different.  The contractor said there is nothing he can do!

So I'm trying to find out from an expert if there is really nothing that can be done other than having it ripped out and re-done.  My husband doesn't care that much and says it will do.  He is obviously not a perfectionist and happy to have saved some money.  Should the contractor have offered to rip it out and re-do it?

Thanks for any advice you can give.

ANSWER: Irene- Unfortunately there is no solution to your concrete dilemma. Your concrete was never given the treatment to expose the aggregate within the concrete itself. There is no way to now expose it in a nice uniform way. Was it not explained to the contractor that it should match? If so than yes I would want the contractor to remove and re-do. A costly ordeal but to me, it matters. More often husbands do not see the whole when it comes to their living surroundings.....
I am sorry this has happened. Concrete is so....permanent.
How about a completely different look for the new section, like epoxy paint?

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QUESTION: Thanks for your quick reply.  Yes, the contractor was requested to match the existing.  After the job, my husband had the contractor come over to see the mismatch.  The contractor then admitted that he made a mistake and ordered the wrong concrete.  However, according to my husband, he never offered to redo it.  He only offered a discount, which I found out was a measly $500!  My husband though was happy with that.

After hounding my husband constantly, he finally agreed to having the contractor rip it out and re-do YAY!  BUT...he wants ME to handle dealing with the contractor as he doesn't want to deal with the possible confrontation.  

Now I need your advice on what is a diplomatic way to approach this topic with the contractor to get the results that I want.  What is the best wording to use to not rock the boat with him.  I would hate to have him come and do a lousy redo job because he is ticked off at us.  By the way, he is licensed and insured.  Would his insurance cover the redo for him?


Well I would call him to discuss the job and let him know that it does not match (calmly) and when he offers you the discount say, "I do not want a discount I want it to match existing and that you would like the two of you to come up with a soltion...." Again calmly.
He ordered the concrete right btw....its how you treat it after it is poured that you get different effects. He doesn't know enough about what he is doing sounds like. It is far too easy to get a contractors licence in most states; that's for sure. No- his insurance is for damage liability and/or workman's comp. When he balks at a re-do say (calmly) "well I need to contact my lawyer to see what I should do...." If that does not snap him out of it than do just that. You will have to settle in small claims. (What was the total amt?) Not many small contractors are in a position to absorb that kind of loss....
Let me ask you- was he the lowest bidder?

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Glen W


I can answer almost any question about residential construction / renovation


I have worked as a General Contractor for 25 yrs. in 10 states.

BA in Architecture

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