Author Topic: Hiring a contractor to build new steps--any thoughts on these bids?  (Read 3796 times)

lizzie

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Our front exterior steps up to our house are crumbling and, after asking around for recommendations, I contacted a couple of contractors and got a couple of bids. We also asked for separate bids to replace the sidewalk that runs from the house steps to the steps that lead down to the sidewalk, just as something to consider (the sidewalk has settled awkwardly and is very uneven).  Finally, the steps down to the sidewalk are in good shape except for one little part that needs patching.

Would anyone with any knowledge of concrete or construction care to chime in on which you’d pick?

Bid #1
New steps     $3960
Remove front steps, install new footings as needed, new steps 6’x6’ with a 36” top landing. Patch up step to sidewalk.  Reroute side path to conform to new layout.
Railings for steps will be extra—no bid on that; they’ll give us a number to call; the contractor mentioned a $300 figure, but I guess it depends on the railings you choose   

New sidewalk   $1610
Remove and replace sidewalk 4’x21’                 

Use 6 bag 4500 psi concrete with fiber mesh #4 rebar, control and expansion joints as needed

Total $5570
(but does not include railings)


Bid #2
New steps   $3300
Sawcut walks as necessary, remove and haul away front steps, 1st panel of front walk, approximately 9’ of walk to side (to reroute to conform to new step layout). Dig and install frost footing at front of steps (to acommodate for coming out further for landing). install new steps 6’ wide with 3’ landing. Install walk surroung steps.     

Footing           $840
(Note: it appears your existing entry steps are built on a frost footing, however if after removal we discover no footing or substandard footing exists and a proper one is required to be installed by code, add to preceding estimate).

Railings      $1020
Install two new railings at steps.

New sidewalk    $612
Remove and replace remaining front walk to lawn steps same size as existing.

All concrete to be 4000 psi, air entrained, minimum of 6” thick with rebar, and sprayed with curing

Total:  $5772 
(includes railings but we forgot to ask this contractor about patching the lower sidewalk step)




Any thoughts? I’d be tempted to go with #2 since it includes the railings, but I don’t know whether I should care about the difference between 4500 v. 4000 psi concrete. Also #1 seems to cover any problem with the footing, whereas #2 says that the bid will increase if there’s any problem with it.  If it matters, it gets very cold here (we live in Minnesota).

SantaFeSteve

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Re: Hiring a contractor to build new steps--any thoughts on these bids?
« Reply #1 on: March 30, 2015, 12:40:52 PM »
Our front exterior steps up to our house are crumbling and, after asking around for recommendations, I contacted a couple of contractors and got a couple of bids. We also asked for separate bids to replace the sidewalk that runs from the house steps to the steps that lead down to the sidewalk, just as something to consider (the sidewalk has settled awkwardly and is very uneven).  Finally, the steps down to the sidewalk are in good shape except for one little part that needs patching.

Would anyone with any knowledge of concrete or construction care to chime in on which you’d pick?

Bid #1
New steps     $3960
Remove front steps, install new footings as needed, new steps 6’x6’ with a 36” top landing. Patch up step to sidewalk.  Reroute side path to conform to new layout.
Railings for steps will be extra—no bid on that; they’ll give us a number to call; the contractor mentioned a $300 figure, but I guess it depends on the railings you choose   

New sidewalk   $1610
Remove and replace sidewalk 4’x21’                 

Use 6 bag 4500 psi concrete with fiber mesh #4 rebar, control and expansion joints as needed

Total $5570
(but does not include railings)


Bid #2
New steps   $3300
Sawcut walks as necessary, remove and haul away front steps, 1st panel of front walk, approximately 9’ of walk to side (to reroute to conform to new step layout). Dig and install frost footing at front of steps (to acommodate for coming out further for landing). install new steps 6’ wide with 3’ landing. Install walk surroung steps.     

Footing           $840
(Note: it appears your existing entry steps are built on a frost footing, however if after removal we discover no footing or substandard footing exists and a proper one is required to be installed by code, add to preceding estimate).

Railings      $1020
Install two new railings at steps.

New sidewalk    $612
Remove and replace remaining front walk to lawn steps same size as existing.

All concrete to be 4000 psi, air entrained, minimum of 6” thick with rebar, and sprayed with curing

Total:  $5772 
(includes railings but we forgot to ask this contractor about patching the lower sidewalk step)




Any thoughts? I’d be tempted to go with #2 since it includes the railings, but I don’t know whether I should care about the difference between 4500 v. 4000 psi concrete. Also #1 seems to cover any problem with the footing, whereas #2 says that the bid will increase if there’s any problem with it.  If it matters, it gets very cold here (we live in Minnesota).

As for the strength of the concrete, both are much higher than needed for steps or walkway.  Those figures should not influence your decision in any way.

The bid #2 specifies the minimum thickness, which is more important.  Also it is clear that Bid #1 is going to mix the concrete on-site.  It is not clear if Bid#2 will be utilizing a pre-mix concrete delivered from a plant.  If this is the case then bid #2 is the winner.

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Re: Hiring a contractor to build new steps--any thoughts on these bids?
« Reply #2 on: March 30, 2015, 01:06:40 PM »
Did bid #1 have a thickness for the concrete sidewalk?

Sidewalks are often only 4 inches. 6-inches of 4000 psi would be superior to 4 inches of 4500 psi.

I would get more than two bids. I don't think those bids are out of line, but they would be high for where I live. Also, try a few landscaping companies. You may be able to get some really cool stonework (marble/granite) for less than the concrete. Landscape work has cheaper labor costs than concrete work. All the concrete, rebar, and rails for your project is likely only $1000-$1500. 

lizzie

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Re: Hiring a contractor to build new steps--any thoughts on these bids?
« Reply #3 on: March 31, 2015, 07:11:21 AM »
Thanks for the responses! This is helpful. That's interesting about hiring landscapers, I didn't know that. I don't know any more about the bids than what I posted but now I've got some good questions to ask. Thanks again!

Bob W

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Re: Hiring a contractor to build new steps--any thoughts on these bids?
« Reply #4 on: March 31, 2015, 08:36:44 AM »
Seems like a relatively small job.   If you have friends in the neighborhood you might ask around to see if any of your neighbors would be interested in some weekend work.   You could probably find someone for half the price of an official contractor.   

justajane

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Re: Hiring a contractor to build new steps--any thoughts on these bids?
« Reply #5 on: March 31, 2015, 07:35:31 PM »
The stairs sound high to me. How many are we talking about? We got a bid for stairs in our backyard that came in under 1K, but that was from a landscaping company. I imagine stairs attached to your house are more involved. 

The sidewalk sounds reasonable, but the second bid on the railings seems high (depending on the length). We got a bid for one railing on one side for ca. $300, and that was a nice(ish) design.

Concrete work is expensive, to be sure.