Author Topic: Yard renovation (non-DIY) - stamped concrete or pavers?  (Read 8743 times)

jeromedawg

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Yard renovation (non-DIY) - stamped concrete or pavers?
« on: February 27, 2015, 08:40:48 AM »
Hey guys,

So I'm in a bottom condo unit with a smaller ~400sq ft sized yard. There is no gate or direct entrance to the yard and the only way to get to it is through the condo. As far as material transfer, I'm assuming it is possible to get stuff over the walls (they are not that high at 5ft~). In fact, I've seen other neighbors who have either concrete or paver/brick patios so they probably did it over their walls (rather than dragging stuff through the house). I think both contractors I've had come out so far have been staunchly against bringing anything through the house due to liability of damage.

Anyway, that said, the first contractor who came out (who I think will be pricier) was pushing pavers all the way and said it's totally doable in our situation no problem. Starting ballpark quotes were $8k-10k :O I also talked with another contractor over the phone and he ballparked at least $6k starting out and he was insistent on going through the unit (rather than over the walls) but of course has not seen the unit at all. I just had a third contractor come out this morning and he was pushing for concrete all the way - what he was describing to me seemed the easiest in that he would have a truck pull up to the side of the street (we're a corner unit) and just lay a hose out and have it go over the wall and pump into the yard. He measured sq footage and is going to get me a quote soon, but I'm guessing his will likely be the cheapest price. I think he also does a lot of contracting work for new homes in my area too so he seems to be pretty familiar with what people generally do. I think concrete is probably his specialty as well.

I know drainage is another concern we have. Currently it's a dirt lot but I think we're on a natural slope (other side of the wall is sloped at 60 degrees too I think)

I had no idea about "stamped" concrete and now that I look at it, it actually looks pretty nice. But what do you guys think either way? I think we'll be splitting this with my parents since we currently co-own the place but so either way it won't be too crazy out of pocket but I still want to be mindful of expenses and costs. Any feedback on all this?

KCM5

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Re: Yard renovation (non-DIY) - stamped concrete or pavers?
« Reply #1 on: February 27, 2015, 08:47:42 AM »
Is there a reason you don't want to do it yourself? Pavers are quite easy to lay. You could do it in a weekend for under a grand including purchasing tools. And you could add some cool beds for plants. Not knowing your layout, it sounds like you could have the pallets of pavers and sand dropped off in front and carry them through the house.

thd7t

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Re: Yard renovation (non-DIY) - stamped concrete or pavers?
« Reply #2 on: February 27, 2015, 08:51:39 AM »
Where are you located?  Pavers are great if you don't have a lot of freeze/thaw, but will heave more than concrete if it freezes regularly.  There are other considerations, as well.

KD

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Re: Yard renovation (non-DIY) - stamped concrete or pavers?
« Reply #3 on: February 27, 2015, 09:11:13 AM »
We had beautiful stamped concrete patios front and back at our single level condo...but we had gates and they were already installed when we bought.  Loved the ease of hosing/sweeping them off w/o having to weed-eat or treat cracks in between pavers.

jeromedawg

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Re: Yard renovation (non-DIY) - stamped concrete or pavers?
« Reply #4 on: February 27, 2015, 09:14:49 AM »
Thanks for the suggestions!

One of the big reasons I don't want to DIY is just because of the limited amount of space and labor with doing everything right. It's not just laying the pavers but is putting down the gravel/road-base and sand foundations in addition to the drainage. All things I'm unfamiliar with and what youtube and other sites make look easier than it likely is. I'm not as concerned about the installation of pavers as I really am the prep work. The layout of our condo unit (both the few steps leading up to the entrance) as well as corners and angles isn't ideal to be wheel-barrowing stuff through, and carrying armfuls of pavers (~400sq ft worth) through the house doesn't sound appealing either. Sure I could have a pizza/beer party and invite a bunch of friends over to help with the job but it sounds like it could potentially be a disaster in the making lol.

I just did an estimate of pallets + bags of sands with an online calculator and it looks like I'd likely have 3-4 pallets of pavers and 75 bags of sand to deal with for my situation. Hahahaha that seems like a lot to deal with for our little condo yard.

BTW: I'm in Southern California - Irvine to be exact.

Greg

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Re: Yard renovation (non-DIY) - stamped concrete or pavers?
« Reply #5 on: February 27, 2015, 09:18:52 AM »
Pavers should be fine for your location, but concrete will be less maintenance.  Think weeds, leveling, ants excavating sand out from the cracks, etc.

I'd look into having the materials hoisted into the yard via a crane.  Could be affordable and would save tons in back-breaking labor. 

GuitarStv

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Re: Yard renovation (non-DIY) - stamped concrete or pavers?
« Reply #6 on: February 27, 2015, 09:23:14 AM »
Where are you located?  Pavers are great if you don't have a lot of freeze/thaw, but will heave more than concrete if it freezes regularly.  There are other considerations, as well.

Depends on how well you prep the area you're going to put the pavers.  My patio was done in pavers, and has seen four pretty harsh winters/hot summers with lots of freeze and thaw . . . the stones haven't shifted or budged a millimeter.  It was dug down about two feet, compressed, crushed limestone fill, compressed, levelled, graded away from the house, and then the stones were laid.

I've seen an awful lot of poorly done concrete driveways around here that are all cracked and terrible looking from the freeze/thaw cycles.

Laying patio stones is by far the easiest part.  Takes four or five times the amount of time to properly prep the spot you're laying the stones.  After you lay the stones use polymeric sand to lock them up and weeds aren't really an issue.

jeromedawg

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Re: Yard renovation (non-DIY) - stamped concrete or pavers?
« Reply #7 on: February 27, 2015, 09:31:51 AM »
Pavers should be fine for your location, but concrete will be less maintenance.  Think weeds, leveling, ants excavating sand out from the cracks, etc.

I'd look into having the materials hoisted into the yard via a crane.  Could be affordable and would save tons in back-breaking labor.

Yea I think we're aiming for less maintenance overall. Don't want to deal with weeds or leveling stuff. When you saying have the materials hoisted via crane, are you implying to still DIY it?

jeromedawg

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Re: Yard renovation (non-DIY) - stamped concrete or pavers?
« Reply #8 on: February 27, 2015, 09:37:03 AM »
What about doing a combination of pavers and concrete? Or is that just too complicated?

KD

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Re: Yard renovation (non-DIY) - stamped concrete or pavers?
« Reply #9 on: February 27, 2015, 09:41:17 AM »
Could you talk w/your HOA about removing a fence temporarily? 

Capsu78

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Re: Yard renovation (non-DIY) - stamped concrete or pavers?
« Reply #10 on: February 27, 2015, 09:56:02 AM »
I love my stamped concrete 7 years on but I have 1100 sq feet from back to the side of the house. The paver estimates were much higher by the time they put pencil to paper. 
I still get complements.  I also wanted curved walk out steps from the doorways large enough for a chair and potted plants in the warm months it really helped the transition from indoors to ourdoors.

jeromedawg

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Re: Yard renovation (non-DIY) - stamped concrete or pavers?
« Reply #11 on: February 27, 2015, 09:59:12 AM »
Could you talk w/your HOA about removing a fence temporarily?

I sent them an email last night asking about transporting of materials over the wall. The first contractor mentioned he could make a "cut" in the wall to make transfers easier and then patch it back up after. Not sure what the association would think of that but I'll have to see.

nobody123

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Re: Yard renovation (non-DIY) - stamped concrete or pavers?
« Reply #12 on: February 27, 2015, 10:39:03 AM »
I would go with whatever aesthetically pleases you more.  If you choose the cheaper option just because it is cheaper and you hate looking at it, was it really worth it?

I put a stamped and colored concrete patio in two years ago and love it.  There are 4 steps down from the patio door to the patio, so the concrete guy suggested not doing poured steps because of the weight, and we had another contractor put some wooden ones in instead.  We are in a new development, so a bunch of us neighbors all hired the same guy and he gave us a good deal because he only had to move his equipment once, saved on the concrete truck fees because he could do full loads instead of partials, etc. 

Stuff to make sure is included in your quote:
- Permits
- Hauling away the excavated dirt.  If they do it right, a 400 square foot patio will leave you with a couple of dump trucks full, and you don't want to figure out where to put it or how to get it out of your yard.
- Sealing the concrete when they're done
- Steps if you need them.  If you need more than 2 steps down, you might need a railing, too.  Check your local building code.

jeromedawg

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Re: Yard renovation (non-DIY) - stamped concrete or pavers?
« Reply #13 on: February 27, 2015, 10:53:31 AM »
I would go with whatever aesthetically pleases you more.  If you choose the cheaper option just because it is cheaper and you hate looking at it, was it really worth it?

I put a stamped and colored concrete patio in two years ago and love it.  There are 4 steps down from the patio door to the patio, so the concrete guy suggested not doing poured steps because of the weight, and we had another contractor put some wooden ones in instead.  We are in a new development, so a bunch of us neighbors all hired the same guy and he gave us a good deal because he only had to move his equipment once, saved on the concrete truck fees because he could do full loads instead of partials, etc. 

Stuff to make sure is included in your quote:
- Permits
- Hauling away the excavated dirt.  If they do it right, a 400 square foot patio will leave you with a couple of dump trucks full, and you don't want to figure out where to put it or how to get it out of your yard.
- Sealing the concrete when they're done
- Steps if you need them.  If you need more than 2 steps down, you might need a railing, too.  Check your local building code.


Thanks! All very good points to keep in mind for my checklist :)

Not sure how they'd excavate the dirt. Currently we have a couple decks where the yard entry is and the exposed area we'd want to fill in with pavers or concrete would be several inches down from that. The contractor pushing concrete seemed to say that he wasn't going to do much, if any, excavation of dirt and would just prep things to pour the concrete and it would maybe be slightly higher off the ground than currently. The contractor offering pavers did make more of a mention of excavation (and about 6" down). Either way, I don't think we'll need steps in our situation.

Concrete is sounding like a more viable option to me at this point. It just seems like the cost of installing pavers is significantly more based on labor alone. I still have to get the quotes for the concrete but I anticipate it being less either way.

KD

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Re: Yard renovation (non-DIY) - stamped concrete or pavers?
« Reply #14 on: February 27, 2015, 11:04:49 AM »
Our concrete was relatively thick maybe about 1 1/2 - 2 inches.  It looks like they used the walls as one edge and a small spacer board at the fence lines to create the 'forms/mold' to pour into. 

Yes, ours was sealed.  We sold right before it was going to need it again.  I think 5 years was the time that they said it would last between resealing.

With concrete I would think it would be relatively easy to just have the concrete poured over the fencing w/o removal.  That is based on the landscaping /ground levels and access around it.

I'm a red panda

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Re: Yard renovation (non-DIY) - stamped concrete or pavers?
« Reply #15 on: February 27, 2015, 11:10:13 AM »
If it is non-DIY, I'd get quotes both ways.

We wanted pavers in what we thought was a pretty basic project, and the estimate from 4 different companies came back between $20k and $26k.   We haven't checked concrete yet, but we were astonished by the cost of pavers.

Nate R

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Re: Yard renovation (non-DIY) - stamped concrete or pavers?
« Reply #16 on: February 27, 2015, 11:17:53 AM »
Hijack: Downsides of stamped concrete? Is it slippery when wet? Or just the higher up front cost? (Over non-stamped/colored)


jeromedawg

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Re: Yard renovation (non-DIY) - stamped concrete or pavers?
« Reply #17 on: February 27, 2015, 11:29:41 AM »
Hijack: Downsides of stamped concrete? Is it slippery when wet? Or just the higher up front cost? (Over non-stamped/colored)

I've heard it can be slippery when wet, yes. As far as cost, compared to pavers I *think* it's actually less overall but someone can correct me if I'm wrong. I think it may also depend on how intricate of a stamped design/stain you want as well as logistical difficulties with access.

KD

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Re: Yard renovation (non-DIY) - stamped concrete or pavers?
« Reply #18 on: February 27, 2015, 11:42:44 AM »
Ours wasn't slippery, but that is because it was stamped w/somewhat rough slate like indentations.  Everyone oohhhed and awed over it.  Keep trying to upload pics here but am having no luck.

jeromedawg

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Re: Yard renovation (non-DIY) - stamped concrete or pavers?
« Reply #19 on: February 27, 2015, 11:57:22 AM »
Ours wasn't slippery, but that is because it was stamped w/somewhat rough slate like indentations.  Everyone oohhhed and awed over it.  Keep trying to upload pics here but am having no luck.

Sweet! If we go with stamped concrete, I'll make sure to ask for this "rough" surface look to prevent slipperyness. Pics would be great! If you don't mind sharing, what were the costs (at least per sq foot) for installation on yours? It sounds like if it's more intricate of a stamp (like textured, etc) the price generally goes up.

KD

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Re: Yard renovation (non-DIY) - stamped concrete or pavers?
« Reply #20 on: February 27, 2015, 12:59:06 PM »
I'm sorry, I don't know the answer.  They were already installed when we purchased.


nobody123

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Re: Yard renovation (non-DIY) - stamped concrete or pavers?
« Reply #21 on: February 27, 2015, 03:24:51 PM »
Sweet! If we go with stamped concrete, I'll make sure to ask for this "rough" surface look to prevent slipperyness. Pics would be great! If you don't mind sharing, what were the costs (at least per sq foot) for installation on yours? It sounds like if it's more intricate of a stamp (like textured, etc) the price generally goes up.

The stamp we chose gave the surface some texture, so it's not slippery at all.  I found the quote from 2013, it was $4500 for 500 square feet of colored, stamped, sealed concrete.  Excavated and put a base layer of gravel down, hauled away the dirt.  I ended up making the patio a little bigger when I put the spray paint down with him, but he still charged me the $9/sq. ft.  I could have saved money if it was just standard driveway gray with a brushed texture, but the wife wanted a certain color.  We got 3 estimates at the time, and they were all within $1000 of each other.

Oh, one other thing to consider:  Make sure you know where the slope of the slab will direct rainwater.  You can't just have it run off of your patio and flood the neighbor's yard.

RapmasterD

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Re: Yard renovation (non-DIY) - stamped concrete or pavers?
« Reply #22 on: February 27, 2015, 04:28:12 PM »
If I had to do it again, I'd do stamped concrete with the nice little brick dividers. The weed thing in between the pavers -- it's real, and really annoying.

jeromedawg

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Re: Yard renovation (non-DIY) - stamped concrete or pavers?
« Reply #23 on: February 27, 2015, 05:12:43 PM »
Sweet! If we go with stamped concrete, I'll make sure to ask for this "rough" surface look to prevent slipperyness. Pics would be great! If you don't mind sharing, what were the costs (at least per sq foot) for installation on yours? It sounds like if it's more intricate of a stamp (like textured, etc) the price generally goes up.

The stamp we chose gave the surface some texture, so it's not slippery at all.  I found the quote from 2013, it was $4500 for 500 square feet of colored, stamped, sealed concrete.  Excavated and put a base layer of gravel down, hauled away the dirt.  I ended up making the patio a little bigger when I put the spray paint down with him, but he still charged me the $9/sq. ft.  I could have saved money if it was just standard driveway gray with a brushed texture, but the wife wanted a certain color.  We got 3 estimates at the time, and they were all within $1000 of each other.

Oh, one other thing to consider:  Make sure you know where the slope of the slab will direct rainwater.  You can't just have it run off of your patio and flood the neighbor's yard.

Thanks for the details! Where are you located btw? That sounds like a reasonable price and the estimate we received but for 200sq feet (I undershot the estimate). But he also said, due to the labor and logistics involved, it would be that price even if we were at 400sq feet too, which is actually what the size of the yard is closer to.

The slope is definitely important. I pointed out the issue of water pooling when it rains currently and so they know what the drainage should look like. Fortunately, we're the end unit and our next-door neighbor's yard isn't adjoined so when the water flows out it'll just go into the association's landscaping and drain off into the street.

nobody123

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Re: Yard renovation (non-DIY) - stamped concrete or pavers?
« Reply #24 on: February 28, 2015, 08:14:12 AM »
I'm in Ohio.  Based on what my guy told me, the excavation was important in my case for two reasons, how our soil type reacts to the freeze / thaw cycle of our climate and the fact that the house was relatively new and the surrounding yard may not have reached it's final settling point / compaction.  If you go concrete, I'd get a couple of other estimates just to see what the prevailing thoughts are regarding your yard. 

When the guy explained the fixed costs he has to pay regardless of the size of the job (I think the concrete supplier charged him like $175 for a truck cleanout fee, a tank of diesel to haul his equipment to the site, permit from the city, etc.), I could see where that small of a difference in size of the pour wouldn't make much difference in price.

jeromedawg

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Re: Yard renovation (non-DIY) - stamped concrete or pavers?
« Reply #25 on: February 28, 2015, 09:20:45 AM »
I'm in Ohio.  Based on what my guy told me, the excavation was important in my case for two reasons, how our soil type reacts to the freeze / thaw cycle of our climate and the fact that the house was relatively new and the surrounding yard may not have reached it's final settling point / compaction.  If you go concrete, I'd get a couple of other estimates just to see what the prevailing thoughts are regarding your yard. 

When the guy explained the fixed costs he has to pay regardless of the size of the job (I think the concrete supplier charged him like $175 for a truck cleanout fee, a tank of diesel to haul his equipment to the site, permit from the city, etc.), I could see where that small of a difference in size of the pour wouldn't make much difference in price.

Thanks for this. It sounded like the guy pushing concrete was going to just pour it over the existing soil. Is that normal? Or do they usually lay down a foundation of gravel and or sand before the concrete? It doesn't get to freezing in my area but it can get relatively hot. Even so, I think the soil in my area is more clay-like and tends to compact well especially if covered for a long period of time.

nobody123

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Re: Yard renovation (non-DIY) - stamped concrete or pavers?
« Reply #26 on: February 28, 2015, 09:39:59 AM »
I'm not a concrete guy, so I have no idea what is "normal".  All three estimates we had included the excavation, and the guy who did my job explained why it was necessary in my case (he was the only one I asked).  A brief internet search led me to www.concretenetwork.com which confirmed what he told me.  I'm sure if someone could have done it without excavation and could still guarantee their work, they would have at least said that was an option.  The end result of the job is wonderful, so I assume he did it "the right way" for our particular lot.

Like I said, get a couple of other estimates and ask if they need to excavate.  You could also call your city's building department and ask what they need to inspect, or if excavation is necessary in your area.  All that will cost you is a phone call and 5 minutes of your time.

Greg

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Re: Yard renovation (non-DIY) - stamped concrete or pavers?
« Reply #27 on: February 28, 2015, 10:09:21 PM »
When I do a patio, I excavate so that the patio can slope slightly away from the doors, and be formed with 2x4 and 1x4.  This means grading down 3.5" at the doors and down from there as you move away from the house.  I use 6" re-mesh (welded wire grid) and polyethylene sheeting under it.  The wire keeps sections from migrating away, you will want joints or stress-relief seams/cracks every 8-12'.  The sheeting keeps the ground moisture from constantly wicking up into the slab, especially important for garages and other enclosed/covered areas.

I have a subcontractor that usually does this, it's money well spent.  Stamping is a specialty and very hard work.  If you choose the concrete route, a pump is only $250 more where I work and well worth the money for ease of concrete placement.  More than 1/2 cu. yd. and you'll likely want to use redi-mix delivered by truck.

jeromedawg

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Re: Yard renovation (non-DIY) - stamped concrete or pavers?
« Reply #28 on: March 02, 2015, 06:59:41 PM »
A couple other questions that are not directly related but...

1) Should the concrete or pavers be laid right up to where the AC Condenser is position? Or should there be a "buffer" zone of maybe a half foot to foot of gravel surrounding the base of the AC condenser?

2) I'm concerned about rodents burrowing under the wall and up into the patch of dirt that we're considering leaving open parallel to the longer wall (so we can plant flowers, plants, or potentially veggies and herbs). What's the best way to prevent rodents from digging up? Just to install and bury chicken wire?


BTW: I got a quote back from one of the contractors and there's only a price difference of about $500 between pavers and concrete. The gotcha is that both quotes are at the $10k mark! That seems exorbitantly high. Seems as though roughly half the cost is going towards excavation (with inconvenience of going over the wall)/drainage/prep while the other half goes towards installation and sealing (without much difference between pavers vs stamped concrete). Does that sound right?
« Last Edit: March 02, 2015, 08:29:28 PM by jplee3 »

jeromedawg

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Re: Yard renovation (non-DIY) - stamped concrete or pavers?
« Reply #29 on: March 03, 2015, 11:46:00 AM »
Just confirmed with a different contractor that stamped concrete and pavers end up costing roughly similar just because of the prep-work involved with stamped concrete. I didn't think about all that other stuff so it makes sense now. In either case, $10k still seems a bit on the high side for what I need to have done... hopefully I'll get some more quotes soon.