Asked on Jun 11, 2020

Newly poured concrete came out a mess, can someone tell me what to do?

by Linda

Our 1000sq ft colored concrete patio pour came out with inconsistent finishes (smooth & brushed), colored streaks, patches of blue and browns on every other square, two-tone finishes, brown spotted finishes, crazing cracks over 50% of the slab, a low spot in the corner, and white chalky finish on the edges (efflorescence maybe), as well as water streaks.

I'm devastated and stressed out over it. I need some advice before I contact the contractor. It was poured in 90 degree weather 11 months ago in July (even though I asked him to wait and he refused). Furthermore, he forgot to return to water it, so it was not watered AT ALL for 7 days straight in 90 degree weather in CA. We, the homeowners went out of town, and he said he would handle it while we were gone, and he forgot. When we returned from vacation, he told me to wait until Spring to see if it got better. It's now end of Spring (June 11, '20) and it's still terrible. I also have not heard from him. He previously told me we could acid wash it, but I'm thinking it's just an unfortunate situation with a problem with the quality of the job as well as some bad turn of events and it needs to come out.

The concrete contractor also poured a step on a separate day and it's a different color than the patio, and should be the same. I paid $16,000 for the job and I can't sleep over this. I think it's fair to say I should get a quality job for my $16k. There are numerous issues. Any thoughts? Thank you for your help!!

Crazing, water spots, low spots, discoloration, inconsistent finish, cracking.
Low spot on the complete corner...3 ft x 3ft section. Takes a long time to dry.
Water spots.
White chalky discolored finish.
Crazing cracks cover over 50% off the patio.
Crazing cracks over 50% of the patio
Two different textures throughout patio. Brushed and smooth (with crazing cracks)
Inconsistent coloring, spotted streaks of brown color.
Inconsistent textures. Water streaks.
Step with discoloration, crazing, water streaks, and different shade of color. (This was second step poured, as first steps was cracked even moreso.)
  24 answers
  • William William on Jun 12, 2020

    Call the contractor and have him fix it. Sounds like the whole mess needs to be removed and replaced. Have a lawyer send a letter to him if he does not respond. Contact your Village Hall to file a complaint and possibly the State

  • Janice Janice on Jun 12, 2020

    So sorry this happened to you. I suggest you document dates/times of the events as much as possible. Then contact the contractor in writing and "ask" for them to help you with the problem. If the contractor continues to avoid you or make excuses then you must get tougher and there are waiys to provide others a warning about the contractor's business methods on various internet media sites such as "Yelp", etc. As long as you have documentation you state facts he can do nothing to stop that. Because of the amount of money involved you could even file a small claims case against the business. Perhaps knowing you're getting serious about getting some help the contractor will be more interested in resolving the problem they caused. I'd first approach them as if they want to resolve the issue for a win-win situation.

  • Lifestyles Homes Lifestyles Homes on Jun 12, 2020

    Concrete dye/stain is perfect for this. It is not paint and it will never flake or peal, as it permeates the concrete.

    You can make it monolithic or look like stone, there’s tons of YT videos on this.

    Different brands have different levels of opacity. Some brands will come in pre-mixed colors and others make custom colors.

    Ive used Behr’s and am getting ready to use Cabbot’s soon.

    Since it’s been 11 months, you’ll want to clean it with a power washer or mild acid solution, first. So yes, have him acid wash it.

    At $16K, I’d ask the contractor to do the dye work, but I don’t trust him at this point.

    If it were me, I’d get quotes on having it professionally dyed and then tell my contractor that he can pay for that or I will take him to small claims court for that amount, plus court fees and my time.

    • See 3 previous
    • Sassy Sassy on Jun 14, 2020

      I would get several quotes. Then contact the contractor. Include the problem with low spot. Send copies of the highest bid. Give him a specific date to respond by. Maybe 2 weeks out. Let him know your planning legal action. Then file the claim right after the date you gave him. Small claims doesn't usually cost alot in most states but you maybe required to have him served. Include a statement to the effect that you are asking for those costs as well when you file.

  • Well, I live in CA, up in Santa Clarita, by Magic Mountain. Never ever does one pour in 95° heat. Not watering it several times a day is a recipe for disaster. How did you find this contractor? Is he licensed? I agree with William all the way. However, if licensed, you can file a complaint with the Contractors State Licence Board (CSLB.) 16k is a lot of money and should be perfect. This job looks like inexperienced person did the pour. In order to do your due diligence, save all your phone records, landline and cell phone, to prove you tried to contact the contractor. Send a certified letter, return receipt, requiring a signature so you can be sure he received the correspondence. In the letter let him know that the job is not satisfactory and must be demolished and re-poured. On his dime. (How did you pay him? By law you never provide final payment until you sign off that the job was completed to your satisfaction.) Give it at least a good couple of weeks for a response. And keep all future communication in writing - email, fax, snail mail, text, so there is no question as to exactly what was discussed. Then if no response, go after his license by filing a complaint. You can also file a claim with his insurance carrier. Then hire a construction defect attorney to write a letter to him outlining what was to be done per contract, poured in high heat, did not water consistently, etc., exactly what you stated in your question here. Between the claim on his license, a claim with his insurance carrier and the letter from an attorney, I can pretty much guarantee he will hop to it and correct the situation. You have my sympathy. And never trust any contractor to perform work while out of town. Unless you have had prior experience with a contractor and know the quality of the work product, I never ever chance it. I oversee the project until completion and interject if necessary. Here is a link to the CSLB. Click on "consumers" and you will find a plethora of helpful info. You can check a license by name or license number. Good luck, keep us posted and if you need more info or help with the sites, let us know.

  • Morgan McBride Morgan McBride on Jun 12, 2020

    So you could paint/stain it to cover the splotches, but since it was contractor error, I'd try to get them to fix it first.

  • Beth Beth on Jun 12, 2020

    As others have said, I think the contractor should have to make this right, whether by paying for someone else to fix it or by fixing it himself (though I'm not sure I'd trust him either!). It sounds like he keeps trying to put you off, so you may need to be more forceful or send a registered letter stating what you want from him.

  • Redcatcec Redcatcec on Jun 12, 2020

    What a horrible job, it needs to go away, The contractor needs to take up the poor job and replace. Have all your documentation in order and follow through. Contractors have boards they need to maintain their license through, go that route if need be. Be firm and assertive.

  • Mogie Mogie on Jun 12, 2020

    I hope that your contractor was licensed and bonded. That seems to make them more apt to due right by the customer. But call them and ask what they will do to fix this? Make sure you document everything. Take pictures from every angle and of everything. Before and after pics are a good idea.

    Have every piece of paper that you got from this company. Having a paper trail is good. Have you paid the contractor in full or did you give them 50% down and 50% upon a satisfactory completion? If you paid by check have a copy of that too as well as a time line and all info like copies of email conversations.

    • See 2 previous
    • Linda Linda on Jun 12, 2020

      Yes, he's licensed and bonded and did my sidewalk just fine a few years prior. He is a reputable contractor in the area, but the job is just not to a standard I would have expected from him. It's so much money and time, it's literally keeping me up at night. I've researched and researched and it just looks like it needs to come out. I'm so disappointed and worried. And yes, he asked for his payments as the job was being done. Partially upfront, partially after it was framed, etc... We paid him full payment when it was poured. We left the morning he poured it because he convinced us he would take care of it, even though I had asked him days prior if he would wait so we could be home to take care of it and wet it, because it was so hot.

  • Seth Seth on Jun 12, 2020

    Some cities/states have a fund to remedy poor work done by a contractor. Check with your Attorney General or Dept. of Consume Affairs

    • Linda Linda on Jun 12, 2020

      Thank you Seth, but no, I checked, nothing like that here unfortunately.

  • Janice Janice on Jun 12, 2020

    Have an attorney contact the company and get their State License # and the name of their insurance and bonding company. Surely your state has some time of oversight into contractor's who do shoddy work. Even some cities have TV stations with people who take on problems for the public who have issues with dompanies who won't do the right thing on their own. Don't give up ! And get the ball rolling as quicky as you can as there may be a limitation on time for legally notifiying the contractor. You absolutely must talk/deal with the OWNER of the company.

  • Yeah you need to make some noise and get him to make it right. That is way too much money to pay for a crap job!

  • Dee Dee on Jun 12, 2020

    The contractor definitely poured the slab in too hot weather. You should have some kind of warranty with this job. I would call an attorney, they usually give a free consultation. This needs to be completely ripped out and started over because of the cracks. There is a way to adjust the color as the city here put in new sidewalks and it sprayed a whitish acid on it and they came out beautiful. But you have cracks because of the heat and it not getting watered.

  • 17335038 17335038 on Jun 12, 2020

    Did both you and the contractor sign a contract before any work was commenced, or before any money was paid against the job?

    Hopefully, the answer is Yes.

    Does the wording on the contract specify exactly what is to be done and the various stages of the job, including returning to the property to water?

    Does the wording on the contract specify upon completion of each particular stage a payment will be due, and precisely what amount? or are there specific dates in the contract relating to when various payments are due?

    If there is a contract, you might be able to file against the contractor in small claims court for breach of contract. However, if there is no contract, as above, then unfortunately you will not be able to file a claim against him in this regard.

  • Patty Patty on Jun 13, 2020

    Yes I hope you have a contract. You likely need to see an Attorney. Good luck!

  • Lifestyles Homes Lifestyles Homes on Jun 13, 2020

    Now that I re-read you’re in CA, file a complaint with the CSLB, after you send him a registered letter stating all of the above.

    I have filed complaints against contractors and it’s them and they will put those complaints on their public profile, when founded/vetted.

    You should have not paid for all the work until you returned home and approved it. Therefore, he may insinuate that your payment constituted approval and that’s where the construction defects attorney will be worth the money.

  • Linda Linda on Jun 13, 2020

    No, there is no written contract unfortunately, as I have used him 2x before on a sidewalk and foundation work. I even gave him a high review on the BBB previously, because I never had an issue. But, I'm terrified to have him do it again. I would rather upgrade to pavers so I don't have to worry about any inconsistencies. I can't even sleep at night because I'm worried so much about it.

    But, I do have a signed receipt that I paid him $16,000 dollars, and he's a licensed concrete contractor. His company is XXX Concrete, so I wouldn't have paid him for anything else besides concrete.

    He'd have to literally lie. Not that he couldn't lie, but he did do a job for me, I paid him, I have a receipt, and the job did not come out correctly. Why would I need a contract? To say that I don't want an inconsistent finished patio? I'm hoping that would be a given.

    A contract would not show that I asked him not to pour it until I returned, and it was too hot. That's my word against his, unfortunately. I did say that I felt it was too hot, and that I would not be home. But I do have proof that I was on vacation that week. Regardless, anything he lies about wouldn't be in the contract anyway. Otherwise, the bad job is noted in the pictures.

    We had a binding verbal contract for a colored concrete patio for $16,000. The contract wouldn't have said inconsistent colors, low spot, half brushed, half smooth, with cracking, and please pour while I'm not home. So, I hope not having a contract really doesn't make that much of a difference. The inconsistencies in the photos should be enough. I just really wish I just get my money back, because it's extremely stressful thinking about letting him pour it again. I'm not sure I can handle it going wrong a second time.

    • See 4 previous
    • Linda Linda on Jun 15, 2020

      Thanks so much for your input. But, I do know that a written contract is not exactly necessary in small claims court. Fortunately, I have a friend that's been down this road before, without a contract. I think it's the "given" part that saved her.

      No one asks for an inconsistent color, two types of finishes, mapping cracks and low spots. Although it's not in writing, it's like standard practice, which is the only thing that was able to get her money back.

      The whole thing is unfortunate. The one and done part of concrete makes everything so difficult.

  • Linda Linda on Jun 13, 2020

    And yes, my husband paid him in full because he said that the patio coloring and crazing would get better once it dried completely, to wait until Spring, and that he would come back and fix the step that was completely cracked. We had used him before and never had a problem.

    He did repour the step, but he did not mention to me that the step would now be a different color than the patio. He brought over a color chart, and I specially asked him why was he looking at the color chart again, and he didn't say. Now I realize, after doing research, it is because it's impossible to match colors on two pours.

    So now my patio and step near the patio (entrance to another room) do not match colors.

    He casually mentioned acid washing, but that is not the look I wanted. Why am I paying for a $16k patio, with a finish I don't even want? I'm stressed out over the whole thing.

  • Linda Linda on Jun 13, 2020

    I'm keeping my fingers crossed that he will take it out without a disagreement.

    Different scenarios go through my mind as to how I can fix it, and still work with him, since I may not have a choice working with someone else.

    I don't trust him now.

    It's too stressful thinking of him pouring it a second time.

    I don't want to take that chance. At this point, I'd rather do something else that guarantees there will be no coloring or finishing cover it with something maybe? Or redo it with pavers, even though I will probably have to even pay more for the pavers.

  • JJ JJ on Jun 15, 2020

    Make the contractor make you whole again! You paid for a professional job and you should have one. I would have contractor look at it and see what he suggests. It is his responsibility to do it right. You shouldn't be punished for that. It may need to be decided by a judge! Just my two cents.

  • Cassandra Liborio Cassandra Liborio on Jun 23, 2021

    Hi Linda, would you mind giving me an update on what was the outcome with your contractor? I am now in this situation. it is so stressful.

  • Mary Mary on Apr 25, 2022

    I’m having same problem. We had large water marks and found it was water entrapment and efflorescence. Cement company that provided the cement placed the blame entirely on contractor. It was suggested by him that MAYBE muriatic acid would make the spots fade. After 10 acid washes the cement looks almost white and very rough. Now I have read that it will slowly eat away the cement. It’s a mess.

    will be confronting contractor tomorrow to remove cement pad and we will start new. Hope it works

  • Silviastar Silviastar on Jul 14, 2022

    I had the same problem after some contractors I hired did a hell of a lot of mistakes when pouring concrete into my driveway. Luckily, I had the guys from repair everything and tell me what was previously done wrong. Firstly, the concrete was too wet. That is a pretty common mistake, but since the guys I hired were supposed to be "professionals", I was pretty disappointed that it happened. That is because properly mixed concrete looks too dry to flow and trowel properly, and many people may be fooled. They also poured it too thin, which takes away from the strong and long-lasting part of the concrete.

  • Gabe Gabe on Mar 06, 2023

    I have had my fair share of not so good concrete services. Make sure you hire the right team to do your concrete! It is the most important part of the process.

  • Gabe Gabe on Apr 03, 2023

    So frustrating receiving a terrible contractor. Makes you that much more grateful for the good ones. concrete conctractors