At a very young age I was always fascinated in Landscaping, Gardening, Home Remodel, & Concrete Construction. In my past 10 yrs. as owner of American Pride Concrete Construction, I was ironically able to combine all my fascinations & talents in one single business model & mission, in which then let to the invention of the Hillbarrow. With every job we do & done, whether it be a colored, stamped patio to imitate stone or brick, or a simple driveway that leads to the home; I always focused on not only a good job with a remarkable concrete "Finish," but also recreating the surrounding landscape to conform with the concrete in every way imaginable.
I hope to offer not only a quality Hillbarrow to assist with your do-it-yourself needs, but also offer my FREE contracting advice from A-Z as an added bonus & thank you for considering us for your concrete needs, a new Hillbarrow, or just for visiting this site & referring others to either within. This page includes hiring a reputable contractor: Things to ask, things to plan for, & things to know to make sure the job's done right the 1st time! It will also include: How to prepare, plan, & construct everything with proper water drainage in mind.... this is a much overlooked must! I may not be able to give you a new Hillbarrow, fix your water problems, replace your patio, driveway, sidewalk, or flowerbed personally, but I can offer to you many FREE helpful hints & referrals to make sure you can, or at least see it through on the path to perfection! E-mail us with any questions you may have, & with your permission, your question & reply may become a part of this page. We Sincerely Thank You for visiting the Hillbarrow.com website for whatever reason it may be, & our hopes are that you may save enough $$$ by our FREE advice, to easily pay for your New Hillbarrow, or give &/or refer one to a close family member/friend whom you know could greatly benefit.
When searching for a contractor we strongly suggest seeking out companies that stand out to you most within your Local Better Business Bureau website, phone book, &/or Google search. Be on alert for the good vibe you feel when you see or read the business name, logo, mission statement, etc. Maybe you find the company by Google & their Better Business Bureau Seal leads you to a good record :). Follow your instincts, narrow it down to three companies & call & request to schedule for FREE estimates. Ask them questions such as those I suggest below like "Do you consider proper water drainage, & precise prepping?" If you ask them respectfully & they respond willingly, & the vibe in their answers make sense & are helpful, then you got a contractor worth scheduling.
Never hire a no-call/no-show, never hire one that reschedules more than once & is late or is absent on re-schedule. Hire the one that is organized, on time, presentable, & willing to answer your questions with skill & without frustration. This contractor is most likely one that takes Pride in their work, runs his/her business with discipline & dignity, & weather permitting he/she will be the one most likely to show up on time, get the job done promptly, & do it right the 1st time! Referrals are always nice for us contractor's & home owner's too. I always looked forward to referrals because they already have seen &/or heard about the good work we did, & are not so worried about the good work we are capable of doing for them!
If you are planning to buy or rent a home, many people not in the concrete business & other related businesses are not aware of the many homes built to wow, but without proper water drainage away from the home, you could be buying or renting someone elses problems..literally! Pay close attention to cracks in the block, brick, stone, & foundation in general, & then assess the grade of the lawn in contact. Pay attention to cracks in surrounding concrete & asphalt such as: Driveways, sidewalks, patios, etc. A huge raise, shift, or crack could be a result in either a poor base underneath concrete or asphalt, poor water drainage surrounding, or a tree root that may have grown underneath. If it is determined to be a tree noticeably near-by, if close to the house, it may be disrupting & growing into the home's foundation. Play close attention to the door frames & the grounds ability to drain water amongst. I would always recommend if at all possible, looking at any home in the rain, its the best way to find a soggy yard, poor drainage, & problems you may not have seen when the day was bright, the sun was shining, & the ground was dry. With all the codes & laws in effect in relation to building permits, water drainage seems to be one that was left out, yet in many ways the most important!
Basements can surely be a blessing for any family as a refuge in the event of bad weather or severe storms of any kind. It can also be a nice den, man cave, or even a game room, but Just like I explained above though; one must be cautious & look over the foundation & basement walls good before purchasing because their is no easy fix to fixing either, without a fat bank account to do so. The problem may have started out just being water holding against foundation & basement walls do to a gutter &/or ground grade being poor; but left unattended for a long time, the water will eventually find a way in, & I guarantee it to get worse before it gets better. Look over the house for concealed fresh patch-crete, caulk, &/or paint intended to cover up the flaws until the house is sold or rented, & until the next rainy day. In my opinion, if one is showed a new or used house that requires a so-called "sump-pump" to operate properly in the event of any rain...You might should rethink, reconsider, & run if you must, cause that just isn't "Right"....
Pavers can be a great do-it-yourself unique upgrade to any home, it can be done in sections versus project, & they can save you alot of money if you know how to place them right! Before you do any project, as I emphasize in all above, make sure you find the correct water fall away from home in the direction you need water to drain & flow properly 1st & foremost. I have witnessed many people laying the foundation for pavers with sand, when a dry cement mix in my opinion would be much better! If one is going to buy sand by the bag to do pavers, I ask that you consider possibly paying a little more to replace the bags of sand with bags of dry portland mixed cement. Tap your pavers within cement with a rubber mallet on grade, then wet the pavers down good after a section is complete for an everlasting bond & concrete seal. This method will also prevent weeds from growing in between the pavers, & provide a hardened concrete base that will not move or shift like sand will surely do. If your doing a large area & ordering a truck load of bulk sand or rock to lift the base, consider topping sand or rock with cement, & locking in the sides as well to avoid future disappointment. Once precipitation is introduced to pavers without a concrete base, will certainly allow for water to seep through & create erosion to the base as you walk & move weight across the surface of pavers over time. The great thing about the cement method is the more it rains, the harder the concrete will get underneath! Please Note: Mist the pavers good with water the 1st day, & come back & spray again evenly the 2nd.
I couldn't tell you the number of times I have been asked, "Which is better, Concrete or Asphalt?" I'd always reply "That being a concrete contractor I would be crazy to tell you asphalt was better, but maybe I can tell you a few things to assure you why it is not." I'd always explain that in most instances, like the picture to the left, asphalt is laid over a dirty rock base usually only two inches thick. In direct comparison my base would consist of a clean small rock base, concrete poured at 4000 mix at a minimum of four inches thick, with fibermesh & rebar tied within, therefore there is no comparison at that point. Asphalt DOES have to be resealed periodically & is susceptible to extremely hot weather causing it to have a melt -like effect, especially when weight is parked on area for a period of time. Concrete, if poured with a compact & precise base, with rebar placed within, at a 4000 mix, with fiber-mesh, & poured with experience at a safe temperature, is without a doubt better than asphalt, yet asphalt will be cheaper. Sealing concrete is more than an option versus a requirement, with alot more design & detail being permitted with concrete for added curb appeal in more ways than one! If you can afford to go thicker than four inches to five or six, it's well worth the investment & will provide the durability to withstand much more weight, like a Big truck that decides to turn around in your driveway while your not home.
Control Joints are the lines that SHOULD be cut equally into every sidewalk, driveway, & patio if permissible. In the picture to the left you will surely see not only my daughter dancing on our completed job, but also control joints hand-tooled with a border while concrete was wet. Concrete WILL crack at its weakest point, & as a concrete professional I make the concrete "crack pretty" within the lines so you never see a crack unless you look closely in the lines. All joints must be cut 1/4 the depth of the concrete. Therefore a driveway or patio poured four inches thick should have control joints at least one inch deep.
The change in temperatures, the extreme hot or cold, & even the ground that moves during a drought provokes the expansion, contraction, & cracking in concrete. A four foot wide sidewalk should have a control joint cut approximately every four foot. A drive way ten foot wide should have a control joint cut approximately every ten foot. All other areas of odd form should be divided equally in some form or fashion. If one does not have control joints cut into any pad, you will surely have a jagged hair-line crack divide it for you. Stamped Concrete is a candidate for no control joints. The joints in stamped concrete must be cut with a special high r.p.m. concrete saw, & sometimes a hair-line crack looks more natural than a man-made straight-line cut! If any contractor would ever guarantee your concrete NOT to crack, versus jointing it to "crack pretty"...Beware!
A couple more projects completed by American Pride Concrete.
Below is a link to the Better Business Bureau of Lexington Kentucky
The best Gardening Tip I ever received was given to me by my grandmother many years ago. With every plant we planted she always made me dig the hole three times as big, & three times as deep as the plant itself. This crazy amount of area gives the roots lead way to grow & expand freely, & of course the better the root growth, the stronger the plant, & the more vibrant flowers it will produce. As you dig these extra big holes, break up all big clumps, & if the dirt is clay or another non-rich dirt, you may consider replacing the dirt in the hole with a good quality organic dirt, or consider moving plants to another area. Mounding the dirt on the top surface is a good way to prevent over watering.
I only like to think of plastic piping as more of a back-up, or an added protection type product. By saying that, I try to only suggest piping when there is no other option, & the grade of land cannot be lifted by quality dirt & set to grade to properly drain water naturally. Using as a back- up is really the smartest way to use piping if & when it is possible to do so. Placing piping in front of a wall, surrounding a foundation, or any other situation where water is not wanted is ideal. If using rock, in which I'd prefer, leave room on top of pipe to back-fill with dirt at a specific height & slope to achieve the ground getting rid of the water & grass to grow. In some events where homes was built with a ground grade not allowing water to drain, one may have no other choice to rely on piping. I have seen many new homes built with no ground slope away from home, & door frames below proper grade level, when it should be code to be above it! Be sure if your going to go through the back breaking work of hand-digging a lengthy area, consider covering pipe entirely with socking, & embedding it in rock if possible. The socking & rock help protect, filter, & keep debris out.
Trees can be a great addition to any property in regards to looks, shade, & in some cases for harvesting fresh fruits. They can also lead to many unexpected costly repairs if they are placed to close to homes, foundations, sidewalks, or any other concrete or asphalt in general. No matter how strong & thick you pour the concrete, if you plant a tree to close you are asking for problems in due time. If you MUST plant a tree close to a home or next to any concrete or asphalt in general, I strongly suggest doing your research & attempting to find a tree that doesn't grow too big, & has a root structure that doesn't exceed the tree's size. In the picture to the left, I provide a simple, yet common example of root(s) uplifting a sidewalk, even though the tree is a good distance away. I could tell many story's about many projects we have contracted involving tree's & concrete, yet without question, they offer to concrete & asphalt contractors a lot of business. Upon noticing lifted concrete, you could just about guarantee that a nearby tree could lie at the "root" of the problem.
I have had many people ask me over time if I would have any idea why grass won't grow in certain areas, spots, & odd locations. Although I can never really know for sure unless I would have permission to excavate, my first question would be to determine 1st if there may be any utilities, septic tanks, or any other related buried devices that is known to be in or around area(s) in question. I always suggest, & in some places its the law, that before digging or excavating call your utility companies & have them personally come out & mark all possible lines. This can be achieved in one call in some areas by dialing a simple three digit number, in which sends out the request to all utilities in one call.
Once determined to be no utilities in or around perimeter, then the most likely scenario would be that there is a rock or a rock bed under said area. Rock(s) that are shallow not only prohibits adequate root growth needed for grass to survive, but also blocks all water from moistening the ground underneath required to keep grass alive during droughts. Your solution would be found by either excavating area, or by adding quality dirt to surface, although in most situations a raise in grade in one area alters the overall smooth grade of the land. Another problem that may lead to browning in particular spots & areas, could be a direct result of a dog or other animal making that particular area their restroom, & when one animal does their business as you may know, others are then provoked to top it off over & over again!
We have seen it over & over again in our years as a Professional Concrete Co. People unknowingly rush to put up a fence with a small entrance before they have fully considered other projects they would like to construct & complete. Whether it be a flower bed(s), pool, hot-tub, patio, or a simple sidewalk to the back door, if you choose to close off the back lawn with a gate under seven feet in width, you most likely will end up paying hundreds, or even thousands more for doing so. Most construction projects will require a standard piece of equipment to excavate, move debris, & complete said project(s) safely & efficiently. Not having adequate room for a standard piece of equipment such as small skid steer loader for example, will surely add to labor expenses &the dire need for special equipment(s) to be added to the bill.
If you are planning to fence & have other plans within that area, pay the extra money for an extra wide gate, or hold off & complete other projects before-hand. Plan to schedule your fencing contractor after you have literally worked your way out of that particular area. Fencing in a perimeter in need of Concrete construction for example, not only complicates the excavation & prepping of said project(s), but also complicates the method in which to get concrete to said area in a fast, efficient, & safe manner. In many cases this can only can only be effectively achieved by hiring another specialized Co. to pump the concrete from road to area. By holding off on fencing & completing other projects first & foremost, will most likely save you enough to pay for at least one or possibly several Hillbarrows for your household &/or an outside family member(s) whom could greatly benefit from the Hillbarrow's unique & personalized pulling power.
I hate to down any competitor's work unless the situation & telling someone the truth doesn't allow it. In this situation & in this profession, overlay's honestly doesn't allow it. I hope to "save" any one from investing in over-laying as a business or as a consumer in this article. As we all may or may not know, all concrete poured at 4 inches, 6 inches, so on so forth will eventually expand & contract with the changing weather & produce an eventual so called "stress-crack". It's my job to allow for it, plan for it, & place proper "control joints" accordingly to make it "crack pretty" within the unnoticeable control joint. (Explained above more thoroughly.)
Overlays are solely reliant upon bonding agents (like crazy glue) to adhere to an existing surface, & expected to last through the changing temps including droughts & freezes., weight, & underlying base expanding & contracting. Any movement, of any sort, will lead to a chip, & the chip will then lead to the picture to your left. The color & styles they offer look great on paper & on the surface in the beginning, yet overtime it will disgust you dearly. The only way I would recommend an over-lay is if your doing it in a temperature controlled environment & surface, such as a basement. Even in basements or buildings, I suggest doing tile if at all possible. If tile would happen to give or break you can simply fix by replacing, if an over-lay begins to chip, your just plainly out of luck, & it most likely will get worse before it gets better. The best fix is either dealing with the surface your faced with, or tear it out completely & do it right with depth!
When I think of salt damage, I always think back to a respected Dairy Queen business owner I use to know well that asked me what to do about salt damage done to his brand new driveway? Sadly I had to tell him that sealing it may slow it down, but most likely the salt you purchased cost you another driveway & a huge eye sore. The business owner explained that the package of salt he purchased clearly said, "Will not damage concrete" but when he called to tell them that it did, they said "Prove it!" We all know there would be no way to prove it after the fact, & they sell you a product clearly knowing just that. Extreme salt damage is most likely with new concrete rather than old, because older concrete has had "time" to literally cure. I suggest to all my customers after I complete a driveway, patio, or sidewalk etc., "Do NOT use salt, & if you do Don't call me after you call the salt company, & they tell you to prove it!" Although this tip may sound extreme, I also ask my customers to consider parking in the road when you know & see that the roads have been salted prior by city officials. The salt on the road WILL be "tracked" in on your tires, & WILL be ground into the surface by the weight of your car. In due time you will be able to literally "track" where you park your vehicle daily, & once the chipping & flaking begins the chances of it stopping is highly unlikely.
It's hard to explain grades without seeing or knowing the trade as an art, but I hope to simplify the best I can for any consumer in this brief article. If you have any further questions, please feel free to e-mail us & a specialist will personally attempt to explain it in greater detail. When it comes to prepping any concrete job, once the dirt or debris is removed by you or contractor, the total depth dug should be a total of at least five inches below top grade, in order to allow for adding a compact layer of rock base of at least one inch. If I was contracted to pour a four inch pad, walk, or driveway etc., I would excavate project 5-6 inches deep, allowing for one- two inches of compact rock, & then four inches of concrete to be placed on top (6 inches). Rock is necessary to not only provide the best base possible, but it also helps to deter, dry, & protect concrete from water erosion & direct damage from it!
In the picture to the left you clearly see that the depth is not four inches, & by all the spiderweb cracks throughout, they dug it out, & poured back without checking for precise grade. Many homeowners don't realize how easy it is to NOT get what you pay for, cause you didn't know what to look for. Here is how to Check Grade: Once the form boards are up, hopefully also set to drain water properly, one can check any grade by stretching a string line or board from the top of one side of form board across to the other side. With string line being held by helpers, nail, or stakes, measure the distance from string to ground with a simple tape measure. The measurement it read's will be the depth of concrete you will surely get, & I suggest moving string line throughout all areas as well. There are sadly a lot of ways contractors can slack in proper prep & cost you money later on, yet by me telling you our business is surely half your battle.
In preparation for the launch of the New Hillbarrow, scheduled for March 27th 2014 at the Home & Garden Show at Rupp Arena, American Pride Concrete will be Closed Indefinitely Until Further Notice.
Please E-mail us at: Support @American-Pride-Concrete.com or Call us Toll FREE at 1-844-JOB-DONE for any additional questions or concerns!
GUARANTEED to Assist with ANY load placed within load tray.
Every year its seems we hear of someone that was forced to pay a heavy price for not knowing, or for not taking the time to insulate & protect their outdoor faucets from winter's cold temperatures. If your outdoor faucet was to freeze & burst, not only will you have to shut off your MAIN water ASAP until fixed, but you may endure the costly worry & headache of the finding & hiring of a plumber willing to fix it promptly, along with possibly being forced to succumb to the hiring of professional remodeling & cleanup crew(s) to boot. If the burst would happen with no one at home, water is likely to end up flooding your home, ruining your floors & walls, & risking major electrical issues & hazards as well. Don't risk it...cause it's literally not "worth" it in the long-run when there is efficient protection under $5.00.
THE SIMPLE SOLUTION: The "Faucet Insulator" by "Frost King" will give outdoor faucets the winter protection they truly need. Cheap, Simple, & Too Easy to install. Sold at your local Lowes Store near you. Click on picture below for a convenient direct link from us to you.
SHIPPED CHARGED & READY TO WORK!