Whether you’ve had concrete replacement work done previously, or if this is your first time considering it, the estimate process can be a little daunting if you’re not sure how to get the information you need out of each appointment.
With so many concrete replacement contractors out there, choosing the right one can seem quite difficult, if not impossible.
But rest assured that asking the right questions during your estimate can help you find a good fit for your project.
While A-1 Concrete Leveling does not replace concrete, we know that if our customers' concrete isn’t a good fit for our professional leveling services, they often choose replacement as an alternative.
Here at A-1, we want to make sure you are as informed as possible, not only about the various options available to you, but also about how to make the best decisions when it comes to those options.
For that reason, we’ve created this list of 13 questions that you can ask concrete replacement contractors during estimates to help you get a feel for if they are the right fit for your individual needs.
1. Are you licensed and insured?
Hiring a contractor that is both licensed and insured is crucial, and definitely one of the first things you should ask about during an estimate.
A licensed contractor is one that is legally allowed to do the work at hand, and being insured is what protects them (and you) from expensive situations if things happen to go wrong.
2. Do you have examples of past work and quality reviews?
Any experienced contractor will certainly have examples of their past work and customers who can attest to their craftsmanship by way of quality reviews.
Most of the time a portfolio of previous projects and customer reviews are posted publicly on the contractor’s website, but be sure to ask where to find this information if you don’t see it.
3. What is included in the total cost?
Concrete replacement has a lot of moving parts, and not all of them are always included in the total cost provided after your estimate.
Things like hauling away extra material, grading the land before installation, demolition, tree or rock removal, proper curing, and sealing the concrete can all be unexpected costs added on later.
Be sure to ask what is specifically included in your total cost, and question what might pop up later on throughout the replacement process.
4. When do I pay you?
Finding out when and how you have to pay is also important, and it varies from contractor to contractor.
Asking this and the following questions can help you find the best contractor that fits your financial situation.
- Do I have to pay a deposit before the work begins?
- Can I pay in separate increments?
- Will I be able to pay for everything when the work is completed?
5. How long will the process take?
Each project has a different set of variables that make its timeline unique, and a concrete contractor should be able to give you an estimate of how long yours will take to complete.
They should also be able to provide an idea of when they will be able to get started on the project, which will depend on how far out their calendar is booked.
6. How much experience do you have doing this type of project?
Choosing a contractor that has a lot of experience is great, but it’s even better to choose one that has lots of experience with your specific type of replacement application.
Asking not only how much experience they have, but also examples of similar past projects is a great way to get a feel for how yours may turn out.
7. How much damage to my property should I expect during the demolition phase?
Concrete replacement is notorious for leaving lawns, landscaping, and other areas around a property destroyed or damaged.
You should ask how much damage is anticipated for your replacement project, and also question whether or not they will fix it when the job is completed.
8. Do you offer a warranty?
Many of the most reputable contractors will offer a warranty on their concrete installations, which can help put you at ease when choosing to work with them.
However, it’s important that you read over the details of each warranty carefully before committing to a contractor for that particular reason. Oftentimes warranties have terms that make it very hard to qualify, basically rendering them useless.
9. Where do you source your concrete?
Different concrete manufacturers create different quality products, and it’s possible that you could end up with a bad batch that’s more likely to crumble or break down.
An experienced concrete contractor will be familiar with the concrete products they frequently use, and will be able to attest to the quality of their source.
10. How will you handle expansion and control joints?
Expansion and control joints serve different purposes, but they are both crucial in the construction of concrete.
Your concrete contractor will need to have a plan in place for making sure the right types of joints are included when necessary, and they should be able to walk you through it during the estimate.
11. Will you be adding rebar to my concrete?
Rebar is another important part of concrete construction and must be added in different replacement situations.
Experienced contractors will know when rebar is required, and asking about it during the estimate will help you get an idea of their expertise.
12. What is the permitting process like in this area?
Some replacement projects will require permits, which can potentially delay the timeline and add extra costs.
Concrete contractors that are used to doing work in your area should have a good idea of how the permitting process works and will be able to walk you through all the extra steps that must be taken.
13. Who will manage the project?
It’s a little scary to think about leaving your concrete construction project in the hands of someone you’ve never met before, so having a singular project manager that you are familiar with can make all the difference.
Ask about the protocol for managing replacement projects, and see if you will be dealing with the same person from beginning to end, or if the project changes hands at every step along the way.
Your Next Steps
Now that you have this list of questions to ask concrete contractors, you’re ready to go into the estimate process confident that you’ll be able to find the right fit for your individual needs.
Keep a copy of this list with you throughout each estimate, and take note of each company’s response so you can compare them when deciding on a final choice later.
You can also take the time in between estimates to learn more about concrete replacement and maintenance. A-1 Concrete Leveling has a detailed resource center full of content aimed at education around all things concrete.
If you’re not completely sold on the idea of concrete replacement, take this time to also explore alternatives, like professional concrete leveling.
Here are some related topics from our Concrete Academy:
- Is Concrete Leveling Cheaper Than Replacement?
- How to Maintain Concrete
- The Risks Involved With Concrete Replacement
- How to Repair Concrete
- Concrete Leveling vs. Concrete Replacement | Pros & Cons