DO YOUR RESEARCH - For me Solocrete was one of the BEST choices I've made in selecting a contractor (My job was a large patio, shed base, 2x 18" light bases, a walkway from the back to the front, front porch and walk way at the front. it took 2 cement trucks and a little over 2 weeks to complete.
Work was supposed to start at the end of July but did not start until mid Sept( I was actually happy b/c cement cured nice and slow).. This work is highly dependant on weather. Rain and heat waves will cause delays. and the delays will have a snowball effect on the other jobs (don't plan a huge backyard party a week after you expect to have the work done as your project may be delayed due to weather). If your are stamping with colour, prepare for mess and dust; however, John has a crew that will spend a few hours washing down everything (the cement, the house brick, windows, the fences, the driveway, the doors even the street. Basically any mess they make it's clean by the time they leave). My Neighbours even made a comment about the professionalism. This company will not nickel and dime you to make design changes (unless of course your adding significantly more sq footage to job).
Once work started, they move fast. I found that when John or his crew gave an ETA on when they would return, it was pretty accurate. This way I could plan to be home. Keep in mind that if it's raining there is a good chance they are not coming.
John, his workers and the office will tell you that concrete requires TLC to maintain its beauty for the decades to come
- NO SALT, NO ICE MELTERS (SAND ONLY)
- No shovels with metal
- Keep it clean and seal ever other year. I watched them seal and its pretty easy for a DIY project.. hard to screw up. and you can always buy the seal and grip from Solocrete.
The Crew that I would like to point out-
ALBERTO is a master cement mason and is responsible for all the finishing touches that makes the area beautiful. He takes his time and will offer you suggestions. He is very very meticulous about his work.
John (the framer) - Will work with you to make sure that your design is appealing to the eye.
John (the owner) - He demands only the best of his workers
Unfortunately I forgot his name - but the guy who actually did the stamping. He worked with us to pick the best pattern for the area and suggested what release to use with the colour we choose.
1- This is were doing research is very important even before you talk about price. My suggestion ask about their technique (excavation depth, type of base and its depth, the use of wire or rebar, and most importantly where is the cement coming from, what is the strength and how deep is the pour). Solocrete does not screw around with technique. They dug min 5", 4-6" of base (depending on grade) and min 5" of 35MPA cement (from Dufferin concrete). They used wire mesh in the pad (which they pull up into the concrete when pour) and rebar in the shed base and curbs.
2- Have an idea of a design. This is a very personal preference. I drove around and looked at many different properties for a design. No matter who I called, John included, they all told me basically its what I like and he will give few suggestions on work they've done in the past but its really up to the homeowner. Once you have a design, then John's team will make suggestions. I would like to give a shout out to John (the framer) who played a huge role in making fantastic suggestions with my original design.
3 - Drive around and look at the past work. I took a day and drove from Vaughan to Toronto to Mississauga to Gerogetown. This is what sold me. Seeing John's work from new to 10 years old.. We looked at houses that had the same colour choices we were interested in.. FANTASTIC work
4- Be on site for all phases of work. This is very very important. you are apart of the process and should be there to make decisions on the fly and point out things that you need clarification on.
Overall fantastic - I do wish that they had a landscaping division to the company. I guess the advantage here is they do concrete really really good.