Tuesday, October 29, 2013

How to save money on your Construction or Landscape Project

Who doesn't love a good deal? Landscape and construction projects can have a great return on investment when it comes to resale of your home, but they also can cost a lot of money to get the job done right. That's why I came up with a few tips to make sure you get the most bang for your buck. Here are 5 simple tips you can use to save big on your next project:

1. Set a budget:
If you know how much you would like to spend, let the contractor know. Most legitimate contractors will do what they can to work within your budget and may even throw in some extras to sweeten the deal.

2. Ask for contractor selection: Sometimes contractors can get a great deal on a particular plant or already have a certain variety of material in stock. Because of this they are able to discount a certain material by as much as 50%. If the contractor has surplus material from another project, they may be able to offer it to you on a discount as long as you are not picky about the color or type.

3. Seasonal pricing specials: For contractors, winter is the slow season. That is why construction prices drop significantly in the colder months. From November to March ask your contractor if they are willing to offer a discount for the winter season.

4. Look for Coupons: Many contractors offer coupons online or in local papers. You can also get discounts by signing up for a monthly newsletter. Search around so you are sure to get the best price.

5. Bundle Projects: If you have several projects you would like to get done, ask the contractor if they are willing to give you a discount for packaging the projects together. Many will!

I hope these tips help you save money on your next project. Feel free to give us a call 301-603-1080 or visit us online to set up an estimate.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Focus on Concrete

So you are interested in installing a new walkway, driveway, retaining wall or patio and you are looking into concrete. Concrete is one of the most affordable and frequently used building material out there.

First, let's talk about what concrete is. concrete is a mixture of six different components: Cement, Coarse Aggregate, Fine Aggregate, Water, Fly Ash, and Chemical Admixtures. Concrete can be made into different types depending on the mix ratios and properties of the concrete. For example, a lower water to cement ratio is generally better because it gives the concrete less permeability and is better resistant to the elements. The PSI (strength) of the concrete can also be manipulated. In general we recommend at least 4000 PSI for a driveway and at least 3500 for structures like walkways that will not sustain a lot of force. The chemical admixtures can also be changed to extend or limit setting time and to increase freeze/thaw durability.

You don't have to settle with boring old white sidewalk concrete either. Concrete can be stamped, stained and sculpted to resemble more expensive building materials like pavers and natural stone. Concrete can also be made permeable for a greener option.

While concrete is a relatively strong and durable material, one of its downfalls is that is does tend to crack over time and with changes in the weather. Although the mixture and number of joints can be altered to help prevent cracks, even well installed concrete may crack over the years. However, the versatility and relative low cost of concrete may outweigh this con for many looking to install hardscaping.

If you are interested in installing a concrete structure, give us a call to set up an estimate and discuss your options. 301-603-1080.