Stamped Concrete Patio Gone Wrong

Answered by Brett ~ July 5, 2010 ~ Comments

I had a 400 sq ft stamped concrete patio installed at my house a couple weeks ago. I'm already getting some spalling, many chips all over and some flakes where the color has faded/flaked off. The felt paper between the patio and the house looks terrible and almost rotten and the steps are not straight nor level. Besides sloppy craftmanship could something have been wrong with the mix? I'm not sure if the contractor needs to tear it out or fix just the obvious problems. Thanks in advance!

Sandy B. ~ Detroit, Michigan

Brett Kulina

Sandy, nothing in the concrete mix could account for stairs which are not level nor straight. It sounds as though the contractor who formed the steps did a poor job, which probably accounts for all the other problems with your new concrete patio. I am also surprised that the color is flaking off the stamped concrete patio, because normally the added color is integral to the concrete mix, which helps insure that the inevitable chips and cracks do not show as an off-color. It sounds as though your contractor may have used a surface coloring agent on the stamp work, which means that the concrete gray color will show more and more as the patio ages.

Your dissatisfaction with the appearance of the "felt paper" which was installed between the porch and the house is somewhat expected as well. This material is soaked in tar, so it never looks great, but it is necessary to provide a expansion slip joint between the concrete and any adjacent objects or structures. If the patio were to heave over time, the slip joint will allow it to move without damaging your home's foundation.

It is obvious that the contractor who you hired to build your patio is going to need to make things right. Unfortunately, concrete mistakes can be difficult to repair and oftentimes tearing out the concrete and starting over is the only way to make things look better. I suggest that you meet with the contractor to address his shoddy workmanship and ask him to warranty his work and honor your work agreement. It may also be wise to meet with a different contractor who can offer you a professional opinion about potential solutions to the many problems which your patio has.

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