Cement & Concrete
Archived Q&A and Reviews
We are wanting to finish off our basement and we are thinking that concrete might be the best way to go. Does anyone know of a good concrete contractor or contractor that works with concrete for such a project? We want it to be done so that it eventually could be used as livable space. Thank you for any of your suggestions. -Susan
We would like to refer Tim Smith as a Contractor for Concrete. His company did the foundation for our home addition in the spring. Later we had them come back and redo our driveway and city sidewalk. Mr Smith has a lot of experience with concrete (if I recall correctly more than 30 yrs). When we had an issue with Berkeley regarding the sidewalk he worked out the problem with the Inspector. He had references for both types of work which we checked before deciding. Phone numbers (510) 654.7733 & 915.1088 Mara
I most likely will need to replace concrete stairs and walkway and maybe piece of retaining wall. Looking for concrete flatworkers to do that. Hopefully this person would also be able to find someone to draw plans, and be familiar with the permitting process because I fear once we start touching this thing we will have to bring it up to code and not just repair it. Property is in Kensington if that matters. Of course, contractor must walk on water and be reasonably priced. Thank you in advance.
I had a great experience with Paradigm Concrete and Construction, Inc. 925-755- 4940. They did 2 small patios, a flight of outside stairs and some walkways for an addition to my house. The work was top notch, the guys were polite and skillful. Price was competitive, work was done exactly when they said it would be. I'm always impressed when companies clean up after they're done, and these guys left the place spotless. Concrete is all they do, so they're really good at it. I'm not sure how cost effective they would be for a small job, but they sure do nice work. Karen
Steve Egloff of Bay Area Underpinning and his crew are an excellent choice for anything to do with concrete. They replaced part of my foundation on my 115 year old house, along with taking out and replacing a concrete floor in a large storage area. They do excellent work, are always on time, have a great work ethic, explain what they are doing, and are a pleasure to have working around the house. The building inspector was very pleased with their work too. Steve gives free estimates and is very thorough in his inspection process. They have their own engineer that they work with for pretty cheap. I had already hired an engineer, so didn't get to take advantage of that feature. Steve Egloff 707 310-0602. Oakland homeowner
Feraru & Associates Building and Design just finished pouring a foundation for us.We could not be more happy with the work they have done for us.Everything went smooth without any issues. They know all about permitting process, have great prices (we believe it was worth the money), and they are professional.If you want someone who is able to do miracles you should call Sorin Feraru at 510-228-7366, or check out his website www.feraru.us B.
I can highly recommend Peter Bluhon of Bluhon Design & Environment (formerly Bluhon Planning Group). Tel is 510-649-9630. His firm is both a professional landscape architecture and licensed landscape contracting firm, and they specialize in concrete and masonry work. Before we signed on with Peter he drove us around to show us his past projects. Apart from seeing his excellent work, his old clients would come out of their homes to hug him and say hello!
Last fall Peter put in beautiful concrete driveway, concrete and bluestone path that lead to bluestone steps up to our front porch. My husband is an architect and has a critical eye for attention to details (translation - very hard to please) and he loves Peter's work. We live in Piedmont and Peter worked well to negotiate the permitting process here, which is extremely particular. He was also willing to work within a budget, finding creative solutions. We enjoyed working with Peter and plan to work with him again when we re-do our backyard. Walk on water? Well . . . . . he just might! Nancy
I used Peter Bluhom of Bluhon Design & Environment three years ago for my entire (major) backyard remodel (in Kensington) which included design and construction of walkways, stairs, three levels of retaining walls (concrete and stone), patio, drainage and re-routing of drainage and I have used him since for two additional projects involving drainage. Peter understands County regulations and code requirements, is very familiar with Kensington and our special needs regarding drainage, the design review and permitting process and was instrumental and involved in my interactions with KMAC and County permitting personnel. Peter even intervened with one of the County engineers who wanted to impose additional requirements on my retaining walls; I am pleased to say that Peter's involvement resulted in my saving several thousand dollars. Peter's crew are all very skilled, professional, pleasant and friendly without being intrusive; Peter himself is the same including being quite accommodating and knowledgeable. I recommend him without reservation and will use him again. Peter does walk on water, he is not inexpensive but his work is of the highest quality and he is worth it. Peter's firm does landscape architecture and licensed landscape construction work, specializing in concrete, stone work, and retaining walls. Tel is 510-649-9630. Signed: Phyllis
I am looking for a licensed concrete contractor to perform some flat work and pour a foundation for our small room addition. Can you recommend someone with whom you have worked recently? Ryan
We recently used a licensed family-owned general contracting company, ''Ergowiz'' for some concrete work on our home and on a rental property. They're very responsible and fair-priced. They can be reached at ergowiz [at] yahoo.com. Alex in Oakland
I have previously posted recommendations for Francisco Sanchez, FCO-S Concrete Construction Co.,(707) 310-9070 cell or (707) 642-0361 office, who did quite a bit of foundation/retaining walls, driveway work for me in 2007 and 2008. He is reliable and does excellent work at a very fair price. He has been referred here by others, too. ccfen
I, my neighbors, and local contractors have used Jim and Carlo Rapella, of C. Rapella & Sons, Cement Contractors. 510-524-0131. Small, family-owned, located in Albany. Competitive prices (and I got numerous bids, have been in construction for over 25 years). Friendly, courteous guys who do excellent flat work. They specialize in sidewalks, patios, walkways floors. They poured and finished 1500SF of floor for me. Never a crack where a crack should not be. Robert
I would like to recommend Peter Bluhon of Bluhon Planning group to help you with your steps and concrete work. Peter is a graduate of UC Berkeley College of Environmental Design and has a wonderful team working for him- he is a perfectionist. At my house they were able to enlarge my rear steps and also landscape my rear yard so that it looks like it was built with the original house (Circa 1926). His number at Bluhon Planning Group is 510.841.3255. peter [at] bluhon.com Chris
Tom Carrol of Carrol construction is your man. Excellent concreate and foundation man. I looked at 3 to 4 of his privious jobs and spoke to a few clients befor choosing him. It was a great choice, so much in fact that I am taking the time to place a referal for him. Bill
We highly recommend you Sorin Feraru with Feraru & Associates Building and Design. Trustworthy, terrific work, nice and smart. We have had Sorin work on many things in our house. He redid floors, painted our entire place, and redid stairs, poured the foundation of our addition room. He knows how to do everything and has a team of amazing people who are very skilled. We would recommend him for any job. You can reach him at 510 228 7366. Miranda
We are looking for a very good concrete contractor to create modern steps for our front patio. Nicole
We just had Continental Pacific (510-654-7733) pour a new driveway and make new front steps. They were great, very professional, the owner Tim Smith is a really nice guy and they did a wonderful job. Rebecca
I would like to recommend Peter Bluhon of Bluhon Planning group to help you with your steps and concrete work. Peter is a graduate of UC Berkeley College of environmental design and has a wonderful team working for him- he is a perfectionist. At my house they were able to enlarge my rear steps and also landscape my rear yard so that it looks like it was built with the original house (Circa 1926). His number at Bluhon Planning Group is 510.841.3255. chris
We are mostly finished with a MAJOR landscaping project in the North Berkeley Hills, (Grizzly Peak and Euclid), and our concrete contractor has been a pleasure to work with. He came into the picture as a recommendation from our wonderful general contractor, Dave Peterson, (510) 384-5588 cell, whom we worked with about 5 years ago on a 1000+ sq. ft. addition. (Tim Smith did the concrete work then and we were extremely pleased with him, too.)
His name is Francisco Sanchez, FCO-S Concrete Construction Co. (707) 310-9070 cell, (707) 642-0361 office.
Our project included a 100+ ft. long sloping driveway; engineered, with 5 keys and ribbons of inlaid travertine; a terrace, a courtyard in travertine; an upper patio, 3 retaining walls, a front gate wall with columns, travertine bullnosed steps plus all the necessary preparation. His workers have been punctual, respectful and accommodating; his pricing very fair. Feel free to drive by to see the magnitude or contact me if you have questions. Vivian
Hi, I'm having a hard time figuring out what type of person to call for a new concrete path. This job would involve demolishing an old concrete path, regrading, and pouring new concrete. Possibly using flagstones or stamps or stained concrete. Since we don't have a clear idea of what we want, we need someone who can give us some ideas. Is this a job for a landscape architect? or just a regular gardener or a concrete contractor? Any recommendations for actual people or companies who do this kind of thing would be very welcome. Carrie
I would highly recommend Blue Jay Feldman of Blue Ridge Landscape Co. for your concrete path work. Two years ago, we needed our concrete patio replaced due to cracking and buckling of the cement. Blue Jay did a fantastic job of installing concrete pavers, in addition to two decks, a fence, and drainage work. He has great ideas and is easy to work with, always responding to our phone calls and e-mails in a timely manner. He can be reached at 925-258-9233 (web site is: http://www.blueridgelandscapecompany.com) Diane
We need to install a floor in our sunporch--it is the original porch and was later enclosed. We use this entryway room for our toddler to play and it doubles as the guestroom when we pull out the sofabed. the house is a 1924 bungalow with oak floors. We are interested in durable attractive floors that wont cost a fortune to instll on the bumpy, cracked old cement floor that is there now. Also, it doesn't make sense to spend an arm and a leg on the floor. ''Green'' options are best (no vinyl, etc). I am particularly interested in hearing from anyone who has a floor they like that was installed over an old yucky concrete floor, what brand of materials you used and who you had install it. floor seeker
You could acid stain the cement. It is expensive to hire someone but neither expensive, nor very difficult to do it yourself. My parents did a room in their house and the hardest part was the preparation. You have to get a grinder and grind the surface of the floor. That said, it wasn't so much the grinding as getting the right equipment. They had to go back to the rental place and get the heaviest one. Then it is just a matter of slowly moving the machine across the floor while wearing a ventilator. After you grind the floor and clean up the dust, you just spread a layer of acid (wearing the ventilator, I think) which is very quick and easy, and then a day or two later you have to seal it. It cost them a total of $500 not including their labor, and it looks absolutely fantastic. It looks like stone, and cracks in the cement only make it look better. It is incredibly durable and easy to clean. On the other hand it will be cold and hard on your toddler's head should he fall.
We have laminate in our sun porch. If you get acoustic padding underneath it will also cover a number of sins of unevenness, but check with an installer. It has been great for us, but if you have hardwood in your house I think you may like the look of the acid stained floor better. By the way, my brother is a mechanical engineer who owns a green consulting business and he says that there are environmentally friendly acid stains. I don't remember a specific recommendation, though. susan
Earlier this year we replaced the walkway to the front and side of our house with a new stamped concrete walkway. Jacob Concrete (510-635-9575) did the work. Jacob not only did a great job with the concrete design and layout but he was also very helpful in mixing colors to get the exact shades that we wanted to match the rest of our exterior. The finished product looks wonderful. Jacob also returned on two occasions to make sure that the stamped concrete was properly sealed. Jacob also does a variety of other landscaping work. Hal -- Oakland Hills
We want to borrow, rent or buy an electric cement mixer for a household project. Deb
Try the City of Berkeley Tool Lending Library on MLK (near Ashby.) I have one of their flyers, and it seems they have electric concrete mixers and other finishing tools to lend for Berkeley residents. Kim
Unsolicited rec for Cement Supply
We just completed a DIY cement patio in our back yard. Our search for an economical solution led us to Vallejo Building Supply on Somona Blvd. Just over the Carquinez bridge, this outlet sells cubic yards of various grades of premixed cement. You bring a truck or van with a ball hitch and for a mere 90.00 you have enough cement to cover an 8x8 area in a cement trailer with hydralic lift. The retailer was very nice considering we were such novices at this. Told us exactly what we needed to know. We got the pad poured in the 2 hour window that the cement remains plastic. We had the job bidded by a few companies, and saved ourselves 5 K by the DIY method. Lindsey
I recently had my porch and walkway resurfaced and it looks like new again. It had some cracks, was painted and very slippery. Ricky with DecoCrete Designs was able to treat the cracks, remove the paint and resurfaced the concrete with his overlay system. It's looks gorgeous and no longer is slippery. He also does driveways and patios. He has very reasonable rates especially compared to replacing with new concrete. I highly recommend him! Check out his excellent website with many photos and design options: http://www.DecoCreteDesigns.net He can be reached at (415) 225-0118. randa Feb 2005
Hello; We are looking for a person/company, or more than one person/company (?), to construct a fence, pour a new driveway, and construct a patio (probably some concrete, some flagstone or other). Can anyone recommend a company (or person) that could do all 3 of these things? Or, does that seem impossible; would we be better off just having all 3 parts of the job done separately? Of course we are looking for someone reliable, trustworthy, reasonably priced, and friendly. Any leads? How would you proceed, all together as one job, or break it up? Any leads for all or part(s) will be very much appreciated. Thank you. Need fence/driveway/patio in Berkeley
We had a similar array of projects done about two years ago and originally tried to find someone to do all of it --which in our case was driveway, sidewalks, fence, and deck remodel. We found that people seem to specialize either in the major concrete-work or the fence part, but not both. You may be able to find someone who does the concrete and flagstone aspects together and a separate person for the fences. Another option is a landscape contractor who will sub-contract some of the jobs to others. It is less expensive, but time-consuming and detail-oriented, to arrange things yourself with each contractor -- essentially you are acting as your own general contractor. We did it this way and it worked out fine, but we had to learn (as we were getting estimates) to have the exact same conversation with each company. For the concrete we used Larios and Sons 510-779-5240 and were very satisfied. I think our fence guy has since retired, but I have seen some good recommendations in the parents newsletter recently. Good luck. Nancy
I visit this site all the time and have recently used it to find a contractor to replace my entire sidewalk, driveway, add a drain at the end of the driveway and put in a french drain across the front of my house. I highly recommend Tim Smith of Continental Pacific (510-654-7733) He did fantastic work replacing my entire sidwalk & driveway as well as adding a french drain across the front of my house. I now have the best strech of sidewalk on my block. His attention to detail was fantastic. He was knowledgeable, pleasant and personally worked the trouble spots of the job. His bid was reasonable and he was open to working with the homeowner to find the best solutions to problems. His crews were great, leaving the job site cleaner than when they started.
We were very happy with Francisco Sanchez of FCO-S Concrete and Construction. He rebuilt part of our cement drainage/foundation during a large remodel project. It involved tearing out about 10 feet of old crumbling gutter at the back of our house and repouring it. We hired him because of a great review on the website and because his estimate was extremely reasonable. While onsite, he also offered to rebuild a small brick and morter column for a great price so we hired him for that too - he did a nice job. I can highly recommend him. Francisco Sanchez, FCO-S Concrete and Construction, PO Box 5249, Vallejo 707-642-0361
I have an EXCELLENT concrete person for you. I cannot speak more highly of him. He has now done all of our concrete work for our home over the last 3 years. He did our gutter drainage, poured over 1000 sq. ft of walkways, poured a new driveway, built a custom driveway extension and laid flagstones over the walkways. He is clean, professional, knowledgeable, licensed, courteous, and reasonably priced. He can even do small carpentry jobs on the side.
His name is Francisco Sanchez. His cell phone is 707-310-9070. He provides free estimates and can give you a local address in Oakland to see samples of his work. You can also contact me directly if you have further questions. Jana
March 2003we just did floors & countertops in kitchen & shower/tub in bathroom. The range of prices & tech is all over the board, some make molds at their shop & install large pieces, but we wanted concrete for the seamless look not a tiled look. We found one to pour in place for decent price. This is our 1st remodel & our contract didn't specify a finish date or discount. Contractor said would take 2 wks to finish, & took over 14. More unhappy with work ethic than actual job. Workmanship was OK. I love floors, counters are ok, not the color I picked, but job took so long I no longer cared, just wanted it done. Keep in mind, that the finished product is completely dependant on the workmanship, supposed to be a bit rough & the coloring process is COMPLETELY dependant on the contractors artistic ability, his interpretation of what you want & the how concrete takes stain. Look very closely contractors whole portfolio for style themes. I have pics if you want to see them, tough to see colors, but may give you an idea. What contractors are you talking with? Brandi
We are in need of a good/reliable concrete company/person to redo and enlarge our patio. This would include preparation as well. We live in Concord. Thank you!
I recently had a new driveway poured by Paradigm Concrete & Masonry. We were very satisfied with their work and have received many compliments from neighbors. They have been in the business for many years, are licensed, insured, etc. You can reach them at (925) 755-4940. Or call me if you'd like to know more. -Dara
I noticed in the last Household Digest that two people were looking for recommendations - one for a concrete person/stamper and one for a Contractor (Well I believe this guy does both). The one that worked on my parents house was great. He was a nice guy, did great work, was reasonably priced and cleaned up after himself. My parents originally found him from a recommendation and they weren't disappointed. His name is Roger Bergin, the company is Curragh Construction. You can contact him directly on 415- 640-7963 or 925-957-9047. He works both East Bay and San Francisco. Good Luck! Stephanie
Cutting into a Sidewalk
The City of Oakland will give me a tree in front of my house -- they'll even plant it. However, since there's no grass verge between the sidewalk and street, I'm responsible for finding, hiring and paying for the concrete cutter to make room for the tree. Can anyone recommend someone and give me a general sense of what the cost might be? Lorraine
Concrete Cutters - I used Rapella and Sons in Albany for a small concrete removal job. Actually the job was so small that they gave the job to one of their workers to do as side work. It will probably cost you $100-200. That's the minimum that any concrete removal company will charge. The guys who did it from Rapella were very nice and the work was done well. I also had it done free by another group and they made a mess and cut into concrete that didn't have to be removed.
We used a guy named Hillary, with Hulk's Hauling, when we had a big concrete removal job to do. At the same time, he cut spaces for trees for me and my neighbors, then removed the concrete debris. Our job was big, but I seem to remember that he charged by the hour, plus the wear (in 1/8" increments) on his diamond-tipped saw blade. I think it would have been about $50 to do just the two tree holes. You might ask your neighbors if they want trees, too, because it would be cheaper to share the costs around.
The price was probably high because the contractor will use a diamond-edged saw blade to cut through the concrete. Going after it with a jackhammer without cutting first could cause cracks and breakage in the whole sidewalk and will definitely look like hell.
I had the same situation and hired a guy named Hillary from Hulk's Hauling to cut the holes, break up the concrete and haul it away. He was very reasonable and even brought me a free load of topsoil from another job. This was maybe 5 years ago. Another tip: ask your neighbors if they want to do the same and will split the cost with you.
The sidewalk in front of our house in Berkeley is cracked and the Berkeley Cement crews won't be passing through for at least a couple of months. One estimate we have gotten is ridiculously high. Any recommendations would be welcome. Phyllis
Can anyone recommend a reasonably priced person to redo part of our sidewalk? The City of Berkeley has ordered us to do this work within the next 60 days to coincide with utility undergrounding. Thank you. -
Ask the City of Berkeley what contractor they're using for the undergrounding, and ask that contractor to give you a quote. They may give you a good deal because they're already there and they don't have the additional setup costs that another contractor would incur.
I have a concrete sidewalk next to my house where 2-4 inches of standing water accumulates whenever it rains. Eric Burtt (recommended by this list) charges $250 just to come out to look at the problem and tell me how to solve it--it seems like he wants to do a complete inventory of my drainage system which I really don't need. Although I may wind up using him, I would like other alternatives as well. Any other current or recent expericnces with drainage and/or rebuilding a concrete walkway? Thanks. Kathy
I think that you should consider calling up a few small job type concrete contractors and taking bids on having a thin new sidewalk poured over the top of the existing one. The new one would be formed at the proper elevations and pitch to shed water away from the house. There are methods and mix recipes that will accomplish this but whoever does it has to know what they are doing because your average concrete mix has to be 4 or more inches thick. I suggest this because for one, you will not have to break up and remove the existing sidewalk,and two, the contractor would have a minimum of form work and only need a small amount of material. Again, I caution you that this is a job for someone who knows what they are doing, not because the work requires any special skills beyond that of ordinary concrete work, but because it is essential to obtain a mix that is designed specifically for this purpose and because good bond must be achieved between the old and the new ! ! material. You can also ask for the cost of removal and installation of an entirely new sidewalk for comparison. I may be missing the point here since I have not even seen the situation and my suggestion could be wrong, but I think that you just might save a good deal of money if you can find a contractor that will take this route. Unless water is getting into your house or lack of drainage is causing foundation settlement, I would avoid calling in a drainage guy. The problem is the pitch and elevation of the sidewalk. -Frank
To the person looking for a concrete contractor for a driveway replacement: We used Continental Pacific (510-654-7733) for our driveway and sidewalk replacement project and had a good experience. We worked with Tim Smith, who was knowledgeable and pleasant. His bid was very reasonable, which may have been because he was handling a bigger project in the neighborhood.
We used Live Oak Structural to replace an old cement terrace and pour a new pad for a hot tub and we were very happy with the work. Ginger
i can recommend Emilio Duenas (707) 642-7668 as an good cement contractor. He is knowledgable and reasonably priced. He did a slab foundation for my garage/studio and soon is redoing the foundation for my house. He is used by many local general contractors.
From: David (9/98)
Regarding Concrete: We used a company called Sonoma Marin Drilling and their sister company to pour a new concrete foundation and driveway in our Berkeley Hills home. They did an excellent job and were much less expensive than several other bidders. I don't have their number handy but it is a 707 area code and they are listed in the directory.