Finding a Good Honest Concrete, Brick and Stone Contractor

The use of flagstone, brick, concrete and stone when landscaping, otherwise known as hardscaping, can easily complement your yard’s existing terrain and help to create more remarkable curb appeal.

Brick and stone can have also been used for years to construct sturdy homes and buildings. So whether you’re looking to create a stone retaining wall, pour cement for your driveway or brick your home, finding a good honest concrete, brick and stone contractor is of the utmost importance.

The use of concrete, brick and stone can cost homeowners a pretty penny but also bring high returns when selling your home. Only a professional contractor will be able to take care of all the details that are necessary and truly bring your vision to life.

A number of factors need to be taken into consideration when searching for your ideal concrete, brick or stone contractor. Below are 8 tips toward finding a good, honest contractor.

1. Consider what you want- Before delving into the world of concrete, brick and stone do your homework. Research the different stone or brick options that you might want to have installed at your home to get an idea of their pros, cons, and costs.

Your mason or stone worker will be able to better explain how his services in relation with certain materials is determined and this could give you a ballpark figure of your materials cost. You may also want to find several homes in your area that have recently been bricked, stoned or hardscaped and talk to the owners to determine estimated prices of the work that you would like done. Stone and brick don’t have to be laid in horizontal patterns.

Look online and through magazines of stone and brick work that you like. If you like a unique design, keep this mind and talk with your mason about different designs that may be best suited for you and your home. Some stone workers consider themselves to be workers and others consider themselves artists or both.

You’ll need to figure out if you need a bit of artistry for a stylish fireplace or walkway, a worker to install brick, or both for a dry stacked limestone house.

2. Find a Contractor- Once you have armed yourself with a good plan and a set budget it’s time to find a contractor. Websites like goodhonestcontractor.com are devoted to matching people like you with their ideal contractor. You may also ask friends and other homeowners if they have any suggestions.

A contractor's reputation among former clients is the best gauge of his or her work. It's also a good idea to look at the work a contractor has done for previous clients. If they have a website where you can look at projects they have completed, even better.

3. Set Appointments- Set up appointments with at least three contractors in order to find the best contractor for you. Here are a few ideas of questions to ask a prospective contractor. Once you’ve narrowed it down to one or two, check their references thoroughly.

  • How long has the company been in business?
  • May I visit a site you're currently working on?
  • How early will work start in the mornings, and what time will workers leave each day?
  • Who will be the contact person if I hire this company?
  • What kind of payment schedule will you expect?

4. Compare Pricing- Compare the brick rates of several masons. Oftentimes, brick contractors figure their price per brick. Stone masons often do the same if the stones are uniform. But they’re also known to charge by the square foot. If this is so, you may want to confirm that they subtract the area of the windows.

It’s always a good idea to value skill and experience over a cheap hourly rate. If you end up working with a cheaper mason who ends up tearing up your yard, taking too long and doesn’t do what you want done you’ll end up paying more to hire a second mason to do the right job that should have been done to start with. It always pays to hire quality first.

5. Conduct a thorough prospect check- Once you have narrowed down the list of potential candidates, it’s up to you to do the legwork. Your contractor is going to be in your home and involved in a large financial investment so make sure to check them out thoroughly.

Gather References- A professional will easily give you a list of references and volunteer this information from the beginning of the process. If certification is a requirement in your area, make sure to see their credentials. If they are unwillingly to supply any of this information it may be a red flag.

Call References- Call references directly and ask them the following questions:

  • Would you use this contractor again?
  • Were you satisfied with the workmanship?
  • Was it easy communicating with the contractor?
  • Were there any complications? If so, did the contractor respond promptly, was he courteous and did he charge you for any additional work?
  • Did the job come in on budget? If not, by how much did he exceed budget? Were the extra charges justified?
  • Was a designated foreman available to address your concerns? You want a point person for questions and concerns you have throughout the job.

6. Licensing and certification- The first thing to keep in mind with a potential contractor is if they have the appropriate certification. They should have licensing and certifications that they can show you as well as verify through the regulation boards. When they give you their resume and list of qualifications, it’s up to you to check each of these sources to see if they’re legitimate. You’ll also want to check with the BBB. Search the Better Business Bureau website at "http://www.bbb.org" to locate your local bureau. Enter the company’s name on the website to see if they are BBB accredited and if they have any complaints against them.

Your contractor should also have the insurance to cover any problems that might come up.  In the unlikely situation that something should occur on the jobsite, they need to be covered for the damages and losses.  Ask if they are insured and if they have ever had to make any claims during a job assignment.  Double check on their insurance policy before you agree to their services in order to know what is covered and what is not.

7. Get an estimate- Estimates should be free. Estimates should be given to you in writing and include these essentials:

  • The work to be done in detail
  • The specific materials to be used
  • A time frame for the work to be completed
  • A firm price

8. Double check contract and ideas to keep in mind- So you’ve chosen your good honest concrete, brick and stone contractor but before you sign the final paperwork do a thorough inspection of the contract. If you have any questions, ask your contractor. You’re spending a lot of your hard-earned money, so you deserve to get exactly what you agreed to. It’s also a good idea to keep in mind that stone work can be messy. Your yard may be in a constant state of disarray during the project.

If you’re dealing with concrete, it will often get on the yard along with many other materials. Be reasonable in your reaction to this mess. Out of your messy yard true brilliance will shine through once completely finished.



Related Articles