In Case You've Wondered

My blog is where my wandering thoughts are interspersed with stuff I made up. So, if while reading you find yourself confused about the context, don't feel alone. I get confused, too.

If you're here for the stories, I started another blog:

One other thing: sometimes I write words you refuse to use in front of children, or polite company, unless you have a flat tire, or hit your thumb with a hammer.

I don't use them to offend; I use them to embellish.

Friday, April 18, 2014

It Won't Last

As I was driving by a local repair shop, I noticed one of the "fly by night" contractors preparing a concrete slab for the entrance to the business. I noticed some things that bothered me; they almost made me want to stop, but I didn't.

The soil is crummy at this location. Locals call it Gumbo, which is a mixture of poor structural clays and topsoil. Since most of the land in this area was farmed at one time, the soil is even more unstable.

To compensate for the poor soil, there are a few things to be done. One is mixing lime with the soil, which consolidates the soil and allows more compaction, density and a soil that is less expansive.

Another is excavating enough soil and placing a stabilized base. This provides more surface area and increases the depth of the subgrade.

The best, in my opinion, is to place enough reinforcement rod to bridge the crummy soil. Even if a soft spot develops in the soil, the extra reinforcement adds enough displacement to allow the concrete to bridge the soft spot and not fail.

None of these things were done and the reinforcement is half of what is needed. The slab will eventually fail and it will happen long after the contractor is gone. The owner will eventually deal with concrete failures and it can happen as soon as the next dry spell.

So, the contractor is making a buck, without any consideration of the long term and the owner is slapping himself on the back for getting the work completed so inexpensively.

I'm betting a permit was never pulled. In fact, I can just about guarantee it, since the work is not up to local code.


  1. I wonder what happened to taking pride in good workmanship. I realize that scams have been around since Moses was a child, but it seems like there are fewer folks these days who do a good job for the satisfaction of doing a good job. My Dad told me - even if your job is digging a ditch, dig the very best ditch than you can.

  2. When it comes to construction, most people don't have a clue, so they're willing to accept the advice of their contractor and not research the project.

    When the the entire endeavor is much cheaper than the other prices, the owner needs to step back, think about the why's and make decisions on something beyond their pocketbook.

  3. This must be the dude who put in my driveway. Or someone who went to the same "cementary" school, based on the buckling and cracking.

    1. Poor soil, and trees do more damage than people imagine.