Feb 25, 2011

Brick Pavers Estimates in Snow are Difficult

Paver patios, walkways, driveways, porches, and steps covered in Michigan

As another 6 inches of snow falls on Ann Arbor, Saline, & Canton today, accumulating snow has made it very difficult to give estimates on brick paver repairs, installations, and restoration services. Snow covered pavers patios, walks, driveways, porches and steps will not reveal their true needs for service or installation.

Paver repair, cleaning, & sealing is the most difficult to properly estimate. The obvious reason is the accumulation of snow but the larger effect is winter frost.  Winter frost can mislead a brick pavers contractor to conclude that there is a need for a repair that will disappear when the frost thaws here in late March or early April.

Interlocking brick pavers, retaining walls, porches, and steps can bulge and contort during the winter months, fooling homeowners that a repair is needed. An early post about winter frost damage will help guide you for what to look for during the freeze thaw cycle. It is important for a brick paver contractor to ask the homeowner about the state of these areas during the past summer. 

The biggest obstacle of estimating a brick paver installation is not being able to evaluate the physical area for installation.  Existing landscaping & pavements can not be properly viewed. Soil conditions and grades are almost impossible to evaluate accurately.  Grade drops are one of the most important variables when costing a brick paver installation. Retaining slope with either landscaping, boulders, or modular retaining walls will make a substantial difference in an estimate.

Homeowners who supply me a scaled drawing for a new brick paver or retaining wall installation project can get the process started.  With this drawing, I can begin estimating their project but will need to verify grades and installation area when the snow melts.

I do encourage homeowners to begin the bidding process now by contacting a good brick pavers contractor or specialist.  If you wait until all the snow melts or frost is out of the ground, the pavers contractor may have a backlog.  This past week, I just rescheduled my estimates for 2 weeks from now to see if the snow melts again like last week. 

It is always in the best interest of the homeowner and contractor to receive and prepare an accurate estimate. If conditions are adverse, it is best to remain patient and getting it right. If you are worried about getting on a contractors Spring schedule, offer a small $100 deposit to reserve space and finalize the details later. It is going to be a great year for brick pavers so your needs will be satisfied.