(Did you remember we even had one of those?)
We’ve waited 2 years to do this.
We probably should have done it sooner.
We’ve been watching it sink for 2 years.
And it wasn’t great when we moved in.
We had a concrete patio in the backyard.
It wasn’t nice.
It’s been cracked and sinking and funneling water straight into our foundation & basement since way before we ever bought this house.
We even had a few problems with a wet basement when we first moved in – but since the basement was waterproofed & holds a lifetime guarantee, we had them come out and fix it. (read about that here.)
So, we’ve known this patio needs to GO, but after they fixed the waterproofing, we also wanted to make sure that worked. …… While it’s not good to have a sinking, concrete patio funneling water into your foundation; if you have a waterproofing system, it should be able to handle it. And we needed to make sure ours could – especially since we were planning to finish the basement.
Back to the post at hand. We kept a close eye on it over the next year (2017 into early 2018) before construction began on the basement – and we were & still are good (🤞). (Had just a couple issues while the contractors were working in the basement – due to them burning holes in the waterproofing while welding piping – but everything got fixed up again.)
So, when I quit my job (oh, by the way, I quit my 9-5), we prioritized the house work that needed to get done professionally and this was the only job left that really shouldn’t wait any longer. (Remember when I said it’s been sinking for 2 years now?) So we bit the bullet and hired a contractor.
This is what it looked like before. You can see that the cracks have gotten WAY worse over the past 2 years. (top pic was from way back when … then you can see the progress.)
They came in April to rip out the patio – just 2 people – and they worked all day. Because – get this – after they ripped out the first 8″ thick patio (the one that you can see), there was a layer of gravel and ANOTHER 8″ thick concrete patio & more gravel underneath.
Apparently, when the original patio sank, they just laid another one over top.
The contractor gave us the option to break up the concrete and bury it – or he could remove it all. We lean towards not cutting big corners – for example, like burying a large concrete patio. It likely would never have come up as an issue again, while we lived here anyway. But … it definitely seems shady to future buyers. Like I’d hate to be that person that decides to build a back deck or put in a pool – but whoops, there’s a bunch of buried concrete back here? Like, no one would ever think of that and the result would be a bunch more money. Plus, it would have just created a bunch of space for settlement, which we also didn’t want. (& trust me, over the decade, we’ve definitely been on the receiving end of previous owners cutting big corners – and it never feels good. Just wait until you can do it right and do what’s right.)
Anyway, back to the double, buried patio & gravel. Ugh. Just Ugh.
But, we had them rip it all out and paid a bunch of extra because he needed so much more fill dirt than quoted – all totally fair, and we probably actually came out on top based on his costs because it took much longer & more waste trips than anticipated. (But, that’s the contractor life as much as it is the renovator’s life – ain’t that the truth?)
But, the concrete is all gone now – and we have grass coming in back there – and our backyard looks so much better & bigger.
[The old table & chairs picked up for donation … and probably reseed the grass again (it’s been done twice now by the contractor, but it’s kind of coming in in lines, due to grass growth & also the fact that they spread the dirt & packed it down using the bobcat, which left ridges in the really really really solid dirt/clay that we have here in the Midwest.)]
[Also, still need landscaping & right now, we need to just cut back some overgrowth, but you get the picture.]
It’s a side story.
The cracks were so large and the space under the concrete so expansive, we had animals living underneath there – like a chipmunk & probably lots of ants & spiders & whatnot. Well, after the patio was torn out, and the contractors left for the day, there was a chipmunk frantically running around back there. It was both funny and a bit sad – because we definitely tore down his home. He had no idea where it went (because, you know, chipmunk brain). We’re pretty sure he finally settled under our current deck now though, so overall he probably ended up with a better, dryer home anyway.
Before & After … this backyard (& side yard) have come a long way … ripping out flower beds ridden with overgrowth & bugs, building a deck, adding a door to access the yard, and now ripping out this concrete – phew. But, we still have SO much landscaping to do (but that’s 2020’s problem, hopefully anyway …)..