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Installing Concrete Patios: An Interview with Ted Van Midde III of Van Midde and Son Concrete

By Ted Van Midde III

Tell us about your company and its foundation.

I started doing concrete work after I graduated from High School in 1979. I went to work for Carcano & Velcich, a company owned by a friend of my Dads. Carcano & Velcich had been around operating in Marin County since after World War II. I learned the basics of concrete work from seasoned veterans of the industry. Starting out as a laborer, I went from pulling nails, cleaning lumber and running a jackhammer to running the business. After working for the company for 11 years I started my own business in July of 1991. The times were tough then and both construction and the nation's economy were down, but with hard work I was able to take a business with 1 employee and turn it into a company of 30.

I have always prided myself on the fact that I do good work. We want every concrete job to be something that we could use as a reference. Every customer is important and we take no less pride in the small concrete jobs as we do in the big ones. The crew and company of Van Midde & Son Concrete are skilled in all of the newest techniques in concrete installation. We can build concrete walkways, patios, driveways, and do them to the highest of industry standard. One call to Van Midde & Son Concrete and you will know that you are talking to people that are experts at what they do.

What services does your company offer?

We offer a variety of concrete services for residential and commercial customers. Our most commonly done projects are driveways, patios, sidewalks, walkways, curbs and gutters, swimming pool decks and coping, steps and stairs, and concrete drainage systems. We also do retaining walls, sports courts, and ADA upgrades.

What are the benefits of a concrete patio?

There are many benefits to getting a concrete patio:
Concrete is a durable material
Concrete is a strong material that is built to last and patios installed by Van Midde and Son Concrete are especially strong. We install our patios 4" thick with #3 rebar, not wire mesh. This ensures that your patio slab will hold up under the elements and forces of nature and will be less likely to crack. Unlike wooden decks, concrete will not rot.

Concrete has a great longevity
Concrete has a greater longevity than wooden decks. Wooden decks should be replaced after 25-30 years, but a concrete patio by Van Midde and Son Concrete can last anywhere from 50 to 100 years.

Concrete patios are great for activities
Concrete patios are great for homeowners who have a yard without a hardscape or who want to extend the area they have with a new concrete patio. Concrete surfaces will hold up well over time. You can put heavy furniture on a concrete patio and do all kinds of activities without having to worry about breaking the patio. Concrete patios are ideal for barbecues, parties and outdoor dining.

A concrete patio will beautify your yard
Concrete, especially with all of the decorative finishes that are available today, is a very attractive building material. A colored concrete patio with a sand finish or a concrete patio stamped with a stone pattern like Ashlar will really set your yard apart from the old standard approach of exposed aggregate with redwood dividers. A new decorative concrete patio from Van Midde and Son Concrete will really make an impression on anyone who sees it.

Concrete patios will increase your property value
A new concrete patio from Van Midde and Son Concrete will not only last for years and look great, it will also add value to your home. Any cost that you incur for the installation of a new concrete patio will pay off in dividends if you ever plan on selling your home or getting it refinanced.

Please list and explain the steps in order to create a concrete patio:

First we must demo any old concrete in the area of construction and off haul it from the site as well as excavate any dirt in the area. We excavate down at least 4" and grade the earth so that the patio is sloping away from your home. We add base rock where needed and compact. Next we set the forms around the perimeter of the patio also taking slope into consideration. This is also the stage where drainage is added. If we need to dig trenches and put in 4" pipes under the concrete then we do so at this time. There are a variety of drains that we use for patios with the most standard being a 6" rounded patio drain. Then rebar is added. We use #3 rebar the majority of the time when installing concrete patios. We then use concrete dobies to lift the rebar so that it is 2" of the ground and right in the center of the slab where it will be most effective in strengthening it. Now the patio is ready to pour. Most concrete patios are in the backyard so the concrete must be delivered by hose from a concrete pump at the street. The mixing truck pours into the pump which then sends the concrete through the hose and to the area of the new patio. The men move the concrete around with shovels and their hands so that it is even with the surface and use a wood float to smooth out the surface. A wooden bull float attached to a pole is used to smooth out large areas at a time. At this stage we do something different depending on the finish. For a natural exposed finish we let the concrete set up for a bit and then wash the surface off with a hose at low pressure. For a sand finish we give the surface a smooth trowel finish and then wash the surface at least 24 hours later with an acid based wash that exposes just the sand grit in the aggregate. For a seeded exposed finish we add whatever seed rock was selected to the surface and wash lightly around it. For a stamped finish we stamp the selected pattern into the surface. Then there's color. Integral color is already in the concrete mix, so the concrete comes out of the truck with the color and nothing needs to be added on site. Dust on color is added to the surface by hand. For a two toned look an alternate color is used as a release. For only one color we use a clear liquid release.

What maintenance is necessary to upkeep the patio.

Very little maintenance is needed for concrete patios. That is one of the benefits. The patio can be sealed after it is completed and then resealed every 2-3 years. It is not necessary to seal exposed finish products or stamped and textured patios that only have one color. Sealers will protect the surface of the patio from the elements, make the surface "pop" a bit more and minimize fading. If a patio becomes dirty it can be power washed. When power washing be sure to not hold the nozzle too close to the surface as this may cause chipping. If you want to ensure that power washing is done correctly, you can hire the Van Midde and Son crew to come out and clean up your patio, making it look its best. We can also seal it for you after we are done cleaning.

What's the best way to contact you and your company?

The best way to get a hold of us is by going to our website, and filling out the short form on our quote page. This will send a message to our email that one of estimators will respond to promptly. You can also call our office at 415-459-2530 between the hours of 7am and 5PM on weekdays. Thank you.

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About The Author

The Van Midde Family has worked in the concrete industry in Marin and Sonoma Counties...

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