Frequently Asked Questions.

Estimates...

Poured Walls vs. Block Walls...

Thermomass Insulated Poured Walls...

Decorative Concrete...

Other...

Estimates:

1. Is there a fee for estimates?

No. If you are serious about a job, we are more than happy to meet with you and discuss the project, take measurements, and send you an estimate.

2. Do you give estimates over the phone?

Sometimes. We prefer to stop out and measure your project and talk with you about all the variables that factor into the estimate. But if you are looking to see when you can budget for your potential future project we can give you a "ball-park" estimate over the phone.

3. Some companies give "square foot" price estimates. Do you do this?

Rarely are other companies "square foot" price estimates accurate. They often times don't account for many of the variables that can effect the end price, therefore their final bills will reflect many "extra" charges that were not previously discussed in their original estimate. Take caution as this "tactic" is used by many companies and will hide the final price of a project and can catch customers by surprise! We prefer to measure the project and discuss all the possible variables up front so we can give you as accurate of an estimate as possible minimizing final surprises. We can give you "ball-park" square foot prices over the phone however we will need to meet with you at the site in order to provide you with an accurate proposal.

4. How have concrete prices fluctuated in comparison to asphalt prices in recent years?

Concrete prices have seen anywhere from a 0 - 6% increase annually over the last 5 years, with the exception of one larger increase of approximately 15% in 2008. Much of the 2008 larger increase was due in part to new legislation passed in the state of Minnesota by the MPCA (Minnesota Pollution Control Agency). This law was passed to help preserve Minnesota waters and grounds from chemicals released in the clean-up practices of washing the cement trucks out. Some states such as California have already adopted these laws and many more states will be following this trend in the near future. Asphalt pricing, on the other hand, has become much more violent in its increasing trend in the past 4 - 5 years mainly due to petroleum price increases and the reduction in material allowances for asphalt. Asphalt materials come from the portion of oil at the "bottom of a barrel" that cannot be processed into fuel. This material has become increasingly less available as oil refineries have become increasingly more efficient at reducing the "Waste" at the bottom of the barrel in order to increase fuel production. The reduction of this "Waste" that goes towards asphalt materials such as pavement materials and roofing shingles creates a higher demand and increase in product costs. Asphalt materials have increased as much as 20 - 80% in one year alone over the past 5 years and this trend doesn't seem to subsiding anytime soon. For this reason alone, concrete has become more competitive in initial install costs and with the obvious long term costs savings in concrete pavements, concrete will eventually become the material of choice for most all paving products very soon!

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Poured Walls vs. Block Walls:

1. Which type of wall is best for my new house/remodel project?

The main factors to consider are: Size of house/addition, type of soils your house will be built on, ease of access, type and quality of insulation you will most likely use. Both types of foundations have their purpose. As far as insulation quality, a Thermomass insulated poured wall is most likely your best choice for waterproof, mold and mildew proof, warmth, and long-term money saving.

2. Which application is most likely to last the longest?

In a high moisture retaining lot poured walls will give you longevity. However, both will most likely outlive you and your family.

3. Does one or the other provide a higher resale value?

Poured walls will get the best return on resale.

4. What is the cost difference between the two?

Poured walls typically cost slightly more than block to install, however this depends on many variables and can go either way depending on your individual situation.

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Thermomass Insulated Poured Walls:

1. Is a T-mass wall really worth the added installation costs?

Short-term no. Long-term YES!

2. Define "Long-Term".

Depending on your financing, original costs can sometimes be re-cooped in 5 - 10 years. This means that your cost savings on natural gas/LP and electricity in a T-Mass home will have paid for the initial costs of installation in as short as 5 - 10 years. Your neighbors in a traditional non T-Mass poured wall foundation will not see that savings.

3. How much of a cost savings is a T-Mass foundation overall.

Substantial! Please visit our "Links" page and click on T-Mass, or you can call us for a consultation because there is a lot of information about T-Mass.

4. How much more is a T-Mass foundation than regular poured wall?

This depends on the size of your project and thickness of your T-mass product and location of the T-mass insulation.

5. How do T-Mass walls affect resale?

As you can imagine, T-Mass walls have a much higher resale value than regular poured walls.

6. Are Thermomass Poured walls considered "Green"?

Absolutely! Programs such as MN Greenstar and LEED consider Thermomass walls as one of the top products in their point scale system. These walls are a must if you are planning on building a "green" home.

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Decorative Concrete:

1. I have an existing colored and or stamped slab, can you match this so I can add on to it?

Yes & If you don't know the name or type of stamp that was used originally, we can often times figure it out by process of elimination, however, matching your color will be much more difficult. Concrete color matching is extremely difficult due to the fact that there are certain chemical reactions that happen when coloring concrete that determine the end result. These reactions are difficult if not impossible to recreate exactly at a later date to get the exact same color. For instance, you would need to know the exact type of concrete used in your original pour (ie: Le-High, Holnam, LaFarge, etc), name of the company that produced the color additive and type of color, the outside air temperature, time of year of the original pour, use of accelerators (calcium chloride) or decelerators (retarders), use of other admixtures (plasticiser, air entrainment, etc...) water to cement ratio and more. Most people do not realize that concrete coloring is a complex process and not just adding a certain amount of colorant to a certain amount of concrete. If you have your original ready-mix receipt, there is a better chance that we can make a good attempt, but still no guarantees.

2. What are the options for decorative concrete?

A regular application for concrete is non-colored with broom or smooth finish.

Decorative options include: colored broomed, colored stamped, knock-down colored finish (similar to stucco), non-colored exposed aggregate, colored exposed aggregate, stained, epoxy floors, brick ovens and exterior kitchens, colored/stained countertops (interior and exterior) and overlayments for old slabs/steps

3. How many different stamps do you have to choose from?

We have many different stamps that we offer. We have access to just about any stamp you request. Approximately 95% of our customers find one or more of the stamps we have appealing and we rarely have to search to find a stamp that we don't stock. Our stocked stamps include: Jumbo Stone Textured, Ashlar Slate Pattern, California Fieldstone Pattern, Vermont Slate Pattern, and Fractured Slate Textured Skins.

4. What can you offer to help us choose our color/stamp?

We often suggest trying to find a color in the concrete to complement existing colors used on the exterior colored areas of a customer's home such as siding, brick, shingles or trim. As far as the stamp, we offer pictures and addresses from previous jobs to help you select the stamp that best suites you. For a few pictures, please visit our "Photo Gallery". For additional pictures and for addresses of previous jobs please contact us.

5.  Is there anything I can do to an old slab/steps to make it decorative?

Yes. To enhance the look of your old slab/steps we offer three options.  1 - Overlayment, spray'n'trowel colored broom finish.  2 - Overlayment, stampable grade colored stamp.  3 - Spray'n'trowel colored knock-down finish.

6.  Can you stain old concrete?

Yes and no. It can be done, however there are many variables that are difficult to determine with aged concrete therefore we normally do not recommend staining old concrete without an on-site consultation.

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Other:

1. 1.Why should we choose Len Skluzacek Construction over XYZ Concrete Co.?

Simple, for 30 years we've kept one simple motto in tact: "Always work harder than your competition, provide the best product your market has to offer, keep costs down without sacrificing the top end quality product that we have always provided and always be sure to do this with a smile!" Our company has a highly experienced and educated crew that impresses most of our customers, we have an excellent reputation our community and past customers can attest to and we never sacrifice quality for costs. We would prefer not to do your project rather than sacrifice the quality of work we provide in order to be competitive with others.

2. If my project entails more than just concrete, can you help me in other areas of construction?

We are a licensed General Contractor with the State of Minnesota and we are more than happy to "general" your project. Please contact us to discuss this option further.

3. I understand that your company will not warranty any defects caused to concrete slabs, decorative or non decorative, by the use of salts to remove ice caused by Minnesota winters. What can I use to rid the ice from my slab?

You are correct. We DO NOT warranty any damages, scaling, or any surface defects caused to your driveway / steps / sidewalks / etc... caused by the use of ANY type of salt / sodium or other chemical based products meant to de-ice your concrete slab. These products often times will say "safe for your concrete" but in our 30 years of experience this is almost always false. If customers followed the instructions on the back of the bag or pail to a 'T' there is a small chance of success, but the problem is that most people do not follow these instructions making this product very harmful to concrete. The same thing happens to your drive and garage (especially if not properly sealed) from the chemicals that build up on the bottom of your car after driving on city streets and highways and drip off your car while parked on your concrete slab(s). The Department of Transportation uses many chemicals that do an excellent job of removing unsafe ice off our roads. The downside to these chemicals is the damages they cause to our vehicles, driveways and garages (pavers, asphalt, and concrete alike.) We may not be able to control these chemicals from making their way to our slabs, however we can control the use of our own salts and chemicals on our slabs and how well we choose to protect our slabs with the use of concrete sealers. We ONLY recommend the use of sands (most have very small amounts of harmless salts) to add traction to the ice that has already accumulated. The use of ice chisels can be risky if your tool makes contact with the slab below so use caution here as well. Call or email for additional questions.

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