When it comes to our homes, we want the job done right. But who doesn’t want to save a little money? There are often ways you can get the job done within your budget, but some cost-cutting measures just aren’t worth the risk. Whether you are doing it yourself or looking to hire a professional, here are 5 cost cutting shortcuts that you’ll pay for later.
Cutting on base materials
You may not see it right away, but the base materials are extremely important to making your stone patio, walkway, or driveway last. There is no point in installing beautiful pavers if you don’t have quality materials installed underneath, because they will likely shift, sink, or collect water. Using the proper granular crushed stone ensures that water will drain properly and will not erode the base of your patio over time. When thoroughly compacted, it will also form a stable foundation that will resist shifting when the ground freezes and thaws as the seasons change.
Not excavating deep enough
As we said above, you want a stable base for your new landscaping. Some contractors will try to save time and money by doing a shallow excavation and only installing a few inches of base material. For a pathway or patio, your contractor should be excavating deep enough to install 7 inches of base material. For a driveway or other surface that will bear significant weight, you want to excavate for 11-12 inches of base material. Up front, it is an invisible way someone might try to cut corners, but not getting deep enough will show as time goes on.
Nobody wants weeds growing through their beautiful new stone patio. Using landscape fabric as a barrier between the soil and your base materials is crucial to prevent weeds and other organic matter from growing up through your stonework. Not only is weeding a hassle, but weeds underneath your interlock can also cause stones to shift. A good quality fabric barrier will let water run naturally while preventing anything from disrupting your landscaping from below.
Installing interlocking stone can be a big job, but it is a job that should be done right. Taking shortcuts in the process can seem like an easy way to save time and money, but they will impact the quality of the product in the long run. For example, the base materials should be compacted every few inches as they are installed to ensure even compaction. Some contractors might install all the base materials and only compact once, which will result in less thorough compaction and a less optimal base for your stone.
You will likely have to remove old concrete or pavers to install your new landscape project, and disposal will be part of the cost of doing this work. It is fairly common for contractors to bury old pavers in the base of your new project to save on disposal costs, but this is another shortcut you should avoid. It is well worth the extra cost to properly dispose of old stone while using good quality materials in the base of your new stonework.
Your home is an investment, so you want to make sure your landscaping project gets done right. If you are looking to hire a professional, read on about how to choose the right landscaper, or contact Toronto and the GTA’s most trusted landscape professionals at Inka Stoneworks.