Was my concrete poured correctly? PVC pipe vs. re bar?

Last fall I had an approximately 1200 sqr ft stamped concrete patio poured and a pool deck installed. Now, less than a year later, it has surface cracks everywhere, some fairly deep cracks, and a couple places on the decking where the concrete separated all together and the pad broke in half. The company is coming out soon to repair where it was broken, but they say the other cracking is normal and they do not guarantee it. It’s still shocking to me that this concrete is less than 1 year old and has this many problems.

When it was poured, instead of using re-bar to stabilize the concrete, they put in pieces of pcv pipe in the corner of each section. They told me this works like footers and stabilizes just as efficiently as re bar. Now that I’m having all of these problems, I’m wondering if that’s true?

Any thoughts on the pvc pipe vs re bar? Do I have any legal recourse for a poor job done by a contractor? I know concrete cracks, but this seems ridiculous! This was a $15K job! Thanks for your help.
You’re right – I do not think the base was sufficient because there is breakage of the patio and pool deck.

I just wasn’t sure about the pcv pipe thing. At the time, I had NO knowledge of concrete…so it sounded reasonable to me?

There was NEVER a permit (to my knowledge) requested for the patio and I *think* the permit for the pool tied into the pool deck. However, the inspectors here are completely incompetent – I saw the final inspector pull into my driveway 1 day (he probably thought I was at work) and he never got out of his car at all. I called the next day to ask if something came up and my inspection was rescheduled, they said that my inspection was passed. HUH???

Maybe I will just take a lot of pictures and video of the problems and contact a lawyer. I really do not want more dealings with this company. Perhaps I can hire another co. to fix these problems and sue the first guys for the cost???

6 Comments on “Was my concrete poured correctly? PVC pipe vs. re bar?

  1. PCV pipe swells and shrinks slightly espically sine the air inside the pipe gets hot and cold. The guy who used pcv pipe was a moron, your concrete will continue to crack year after year.
    A fencing like underlayment in addition to rebar should have been laid first then concrete over both the rebar and fencingwwire (non galvanized) take photos of any work before and durring,

    take this guy to court

  2. Contact an attorney to get your money back or have the slab replaced.

    From the description, you have 2 problems, no rebar for the concrete to grip. Rebar has protruding bumps for the concrete to shrink against and provide strength.

    The second problem is poor quality cement. It is common for five bag mix (5 bags of portland cement to a yard of finished cement) to crack about every twelve ft. to allow for expansion and contraction. Grooves are normally created during the finish process to allow the cracks to form. six bag mix will not crack at all when correctly reinforced.

    My father poured an 1100 sq. ft. garage floor using six bag mix in 1958, it is still sound today without a single crack anywhere.

  3. PVC pipe is not a substitute for rebar. Was a Permit taken out for the work? If so, an inspector would have seen this mess and stopped work. If PVC was used instead of rebar, it is probable that the base under the concrete was not proper either. When the base fails, the concrete cracks and breaks.

  4. all concrete will crack…but a good finisher will joint the slabs so it cracks where they want it to…38 years of finishing and have never seen pvc used as re-bar…i agree that severe cracking is a bad base job…wire mesh has been pretty much replaced by fiber concrete…but in some instances i will use both…even then it may crack but shouldn’t heave or seperate…

  5. The pvc pipe could’ve and only should have been used as a form to look at and then put in rebar. Did you get a work guarantee from the installer do they’ve a liciense who pulled the permits. if plans were approved and inspectors signed off then go after all of them but first call a pool builder/installer have them comeover and look at the pool and the plans and then write down their recomendations then call the original installer to address the problems and how he’s going to fix them.