Tulsa General Contractor, Home Remodels from Sonrise Construction
Q: Why a sump pump?
A: Sump pumps are required if we are not able to get the water problem to gravity flow away from the problem area. Sometimes, this is accomplished by grading, and sometimes by surface drains, but always with an exit pipe. Flow rates need to have a drop of at least .5”, up to 1” per 10’ of pipe to properly gravity flow.
Several homes have low areas in their back yard that need to drain to the front of the street, but the street level is higher than the rear of the home. This means that a sump pump is required to pump the water to the street, as gravity flow is not possible.
Additionally, you are not allowed by city municipalities to intentionally grade your yard, gutter your home, or drain your pipes onto your immediate neighbor’s property. This means that sometimes the easiest thing to do is collect the water and drain it onto your neighbor’s yard, but, you are not allowed to intentionally give them your problem. This too sometimes requires a sump pump to be installed to remove the water away from the effected areas.
Q: What is the difference between a French Drain
and Tightline Drain?
A: A French drain will absorb sub-surface (underground) water and a tightline drain is used to remove surface water only. Surface drains can be added to each system. Downspout tie-ins are also recommended for both.
Q: How deep will the trench be?
A: For French drains it varies on the severity of the problem, as depths normally start at 18”, with most common depths being 24” to 30”, however, greater depths of up to 48” might be needed. For tightline drains the trench is typically 12" deep, allowing for the gravity flow.
Q: Is solid PVC pipe better than the black flex
A: In our opinion yes. PVC is a smooth walled pipe, and is less likely to clog since it does not have the internal ridges that the black flex pipe has. Plus, the tensile strength of the PVC pipe is greater than the flex pipe.
Q: How will the pipe look at the street?
A: We cut out a section of your curb, install a rectangular discharge chute, and then will patch the curb with new concrete.
Q: What does ICPI stand for, and what does it
mean to be Certified?
A: ICPI stands for Interlocking Concrete Paver Institute. To become an ICPI Certified Contractor, which we are, means that we have completed, and passed, an extensive course on all things related to concrete pavers; from compaction rates, to designs, to installation techniques, to sealing, and proper estimating techniques. Many other items are covered during the hands-on educational course that requires field follow-up, class room learning, and passing a written exam; but that is a summary of the course.
There are very few ICPI Certified Contractors in the Tulsa area. You should demand excellence with your peace of mind, and only hire contractors that have the required training to install your paver project. Otherwise, you’re taking a huge risk on your installation that you do not need to take.
Q: What paver products do you install?
A: We install Belgard pavers and Pavestone pavers, commercial grade. We do not install the lower quality residential grade pavers available from local big box hardware stores. Primary uses of this product are for patios, sidewalks, and driveways; though we have used the product before in outdoor kitchen applications, and for pool decking.
Our primary suppliers are Hardscape Materials. Each supplier has dozens of sample colors and styles in stock. And, they will order for personal delivery, at no extra charge, anything specific that you choose; if they don’t carry it in stock.
Q: I'm worried about grass and weeds growing up
through the pavers; will that happen?
A: No one can stop the advancement of Bermuda; as it can grow onto anything, but RoundUp will slow the growth. However, the way we prepare the base is based on the ICPI standards for paver installation. When we brush polymeric sand between the joints and wet it down the first time, once it dries, it will bond to the paver gaps and will dry very hard; greatly reducing the chances that weeds or grasses will grow or root in the pavers.
Q: Why would I want to choose Belgard pavers vs.
A: Either is a great choice. There are mainly two reasons most people choose one over the other: 1) It is their personal preference from an appearance perspective, as some like the look of the pavers and others do not, and some like the look of Flagstone, and others do not. And 2) Cost, as most Belgard paver patterns are actually a little less expensive cost per sq. ft. to install than mortared Flagstone.
Q: I want to put Flagstone around my pool. Will
it be cooler than concrete?
A: It depends on the color and type of Flagstone that you chose to have installed. Flagstone as a general rule will not be as cool as Cool-Deck. But, if you chose a lighter color Flagstone; for example: Autumn Haze, Cinnamon Sandstone, or Colorado Rosa, these choices will more likely be cooler than concrete.
Q: What is Flagstone?
A: Flagstone is a naturally flat, though somewhat irregularly flat stone that is harvested out of the ground. It comes in a variety of names. Each type varies in size, shape, color, thickness, and tensile strength. It is one of the most popular options for patios and sidewalks because of it's uniquely natural look. Hardscape Materials in Bixby has acres of pallets displaying the wide variety of Flagstone available, and is our supplier.
Q: What are Belgard pavers?
A: Belgard pavers are a manufactured concrete block used for patios, sidewalks, and driveways. They too come in a variety of colors, styles, and installation patterns. Some of the pavers are made to look like brick and others are made to look more like natural stone. Belgard pavers are becoming a very popular option for patios and driveway's. Hardscape Materials of Bixby is our supplier for Belgard pavers as well, and has dozens of pallets of samples available for viewing.
Q: Why do you not install tiewalls?
A: We do not believe that the appearance or longevity of tiewalls meets the standards that we espouse as a company. Very few companies install tiewalls, and we prefer the more permanent solution of Versa-Lok concrete blocks, or natural stone.
Q: How do you know what kind of retaining wall is
A: We factor in the location, the water, load-bearing requirements, and for replacements, the type of wall that is currently in use. For difficult walls, we use an Engineer to provide us a construction drawing. This service is no charge to the customer if living in the Tulsa area.
However, for retaining walls above 5’ of average height, we will hire a private Engineer to design, scale, and submit plans to the city building code enforcement division for approval and issuance of a building permit. If the plans are rejected, a permit will not be issued until the rejected items are modified. For wall heights under 5’ of average height, a building permit is not required.
Q: Can I buy the blocks from you, as I want to
install the wall myself?
A: No. We are installers only, and do not sell any materials for any service that we offer.
A word or two of caution though. The blocks weigh 82 lbs. each, so building a retaining wall is not a project for weekend warriors, or for someone that has never built a wall before. Fully one-half of the labor requirement spent on a wall is spent on ground prep, base prep, and base installation. If the base is not exactly as it needs to be, the wall will not install correctly and you’ll have wasted a huge amount of time and money.
Q: What kind of counter top will the outdoor
A: The most popular choices are granite, brick, pavers, and flagstone. We work with you on what is your preference of color, style, and budget range.
Q: What kind of material can I use for the
kitchen or fireplace?
A: The most popular choices are stone, brick, stucco, pavers, concrete blocks, and weathered Versa-Lok blocks.
Q: Can we make the fireplace gas?
A: Yes. We will have our plumber install a gas line to use as a starter for wood burning or gas logs.
Q: Do you purchase the appliances for my outdoor
A: No. For warranty reasons, we require that you purchase and arrange for delivery all of the appliances that you want to have installed (grill, oven, cook top, fridge, wine cooler, etc.) and we will then install them for you. Metro Builders Supply has a great selection of each, and will handle all warranty issues applicable to those appliances. You will also find many popular choices at Lowe’s or Home Depot.
Q: Where can we go to see the material we want to
A: We primarily use Hardscape Materials in Bixby, unless they are out of stock. Their selection is the best in Tulsa, and their service is great. We do have other back-up suppliers, and can always direct you to wherever you need to go, all depending on your design.
Q: Will there be a place to store wood on my
A: If you want one, yes. We can build a box next to the fireplace or under the hearth, whichever you choose.
Q: The outdoor lighting systems at Lowe’s and
Home Depot costs much less; why?
A: You will be disappointed with the outcome of these low quality hardware store lighting systems. If you are only comparing the professional grade Hadco, Vista, or Kichler systems that we install against a hardware store lighting kit; this is not a fair comparison.
Invest in quality, and you won’t be sorry. Our professional lighting fixtures carry a minimum 10 year warranty. The quality of the fixtures is incomparable, as the hardware store is selling molded plastic or tin, and we are installing brass, copper, and heat-treated aluminum or steel. For an even better lifetime investment, we also offer LED fixtures that have a 15 year warranty and there are no bulbs to change. For even more information about outdoor lighting, go to the Services section of our website, and click on Outdoor Lighting.
Q: Do I need a special outlet to plug the lights
A: No. The lights are wired to a low-voltage transformer that plugs into a normal 110V outdoor outlet. If you have an outdoor GFCI receptacle though; that is even better as most of those have protective covers on them.
Q: Will I get shocked if I accidentally cut a
A: No. The lights and wiring are low voltage 12V AC; which is not much higher than a 9V battery.
Q: What is the advantage of using LED fixtures
vs. Halogen bulbs?
A: The LED fixtures we use have a 15 year warranty. If the light goes out in a 15 year period the manufacturer will replace it for free. LED’s are a truer form of light. LED's are a new technology, are more expensive to manufacture, and cost more than a normal Halogen bulb fixture does. You will invest more up front, but you will save money by not having to replace bulbs. Most Halogen bulbs have a 5,000 hour life, and will last a little over a year, and LED fixtures are warranted to last at least 15 years. In our opinion, LED's are the best investment for your money, and within 10 years, most fixtures installed will be LED.
Q: After we meet, will I receive a written quote?
A: Yes, and in a timely manner. Unlike a lot of companies, we will show up for our appointment, we will discuss your needs, and we will prepare you a written quote. Our goal is to have our recommendations for your consideration back in your hands within 7 days.
We achieve that goal nearly 100% of the time, and if we are going to be late on the quote, we will call you to let you know it’ll be just a little longer. Sometimes a delay will occur because of not being able to receive a current price from one of our suppliers; but sometimes it is just because we are overworked in the peak seasons of March through October.
Q: What if I don’t know what I want, for example;
Belgard or Flagstone patio?
A: We are well trained with several years of experience, and will work with you for ideas that will compliment your home, your landscaping, and your hardscaping. Sometimes, deciding what you want is as simple as viewing some of the 100’s of pictures of completed projects that are available on-line, or looking through one of our numerous photo albums.
And, if you need even closer assistance, we will be happy to meet with you at Hardscape Materials for an appointment, (if you have hired us), and we will walk the yard with you showing you the various types of colors and choices that are available with Belgard, and with Flagstone. We can even get you some samples to take home and look at for awhile.
Q: Do I have to be home during construction of my
A: No. It is completely your option to be there if you wish, but all of our projects are assigned a Foreman, and all of our projects receive follow up on a daily basis from Mike; many times more than once a day. We realize that most of our customers work during the day, so we make arrangements with you in advance for access into your yard, or to put pets away, or to have access to your garage if we need to install a sprinkler system timer for example.
Q: Once we send in our Agreement, how long will
it take for our project to be completed?
A: On the day that we receive your signed Agreement and retainer payment, we will place you on our project calendar. We will then call you and inform of an approximate start date. The start date for your project can range from 1-2 weeks in fall and winter, up to 3-7 weeks in spring and summer. The actual time required for installation and completion of your specific project depends on the size of the project, weather delays, material deliveries, crew productivity on previous projects being completed ahead of yours, and product back-orders.
A few examples for comparison: Flagstone patios take up to a week. Outdoor lighting installations can be completed in 1-2 days. Drainage systems take 2-4 days. Outdoor fireplaces take a week. Outdoor kitchens take a few weeks. Retaining walls take anywhere from a few days to a few weeks, largely dependent upon previous wall removal and total size of wall.
Q: Do you have financing, or take credit cards?
A: We accept PayPal, through a secure link on our website. We include a 3% processing fee to pay for the administrative costs associated with using credit or debit cards.
Q: Do you offer discounts if we hire you for more
than one project at a time?
A: Yes. Please review all of our specials that are fully detailed on another page of our website. Click on Specials to read how much the discounts are worth.
Q: How long is your warranty?
A: It depends on the product and service. All of our warranties are fully detailed with your Agreement.
Q: Do you use sub-contractors?
A: Yes. For instance, we hire a Plumber to install gas lines for outdoor fireplaces, and to secure city permits. Or, we sub out work to owners of large equipment; such as Tractors, Track-Hoes, and Flatbeds. It makes more financial sense to employ subs in this way, rather than trying to keep them employed full time as members of our staff.
Q: Why don’t you post prices next to your
A: Some of those pictures might be from projects of 7, 8, or 9 years ago, and prices change each year due to costs associated with materials and labor. Plus, most of our projects are customs, and each one is tailored for your needs; therefore the sizes will never be exactly the same.
Q: How long is the price quote valid?
A: 30 days from the date on the quote.
Q: I don’t agree with paying a 50% retainer at
the time I send in the contract because I have been burned
by other contractors in the past. What can I do?
A: First of all, let me say that we are sorry to hear of your bad experience from another contractor. Unfortunately, we hear that almost every month of every year. BUT, we’re not like the other contractors. You probably know that already if you've spent any time at all on our website, or from meeting with us personally.
We do not mind if you employ an Attorney to manage an escrow account for you, at your cost, but we will still need to be paid according to our terms. Our company is primarily a cash company, and we do not carry balances with our vendors from one month to the next.
Fully one-half, many times more than one-half of the cost of your project is just for the cost of materials. We use your retainer to pay for the materials, and to guarantee a place on our calendar. During the peak 7 months of spring and summer, we will have multiple dozens of projects that we are juggling and scheduling on the calendar. We learned many years ago that the serious customers send in Agreements with retainers. The ones that are ‘just thinking about it’ tend not to.
If though, you are still skeptical, check us out some more. We carry all the right insurance and provide you with our agent’s name and number for bonding. We have a variety of continuing education and certifications too with ICPI, Belgard, Versa-Lok, Hadco, and Rainbird that might provide you the peace of mind you need to decide to hire us.
Sonrise Construction, Owner Mike Fournier, Tulsa 's Full Service General Contractor