Ernestine Powell is upset about the job that was done after she paid a handyman named Larry Artis $1,500 to pour her concrete driveway several months ago. She says a crack stretching the entire width of the driveway in North Chesterfield developed almost immediately.
"I can understand it if I had the driveway two or three years and this happened, but no, it happened in the next day or so," Powell said.
She says she complained to Artis several times and he promised to come back to fix the problem. She says he never showed up.
"Very annoying, because I'm a senior citizen and I feel like they knew I didn't know anything about a driveway. This was a chance for them to make some quick money," Artis said.
That's why she called 12 On Your Side.
Investigator Eric Philips was able to reach Artis by phone, and he told Philips he was going to pay Ms. Powell a visit again. When that didn't happen, Philips called several more times. The last time, Artis picked up and said there's nothing he could do to fix the crack explaining that concrete cracks.
Concrete expert Brad Sams with Deco-Crete agrees, but says there are things you can do to minimize the chances of an unsightly crack.
"That's why you do the control joints - to control the cracking," Sams said.
Sams says while concrete cures, it shrinks and cracks. Control joints are put in place to allow the crack to happen within those joints.
Ms. Powell says after the driveway was poured, it took about two weeks for Artis to come back and cut the joints in. Artis says it was more like three or four days. Either way, Sams says it was too long.
"We're going to place our construction or control joints within the first 12 hours. In the summer, we're cutting them that day," Sams said.
But Sams points out that had this job been done by a licensed, full-time contractor, it probably would have cost upwards of $5,000. Artis is not licensed.
"She probably got good value for what she paid," Sams said.
Experts say it's a classic example of you get what you pay for, reminding consumers there's a risk when hiring workers on the side.
Artis told Philips he'd re-pour the driveway if Ms. Powell provides the concrete, but he's not contacted her to make those arrangements.
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