Taking concrete driveways, sidewalks, garage floors, and patios for granted is easy. After all, concrete is strong and lasts for years. But, like any other parts of your property, concrete surfaces need regular cleaning and maintenance to look and perform their best. In this article, we’re sharing concrete maintenance tips that will help keep your slabs in top condition.
Five Important Concrete Maintenance Tips
1. Annual Cleaning
Don’t be fooled into thinking rainwater alone can wash away the grime and grease that builds up on concrete surfaces. Oils and other stains not only look bad, but they can also eventually lead to substantial deterioration. Thorough cleaning with a mild detergent, power washer, and push broom at least once a year helps keep your concrete surfaces clean and looking their best. Annual cleaning is the foundation for maintaining the aesthetics and longevity of concrete surfaces.
2. Apply Sealant
After a thorough cleaning, applying a high-quality sealant to the surface will provide UV protection and a protective barrier against surface damage. Although concrete appears very solid, it is actually very porous, and in most climates, that’s not good for longevity. The proper sealant can aid in repelling water and protect the surface from damaging salts and chemicals. There are many sealants to choose from in local home improvement stores. Read labels carefully and follow all safety precautions when working with sealants.
3. Avoid Deicing Chemicals
Experts advise against applying deicing chemicals on concrete surfaces, especially those less than a year old. Deicers that contain ammonium sulfates and nitrates are especially bad because they attack the concrete chemically. Rock salt or calcium chloride causes less damage but can harm vegetation. Using sand and thoroughly scraping or shoveling off ice and snow is the best alternative to harmful chemicals.
4. Expansion Joint Maintenance
While cleaning and inspecting your driveways, sidewalks, patios, and other concrete surfaces, don’t forget to check the expansion joints. An expansion joint is a material placed in the cracks (or joints) between two concrete slabs. These joints act as shock absorbers, absorbing the stress from the slab’s movement as they contract and expand with changing temperatures. Over time, expansion joints wear out and can’t absorb the stress as well as they once did. That’s when cracks begin to appear in concrete slabs. When this happens, it’s time to replace the expansion joints. Damaged expansion joints can be hazardous to the integrity of concrete slabs, allowing water to seep beneath and contribute to settling and sinking.
5. Routine Monitoring
Regularly inspecting and monitoring your concrete slabs is the best way to catch and repair minor problems before they become significant and dangerous. If your concrete slab is developing cracks or separations or is uneven, call a concrete lifting contractor for a professional evaluation.
Common Concrete Problems
Home and business owners can do a lot to maintain their concrete surfaces and keep them in good condition. Unfortunately, even the best efforts at following these concrete maintenance tips may not be enough to prevent cracking and sinking cement slabs. Call a concrete professional if you notice any of the following problems:
- Large Cracks
- Uneven Settling
- Water Pooling Near a Concrete Slab
- Erosion from Rain or Flooding
Most concrete issues are caused by poorly compacted soil beneath the slab and erosion. Heavy traffic and tree roots can also damage concrete slabs. Regardless of the cause, new repair techniques, including concrete lifting, are an alternative to costly replacements.
What Is Concrete Lifting?
Concrete lifting is a process that raises sunken concrete back to its original level and fills voids to prevent future breakage. If your concrete slab is in good condition, concrete lifting is far less expensive than a complete replacement.
Sunken concrete slabs are lifted back into place with a two-component polymer foam designed to work in wet or dry conditions. The expansion force of the leveling foam, combined with the pressure of a specialized pump, generates enough controlled force to lift virtually any structure back into its original position with precision. Most repairs can be completed in about 15 minutes and you can begin using your driveway, patio, or other concrete slab immediately.
Why Choose RT Construction?
RT Construction has partnered with the Alchemy-Spetec network to protect residential and commercial properties from loss and damage due to sinking concrete. We use Alchemy-Spetec polyurethane resin and expanding polyurethane foam for concrete repair projects. We complete most concrete repairs in less than a day.
RT Construction has completed residential and commercial projects in Missouri, Illinois, and Kansas, all with the same high level of precision and quality. We have over 25 years of experience and take great pride in our work. We are licensed, insured, and bonded for your protection. Call us at 636-317-5636 to schedule an inspection and free estimate.