So youve just finished up with your concrete contractor and they have left you with a nice new concrete driveway or other concrete pad. Now what? In this blog we will explain to you some of the ways to look after your new concrete driveway or other concrete project.
As a local concrete contractor, we are constantly learning from experience and luckily we've got a lot of it. After every concrete project, we provide you, the customer, a post-concrete package outlining how you should look after your concrete to help ensure it stays in as good of condition as possible for as long as possible. However, if we werent lucky enough to get the opportunity to be your driveway contractor, garage pad contractor or stamped concrete contractor, we will still give you some insight on what should be done if you were not properly instructed by the concrete contractor you chose!
Curing the concrete!
Curing concrete is critical to concrete’s long-term durability. Concrete should be kept as moist as possible for the first five-seven days after placement. In addition, it must be allowed sufficient drying time before being subjected to freezing temperatures.
Without proper curing, concrete may only achieve 50% of its potential design strength.
The idea of a seven-day curing period rests on two facts:
Cement, the active ingredient in concrete requires constant moisture to gain strength. If the concrete is kept moist for the seven-day period, it will not only gain strength, but will also shrink less and produce fewer cracks.
Curing can be assisted in a number of ways:
Spray-on liquid curing agents and sealers, Water ponding (wet curing) or spraying a mist over the concrete. A liquid curing agent is the most effective and convenient method. The curing agent should be applied as soon as finishing is complete. Curing agents form a membrane on the surface of the concrete in order to retain moisture. Once the curing agent has been applied, no further working of the concrete can be done. A spray or roller is used to apply curing agents.
Sealing the concrete!
Okay, now the concrete has been properly cured. Now what? Concrete sealing. It is said, that concrete should not be fully sealed for up to 28 days after concrete has been placed. Reason being, the moisture inside the concrete is still slowly escaping from both the bottom of the concrete and the top. Closing off the top of the concrete too early with a sealer can run the risk of trapping the excess moisture still trying to escape the surface of the concrete resulting in a weakened top which may result in surface delamination over time. However it is important to note that the said 28 days is just a guideline. Temperatures and moisture conditions throughout the initial couple weeks will determine when your concrete is ready to be sealed. With that information said, you should consult with your concrete contractor on when they feel is the right time to seal the concrete given the weather. The sooner the concrete can be sealed the better! Feel free to contact us at Hepting Concrete for an estimate on sealing your concrete or any questions in general.
Backfilling around your concrete is also an important step to ensuring you get the most out of it in the long run. By doing so (we recommend 2'' of yellow clay) this will prevent any gravel washout from happening underneath the slab as water runs off the concrete and flows under said concrete. Yellow clay is efficient with trapping the moisture before it can enter under neath the concrete.
Winter time advice!
Now onto some winter time concrete advice. As a concrete driveway contractor (60% of our work is driveways) it sounds funny to say to our customers, dont park on your driveway in the wintertime if you dont have to. The reason for that lies underneath your car and its tires. As you drive around town, the underside of your car picks up all sorts of road grime, road de-icing chemicals and just a plethora of concrete damaging materials. When you return home and park on your concrete, those materials then fall off onto the concrete, eating its way through the snow and ice and onto the top of your concrete. Even if your concrete is sealed, these materials will still cause damage in the long run. We most commonly see damage on driveways within the vehicle tire tracks and where the cars underside would melt down onto the concrete driveway. Now we understand not parking on your driveway isnt very functional for a lot of people. Having your driveway sealed every fall is a good way to help defend against all of the aforementioned damaging materials, and, its not a bad idea to kick off as much hanging, dirty looking grimy debris you see on your car before you park on your driveway. If its a very slushy, melty kind of day out its not a bad idea to just park on the street for 15-30mins minutes to let some of the road grime debris fall off your car before you park onto your concrete driveway. Snow and ice should be removed with a plastic snow shovel. Avoid the use of de-icing salts and do not carry out ice chipping on a concrete surface!
Garage pads! We highly recommend keeping a healthy coat of sealer on your concrete garage pads and also recommend vehicle containment mats to park on/in during winter months. These mats collect all the dirty water run off that will fall off your car prior to it hitting the concrete.
I hope this will help answer some questions and concerns you may have after you've gotten your concrete work done! We're always available at HeptingConcrete@Live.ca or feel free to text or call 3065361788!