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Concrete. The most perfect, imperfect building material.

Updated: Feb 27, 2019

Let it be known that concrete has a handful of positive characteristics but what are some of its downfalls?

The use of concrete dates back thousands of years. Throughout those years, concrete has cracked! New concrete, old concrete, ugly concrete and eye catching stamped concrete will crack. But why does it crack? Shrinkage cracks begin to form as soon as the curing process begins. Concrete shrinks as water begins to dissipate within itself and its hardened structure begins to form. To the naked eye, many of these cracks will not be seen in the early stages of the concrete as they are miniscule in size and considered to be pseudo. These are not considered to be structurally altering and should not be cause for concern. Structural cracks may form when the ground beneath it begins to move or shift, the lack of tensile strength in the concrete cannot defend against the immense pressure the ground presents. Structural cracks do not only begin under neath the concrete so to speak. Compressive elements on the concrete surface can force the concrete to crack as well (ie: More weight on the concrete surface than it was designed for).

Luckily, a vast majority of these cracks can be easily mapped and hidden with in properly placed control joints. Strategically placed control joints will show an over 90% success rate in catching cracks compared to a lack of cuts or improper placement. Confirm the placement of these control joints with your concrete contractor if visible cracks are going to be of a concern to you in the future.

Even if a crack is deemed to be structural rather than a standard shrinkage crack, the rebar that most (all should) concrete contractors place within the concrete will help to keep that crack tight and bound together overtime and though you may see that crack as a hinderance to the concretes appearance, rest assured it is not going to affect your concretes serviceability.

Concrete can also chip or “spall” due to winter freeze and thaw cycles, particularly on driveways where vehicles can track in road salts and other contaminants. This is another unavoidable and sometimes unsightly characteristic of concrete. Hepting Concrete offers a warranty against these items if defined as severe within that year from install. The simple fact is, there are so many factors that can affect the longevity of the concrete surface from shade, sun, and moisture exposure to heavy usage and deep underground issues most contractors wouldnt be privy of without extensive engineering being involved. 

Whether we at Hepting Concrete install your concrete for you or another reputable concrete contractor in Regina, these downfalls of concrete are always going to be present and cannot ever be 100% controlled. Concrete is imperfect. It is almost exclusively placed by hand and has about 4 hours (sometimes alot less) of workability to make look as pretty as possible. This requires a great level of skill to even achieve a normal finished product.

Concrete is also often more affordable than most options when it comes to a patio or backyard setting. Being poured in place, it does not always require the level of labor involved with setting paving stones or natural stones and also usually costs less on the material front. Concrete is great at providing an attractive entertaining area, shedding most water, and offers an easy to maintain surface when compared with other materials. 

With this being said, concrete is still the most popular driveway option among homeowners and business owners alike. Although the concrete may crack, chip, or spall, it will not affect the usability of the structure for many many years and often times much longer than asphalt, pavers, or rubber coatings.  Along with that, call us bias but its also the most visually appealing option when properly done.

Sealing your concrete every fall can be the best line of defense against moisture penetrating the surface of your concrete causing cracks and spalls. This is highly recommended to protect your investment. Note that Re-sealing will go on much thinner than the initial seal.

Hopefully this blog post has brought out healthy conversation prior to making a decision on your project. We have faith in any case, Hepting Concrete is the right contractor for the job.

Concrete patio in Regina installed by the concrete contractor Hepting concrete. This concrete pad has a broom finish and manual cut control joints to finish off this concrete pad.
Pictured is a hand cut control joint installed into the fresh concrete surface


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