Concrete Maintenance
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Pavers are cured & compressed in a controlled environment, which make them stronger than poured concrete.

Poured Concrete Curing:
Improper curing can easily cut the strength of concrete by 50%. Curing simply means keeping water in the concrete. Good curing means keeping the concrete damp at about 70F (21C) until the concrete is strong enough to adhere and bond through a chemical reaction.

A minimum of seven days before driving on concrete, 30 days before parking heavy vehicles. Curing will develop a surface twice as strong as a surface that has not fully cured.

Concrete takes longer to cure when temperature are below 70F (21C).  Concrete strength develops slowly at lower temperatures.  Concrete can also cure too quickly on hot summer days, making it necessary to dampen with water to prolong the curing process for maximum strength.

Improper Curing Will:

  • Reduce the strength as much as 200 p.s.i. (pounds per sq inch)
  • Increase the shrinkage rate potential about 10%
  • Increase the possibility of seepage by up to 50%
  • Decrease the freeze-thaw resistance by 20%
  • Decrease the resistance to attack by de-icing salts

Sealing will protect your Driveway:

Concrete, bricks and pavers should be sealed every 1-2 years. Sealing will prevent staining and fill pores making it waterproof. Preventing water and frost penetration will prolong and prevent damage. Sealing will also make the concrete or pavers easier to keep clean!

New concrete should not be sealed for 30-60 days, allowing it to fully cure. Pavers and bricks should be sealed immediately after installation.

To determine if you need to protect your concrete product, perform a splash test. Sprinkle water on the concrete surface, if the water is absorbed and makes the surface noticeably darker, the surface is not waterproof.  If the water is not absorbed and beads, the concrete is protected.

Water causes a variety of problems when it penetrates Concrete, Bricks or Pavers.

It can cause cracking and chipping and change the alkaline nature of concrete, which can allow rust on rebar and wire mess supports and cause further breaking from the inside.

Evaporating water can leave behind white residue on the surface. Acid rain can etch a concrete surface if there is no protective coating. If water goes all the way through the concrete, it will begin washing away the gravel base foundation weakening structural support.

It is critical to start with a clean surface, dirt, grease, oil even existing sealers will compromise the appearance and performance of the sealer used.  Mildew, algae and mold should also be removed to assure adhesion of the new sealer.

Before sealing your concrete all cracks should be filled and any patching or repairs should also be done. Etching is needed on smooth concrete or pavers surfaces.  Concrete etch will rough up the surface allowing proper penetration of concrete sealers. A properly etched surface should feel like 80 grit sandpaper.

Etching is also required if you want to stain your driveway.  Today there are many color choices for concrete.  Even if your driveway is discolored and you want to restore the natural gray, staining may be your best option.  Click here for Concrete Stain Article

The difference these products can make in the look of your home is dramatic.  With the cost of driveway replacement today, who wouldn't want to extend the life of their existing driveway?

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I'm still taking in all the great information you have!  The photos are wonderful as are the layouts, e.g. of the garage and drive "design-sizes".  This is a fabulous site.  I know nothing about concrete or cement or how to determine a good "mix" and what I need for a good driveway.  I have to replace the driveway at my 26 year old home, so this site is just wonderful. Thank you.

- Betsy

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