Concrete is one of the most versatile and durable building materials that the current construction companies are using. A well-made structure can last multiple generations whilst still maintaining its beauty and structural integrity.
Very few building materials offer comparable qualities. That is why, whenever the topic of caring for concrete arises, it’s usually a contentious one, to say the least.
On one hand, property owners have a vague understanding that properly installed surface can withstand a ton without being properly cared for. On the other hand, professionals in the construction industry clearly understand that despite the high performance, concrete as a building material does need proper care in order for it to provide optimal return on investment. Reconciling these two perceptions is extremely important for property owners!
So, how does one go about caring for it? Herein we will explore the top 3 concrete maintenance tips and suggestions, with the intention of helping homeowners get the most out of their investment
#1. Driveway Winter How To’s
There are few, if any, materials that are not affected by the freezing cold that is winter. Just as any other material, you can expect hard cement to contract during the cold months of winter and subsequently expand when the outside temperature rises. It is, therefore, important for it to be well cared-for prior to and during the colder months.
The care begins with letting it properly cure. Thereafter, you should consider applying a sealant to the surface that is exposed to the weather elements. The sealer comes in handy as it prevents water from seeping into the cemented rock. Thus by keeping water away, you prevent the freezing (with the accompanying expansion) and the thawing (with the accompanying contraction) of water that has the potential of destroying cement’s integrity. Another benefit of sealing your cement is that it becomes dust-proof and UV resistant, thus retaining the shine for much longer.
During winter, we tend to use of salt and other ice thawing products to get rid of the snow. Concrete and salt aren’t friends with each other since salt’s chemicals have the potential to exacerbate the destruction of the concrete, especially if it’s still fresh. It’s generally recommended to NOT use salt the very first winter after new installation. Therefore, whenever possible, you should opt for other methods of improving traction such as using sand instead.
#2. Caring For Decorative Finish
Decorative concrete is one of the most popular products for floors today. It’s very easy to maintain for both public and private properties. However, the maintenance schedule and procedures in these two environments differ quite a bit due to the differences in the amount of foot traffic that each property receives. For the private setting, regular dump cleaning and scheduled resealing/waxing and polishing are enough to keep the floor in stellar condition. However, for a public setting, a more rigorous maintenance schedule is required.
Nonetheless, to keep decorative floors in good looking conditions, property owners should ensure that they follow the cleaning regimen recommended by their contractor. This includes the cleaning solutions to be used. Property owners with decorative floors should also repair and seal any cracks that develop over time. Additionally, they should ensure that normal dirt and grime does not build up. This means that regular cleaning of the entire floor, even the parts covered by furniture is a part of maintaining the floor. Finally, stains should be removed immediately to avoid the floor absorbing any discoloring oil or grease.
#3. Stamped Concrete Basics
For many property owners, stamped concrete is proving far superior to the regular broom finish. The fact that several layers of sealer are added in addition to the color hardeners present in the concrete makes it very durable. More importantly with regards to regular maintenance, stamped concrete is easy to maintain.
Nonetheless, it does require maintenance in the long run. One maintenance tip to adhere to is the necessary reapplication of sealer whenever the stamped surface starts to appear dull. When it comes to an interior setting, you should consider applying wax, which acts as a sacrificial coat, thus preventing excessive wear. Also, consider performing regular cleaning to get rid of dirt and grime accumulation. Finally, for exterior stamped surfaces, you should desist from using de-icing chemicals whenever possible.
All in all, cement is the least maintenance intensive building material currently in use. It’s tough and can resist wear from traffic far better than any other material out there. However, with a little maintenance, you can improve its life tremendously!
Thanks goes to Leon for these much-needed tips!