Driveways, Patios, Slabs, Stamped, Exposed Aggregate and More
Everyone knows that concrete is an exceptionally durable material – that is why it can be found in so many day-to-day applications, but it does need repairs and maintenance at times.
This durability however can often lead to concrete being employed as the material of choice in a range of difficult and adverse conditions. From domestic settings such as driveways and patios through to heavy duty construction tasks concrete is all around us.
Nothing truly lasts forever of course, and this is sadly also true of concrete. However, many times when the damage seems almost too severe for repair, it can transpire that the opposite is true.
It is not always necessary to rip out and replace old or failing concrete. There are a range of modern materials and techniques available today that repair concrete instead.
Despite it’s incredibly durable nature, concrete can in fact be damaged by a variety of external elements, materials, weather conditions and chemicals. It can, for example, be heavily damaged by fire, aggregate expansion, water (especially sea water owing to the high sodium levels) and damage from chemical sources such as chlorides and sulfates.
Concrete can also be damaged by something as everyday as your local weather system. For instance, if a crack appears on your driveway or patio (or any other concrete installation that is open to the elements) then it important that these cracks are repaired as soon as possible – especially if you live in an area with freezing winters.
During the winter, rainfall can leach into and fill the crack with water. With the coming of freezing temperatures overnight, the water in the crack will expand and the crack itself will grow just a little larger. When this pattern repeats and the water in the crack freezes again, this time the crack gets just that little bit bigger again – and before you know it, your tiny crack has grown into a gaping chasm!
By that stage it may even be too late for a repair – it may be the case that this section of concrete has to be dug out and replaced. This is of course going to represent a significant financial outlay – at least compared to what would have been the price of simple repair had the work been carried out early.
This is just one possible scenario, however it is a good example of the basic principle of concrete repair. Act early, get in a professional contractor at the earliest signs of distress in your concrete and you will almost certainly save significantly in time and money.
It is of course possible for some simple repairs to be carried out by the homeowner, should they feel inclined. However, it is always the best idea to call in the professionals if you are not completely sure about what you are doing.
The above scenario of a cracked driveway or patio is a good example of the type of simple repairs that can be carried out at home. However, it should be stressed that this is an instance where the repair is merely cosmetic – i.e. jut repairing a surface crack.
Should damage be observed in concrete that is load carrying or forms an integral part of a structure, such as a pillar or beam, you should always bring in professional assistance immediately.
It is also worth contacting a professional concrete contactor if you perform a repair and notice that the repair itself fails, or another part of the concrete installation becomes damaged shortly after. This could be a sign of a more serious underlying problem that a professional would be able to diagnose and repair.
With a level of light maintenance and general care, concrete can prove to be a stable and long lasting building material. At the same time however, it is important to remember that should any repairs become necessary, performing them soon will save money in the long run, and prolong the life of your concrete.