From driveways and sidewalks to patios and parking lots, concrete is used everywhere. One reason for its popularity is the material’s durability and versatility. Even so, due to daily wear and tear and outdoor weather, there will come a time when a concrete surface cracks or chips.
If you have concrete surfaces, whether it is at home or at your commercial property, it is important for you to learn how to extend concrete surface life by repairing and resurfacing. Read on to learn how and why it is important to do these things!
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The Basics of Concrete Surfaces and What Causes Issues on Them
According to Travis Williams, owner of RNO Concrete Contractors, concrete is not a new thing in the construction world! In fact, people have been using this mixture of cement, water, sand, and gravel for centuries. The oldest documentation shows that Nabataea traders who lived around the regions of Syria have been using it since 6500 BC.
However, despite the long history of concrete usage and the advancement in its technology, it appears that some of us still struggle with concrete issues. So, to help you figure out some of the most common reasons for such issues, we will talk about them below.
The curing period is one of the most crucial aspects of constructing a structure with concrete. This process is very crucial since it is what gives the mixture its microstructure strength. If something goes wrong in this process, structural issues like reduced strength and increased permeability may arise in the future.
Improper curing may also lead to scaling and cracking, which are some of the most common signs of aging concrete. Scaling and cracking do not only affect the concrete appearance but they also compromise the stability and durability of the structure. They may seem insignificant, but they may cause serious issues when left untreated.
Mixing, as the name implies, is a process where someone mixes cement, water, sand, gravel, and other additives to make a concrete mixture. What is important to note is that the proportion of each component and the consistency of the mixture must be right to ensure a strong final result.
The process is rather complicated and therefore a keen eye is needed to ensure that everything is in the right order. A mistake as simple as adding too much water, for example, may result in segregation and reduced mixture strength. Likewise, adding too little water can cause poor consolidation.
Besides improper mixing and pouring, improper sealing can also cause real issues in a concrete structure. While you may believe that a proper sealing practice is not mandatory, applying a protective coating can greatly enhance the longevity of your concrete structure.
One common issue that appears when a concrete structure is not properly sealed is blistering. If you are not familiar with what blistering is, it is any bubble or bump that forms on the concrete surface. This is usually caused by air or moisture that is entrapped during the sealing process.
The Most Economical Ways to Address Concrete Issues
Regardless of how small they may seem to be, the presence of concrete issues like cracks, chips, and scaling should not be neglected because they may lead to a bigger problem. Over time, these small issues may worsen, compromising the inherent strength of your concrete structure.
So, what should you do when one of these issues arises? While a complete rebuild sounds like a solution that will totally address the issue, it may not always be doable and affordable. In this case, the more reasonable options are repairing and resurfacing.
Repairing is a very reasonable way to address cracking, chips, or any other concrete issues as long as the problem is not too extensive. This technique does not take up too much time and is very beneficial in preventing further damage and excessive water penetration. The steps below can be taken to repair a concrete structure.
Different concrete issues will require different solutions. So, before you buy a product, figure out whether you need something to refill or to repatch the concrete structure. If you are not sure about what product to buy, ask the guy at your local home improvement store.
- Product application
Once you have bought the right product for your needs, it is time to apply it to your concrete structure. Before you take any further steps, read the manual instruction first. Also, grab any tool that might be needed during the application process, such as a trowel or a squeegee.
Whether you use a resin-based on a cement-based product, you will need some time before the product fully cures and blends perfectly with the concrete structure. Make sure no one and nothing disrupts the curing process. If needed, you can use a tarp to cover the structure’s surface and put a sign nearby so nobody goes near it.
Concrete resurfacing, on the other hand, is more suitable in conditions where the damage only happens on the surface level. Even if no apparent damage is present, resurfacing can be beneficial in refreshing and improving the longevity of an old and worn concrete structure.
The first thing you need to do when resurfacing a concrete structure is to figure out the look you are aiming for. Other than that, you should also assess the structure’s existing condition. This will help you point out what tools to use, the right technique to apply, and how much product you need.
A resurfacing method is usually done by overlaying the concrete structure’s top surface with a solution. This technique typically allows one to immediately solve minor cracks and chippings. If the damage is very light, the micro-topping technique can be applied, which involves adding a very thin layer of the product.
To achieve the kind of appearance you are aiming for, you can polish the structure after the product has been properly applied. While it is obvious that polishing will enhance shine and smoothness, using a sealant product during the process can also make the structure more durable.
To sum it up, both repairing and resurfacing can be the right way to maintain a concrete structure. Depending on the severity of the issues, you can choose to use one or both of these techniques. What is important to remember is to use the right products and tools and use them appropriately.