Concrete Repair After Winter
Concrete that is not sealed before winter, the elements of winter easily damaged the surface. Precipitation, freeze-thaw cycles, salt, shoveling, snowplows, or snow blowers can all wreak havoc on concrete surfaces. Concrete work is not always straightforward, and we recommend consulting with your local concrete contractors for all your major repairs.
The Science Behind Concrete
Making concrete seems like a simple task, but the chemical reaction in concrete is more like a science project. Concrete forms by mixing water with cement power and a chemical reaction called hydration. This reaction causes the crystallization of the cement particles. When the temperature the concrete is mixed in is hot, the particles form very quickly. The crystals form below 40 degrees Fahrenheit very slowly, and below 15 degrees, the crystals won't form.
The temperature factor involved in concrete work makes it difficult to perform in extreme temperatures. Once spring arrives and temperatures consistently remain above 50 degrees makes spring the ideal time for concrete repair.
Concrete Requires a Protective Seal
Due to the chemical reaction concrete goes through, concrete remains sensitive to moisture and temperature changes. Protective seals should be applied to all new concrete surfaces and again every two to three years. Fully protected concrete requires protective sealant across the entire body, including calking and sealing the expansion joints.
During winter, we often shovel, snow blow, or snowplow our driveways and walkways. Metal blades on snowblowers and plows easily scrape concrete surfaces exposing concrete and breaking the seal. Moisture can then enter the concrete or the expansion joints leading to a water collection around or under the slabs. As temperatures rise and fall, the moisture goes through the freeze-thaw cycle. When moisture freezes, it expands, and when it thaws in contracts leading to the concrete shifting and moving. This movement can result in cracks in the slab.
Often in winter, we put salt down to thaw ice or prevent ice from forming. Salt attracts moisture and can draw more water into open concrete surfaces. Sand is the best solution for adding traction to concrete surfaces and can easily be cleaned up in the spring.
Types of Concrete Repairs
The most common form of damage is heaving concrete. The entire slab may upheave or cracks form, breaking the slab into pieces. These cracks can displace concrete, creating an unsightly appearance and tripping hazards.
Other common repairs occur from expansion cracks, shrinkage cracks, settling cracks, or overloading cracks. Expansion cracks occur concrete expanding but do not have enough space for expansion. Shrinkage cracks occur when too much water is in the mixture, and the drying process results in cracks that go all way through the slab. Overloading cracks are caused by too much weight placed on a slab.
Anytime a seal is broken or a crack forms, it is essential to repair it as soon as possible. If the concrete has heaved or settled unevenly, concrete contractors will carefully level each slab. When the damage is too severe, it may require complete removal and re-installation.
Once the slabs are level, your concrete professionals seal each crack. If the gaps or joints are significant, a backer rod is put in place before applying the caulk. The backer rod fills the space between the slabs, reducing the caulk required to make a seal. Small, fine cracks will only need caulk. No matter the gap's size, it is essential to seal each crack's ends to prevent moisture from getting under the seal.
Concrete Repair Professionals
Although repairing your concrete may seem like an easy task, concrete work that is not performed correctly can cause more damage and be more costly. For professional concrete repair, contact us at Peoria Asphalt, Concrete & Brick Paver for your free estimate!
Between traditional concrete, asphalt, gravel, and brick, which is the best material for paving your driveway?
While each material has its particular advantages, none of the other materials come close to brick pavers in overall superiority, says Alltrade Management. Brick surpasses all other materials in most of the critical parameters homeowners look at when choosing the driveway's paving material.
Pavers like cobblestone and travertine pale on comparison when compared to the versatility of brick. And even though concrete pavers cost less than brick, the difficulty of maintaining concrete makes it a far less desirable option than brick.
If you are considering using brick pavers for your driveway, here are some reasons why it is the right choice.
1. Brick is strong and highly durable
Brick is tougher than poured concrete and highly resistant to rapid temperature changes - from extreme cold to scorching heat. It has a high load-bearing capability.
And unlike asphalt, which is unsuitable for scorching weather and needs many months to reach its full strength, brick is ready for use upon installation. Brick also retains its color better than decorated concrete.
2. Brick is easy to install
Asphalts must be heated to around 170 degrees Celsius to install it, or it will not bond with the surface. Under certain weather conditions, it is impossible to install asphalt. And even after installation, the driveway is not ready for use until days after.
Asphalt does not become fully ready until after 18 months. This is in addition to the special equipment, materials, and skill required for its installation. Conversely, a brick driveway can be installed quickly and easily under any weather condition. And once installed, it will be ready for use.
3. Brick is flexible
Asphalt and poured concrete are inflexible, and both will crack if the earth beneath them moves or the soil starts to settle. But brick pavers will adjust themselves to minor changes in the underlying earth's shape without losing their interlocking outline. This flexibility prevents brick from cracking.
4. Brick is long-lasting
Data from the construction industry shows that brick driveways can easily last up to 25 years or more. This is despite their needing very little maintenance. To last anywhere near the lifetime of brick, asphalt must be cared-for incessantly.
5. Brick is easy to maintain
Neither asphalt nor poured concrete comes close to the relative ease with which brick driveways can be maintained. To keep asphalt in good condition, driveways must be sealed each year in its first three years of life and subsequently every 3-4 years.
If asphalt cracks or gets damaged, there is a tedious repair process involving several steps, specialized equipment, and specific skills. Poured concrete, although it needs less maintenance than asphalt, is liable to crack. Brick driveways are easy to maintain; all you need is to remove the damaged brick paver and replace it.
6. Brick is slip-resistant
Brick's naturally textured and highly abrasive surface makes it slip and skid resistant. Asphalt will melt and soften under scorching weather. In this state, vehicles driving on asphalt surfaces can skid, and the driveway can get damaged.
On the other hand, brick grips the underlying earth firmly while also providing traction for human and vehicular traffic above.
7. Brick offers many options for customization
Poured concrete and asphalt driveways are highly limiting in the range of design and customization options they present to homeowners. Conversely, brick pavers are available in various shapes - hexagonal, herringbone, diamond design, and more. They come in a range of colors, sizes, and surface finishes.
Homeowners can customize their driveways by choosing the specific shapes, colors, and laying pattern they want. They also opt for a formal or casual design that complements their landscape, overall style, and home design.
8. Brick gives more value to a property
Given that brick driveways are not common, they are more valuable. Brick's versatility and relative rarity confer unrivaled beauty to a property's driveway beyond anything available with concrete or asphalt.
Furthermore, because it does not lose its color or finish over long periods, brick is recognized as a valuable update to the functionality and aesthetics. It is a substantial investment that will cause a property's value to appreciate significantly.
9. Brick is an eco-friendly alternative
Brick pavers do not have any of the environmental concerns of asphalt. Asphalt is manufactured from petroleum products, and its production process results in the release of harmful chemicals that pollute air and water.
Exposure to coal tar has also been identified as one of the risk factors for skin and colon cancer. Brick pavers, on the other hand, are made from clay, using an environmentally-friendly process. They are non-toxic and can be recycled and reused in different ways. If you're considering adding a brick driveway or walkway to your home, give us a call at (309) 324-3800.
For countless homeowners, asphalt is the material of choice for their home's driveway. Asphalt is easy to install, durable and lasts a long time. It has low maintenance costs, and its black color is an excellent addition to any home exterior. But to retain the benefits of the driveway, homeowners must know how to maintain it from day one.
Despite its durability and longevity, asphalt is susceptible to a fair number of threats. And if homeowners are not careful to follow the proper maintenance routine, warns Real Property Group, they may be disappointed to find their new driveway deteriorating.
To enjoy your new driveway's benefits, for as long as possible, here are the best ways to care for it.
1. Let it cure fully
A new asphalt driveway can take 12 to 18 months to cure, and at this time, it is easy for the driveway to get damaged. Until four days after the installation, there should be no vehicles or walking on the driveway.
However, even after the asphalt is dry enough to permit driving, heavy vehicles or equipment should not be allowed. Additionally, you should avoid turning the car steering when the car is stationary on the driveway.
Other things to avoid on a newly-laid driveway are:
These precautions should be observed for one year after the installation of the driveway.
2. Seal-coat the driveway
Most driveway repaving is due to a lousy sealing job. To avoid having to repave your driveway, you should seal it every year in the first three years. The first coating should be applied 60-90 days from the date of installation.
In addition to sealing it yearly, the quality of sealing material used on the driveway is essential. Good quality seals penetrate deeply to keep water from getting into the surface and protect the driveway from cracking. Water- and latex-based sealing materials should be avoided.
Even though they are cheap, they contain additives that dry out the surface and cause it to crack within a few years. High-grade materials, like petroleum-based asphalt, are best. They cost more but will save you the cost of repaving your driveway.
3. Protect your driveway's edges
New asphalt driveways are prone to begin falling apart from their edges. To make sure this does not happen, you should never drive off the driveway or along with it. Doing this would cause the edges to break off or cause cracks to appear in the driveway.
To further protect the driveway, the edges should be backfilled with topsoil to keep it from falling away. Additional care should be taken to ensure that areas with mulch, lawn, and gravel are backfilled with extra topsoil layers.
4. Keep the driveway clear of water
Water is the enemy of asphalt; it is especially dangerous to new driveways. If water penetrates the asphalt, it will cause it to wear and tear prematurely. Water is even more damaging if it contains chemicals like antifreeze and oil, which will devastate the asphalt.
Since it is impossible to keep water completely off the driveway, the focus should be to prevent the driveway from cracking, rutting, and getting stripped away by water. Water damage can be restricted by cleaning gutters so that they do not overflow onto the driveway, filling cracks before they get more extensive and seal coating the driveway.
5. Avoid fuel spills
Under normal circumstances, unleaded gasoline will not damage your driveway. But if left to sit on the surface for too long, even gasoline may hurt your driveway. Gasoline spills should be cleaned immediately. But what should never be allowed to spill on the driveway is diesel.
Diesel is the best solvent for asphalt, and if it gets on the driveway, it will dissolve the binders in the asphalt and cause it to disintegrate. This will loosen the materials in your driveway and make it easy for them to get washed away. For the safety of your driveway, keep diesel far away from it.
6. Protect it from grass and weeds
Never leave grass clippings on the driveway; they may contain grass seeds that will find their way into the asphalt cracks. Grass and weed growth in the asphalt will widen existing cracks and make it easier for water to penetrate the surface.
To keep grass from growing on the asphalt, the driveway's edge should be trimmed regularly. If possible, use cement or other material to create a border on both sides of the driveway. Also, weed or grass found growing on the asphalt should be killed with a weed killer, and the crack filled.
Other ways to protect the driveway include:
Following these simple rules will allow you to enjoy the most of your driveway for many years. If you have any questions, or would like to schedule a free estimate on your new asphalt driveway project, give us a call at 309-324-3800.