Let’s Get Real About Concrete

Concrete is an amazing product that has been around for centuries and one that we would be hard-pressed to live without.  As common as concrete is in our world, what it can do, what it does, and what it should do is often misunderstood.  When you are considering a decorative or protective finish for your concrete, it’s important that you have realistic expectations of what your concrete is and what it and subsequent treatments can do.

Concrete is one of the most durable and long lasting products around your home when installed properly.  Durable, high strength, and crack resistant concrete does not happen by accident.  There are important steps concrete contractors should following during installation to ensure that concrete will look good and hold up for many years – appropriate site work, proper grading and installation of perimeter drains systems, installation of an appropriate subbase, soil composition and compaction uniformity, and installation of a vapor barrier.

Installing concrete is a challenging job and every concrete placement is different.  Concrete’s performance characteristics over the long-term are largely related to the quality of workmanship and materials that go into it. Concrete forms must be properly set which allows for proper slope or grade for drainage.  Concrete delivery may not seem to be an important concern, but it should be.  Did the delivery truck arrive on time and was there proper spacing between multiple delivery trucks?  Concrete materials and admixtures contribute to the characteristics of the concrete that arrives at the job site.  Proper troweling creates a smooth, hard, and uniform finish across the concrete surface.  Over-troweling and troweling too soon can create a weak surface.  Control joints must be properly installed and the depth of control joints is critical.

Other factors play into concrete’s end result and longevity:

  • Did the contractor add cure and seal to the concrete when it was poured?
  • Was the concrete poured when it was really cold … or really hot?
  • Has the concrete been properly maintained?
  • Have the prior property owners added or applied products to the surface?  If so, what are they?
  • Has the concrete been exposed to any contaminants?
  • Is there excessive moisture in, around, or under the concrete slab?

 

Do you know if all the appropriate construction basics were followed when your concrete slabs were installed?

Have you properly maintained your concrete including damage and crack repair?

Can you provide the details of all possible contaminants, glues, stains, etc. to which your slabs were exposed?

Probably not ….

Your concrete isn’t going to last forever.  And if you ignore spalling, excessive cracking, and other damage, you will significantly accelerate the failure of your slab which will ultimately lead to complete tear out and replacement.  The good news is Shades of Color installs protective and decorative coatings to concrete surfaces that can add years to the life of concrete.  You don’t have to tear it out – you can protect it, seal it, and add a decorative or protective finish to it.

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