How to Maintain Your Concrete and Protect it From Cracking, Pitting and Crumbling
It’s been said that your home’s concrete is its calling card.
This is certainly true for its driveway, which is usually the first thing you see as you approach a home from the street, but it’s also true for the other concrete around your home, including its sidewalk, paths, patio and pool deck. So, when concrete is left to crack and crumble over time, it can really be an eyesore that conveys a negative impression of your home even before guests set foot inside.
Not only that, but crumbling concrete can also lower your home’s value along with its curb appeal. Plus, cracks and pits can even present tripping hazards that can be dangerous to visitors and family members alike.
So, you may ask, “How do I protect my concrete from cracking and crumbling?” The answer is, it’s actually easier and less expensive than you might think.
But first, let’s get an idea why good concrete goes bad.
Water, Water Everywhere
Water is concrete’s enemy. It can wash away supporting soil when there’s too much of it. It can cause soil to shrink when there’s too little. And when it freezes and thaws over and over, it can cause concrete’s surface to crack, pit and crumble.
Here’s the thing: concrete is porous, so it acts like a giant sponge. So, what happens is, water is absorbed at the surface — maybe from rain or melting snow. Then, if temperatures drop below freezing, the water turns into ice, which expands and breaks the walls of those pores, weakening the concrete.
You probably wouldn’t see anything at first. Unfortunately, though, it worsens exponentially with every freeze/thaw cycle until the pitting and flaking becomes obvious to the naked eye.
In addition to damage caused by freezing and thawing, concrete’s porous nature makes it susceptible to staining from chemicals, dirt and other materials. As with cracking and pitting, staining is an eyesore that can reduce your home’s curb appeal.
So, how can you prevent all this from happening?
The Seal of Protection
The key to protecting your home’s concrete for the long term is to seal it from the elements. This seems like a no-brainer, but too many homeowners forego this simple step only to regret it years later when it becomes necessary to replace or resurface their driveways and patios.
So, it’s off to the big-box DIY store to buy a five-gallon bucket of sealant, right? Wrong. Not all sealants are made alike. The stuff they sell at the box store is messy and can be difficult to apply evenly. Plus, it likely won’t be compatible with new concrete.
The better option is to have a professional apply some sort of surface sealant — either one that bonds with the concrete or one that sits on top of it.
How They Work
Integrated concrete sealers — such as SealantPro™ from Foundation Supportworks — bond with concrete on a molecular level, permanently protecting it from water, dirt and other contaminants in a single coat. Once applied, the sealer dries in minutes and is fully cured in just six hours, so you can use your concrete the same day. It is simple, fast, economical and extremely effective.
In addition to offering permanent protection, sealers of this type are typically UV resistant and won’t discolor over time.
Another option — one that can provide a pop of color in addition to protecting your concrete —â€¯is a topical sealer such as DecoShield™, also from Foundation Supportworks. These topical sealers can add curb appeal to your home’s concrete by giving your driveway, sidewalk, patio or pool deck a hint of translucent color while protecting them from the elements. They can also be a great way to minimize the appearance of mismatched concrete slabs or to simply add a level of “bling” to your home’s appearance.
We should note that unlike integrated sealers, which are permanent, topical sealers need to be reapplied every two-to-three years, depending on traffic and UV exposure.
So, whether you’ve just built a brand-new home or updated your existing home with a new driveway, patio or sidewalk —â€¯or you simply want to protect your existing driveway or patio — concrete sealers are the way to go when it comes to maintaining and safeguarding your investment.
To learn more, reach out to your local Foundation Supportworks dealer for a free, no-obligation inspection and estimate.