Patio and Concrete Pool Deck Coatings
Most people have a large concrete driveway that they would love to resurface, and decorative concrete can leave you a beautiful durable surface for a lot longer than you would think. However, there are a few things to keep in mind not only when first installing concrete but also throughout the entire time that you have it. Knowing how to properly install and maintain concrete will provide you with that beautiful exterior concrete that you have been dreaming of for many years to come!
If you are installing the concrete around your pool deck and patio or in your driveway yourself, there are a few different factors to keep in mind other than just making sure that the concrete has been mixed properly. The first step in installing concrete properly is to ensure that it is compressed while it is being applied. It's an amazing but little known fact that if concrete is stretched out or bent while it is being applied that it will lose ninety percent of its strength. It's also important to pay close attention to the condition of the soil that you are pouring the concrete on. Hard and compact soil is the best kind to pour concrete over. If the soil is soft or loose, it will not be able to handle the pressure of patio furniture, people constantly running over it or cars driving over it and it will crack very easily
One other thing to keep in mind when you are installing a concrete driveway, pool deck or patio is to install control joints within the slabs of concrete. These lines will help keep the concrete within its own slab and not spread over to other areas of concrete. Without these joints, the concrete will expand and contract as it becomes hotter or colder due to the weather and will cause it to crack very easily. Because driveways, pool decks, and patios are all usually bordered by grass, it's easy for grass to grow between the cracks of the concrete. To prevent this from happening, remove three inches of grass around the entire border of your exterior concrete prior to installing it. Trees, bushes and plants can further the problem by having roots spread under the bottom of the concrete. This will also make the concrete crack very easily so all of these should also be removed when possible if they are too close to the concrete.
One of the easiest ways to maintain your concrete after it has been installed is to give it routine cleaning. Shovel off snow as soon as you can after it falls and periodically use a leaf blower to remove leaves and other debris from your driveway, pool deck, and patio. However when you are shoveling, try to lift the blade of the shovel a bit so that it is not scraping directly across the driveway. This can wear through its sealant and also cause the concrete to crack. Also in the winter months use a de-icer in place of salt on your driveway and on your patio, if necessary. Salt is extremely harmful to concrete as it will slowly eat away at it and putting salt down on your driveway the first year it's been installed can be especially disastrous.
It's important to remove any greasy spills and stains from your exterior concrete as soon as you notice them to prolong the life of your concrete. This should be done with a pressure washer to ensure that you have removed all of the grease. With driveways in particular, it's important to try and leave trucks and other heavy equipment off of the concrete. Although concrete is extremely strong and can handle occasional machinery resting on it, it definitely was not meant to handle these strong machines all the time and they will cause your concrete to crack and break down much quicker.