Are there different kinds of concrete?
Concrete has two basic categories; Interior and Exterior. Interior concrete is used where freezing will never occur and Exterior concrete is used in areas that may or will experience freezing. Exterior concrete contains an admixture known as air entrainment. This product, when added and mixed properly in the batch, will produce countless numbers of microscopic air pockets. These pockets allow space for the moisture drawn into the concrete to expand when moisture freezes. A glass bottle, when filled to the top, capped and placed in the freezer, will shatter. When a glass bottle is only filled partially and frozen, the shattering of the container will not occur. This is due to the fact that the liquid in the container has room to expand within the container as it froze. The air pockets within \”air entrained\” concrete will allow for expansion in a similar fashion.
Concrete can also be categorized as footing mix and slab mix. The differences inherent in these two is based upon the mix strength. This strength is a factor of the amount of cement placed in each cubic yard. a 2,500 psi mix is a basic footing mix. Higher strength mixes, 3000, 3500, 4000, 4500 and so on, have more cement in the mix design. In addition, footings are placed at a greater thickness ( approximately 10 to 12 inches) and do not require as much cement. Driveways and sidewalks are placed at a thickness of approximately 3 to 4 inches and more cement is needed to bring about strengths needed to support vehicles.
How long does it take for the new concrete to set?
Concrete slabs in most cases can be walked on the next day after pouring. You should wait 5-7 days before it should support a vehicle. It takes concrete 28 days to reach its full psi strength.
Curing is one of the most important steps in concrete construction, because proper curing greatly increases concrete strength and durability. Concrete hardens as a result of hydration: the chemical reaction between cement and water. A curing compound sould be applied to maintain this moisture a slow the curing process and in return strenghten the concrete.
Why choose decorative concrete finishes?
Concrete is a constant element in every home. Sidewalks, driveways, patios, garages, basements and more are all created from the same, versatile material. The typical gray slab has maintained the same appearance for decades, but now the ability to change this standard look into an upscale custom design is here. Imagine transforming your sidewalk into a cobblestone or red brick walkway, or natural stone design on your pool deck? Furthering the ability to customize the final look, an unlimited number of patterns, logos and designs are available as well as a complete color palette ranging from muted tones and pastels to bright blues and deep charcoals.
Do I need to reapply a sealer in the future?
Sealer will help to protect the surfaces. A maintenance application of the same sealer originally used while preparing the surface should be made periodically as the sealer is worn off the surface. Depending on the use of the surface, it is recommended that the sealer be re-applied to all treated surfaces every two to four years.
How do I maintain my decorative concrete OUTDOOR surface?
To clean exterior chemically stained and sealed driveways, patios, pool decks, and similar surfaces, ordinary dirt and grime can be removed by rinsing the area with a garden hose or pressure washer. Heavily soiled areas should be cleaned first with a push broom to loosen dirt.
Fresh oil drippings can be wiped off the surface with a rag or paper towel. Tire marks, oil stains, crayon marks, and all other tough stains may be removed by using Simple Green® or Fast Orange Hand Cleaner®, and a soft bristle brush or cloth. Rinse thoroughly after cleaning. As with all surfaces, salt and de-icers can be very damaging to decorative concrete, so remove it immediately.
Mineral deposits from hard water should be washed off on a regular basis to prevent permanent build up. These deposits can usually be removed by a mild solution (10%) of muriatic acid and water scrubbed on the affected area. Be careful when handling muriatic acid and read the caution label on the container before use.
Avoid the use of abrasive pads and wire brushes, as well as solvents and paint/lacquer thinners to clean the surface. Anything that will scratch, chip or damage concrete will also damage the decorated surface.
What colors, patterns and designs are possible?
Any color, pattern or design is possible! There is a wide variety of colors and design patterns to choose from, and if it doesn’t exist today, we can have it made to match the unique color or special design you are looking for. Please see our samples here