Regular home maintenance includes caring for outdoor concrete surfaces. Concrete is a mixture of sand, gravel, cement and water. It cures from a wet sloppy mess (“slurry”) to the rock hard surface we are so familiar with. While concrete is a fabulously cost-effective surface cover, it can also crack and chip. When moisture evaporates from the slurry, hairline cracks develop from uneven curing and shrinking.
Did you know that it will take 1,000 years for all the moisture to evaporate from the Hoover Dam? Deeper cracks, gaps and unevenness can be signs of more serious sub-structure problems. These types of concrete issues go beyond routine home maintenance and should be addressed by a professional structural engineer.
Home Maintenance: Cleaning Concrete
Unlike wooden decks, the home maintenance routine for concrete is much easier and lasts longer.
- Clear out weeds and debris. First, go over the entire area, pulling weeds out of cracks and sweeping off debris. Look for raised edges and unsafe cracks, pits or gaps. Some of them you will be able to patch repair; others will require a re-pour.
- Pressure wash. Note: Pressure washing is NOT the same as using the jet setting on a hose nozzle. A jet spray of water will get rid of a lot of lichen, dirt and mud, but it will use a lot more water and it will not do the deep, quick cleaning like a pressure washer. Also, we do not recommend using any kind of a pressure washer on wood, but for concrete it really is the best way to go. You can rent a pressure washer relatively cheaply, and take care of every concrete ground surface around your house! Also, you don’t really even need to use a cleaning fluid—the water does the trick, so you aren’t adding toxins to your gardens.
- Patch and Repair. For small cracks, any home improvement store carries the appropriate composition of concrete repairing formula you need. For larger cracks that aren’t structurally dangerous, you may need to use an injector. Fill cracks and allow to dry. When dry, sand them smooth.
- Replacing concrete with a different hard material. There are dozens of ways to replace concrete. Pavers come in almost every shape and size, not to mention flagstone, terra cotta and other hard materials that are perfect for outdoor surfaces and aren’t wood. If you want to stick to concrete as a relatively inexpensive option, there are several surfacing options, like sand pitting or wire brushing to give a more sophisticated, pretty finish. Concrete can also be pre-colored.
- Replacing concrete with composite material. Another great option for a decking area is composite material that resembles wood. You wouldn’t use it for a driveway, but if you have a concrete area you would prefer to look more ‘deck-like’ but with similar ease of care, consider composite. Comprised of wood chip, sawdust, and plastics, this material also comes in a wide variety of ‘grains’ and colors, and can be put together for a truly beautiful outdoor entertainment area.
Call All Reasons Moving at (408) 351-9515 for a no-cost, no-obligation estimate for all your moving needs.