It is one of the most commonly used building materials in the world, and has been for centuries…
Its combination of a few key ingredients creates a product that can literally last a lifetime…
Used to construct a huge range of objects from the mundane to the intricately architectural, from sidewalks and holding tanks, to skyscrapers and art house sculptures. Versatility is an understatement.
But concrete (had you guessed?) like most things, has a few “Achilles” heels.
- Chemicals can harm and weaken it, especially the surface.
- Erosion can be a factor for it, the same as with even the hardest rocks on earth.
- In colder climates freezing can have a detrimental affect, if water is able to penetrate through cracks and the porous surface…
So, What About Concrete Can Frustrate Homeowners?
Well, chances are you have concrete pads of some type around your home: walkways, driveways, patios, etc. They are common for all the reasons, and positive attributes of concrete, I listed above. Most exterior flat concrete surfaces are finished with either a stamped pattern, a broom finish, or with exposed aggregate. These techniques are done for looks, as well as for safety (anti-slip). However, once these initial touches are done, some thought should be put into how they will be protected for there considerable life time. How you can continue to enjoy the design, looks, and beauty, which made you choose the method initially.
What About Exposed Aggregate?
Well this holds especially true with a product like exposed aggregate. Often with this method a specific aggregate (the stones, rocks, gravel which are added to the cement mixture to create concrete) is chosen for its colour, shape, and size. Extra thought and labour is put into the preparation of this type of finished surface, and since water, chemicals, and freezing can loosen the stones from the surface over time, you are going to want to protect that investment.
Bring In Concrete Sealer
Whichever type of surface it has, a sealer should be the next step after placing flat concrete around your home. Following the specific manufacturers directions, the liquid is usually rolled on with a long handled paint roller, and can be had in different sheens: Higher gloss, to keep a wet look and show off the colours of your concrete and aggregate, and flatter finishes that protect the surface but keep a more natural look to the concrete.
This extra step to your exterior finish will pay off down the road, as it retains its look, durability and strength, while being stain resistant and easier to clean.
Depending on the product you choose, and the traffic and exposure the concrete receives, a resealing may be required at set intervals, but normally it is years between.
With specific products for whatever type of surface your concrete has… broom, stamp or exposed stone, it can remain looking and functioning the same decades from now, as it did when you first chose it.
About The Author:
Troy Thompson is the Principal and Business Development Manager for 4 firms, North Shore Home Services, AcroTech Cleaning Systems, CityWide Gutters and Edgemont Exteriors. He focuses on residential & multifamily construction, renovation and exterior maintenance throughout various areas of the Lower Mainland. You can follow him on Google+.