An Interesting Concept of Concrete
Concrete is an extraordinary material that is practical, expressive, and aesthetic all at once. From primal and formless slurry, you can transform it into virtually any shape that becomes a solid mass. The possibilities for creative expression are endless. You can grind, polish, stamp, or stain it. You can embed meaningful objects within it.
Concrete has substance and mass, permanence and warmth. It feels earthy, and is at home in both traditional and modern settings. It assumes forms that irrevocably touch our daily lives-bridges, highways, floors, walls… even countertops. Concrete is also surprisingly tactile. Cast and shaped, it can feel like stone rounded by the sea. Textured and colored, it can echo the patina of timeworn tile.
Concrete can also be used as a floor material with enormous creative advantages whether seeded, stained, stamped, broomed or diamond-finished. It can be a sole performer or play the supporting role to tile, mosaics, decorative aggregates, stone, wood, or metal. It is inexpensive, durable, noncombustible, impervious to decay, and also very effective for passive solar gain in the right application.
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Repairing broken concrete can require some heavy equipment and good strong labor depending on how large the area is that needs to be repaired. This example will be based on a badly damaged driveway or perhaps garage floor. If you do not have a truck available to haul away the damaged concrete, a dumpster may be the cheapest means of removal from the site. Many carters will provide a twenty cubic yard for this debris as long as only pure concrete is placed in the dumpster. The carters trucks can easily lift a dumpster that size filled to water level and they can resell the broken concrete to a local landfill for roads or someone using it for fill materials. Reinforcing bars and wire must be removed as much as possible and absolutely no household garbage of any kind is allowed.
Concrete floors and driveways will require the use of a jack hammer to break the concrete into workable sized pieces. Small areas may be done with an electric hammer but thick reinforced slabs and large areas are going to require the use of an air compressor driven hammer or hammers.
Rental shops will have a tow behind unit, hoses and hammers with bits. Ninety pound hammers are the best but they are a bear to handle. Sixty pound hammers are available but of course will not do the work of the bigger hammers. The larger the jack hammer, the faster the demolition work will proceed. Always wear eye and hearing protection when operating a jack hammer. Start by cracking the concrete at the furthest edge of work area away from the dumpster. You will then be able to run the wheelbarrow over a fairly smooth surface to the dumpster instead of over broken concrete or rough ground. If you are repairing or replacing only a portion of the concrete slab you will need to saw cut the slab before removal of the damaged concrete can begin. Using a cut-off saw with a concrete cutting blade, and as neatly as possible, cut a square around the damaged area. Try to penetrate all the way through the slab if possible. Cutting through will sever any reinforcing bars or wire mesh in the slab making removal of the debris much easier.
If you have some latex adhesive made for patching concrete you can paint the exposed face of the slab about one hour before you pour the new concrete. Just minutes before pouring the new concrete, wet the soil below the slab to prevent premature drying of the new concrete. Dry earth will suck all the water out of the fresh concrete much too quickly causing the concrete to shrink.
Pouring the concrete is the easiest and most rewarding part of the job. Once poured, try to prevent the fresh concrete from drying too quickly by placing a tarp over the area for shade or once set and finished, by keeping water over the area for a few days. Wet burlap works great and is easy to soak with a hose. Avoiding premature drying will prevent the patch from shrinking it's edges away from the existing floor edges, leaving an unsightly patch job.
Though I normally espouse the wonders and joys of decorative concrete applications, I feel I should also inform about the other side of the coin: no matter what the color or stamp design reflects, it is still concrete. Your new patio may look like a gorgeous slate, but it is not. It is concrete. What does this mean? Well, it means that although concrete has limitless design options and can me formed into almost any design, mimicking many other building materials; it does have minor limitations. A seasoned decorative concrete contractor in [post_name] knows this, and will install the concrete according to industry standards in order to best prevent cracks or color mishaps.
That said, these issues do arise on occasion. Let us begin with cracks in your brand new stamped concrete pool deck. Firstly, expansion joints are cut into the concrete to prevent cracks from occurring. However, everything from heavy loads travelling on the stamped concrete to land settlement underneath the concrete can cause a crack regardless of expansion joints. Proper cutting of the joints should alleviate this issue, and more often than not, it will. Secondly, when concrete cures it shrinks. This can cause cracks as well and even the most experienced concrete contractor cutting the best expansion joints in the world will not always win that battle. Lastly, a somewhat common "side effect" of stamped concrete is hairline cracks forming around the lines made by the stamping tools once the surface begins to harden. This is called "crusting" and typically will occur due to sun and wind. Obviously, sun and wind will quicken the hardening of the concrete surface. Another reason crusting occurs is due to the color of the concrete. Darker colors, as we all know, draw the sun's rays and absorb the heat. Stamping tools with deeper grout lines for creating designs like random stone or slate patterns often aggravate the crusting. Many people feel that these hairline cracks add to the look of the stamped concrete design, giving it an "Old World" look. This aged appearance typically lends to the overall design. These imperfections are generally thought of as appealing. Although cracks can be repaired, the end result of the repair tends to be much more obvious than the unrepaired crack.
Obviously, nobody wants to spend their hard earned cash on a concrete job that they feel is imperfect. As with any significant home improvement purchase, proper research on decorative concrete applications will school you on what to expect in terms of installation, appearance, design, maintenance, and repair. The most important aspect of this article is the desire to make the customer happy by keeping the lines of communication open between you, the homeowner, and your [post_name] concrete contractor; as well as preparing you with important knowledge to consider when designing your concrete project.