It’s been said that your home’s concrete is its calling card. This is certainly true for its driveway, which is usually the first thing you see as you approach home from the street, but it’s also true for the other concrete around your home, including its sidewalk, paths, patio, and pool deck. So, when concrete is left to crack and crumble over time, it can be an eyesore that conveys a negative impression of your home even before guests set foot inside.
Not only that, but crumbling concrete can also lower your home’s value and curb appeal. Plus, cracks and pits can even present tripping hazards that can be dangerous to visitors and family members. So, you may ask, “How do I protect my concrete from cracking and crumbling?” The answer is it’s easier and less expensive than you might think.
But first, let’s get an idea of why good concrete goes bad.
Water, Water Everywhere
Water is concrete’s enemy. It can wash away supporting soil when there’s too much of it. It can cause soil to shrink when there’s too little. And when it freezes and thaws repeatedly, it can cause the concrete’s surface to crack, pit, and crumble.
Here’s the thing: concrete is porous, so it acts like a giant sponge. So, water is absorbed in the surface, possibly from rain or melting snow. Then, if temperatures drop below freezing, the water turns into ice, which expands and breaks the walls of those pores, weakening the concrete.
You probably wouldn’t see anything at first. Unfortunately, it worsens exponentially with every freeze/thaw cycle until the pitting and flaking become evident to the naked eye.
In addition to damage caused by freezing and thawing, concrete’s porous nature makes it susceptible to staining from chemicals, dirt, and other materials. Staining is an eyesore that can reduce your home’s curb appeal, as with cracking and pitting.
So, how can you prevent all this from happening?
The Seal of Protection
The key to protecting your home’s concrete long-term is to seal it from the elements. This seems like a no-brainer, but too many homeowners forego this simple step to regret it years later when replacing or resurfacing their driveways and patios becomes necessary.
So, it’s off to the big-box DIY store to buy a five-gallon bucket of sealant, right? Wrong. Not all sealants are made alike. The stuff they sell at the box store is messy and difficult to apply evenly. Plus, it likely won’t be compatible with new concrete.
The better option is to have a professional apply some surface sealant — one that bonds with the concrete or sits on top of it.
How They Work
Integrated concrete sealers — such as SealantPro™ from Foundation Supportworks — bond with concrete on a molecular level, protecting it from water, dirt, and other contaminants in a single coat. Once applied, the sealer dries in minutes and is fully cured in six hours so that you can use your concrete the same day. It is simple, fast, economical, and highly effective.
In addition to offering permanent protection, sealers of this type are typically UV resistant and won’t discolor over time.
Another option that can provide a pop of color and protect your concrete is a topical sealer such as DecoShield™, also from Foundation Supportworks. These topical sealers can add curb appeal to your home’s concrete by giving your driveway, sidewalk, patio, or pool deck a hint of translucent color while protecting them from the elements. They can also be a great way to minimize the appearance of mismatched concrete slabs or to simply add a level of “bling” to your home’s appearance.
We should note that unlike integrated sealers, which are permanent, topical sealers need to be reapplied every two-to-three years, depending on traffic and UV exposure.
So, whether you’ve just built a brand-new home or updated your existing home with a new driveway, patio, or sidewalk — or you want to protect your existing driveway or patio — concrete sealers are the way to go when it comes to maintaining and safeguarding your investment.
Contact us for a free, no-obligation inspection and quote to learn more.