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CARING FOR EXTERIOR CONCRETE

Concrete driveways, walkways, porches, and/or patios on new homes require care and maintenance to protect them from damage and prolong their life.

First of all, the mixture used includes six (6) sacks of cement per cubic yard of concrete and the use of an air entraining admixtures which gives the concrete a strength of 3,000 p.s.i. and increases it workability without the use of excess water. The air forms a system of bubbles which improves its ability to withstand permeating moisture. However, concrete cures forever, and the more protection you can provide early in its life, the less likely damage will occur.

The main cause of damage is freezing and thawing cycles resulting from fluctuating temperature and the use of deicers either applied or dripping off automobiles which have traveled on the streets salted by the county or state. During the thaw, moisture penetrates the surface. During the freeze, the moisture expands, and increases the size of the voids which allows more water to penetrate during the next freeze. Sooner or later, a piece pops off the surface and scales. Each time this occurs, this surface is weakened and more and more damage can result. Another problem which occurred this year was the damage caused by the physical abuse from mechanically trying to break the ice loose.

The best way to protect the concrete surfaces is as follows:
  1. Seal the concrete with a high quality concrete sealer such as "Tiah" available at Breckenridge Material Company. The sealer should be applied at least two (2) times per year, once in the spring and once in the fall. The concrete surface should be clean and dry for good adhesion and the product can be applied with a sprayer or roller or sponge mop.
  2. Avoid the use of exposure to deicers as much as possible. However, if they must be used, immediately clean them off the surface once the ice has been removed and make sure the water which will result from further thawing can drain away from the concrete surface.

PROTECT YOUR CONCRETE DRIVEWAY

In an effort to educate you on the proper maintenance of your driveway, Hayden Homes advises new home owners to read the following information.
  1. DON'T USE ANY DEICERS 1ST YEAR

    Don't use any deicing chemical the first winter under any circumstances. The only safe material to use to make the concrete surface skid resistant is plain sand.

    (Sealer should be applied as soon as possible after closing on your new home. As a general rule, concrete poured after November 1 should not be sealed until the following summer).
  2. USE SAND (PLAIN) ANYTIME
  3. NEVER USE DEICERS CONTAINING AMMONIUM NITRATE OR AMMONIUM SULFATE

    These chemicals are often packaged and sold as deicers but they will rapidly disintegrate concrete.
  4. AFTER FIRST WINTER, IF SODIUM CHLORIDE OR CALCIUM CHLORIDE ARE TO BE USED AS DEICERS APPLY A CONCRETE SEALER IN THE FALL FOR PROTECTION ALL WINTER LONG

    Under certain conditions, deicers which contain sodium chloride (common salt) or calcium chloride may be used after the first winter. Even then it is recommended that a surface sealer be applied in the fall. Check with your builder for sealers. These can be painted or sprayed on.

    (Sealer with a solids content of at least 20% should be applied before each winter for maximum protection. Sealers of this type can be purchased at Hill Behan Lumber Company on Highway 94 and O'Fallon Road).


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