It’s concrete: It’ll last forever…right?

Let’s make sure we’re all on the same page here. Concrete is a very durable, strong and long-lasting material which is why it’s used in foundations of buildings, as roads and driveways, and as floors, patios, etc.  However, after years of exposure to the elements and disuse, concrete will break apart and crumble, leaving evidence of its form, but no longer standing or whole. Don’t want the Grand Canyon running through your driveway or patio? How do you prevent it from getting chipped, broken, pitted or cracked? It’s not rocket science! In fact, breathe easy, it’s really quite simple! Seal it.

Concrete patio before sealer

Proper care and maintenance of concrete involves sealing it. Concrete surfaces are susceptible to water because it is a porous surface which allows water to move in and out of it. This movement of water coupled with fluctuating hot and cold weather can weaken the integrity of the concrete. Other things can mar the appearance and composition of your concrete such as: oil spills or other engine liquids used in vehicles that may drip or leak onto a concrete driveway, spills of paint, stain or other products used in the upkeep of the exterior of your business, dirt accumulation and regular traffic on your concrete. Sealing concrete protects it and extends its life. I think of it as similar to taking care of your vehicle’s appearance – washing it, to clean off the dirt and road salts and other corrosive elements it is exposed to from driving it around, and then applying a wax to protect and preserve the color from fading and to repel the dirt and grime from the road for awhile. Who wants to drive around in a rust bucket? To keep your concrete intact and looking good you need to treat it the same way by sealing it.

Sealers are either topical or penetrating sealers. As you might guess, a topical sealer sits on top of your concrete, usually by forming a thin film that acts as a barrier between the outside elements and the actual concrete; a penetrating sealer actually permeates into the concrete and is virtually invisible when dry. Topical sealers can be either solvent-based or water-based and are used to protect and enhance the appearance of stained, stamped or other decorative concrete, more often used indoors; while penetrating sealers are typically used on exterior or non-decorative concrete, especially since they don’t create a film on top of the concrete that may add to the slipperiness of the concrete. Types of topical sealers include acrylic, polyurethane and epoxy.

Concrete patio after Siloxane sealer

• An acrylic sealer can be used when economy and easy application are necessary, either on an interior or exterior surface. It is a UV resistant, non-yellowing, protection against water and chloride intrusions that also allows for moisture in the slab to escape. Acrylic sealers, when applied, generally dry to the touch within an hour. Because acrylic is a thinner sealer, it wears faster than other sealers and will require reapplication sooner.

• A polyurethane sealer has a protective film that is about twice as thick as an acrylic sealer and offers excellent resistance to abrasion and chemicals. Polyurethane comes in a range of sheens from high gloss to matte, is transparent, non-yellowing and highly durable. They are, however, moisture intolerant until properly cured. This means that upon application, if it comes in contact with moisture or water, it will create a chemical reaction that results in foaming and bubbling of the sealer. Polyurethane also does not allow moisture vapor in the concrete to evaporate out, which could cause problems in an outdoor concrete surface, i.e. a driveway or patio.

• Epoxy sealers are protective films that are hard, long-wearing, and abrasive-resistant. They are very good at repelling water and are much harder than acrylics. Most epoxies are glossy and can be clear or pigmented. Water-based epoxies bond well to concrete and provide a clear finish, but are nonporous and do not allow trapped moisture to escape. Epoxies are generally suitable for interior use because they are susceptible to yellowing with UV exposure.

Pool deck before stain and sealer

A penetrating sealer is invisible protection that penetrates into the concrete to form a chemical barrier that shields against moisture penetration and de-icing chemicals. They are breathable, meaning they allow moisture vapor to escape, and are commonly used outdoors because of the excellent protection they provide against harsh exposure conditions, e.g. corrosion and freeze-thaw damage. Some common penetrating sealers are: silanes, siloxanes and silicates. These are good for use on driveways, patios, sidewalks, pool decks and other exterior concrete surfaces.

 

With simply a little care and maintenance by sealing and protecting your concrete, you will be able to enjoy it for years to come!

10 Ways to Keep Your “Cool”

Here are a few ways for you to beat the heat this summer.

 

  1. Revisit your childhood and turn on the sprinklers! If you feel too silly running through your back yard jumping the sprinkler stream, set it up under a lawn chair and kick back and relax. Ahh.
  2. Challenge your buddies to a water fight. Dig out the buckets and pails, squirt guns and water bottles; whatever you can find to throw some water around.
  3. Hit up the local pool, lake, fountain, swimming hole and just get soaking wet. Bring a raft or flotation device and just lounge in the water for awhile.
  4. Make an icy cold dessert: either homemade ice cream or homemade popsicles. Then, sit on your front porch and enjoy the fruits of your labor. ;)
  5. Find an indoor ice arena, lace up your skates and have an ice skating party with a bunch of friends.
  6. Play “Limbo” with a stream of water from the hose instead of a broomstick. See just how low you can go before you get all wet.
  7. Got itchy feet? Take a trip somewhere cool. Check out some new scenery. Find either a climate that’s moderate year round, or go to the extremes: Alaska, the Arctic circle, Antarctica, the Alps…
  8. If you need to “travel” somewhere cooler without spending lots of money to get there, schedule a trip to your local library. Chill out in the air conditioned library as you journey through the pages of the adventure of your choice.
  9. Too hot to sleep? Throw your sheets in a big zip lock bag and toss them in the freezer for a couple of hours. When you are ready to retire for the night, take them out and make the bed with them and you can climb into blissful, cool bedding. Pleasant dreams!
  10. If you must work outside, keep hydrated! Drink lots of water, not caffeine, and avoid the sun as much as possible. Take breaks in the shade to rest and cool down.

 

Go on and enjoy your summer!

Happy 4th of July!

The crew at Concrete Treatments would like to wish everyone a safe and happy 4th of July! And to make your holiday a little more enjoyable, here’s a recipe we like for bbq ribs from Martha Stewart magazine.

 

Barbecue Beef Short Ribs  recipe by Chris Lilly

Yields: 5 servings

Cook time: 2 1/2 hours

Prep time: 15 minutes

 

Ingredients

1 cup beef stock

1 tablespoon salt

1 teaspoon ground ginger

10 beef short ribs (individual ribs)

1 1/2 teaspoons thyme leaves

2 teaspoons dark brown sugar

2 teaspoons garlic powder

2 teaspoons oregano

2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce

3 tablespoons soy sauce

4 teaspoons black pepper

4 teaspoons minced shallots

 

Instructions

  1. With a sharp knife, trim the top layer of fat from the rib if needed. Score the top of each rib by cutting grooves (1/4-inch deep) perpendicular to the rib bone every 1/2-inch. These cuts will provide more surface area for the flavorful rub.
  2. In a small bowl, mix the dry rub ingredients. Apply a generous coat of dry rub to all sides of each rib.
  3. Build a charcoal fire on one side of grill, such that the coals are situated on only one side of the grill, leaving the other side void. This will create an area for lower temperature, indirect cooking away from the coals. Place beef ribs on the grill (bone side down) away from the coals and cook with indirect heat (approximately 275 degrees Fahrenheit) for 1 1/2 hours, or until internal temperature of beef reaches 160 degrees Fahrenheit.
  4. Remove ribs from grill and place them in the center of a doubled sheet of aluminum foil with meat side facing down. Pour stock mixture over ribs and wrap tight in foil, trapping juice inside. Return the foil pack to the grill for 1 hour, or until internal temperature of beef reaches 200 degrees Fahrenheit.
  5. Remove foil package from grill and let beef rest in the foil for 15 minutes before removing. Slice each rib to the bone at scored cuts. Reserve some au jus to drizzle over beef or to season side dishes, such as mashed potatoes.

New Cabela’s Store

Concrete Treatments has recently finished a job in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan! We were contracted to polish almost 10,000 square feet of the concrete floors and also to sandblast the logo into the floor at the brand new Cabela’s store up there.  Check out these pics of the work in progress and the end results!

Hydrostatic Pressure

What is it?

Definition – the pressure exerted by a fluid at equilibrium at a given point within the fluid, due to the force of gravity. Hydrostatic pressure increases in proportion to depth measured from the surface because of the increasing weight of fluid exerting downward force from above. Hydro=water; Static=not moving

Where does it come from?

Hydrostatic pressure can be caused from: rain running off a roof and draining toward a house, a high water table and/or a faulty gutter system; sometimes it can also happen because of wind-whipped rain.

Hydrostatic pressure describes when water is actually being pushed through the concrete slab. It is actually a very rare problem, but the term has been used inadvertently to describe all water problems. Only the section of concrete that is below-grade can experience hydrostatic pressure.

Many concrete floors with hydrostatic pressure issues are not good candidates for secondary floor coverings. Carpet will remain damp and become musty or the glue that holds vinyl and other flooring options will let loose. What is the solution for such a problem?

Polished Concrete is the solution. When a floor is mechanically polished, there are no additional topical sealers or coverings that are inhibiting the moisture to come out of the slab thus allowing the floor to continue to breathe. Even though a densifier/hardener is applied to the slab, this sealer soaks into the concrete and the reaction takes place at a molecular level so this process doesn’t have any effect on the concrete slabs’ ability to mitigate moisture. In most cases, polished concrete is the only solution for a high rate of moisture through the slab, but it isn’t a bad thing. Take a look at the picture below that had hydrostatic pressure going on in the slab that we polished. They still look great and you’d never know that there was a major problem with this floor at one time.