The longer your concrete is in place, the stronger it becomes. Under normal weather conditions concrete requires 28 days to fully cure and any premature abuse of the concrete can severely damage the work. Do not drive or allow anyone else to drive any vehicles on your concrete during these first 28 days. We recommend ensuring that foot and vehicle traffic is kept off of the concrete for as long as possible. The first 28 days after your concrete is poured it is suceptible to damage such as stress fractures and other damage caused by heavy objects being stacked on it or driving over the newly poured concrete. Stress fractures may start out as very small hairline cracks but can and will only intensify over time do to traffic wear, weather, and freeze-thaw expansion and contraction.
Properly sealing the surface of exterior concrete will ensure a long lasting a beautiful surface. The best type of sealer available for concrete that endures the abuse of winter and products that are associated with winter such as salt, calcium chloride, and other harmful ice and snow removal products. We recommend an initial cure and seal compound that provides a slow evaporation process of the concrete without completely stopping it, ensuring your concrete properly cures. It forms a thin membrane on top of the surface of the concrete which also acts as a protective sealer against harmful elements. Most cure and seal products seal for 6 months to 1 year, their life span is often shortened by excessive traffic and use. This is due to the thin membrane being worn down by friction. Once this membrane is gone, your concrete can and will absorb anything that comes into contact with it. This includes anything from salt water to rubber from your vehicle tires. If the concrete is not kept clean from harmful contaminates before it is sealed with a penetrating cure, irreversible damage can occur.
We suggest sealing your new concrete surface the year following your new concrete installation. These sealers typically last several years depending on traffic and can be applied when the original sealer appears to be wearing thin.
Ice & Snow
Use Caution with Deicers
While concrete is the most durable product available for your home; proper care is a requirement for long-lasting beauty and wear. The use of deicing chemicals can be detrimental to a new concrete surface. Here are a few guidelines:
Avoid Using Deicers the First Year
Concrete continues to gain strength. While some deicers, such as salt, do not chemically react with the concrete, they increase the number of freeze/thaw cycles the concrete must go through. This has the potential of damaging the concrete until it has reached its maximum strength. Don’t Use Deicers With Ammonium Nitrate or Ammonium Sulphate – NEVER use deicers containing ammonium sulphate or ammonium nitrate. These chemicals are often packaged and sold as deicers, but they will rapidly disintegrate concrete. Common garden fertilizers containing these two chemicals, or urea, may cause disintegration as well. Be cautious of products that claim to “be safe for use on concrete.” Avoid any deicing material the first year if possible while the concrete is gaining strength.
Sand is Safe
Use Sand Anytime. It is safe to use and readily available to make the concrete surface skid resistant. We encourage us of sand as a deicer for the first year after you new concrete project is completed.