When it comes to outdoor living spaces, concrete is the perfect foundation for an ultra-modern look that can also stand up to the elements all year long. Concrete is a durable material that’s naturally stain-resistant and continues to grow in popularity among homeowners who want a minimalist design that blends seamlessly with modern or industrial aesthetics.
Your concrete patio will last for decades with the proper prep work and maintenance. However, if you fail to follow the correct procedures during initial construction, you risk cracking, fading, and other harmful effects of the elements on your finished surface. The following tips will help you get more mileage out of your new concrete deck so you can use it for years to come.
Allow Concrete Enough Time To Cure
Concrete is a porous material that relies on its internal curing process. This process naturally occurs over a period of time without the use of chemicals, heat, or pressure. The curing process of concrete helps it gain strength and achieve its final appearance. During this process, concrete is vulnerable to many factors that could negatively affect its appearance and longevity. This is why you should allow your concrete patio ample time to cure before applying sealants or other finishes.
Most concrete projects call for a 28-day cure period to allow the concrete to solidify and fully settle. However, this time frame may vary depending on the weather and other local factors. If you start working with the concrete too soon, you risk the curing process being interrupted, which could cause issues down the road.
Complete Routine Maintenance
Even the best concrete patios require timely maintenance to ensure they look and perform their best. Taking care of the concrete and preventing issues that damage the surface is one of the best ways to extend its life.
The best forms of upkeep for your concrete include:
- Concrete Cleaning: Just like your grass needs to be mowed, your concrete must be cleaned. To clean your concrete patio, use a garden hose or, even better, a pressure washer. This should be done often to clear any build-up dirt or debris from your surface or to clean up any spills before they become stains. Dish soap works great for stubborn stains!
- Annual Sealing: Sealing your concrete is a process that should be done every 2-5 years. Sealing your concrete can help to repel moisture which helps prevent the growth of mold and moss. Sealing can also help prevent cracks, avoid stains, and lengthen your concrete life.
- Regular Inspections: Inspecting your concrete regularly is vital to extend the useful life of your surface. You want to inspect the concrete patio for small cracks, chips, or other damage that may appear. While these damages may not seem like a big deal now, they can quickly lead to further problems if left unaddressed. Repairing these issues as soon as they appear can help prevent further damage and extend the life of your patio.
Repair Damages Quickly
If you find the concrete patio is beginning to show signs of wear and tear, you should take action as quickly as possible. The sooner you address these concrete issues, the easier they will be to fix. If you put off repairs for months or years, they can become complicated and costly to address, especially if they involve structural issues with the patio. If you notice a concrete crack, it’s best to act quickly to prevent it from worsening. Cracks in the concrete indicate that the surface is stressed and could eventually split, leading to more severe issues. A concrete repair sealer is the best way to fix a crack.
Use a patio cover
Even if you diligently maintain your concrete patio, elements can still damage it over time. Rain and snow can lead to water damage if they’re allowed to sit on the surface. This damage can lead to staining or even rusting of the concrete over time. A patio cover can protect the surface from these elements while extending the patio’s use during winter. You can find patio covers in various materials and designs to match your deck. In addition to covering your patio, patio covers can also be used to store patio furniture. This can help you to protect your patio furnishings from the elements over the winter months.
Manage Plant/Root growth
Even though concrete patios naturally repel water, they can still be affected by plant and root growth over time. Trees, shrubs, and other plants can send their roots into the concrete, which can cause issues if left unaddressed. To prevent roots from damaging your patio, you can install root barriers in areas where these issues are likely to occur. These can be placed under the concrete before it’s poured.
Concrete patios offer homeowners a stylish, modern outdoor space with minimal effort or expense. However, they require the same maintenance as other concrete structures, which can be challenging to complete without the right equipment. Using the right tools is the best way to keep your concrete patio looking its best. An electric pressure washer, concrete sealer, and other products can help you address common issues quickly and easily. You can also use these tools to complete routine maintenance tasks, such as cleaning and protecting the concrete.
If you’re considering installing a concrete patio or your current one needs repairs, Saguaro Asphalt can help! Our team members have the expertise to help with your concrete project- big or small!