Concrete is a strong and very durable material that is built to last! However with added care and attention to your concrete you can maintain an aesthetically pleasing look to the surface. Hairline cracking is typically normal in any concrete surface simply due to temperature and shrinkage.
Below are some additional tips in caring for your concrete.
· Do not apply deicing chemicals (salt) for snow and ice removal the first
winter. As an alternative, sand can be used for traction.
· Never use deicers containing ammonium sulfate or ammonium
nitrate (i.e. fertilizers). Such products are known to aggressively attack
· Applying a good quality sealer can protect the surface of your concrete especially decorative concrete. Contact your local ready mix producer or building supply store to purchase a concrete sealer.
· Follow the manufacturer's instructions for sealer application.
· Re-application of the sealer is generally recommended every year.
· For any kind of stain removal, do not use harsh acids. Use a product specifically
designed for the stain in question and for use on concrete.
Concrete in hot weather is subject to high loss of moisture by evaporation and rapid hardening, which affect the placement operations and the cracking potential. High ambient temperature, high concrete temperature, low relative humidity, and high wind speed are conditions that tend to damage the freshly mixed or hardened concrete. These circumstances lead to acceleration of the rate of moisture loss and cement hydration. There is no single maximum ambient or concrete temperature, but generally for the best results, a concrete temperature of between approximately 75 and 100°F (24 and 38°C) is considered most favorable for best results.
Cracks are categorized as occurring either in plastic concrete or hardened concrete. The causes of each type of cracking depend on many different factors, and may affect appearance only, or they may indicate significant structural distress or a lack of durability. Cracks may represent the total extent of the damage, or they may point to problems of greater magnitude. Causes of cracking include: plastic shrinkage cracking; settlement cracking; drying shrinkage; thermal stresses; chemical reaction; weathering; corrosion of reinforcement; poor construction practices; construction overloads; errors in design and detailing; and externally applied loads.
The Romans used concrete to build major structures, and its use was known for thousands of years before that. After this period, concrete use disappeared until the seveneeth century when engineers rediscovered it and began experimenting with its constituents. Portland cement was developed in the 1820s, and steel reinforcement was introduced in the mid-1800s. During the twentieth century, a variety of admixtures were developed to change the properties of concrete.