Longevity in home design is a precious gift, and your concrete is one thing you hope will perform well. Though it’s a much stronger and ostensibly durable material than asphalt, concrete will still crack and wear out over time.
But you can significantly delay such effects with proper maintenance. Many factors contribute to the proper maintenance of a concrete patio. This guide discusses some useful tactics for preserving yours.
Stamped Concrete vs. Plain Concrete Patios
Concrete in any form can be an affordable, attractive, and durable option for your patio floor, but there are differences between stamped versus plain in terms of maintenance. Stamped concrete is designed to look like brick or concrete pavers without the higher maintenance.
It has detailing in the surface and often incorporates coloring to match your taste and other décor. To preserve the detailing, a color hardener and sealant must be applied.
People often choose stamped concrete because it’s more decorative than plain concrete. It’s also more affordable than pavers, bricks, or stones; and it’s more environmentally friendly, with a high-end look. Stamped concrete features the look of a brick or stone paver patio, but maintenance and longevity are far superior.
Plain concrete is more affordable than the other options. It’s cheaper than stamped concrete, but you can still get a fairly high-end look if it has the right finish. The maintenance requirements are actually a little higher for plain concrete because it entails fewer treatments to the surface, but the durability is similar to what you can expect with stamped concrete.
The primary difference in maintenance concerns between stamped concrete and regular concrete is the finish. The sealer, which creates the shine on the surface when it’s finished, may need to be replaced often, but it’s more visible with stamped concrete.
The Lifespan of Concrete
When your concrete slab is properly installed and maintained, whether it’s stamped or plain, it should last for decades. Certain environmental intrusions, such as aggressive growth of tree roots or earth shifting, can cause cracks, but otherwise, your patio floor will remain intact for years and years.
Stamped concrete typically survives longer than regular concrete because it has more protective coatings. Stamped usually includes a color hardener and a sealant applied to the surface, which protects it better from wear and abrasion.
Seven Maintenance Tips for Concrete Patios
The low-maintenance facet of concrete patios is one of its most popular features. It’s also cheaper to install than pavers, a wood deck, or stone.
You get greater value for this particular investment, but it’s still not something you want to see go down the drain because you didn’t take care of it properly. You can make concrete last for decades only as long as you maintain it. Follow these seven rules for to preserve your concrete for years to come.
1. Keep It Clean
There’s a natural process called erosion, in which passing entities such water and soil, particularly if they have high mineral content, wear away at stone and natural metals. If you don’t keep your concrete clean, this can happen to it. Your surface will develop holes and start to crumble sooner than normal.
Ideally, you should take a pressure washer or standard garden hose with a spray attachment and wash away dirt, debris, or other foreign contaminants every week or two. You can use liquid dish soap and a broom to scrub away spills or bird poop, then rinse with a garden hose.
If the concrete gets stained by grease, food spills, or something else, try to clean up the spill as soon as possible. Pressure washing and stain removers will generally eliminate such spotting.
2. Apply Sealer
As explained previously, the sealer will protect your concrete from early corrosion. It will also preserve the shine and color of stamped concrete. The standard recommendation for reapplication of sealer is once every two or three years, but if you notice the color fading or the sheen disappearing, you can have it reapplied sooner.
If you decided to reapply the sealer yourself, make sure to do it properly. The area should be fully cleaned, as described above. It should also be completely dry, because wet surfaces can make the sealant bubble or break. A second coat may be applied to ensure full coverage.
3. Use Rugs
People love concrete because it’s resistant to scratches and damage from furniture. But over time, chair and table legs can scratch the sealant. To avoid this, you can use rugs and soft tabs to protect the surface.
Rugs will also protect the floor from stains and spills. Because these are easy to clean on concrete, this isn’t a huge priority, but many people like to take precautions. It’s also the case that rugs look great on an outdoor patio!
4. Avoid Destructive Chemicals
The sealant on concrete patios is designed to resist strong elements and normal wear and tear. Certain heavy-duty chemicals can corrode it and eliminate the sheen prematurely, however. Products that contain ammonium nitrates and sulfates are particularly harmful because they’ll attack the concrete directly.
It’s especially smart to avoid putting deicing salts on stamped or treated concrete. They may be terrific for clearing ice from your walkway, but they can cause damage to the surface. It’s especially vital to avoid using salts during the first winter after your concrete has been installed, since the sealant is more vulnerable at that point.
5. Polish or Wax Stamped Concrete
The sealer will protect your sheen for the most part, but it doesn’t hurt to polish or wax the concrete in the summer to get an even brighter shine. This will help to combat the copious amounts of foot traffic your patio may receive on a daily basis and reduce the risk of wear patterns.
It’s not essential to extend the life of your patio, but it can add an extra layer of protection against wear, scratches, scuffs, and grime.
6. Provide Overhead Cover
The less direct interaction your concrete patio has with the elements, the longer it will last. So you can extend the life of a concrete patio by a few extra years with a canvas patio cover or pergola. You might desire this addition for looks and comfort anyways, so the protective aspect makes it more worth the investment.
7. Manage Plant Growth
Tree and bush roots can compromise the integrity of your concrete if you don’t manage it properly. Roots will grow beneath the concrete, push it up, and cause it to crack. Unfortunately, you can’t repair cracked concrete; it can only be replaced.
You can avoid this substantial cost with preventive measures. Have the roots in your yard trimmed regularly so they don’t endanger your concrete. You might also need to remove trees that develop extensive root systems to avoid future problems.
Contact R&M Concrete for All Your Residential Concrete Needs
Caring for your concrete patio can extend its life and save money, but it’s not something you have to do alone. R&M Concrete has more than 30 years of experience in the concrete business, which sets us apart from our competitors.