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Concrete Cracks: When to Call for Concrete Repair Help

concrete repair Nashville A lot of homeowners get worried when they see cracks on concrete foundations. Not only because it can be such an unpleasant sight but because it is often associated with an underlying issue that has yet to be determined. Unknown to most people, around 90% of most cracks do not require any extensive concrete repair. So how should one know if the crack requires the immediate attention of a professional concrete repair contractor?

Causes of Concrete Cracks

There are various reasons why concrete would crack. Here are some of the most common causes:

  • Shrinkage – There are two types of shrinkage: drying and thermal. Drying shrinkage is caused by the lack of moisture in a concrete mix, that as soon as the chemical reaction between the water and cement starts to take place, it starts to dry out. This then causes premature hairline cracks once it has completely dried out. Thermal shrinkage, on the other hand, is caused by changes in temperature.
  • Movement – Concrete lies on a ground that naturally moves, so if it is restrained to do so, cracks may appear. The movement could be caused by the concrete expanding, water moving the soil underneath, or the natural movement of the earth.
  • Settlement – Before concrete is poured, the subgrade must be properly compacted to prevent cracking and sinking as soil has a tendency to settle as time passes by.
  • Heavy Loads – Heavy equipment or foot traffic can build tension and cause concrete to crack especially on the spot often exposed to heavy loads.
  • Corrosion – If rust oozes out of a crack, it is an indication of a corrosion issue on the steel bars that support the concrete slab.

When is a Concrete Repair Needed?

Not all cracks are bad but it is important to know if repairing concrete should already be considered. There is no need to repair concrete that has cracks that are less than ⅛ inch in width. Anything from ⅛ to to ¼ would need to be observed or assessed by a pro. If the crack remains as it is in several months time, then it probably does not require any special concrete repair products or services. However, if it seems to be increasing in width or if it extends further into a network of small cracks, then a deeper issue could be causing it. This is the best time to call for someone who knows how to repair concrete professionally. Whether it is a concrete driveway repair or a patio resurfacing, it is highly recommended to consult a local contractor to know more about the available options and the concrete repair cost of such options.

Stamped Concrete Cost – What you need to know

Stamped concrete pool deck.

There are several outdoor paving options out there but stamped concrete is probably one of the most popular among homeowners. Aside from the fact that it comes in a variety of colors and patterns, it is also one of the most inexpensive decorative concrete services.  Stamped concrete cost in the Nashville metro is quite affordable based on the value it brings to your residential or commercial space.

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How much does stamped concrete cost?

When it comes to the actual cost, stamped concrete contractors are the best people to ask because they know the actual prices of materials, the work involved in each installation, and what factors would actually have a significant effect on stamped concrete price. Here is a rough estimate of the cost of stamped concrete based on the most common circumstances:

  • BASIC – For a single color and one basic pattern, you can expect to pay around $8 to $12 per square foot.
  • INTERMEDIATE – For two or three colors and a border with a contrasting pattern, you can expect to pay $12 to $18 for each square foot.
  • HIGH-END – For a realistic look with complex patterns and hand-stained variations, you can expect the cost to go from $18 and higher.

 What makes stamping concrete expensive?

Concrete is a highly reliable material because it is as durable as time itself. Now, it can be customized in a way to replicate the actual material it is being substituted for. There are certain processes, done with skill and specialized tools, that make stamped concrete fancier and pricier, such as:

  •  Hand-staining – This is the process of applying variations of colors to concrete to acquire the realistic look of what it is trying to resemble. For example, you can mix up certain earth tones to make it look like real wood or a naturally-occurring stone. This is commonly done on patios and pool decks.
  • Custom Score Lining – This is the process of scoring the surface of the concrete to make a personalized, random design. This is often done on concrete surfaces that have major cracks which cannot be repaired or sealed. The score lines masks the cracks, allowing the concrete slab to move freely, thus, preventing more severe or reoccurring cracks.
  • Hand-carving – Using hand-held tools, this process allows a skilled professional to create an old, weathered look on the edges of the stamped stones. This is ideal for driveways and walkways.

 Stamped Concrete: A Sound Investment

 Once you find out how much is stamped concrete, it would be nice to know that it is something worth investing on. Not only will it provide you with an aesthetically-pleasing and functional outdoor space, it will also help lift property value several notches higher.

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Read more about stamped concrete cost on the Concrete Network!

Acid Etching for Concrete Surface Preparation

acid stained concreteAcid etching is the process of applying an acid solution to your concrete surface, which allows the acid to react with and, for effect, “etch” the concrete. Using this process for your concrete will definitely remove most surface deposits and other unnecessary elements on it. Acid etching is commonly used for commercial concrete surface preparation.

Another method of preparing the concrete surface is shot blasting. But this one requires special equipment and trained professionals (or even special contractors for concrete).  This method  is the most practical that’s available for the do-it-yourself homeowner.

Guidelines for Acid Etching

Concrete acid etching will not be able to remove previous sealers or the concrete surface itself. These must be removed manually or mechanically by shotblasting, sandblasting or scarifying. However, sealers that have soaked way in too deep in the concrete may not be removed at all.

Acid etching is most commonly used for the surface preparation of home shops, garages, basements and general concrete.

If the concrete surface is dirtied with oils or grease, cleaning the surface with an alkali detergent cleaner is essential for a proper clean. You can also use a detergent partnered with a steam cleaner as another option.

Acid Etching Agents

  1. Hydrochloric Acid – Sold in 31% solutions. These must be diluted to 10 – 15 %. For every 40 – 50 square feet, one (1) gallon of agent must be used. Remember to take extra precaution and care when applying or using this as it has very strong fumes. For the best application and safety precaution, we recommend hiring a professional decorative concrete contractor.
  2. Sulfamic Acid – this consists of a white powder dissolved in hot water. It’s less dangerous to work with compared to the other acids and the best choice for non-professionals. You can use this by mixing one pound of sulfamic acid with 1 gallon of hot water for every 300 square feet of your concrete surface.
  3. Phosphoric Acid – this acid etching agent produces less fumes and can be used around metals like carbon or galvanized steel (commonly weak when used with acid).

Pool Decks that Stay Cool Under Hot Weather

When a typical pool deck has been exposed to sunlight for a long period of time, it’s often too hot to walk on. Luckily for pool owners, there are ways to make walking on a pool deck more comfortable!

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An immediate fix is to spray the concrete with water so the surface doesn’t heat up as much. This method has its downsides: it’s not a permanent solution, and raises water utility expenses.

A more permanent solution is to resurface your pool deck.

SUNDEK’s Classic Texture is recognized in the industry as one of the best coatings for pool decks. This product prevents heat from being trapped, allowing the pool deck to retain its cool temperature. It can be applied right on top of your existing pool deck, so you don’t have to tear out the concrete you already have. Its orange-peel texture creates air pockets that keep the surface cooler.

Choosing the right color can not only help enhance the beauty of your pool deck, but it can also affect in the heat absorption of the concrete. It’s best to choose light and pastel colors, as dark colors tend to absorb more heat.

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Additional perks of SUNDEK’s Classic Texture product: It’s extremely durable and helps prevent cracks and fissures that can be produced as a result of the penetration of moisture and chemical compounds to the concrete. It also coats the concrete with additional stain and moisture resistance so you can avoid mold and mildew. Possibly the biggest upside is the fact that Classic Texture is also slip resistant, making the pool deck safer for everyone.

Clients often ask what maintenance is like for a pool deck that’s been coated with Classic Texture, and we’re always happy to tell them that maintenance is easy. General maintenance includes removing dirt and other debris from the surface at least every few weeks. You can simply use a broom, hose, or pressure washer to clean the surface. If you encounter any stains that are hard to remove, you can use a non-abrasive commercial cleaner.

Pools are meant to be enjoyed, so make sure yours is comfortable enough to walk on! Contact us today to learn more about how SUNDEK of Nashville can help!