Concrete is a very versatile material that can be used in many applications. It is most commonly used for driveways, sidewalks, porches, and patios. It can also be used for retaining walls, landscape edging, and other areas of construction. Concrete can last a very long time if it is maintained and protected from the elements. Unprotected concrete, especially in northern areas, can be subjected to freeze and thaw damage during the colder months. This most commonly causes cracking, chipping, and heaving of the concrete
Ideally, you want to maintain the nice level clean surface that the concrete was when it was new. To stop any damaging effects it is important to maintain the concrete in several ways. First the concrete needs to be cleaned periodically. This will remove such contaminants such as dirt, grime, mold and mildew, which can cause discoloration and attract and hold damaging moisture. In between cleaning maintenance, about every couple of years, the concrete should be sealed. This will help to waterproof the concrete so moisture cannot penetrate the surface. Sealing concrete is a great way to prevent freeze and thaw damage.
How to seal concrete depends on your preference. You will need to brush, roll, or spray a quality concrete sealer onto the surface after it has been cleaned properly. Use concrete cleaner and a pressure washer to clean the surface prior to sealing. If a pressure washer is not available to you, use a cleaner and a stiff brush. Scrub the entire surface clean and rinse. After a day or two of dry time you can begin to seal the concrete.
Apply one to two coats depending on the porosity of the concrete. It is important to follow the instructions on the label on the concrete sealer. Apply the sealer in a small area before moving to the next. When working outside be sure the temperatures are within the suggested application range and that the weather is good for sealing i.e. no rain in the forecast. Sealing your concrete surfaces will guarantee a long lasting surface that will serve you for many years to come.
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