Well, unless you live under a rock, you know that there is a lovely little virus floating around changing the world at the moment. I’m trying to not panic or overreact about any of it, but I am getting a tiny bit worried that this whole thing is really going to negatively impact not only mine but also most everyone's concrete business. I’m thinking at this point that new concrete isn’t going to be very high on people’s priority list. I am hopeful that business’ will continue as usual and still be updating and constructing so that I will still have work. And I am thankful for my website/SEO guy that keeps the calls coming in. But it is still too early to tell if these calls are going to start to drop off as more and more people are staying home from work and essentially not getting paid. But I stay hopeful. Concrete has always been and hopefully always will be, so even if it is a slow time for a few months or whatever, it will return. Right?? But I suppose in the meantime, I can take the slow time, not panic, stay healthy, and spend some quality time with my little kids. I will be praying for everyone not as fortunate as I, that probably have a little bit more reason to panic and be there for the friends, family, and neighbors that may need help in this ever changing, and uncertain time. Let’s all get through this weirdness together, keep our economy going while staying healthy and distant while we can, and be back to work and normal life within a few short weeks. I will be ready to greet the hot hot heat of working in the summer with open arms! In the meantime, I’ll be researching new techniques, learning about new products that are available these days and trying to stay relevant as a knowledgeable and helpful concrete contractor. Life must go on : )
Okay, this is something that is never talked about with homeowners. I try not to push too hard, because to some people it might seem like a ploy just to get more money out of them, after an already pretty expensive project. But I always try to be honest in that besides cutting in expansion joints, sealing your concrete is the best thing you can do to keep it lasting and looking great for years. It's super simple so if you don't want to pay for it, I believe it is something most able body homeowners will be able to take care of themselves. It really just like painting a wall, just roll it on the concrete with a paint roller and DONE. And yes, sealing SHOULD be done every couple of years to keep it lasting longer, but at the very least it should be done after its poured and cured. There are plenty of reasons why sealing your concrete is important. Like for instance….you know if you live in the midwest I do, there are many elements that can ruin perfectly good concrete. Winter alone is harsh on everything, but then there is the extra salt, dirt and sand that will inevitably, end up on driveways and probably sidewalks. Which at first doesn’t seem like it’s doing anything and you think “concrete must be stronger than salt” But over time, and especially during the long winters, the chemical reaction will absolutely cause damage if it’s not protected.
Another thing...I will ALWAYS, no matter what, suggest and recommend sealing your concrete if you will be working on your car or anything like that. Motor oil penetration is something that would be smart to seal against. Power washing a sealed concrete driveway is much more satisfying!
Mold and weed growth is my third and final argument for the na-sayers. When your concrete is nice, new and fresh, you probably won't be able to imagine it looking any other way. But mark my words, over time, when you are driving on, playing on, sitting on, mowing around, working on any concrete, you will eventually see mold growth and most likely weed or grass growth in the cracks. BUT, there is hope. When you seal your concrete every couple years, you protect it. And even if those kinds of things are not much of a concern for you, you are able to protect against it. And then you won’t have to worry about it. However, I do get a lot of satisfaction when I power wash that stuff off an old concrete slab that never was sealed and protected. But that is just a side note. Anyways, if a contractor asks you if you want to seal and protect your new concrete patio or driveway, just do it. : )
This is a common debate in the concrete world. It seems like when I go out to give an estimate for driveways, the homeowner is always weighing the options between concrete and asphalt and of course trying to get the best price. But what does that mean? The best price for upfront cost? Well sure, you can go with asphalt and get a good “deal” but what homeowners might not consider is the difference in lifespan, and upkeep. Asphalt does not last nearly as long as concrete. You will notice within a year or two, especially if you live in the northern states, the asphalt will start to crumble, crack, and break off. You will undoubtedly be repairing your driveway regularly, or even paving over it after a certain point. Some people have even gone as far as to admit to defeat, tear out the black stuff, and install a fresh and beautiful concrete driveway. A concrete driveway or sidewalk by far outlasts any other material and in my opinion just looks so much nicer. I guess I should’ve named this post: reasons to get concrete instead of asphalt, but it is always a cheaper option if money is an issue, and you don’t mind the upkeep. Because another pro for concrete over asphalt is cleanliness. This is one I feel is completely left out of the equation. Ever walk on black top with bare feet? What about concrete? The difference is visible. All of that blackness that tracks wherever you go next, compared to being able to walk all around your concrete sidewalk and driveway with not a trace of smudge. All you have to do to keep it nice and clean is power wash once a year or even just spray it down with a hose to keep it free of dirt and debris. For me, I’d rather be driving on, riding bikes on, playing on, and living on concrete. Because it really is an extension of our homes. For years my own personal driveway was gravel/dirt and made such a huge mess, not only in the garage and the cars, but it also always made it’s messy way into the house. We never went out in front of the house to play or hangout, and it was just really ugly and brought our house down in looks and in value. It wasn’t until we got our concrete driveway that we realized just what we were missing out on. Now that we have this nice clean driveway, we spend SO much time out front, we play, we chalk, we ride, we play games, we use it a fun place to spend time outdoors, doing things that we usually do inside. Not to mention what a huge difference it made in our dogs’ lives. You could tell immediately how much they loved the change. They relax in the sun, and run freely all around the house. Also they aren’t dirty messes when they come into the house anymore. Just all of it added together makes the choice obvious to me. And yes the asphalt could very well be the cheaper option for upfront cost, but I challenge you to do the math on lifespan and upkeep before making this decision.