Thursday, September 17th, 2020 by Stephen Ogburn
Does Winter Weather Affect Concrete Repair?
Most people are aware that certain issues can arise when pouring concrete in low temperatures. But what about concrete repair work? Do winter temperatures affect work done to your exterior concrete?
You’ll be happy to hear that thanks to advances made in both materials and techniques over the years, the answer is a resounding “No.” In fact, concrete can be repaired all year round in Central and Southern Virginia.
So, here are some repairs that can be done right now and over coming months — and why you might want to get them taken care of before spring.
Pitting, Flaking and Spalling
The pitting, flaking or spalling that occurs at the surface of concrete gets worse with every passing year. Many people wrongly assume that these are caused by the salt or ice melt homeowners put down in winter. But it is the melting water that these chemicals create that is the actual problem. That’s because when melted water enters concrete’s surface pores and re-freezes, it expands, breaking the pore walls and causing the surface to pop off.
Beyond the use of ice-melting chemicals, there are two other issues that can cause these problems. In areas where water runoff is trapped, that water can also freeze and damage concrete. Pitting, flaking and spalling can also occur if excessive water was added to the concrete when it was initially installed.
No matter the cause, the annual freeze-thaw cycle is the main reason these concrete surface problems get worse as time passes.
Luckily, there are two simple and effective solutions for this common issue:
SealantPro is a state-of-the-art material that bonds with concrete on a molecular level, permanently protecting it from water and other contaminants in a single coat. Once applied, SealantPro dries in minutes and is fully cured in just 6 hours, so you can use your concrete the same day. It is simple, fast and extremely effective. SealantPro will not change the appearance of the existing damage, but it will prevent it from getting worse. It is best used as a preventative measure against these and other issues.
Freeze-Thaw Cycle Damage
Did you know that concrete poured at four inches thick expands at a quarter inch per 100 feet? While that might not sound like a lot, it can have a big impact on the appearance and life of your concrete.
All concrete expands and contracts as temperatures rise and fall. The more extreme the temperature, the more extreme the movement — which is a major contributor to the formation of stress cracks and other damage.
Control joints (those straight lines in your concrete) are there to provide space for the concrete to crack in a controlled manner when it expands. Having read this far, what do you think happens when those cracks fill with water and freeze? That’s right! It either causes damage to occur at the joint or it forces an ugly uncontrolled crack elsewhere in the slab.
Regardless of how concrete cracks form, they are a cause for concern. During the freeze-thaw cycle, these cracks can take on water, which then freezes. This causes little pieces of concrete to break away from the edges of the crack or even force another crack to occur in a different direction.
Debris such as small pebbles in joints or cracks can also have this effect.
In this case, the solution is NexusPro, a silicone-based sealant for joints and cracks that is specially formulated to provide long-lasting flexibility and to stand up to harsh weather conditions. Unlike traditional polyurethane sealants, NexusPro resists UV rays, which means it won't crack, bubble or dry out. It is also water impermeable to prevent ice from forming in the joints and cracks.
In more extreme cases, where there are longer expanses of concrete, CompressionGuard, a contractor-grade expansion joint, can prevent serious damage to homes, garages and driveways.
Settling concrete slabs should always be taken care of right away, no matter what the season. That’s because, once a slab starts to settle, there are many elemental influences that can make the problem worse. A solution such as PolyLevel is ideal for addressing this issue. PolyLevel is an expanding polyurethane foam that is injected beneath the concrete to fill the gaps caused by soil erosion. Once injected, the foam expands, raising and stabilizing the concrete — in many cases lifting it back to its original position. PolyLevel also compresses the soil beneath your concrete, which addresses the reason it settled in the first place.
In Central and Southern Virginia, it is unlikely we’ll experience weather cold enough to prevent us from using PolyLevel. So, fixing a sunken slab before the rains return in the spring is the best way to prevent the cost of the repair from going up as the problem worsens over time.
Why Fix It Now?
For centuries, it was common practice to put off outdoor home-repair projects until warmer weather returned. These days though, at least when it comes to your concrete, it may not be necessary — and may not be wise.
The climate here in Central and Southern Virginia is cold enough to cause some winter issues that affect concrete, but fortunately it is rarely so cold that it prevents the application of these solutions. Ogburn Construction is committed to helping you get your concrete spaces functioning properly and looking great no matter what the season. So, let us help you with a free inspection and no-cost quote this fall and winter.
After all, concrete problems don’t get better with time. They get better with us.