Sep 2, 2022 | Tips

Driveways and sidewalks are generally made of concrete. Concrete is a strong material that wears well and will perform for many years. Following installation, concrete will shrink as it cures. This shrinkage causes stress in the concrete, which often results in surface cracks. This cracking can be controlled by the installation of control joints in the concrete.

These deliberate joints in the concrete are more susceptible to cracking than the remainder of the slab, thereby preventing cracks from occurring in the slab surface itself. Unfortunately, these control measures are not always effective and surface cracks can appear. These cracks are generally cosmetic and do not require repair unless they constitute a tripping hazard.

Seasonal variations in temperature may also cause cracks in concrete slabs. Soil movement beneath the concrete due to frost penetration can crack and / or raise sections of the concrete. This change in height may change the direction of surface drainage causing water to pool against the foundation wall of your home. Should this occur, repairs should be undertaken to prevent water from pooling as it may seep through the foundation wall and into the home.

Another potential cause of damage to concrete surfaces is road salt and other chemical contaminants. Road salt or other de-icing products used for ice control in the winter may adversely affect the surface of the concrete. As a result, road slush, which contains road salt, should not be allowed to melt on the concrete.

A good alternative to de-icers, is sand or cat litter for increased traction on icy sections of the driveway or sidewalk. Lawn fertilizer, contaminated surface water and run-off from stored materials can also cause staining of the concrete surface that cannot be removed. Concrete sealers that are commercially available may reduce damage due to chemical contaminants. Care should be taken in the handling and storage of potential contaminants on or near any concrete surface.

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