Introduction to Concrete Maintenance
Winter is just around the corner. We know, it’s felt like winter several times over the past few weeks, but it’ll be official before you know it! And just like we prepare ourselves for the harshness of winter, your concrete needs preparation. This concrete maintenance will ensure that Kansas City’s nasty winters don’t cause long-term damage.
For almost 10 years, Big Red Decorative Concrete has been Kansas City’s premier decorative concrete company. In that time, we’ve serviced thousands of customers in the Kansas City area. All that experience means we’ve seen all the different effects that harsh winters can have on your concrete.
Fortunately, this gives us expert knowledge in concrete maintenance during the winter months. Read on below to find out steps you can take to ensure that your concrete makes it through the cold, snowy weather unscathed!
Check out this video from our Youtube page for additional information.
Why You Should Maintain Your Concrete
One of the biggest perks that comes with installing concrete is that it’s durable and easy to clean compared to other surfaces. While that’s true, concrete only stays that way if you take the necessary steps to care for it!
We get it—concrete maintenance can be somewhat tedious at times. It’s also not the first thing that many of us think about when it’s time to do household tasks. On top of that, in terms of maintaining your exterior concrete in the winter, most of us don’t want to be outside any longer than we have to be.
We also understand that most people don’t like to spend extra money. Especially not in challenging times like these. However, taking those extra steps to clean your concrete could ultimately save you a lot of headaches in the future!
Taking extra steps to seal your concrete, clean it consistently, and avoid harsh chemicals can help prevent corrosion or the buildup of stains. This will ensure that your concrete is strong and durable.
That ends up saving you money in the long run! Mainly because you won’t have to repair or replace your concrete sooner than what is necessary. Not to mention, it keeps your concrete beautiful, inviting, and easy to clean!
Let’s Talk about Salt
Many of us in the Midwest use salt frequently to melt away the ice and snow. However, did you know that concrete and salt actually AREN’T a match made in homeowner heaven?
Over the winter, salts can actually build up and cause noticeable damage to your concrete. What happens in this case is the salt will eat into the concrete and cause corrosion, especially in older concrete.
When salt continues to build up, the “spalling” process is accelerated, which means that the top layers of your concrete are eaten away. This can cause more deep pitting and crumbling that you see on older concrete driveways and sidewalks.
Why does this happen?
Allow us to put on our scientist hat for a second. Salt causes corrosion under the surface of concrete, which is why you may notice discoloration, cracking, and other signs of damage over time. This is an acidic reaction. Salt, a mild acid, lowers the pH of the concrete and attacks the aggregate that makes up the concrete.
From there, it’s a domino effect. First, salt attacks the aggregate and creates larger pore sizes. Then, you have more water and more chemicals (lawns getting sprayed, ice melt products, stuff that comes off your car, antifreeze, etc.) that can now get deeper into the concrete.
Then, when temperatures fluctuate in the late winter and early spring, that process is exacerbated. The constant freezing and thawing causes cyclical damage, which isn’t structural but is damage nonetheless. And it can cause your concrete to look older and worn out.
Think of it like washing your face. Most of us want to wash our face on a regular basis and use products that keep it looking healthy. And we certainly wouldn’t want anything harmful clogging our pores and causing damage to our skin. Your concrete is the same way, and consistent care is the key to keeping both healthy and vibrant! ✨
All of this info can be concerning for those who take their concrete maintenance seriously. Fortunately, we here at Big Red Decorative Concrete have solutions and tips to prevent corrosion and keep your concrete looking beautiful!
How to Maintain Your Concrete in Kansas City
The first step to maintaining your concrete through harsh Kansas City seasons is to clean it on a regular basis. Seems simple enough, right? Well, regular cleaning is something that often goes overlooked due to how relatively low-maintenance concrete is in the grand scheme of your home-owning journey.
On top of that, you especially want to make sure that everything is pressure washed and sealed for the winter. The staff at Big Red Decorative Concrete recommends sealing anywhere you will spray salt, such as your driveway.
Sealing your exterior concrete will help maintain it and protect it over the course of its lifetime.
Fortunately, through our partners at Sundek, we have sealer available to help repel the salt and keep it from eating away at your concrete.
Regular cleanings will remove salts that have come off your car from the road, as well as any spills or petroleum products that have settled in. It’s also important to ensure that, if you do have an oil spill or any other type of stain, that it’s cleaned right away to avoid having any of those stains sink in.
If you’ve already taken other steps to protect your concrete, such as applying overlays or stains, our experts also strongly recommend that you sweep on a regular basis. Falling leaves, branches, acorns, walnuts and are all common and potential problems for concrete. With that, it’s imperative to regularly sweep debris off patios, front walks, driveways, and other areas.
If not addressed, this debris can be difficult to cover or remove later on! In particular, tree debris tends to leave stains that can go pretty deep. This recommendation applies to anywhere you’ve had overlay, stain, or even just bare concrete that you want to add something to later on.
How to Properly Clean Your Concrete & Avoid Staining
The best way to clean concrete with overlays or stains is to avoid harsh chemicals. Instead, using mild soap and warm water from a hose (with light scrubbing) is always the way to go. The most effective method of minimizing most stains is by using a squeegee or push broom to remove standing water.
💡 Essentially, you should treat your concrete like a hardwood floor. You wouldn’t drag something across a hardwood floor or use harsh chemicals on it. Instead, you’d use a mild cleaner when something does get on it.
However, we know that sometimes more aggressive procedures are needed. For exterior concrete maintenance during the winter months, our partners at Sundek recommend using non-calcium, chloride, Eco-friendly products that are Magnesium Chloride, Carbonyl Diamide or Glycol Based.
It’s also important to note that any chemicals you use, regardless of the composition, should be rinsed off within a week.
Additionally, never use a pressure washer on full power with decorative stains and concrete overlays, as this may cause the concrete to degrade and the decorative portion to peel and chip. Instead, exterior floors may be washed with 2000-2500 psi set on the pressure washer with the tip of the nozzle 10-12″ away from the surface. We don’t recommended power washing with hot water.
Don’t Forget About Interior Maintenance!
While we’re talking about concrete maintenance, it’s important to make sure that you take care of your interior concrete as well!
Like your exterior concrete, interior maintenance of concrete floors starts with regular cleaning. Since it’s easier to clean a concrete floor than other types of surfaces, do it frequently in high traffic areas.
You should be able to clean these surfaces with normal floor maintenance methods such as sweeping, buffing and mopping. Like your exterior concrete, be sure not to use any harsh chemicals such as ammonia, bleach or pine cleaners on your surface.
If you have a polished floor, you will need a professional to apply a polish guard and then it will need to be burnished. If you have an existing stained floor that has an acrylic sealer or an epoxy urethane, it does help to apply a floor finish to these floors.
This will help ensure that your interior concrete is just as healthy as your exterior!
Contact Us Today for All of Your Concrete Maintenance Needs!
If you’re ready to make sure that your concrete stays in peak condition for years to come, contact us today and we’d be happy to assist you! At Big Red Decorative Concrete, we proudly serve the Kansas City metro on both sides of the border. We’re here to help you with any cleaning, sealing, or any other concrete maintenance tips that you need to accomplish or learn about before the winter months.
Conversely, if you’re looking to revive concrete that’s old or worn, look no further! Our team offers several services ranging from staining and overlays, to custom interior flooring, pool deck coatings and epoxy coatings.
Whatever you’re looking for when it comes to decorative concrete, we’re here to help. Our top priority is always client satisfaction, and as you can see, our results speak for themselves
From start to finish, we pride ourselves on having a seamless customer service experience, so all you have to do is sit back, relax, and enjoy your beautifully maintained concrete.