Dare Concrete - Outer Banks, North Carolina
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Decorative Concrete & Resurfacing Options

Concrete Décor

Stamped Concrete

Overlay Systems:

-Spray Deck

Coloring Systems:
-Integral Colored Concrete

-Color Hardener

Sealing Concrete

Stenciling Patterns Into Concrete:
-Sandblasting Method
-Stenciling On Fresh Poured Concrete

Brushed Finishes

Architectural Walls - Stone-Crete

Surface Preparation

Maintaining Decorative Concrete

Maintaining Decorative Concrete

1. Surface Cleaning

Cleaning is the cornerstone of maintenance. It's a critical and necessary step, because concrete is so porous. A simple pressure wash with warm water and low pressure, from 400 to 800 psi is acceptable in most decorative applications as will dislodge the debris from the porous concrete, without chipping the surface. For driveways, patios and sidewalks, a good pressure wash once or twice a year will do the job. The use of a scrub brush also work well to clean joints and other hard-to-touch areas. Light detergents at low concentration should be used, not acid mixtures, which can attack the concrete.

Interior floors need only be cleaned with a bucket of soap and water and topped with a polish or wax. Floor scrubbing equipment should use long soft bristles that won't scratch the concrete sealers.

For the dirtiest industrial floors, where pressure washing isn't enough, a process called extraction cleaning is used. It involves pretreating the surface with specially formulated chemicals, and the cleaning equipment uses heat and pressure to remove the contaminants and vacuums away most of the water, leaving the surface mostly dry.

Either pressure washing, or extraction cleaning will reveal the color of your concrete, but a sealer can make it shine.

2. Sealing Concrete Surfaces

Once the surface is cleaned and dry, it must be protected from the elements and from wear and tear with a high quality sealer that repels water, limits damage from UV sunlight and resists abrasion. Resealing can make the color look fresh again, but it's important that the surface be maintained properly from the start. The use of a top quality sealer makes cleanup easier, improves the looks of the project and extends the life of the decorative application.

Sealing should be done every two years or so, depending on the local environmental conditions and wear and tear of the decorative concrete surface.

Sealers are specially formulated so that gas won't seep through and oil stains can be wiped off with a rag. Look for a sealer that is specially designed for UV protection, or it may turn yellow over time. Hydrophobic sealers keep water out of hairline cracks, preventing them from expanding during the freeze/thaw cycle.

3. Waterproofing

Moisture intrusion is another enemy of concrete. Apply a waterproof product that can penetrate concrete to form a permanent barrier against moisture, internally and externally. It usually needs to be applied only once.

Understanding the Regional Conditions:

Decorative concrete must withstand some pretty harsh conditions. Understanding the environment helps you to select a proper maintenance program and products that will extend the life of your decorative concrete surface. Read the selected product label to verify if the product properties apply to the local environmental conditions. Be sure to follow manufacture instructions for product application, and ask for the product warranty.

Rain and Wind - Wind carries dirt, and rains break it down into tiny particles that can seep into the surface and stain it. A strong, steady wind in desert areas can sandblast concrete. Acid rain in polluted areas can erode it.

Snow and Ice - Salt and chemicals used to melt ice in northern climates can allow moisture and chemicals to soak into the surface. When the temperature drops, the water freezes and expands, which can crack the concrete. Sand and salt from people's feet will scratch concrete.
Sun - The sun's UV rays can degrade sealers, fade integral colors and bake stains into the concrete.

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