Concrete can be installed any time the temperature is 32 degrees and rising. However, the best time to install concrete is spring, summer, or early fall. If your concrete is exposed to deicing salts, such as a driveway, the earlier in the year the better as it provides more cure and strength gain for the concrete prior to exposure.
Simply give us a call at our office and one of our secretaries will be happy to schedule an appointment.
Over the last ten years, concrete has become much more environmentally friendly. With the push for LEED projects across the US and overall concern for the environment, concrete producers are now substituting byproducts from other industries into their concrete mixtures in place of cement to reduce concrete’s carbon footprint. These mixes are used on a daily basis by local concrete producers throughout the area. Although expensive and typically for small applications only, there are specialty mixes available in which the cement is 90-100% substituted by byproducts from other industries, such as fly ash from the coal industry.
Salt or any other type of deicer is not recommended to be used on any concrete and under no circumstances should salt be applied to concrete that is less than a year old. If deicer or salt is to be used, use it sparingly and wait at least a year before applying to new concrete. Please understand that by using salt on the concrete, regardless of age, you run the risk of surface deterioration. We recommend using small cinders or kitty litter to help with traction in the winter.
The biggest hazards to concrete, once in place, are deicers and salts.
Under typical curing conditions, you can walk on your new concrete in 24 – 48 hours and drive on it within 4-7 days. When concrete is poured during colder weather (less than fifty five degrees) we recommend a longer curing period before use.
For regular broom finish concrete, simply clean it as necessary with a pressure washer. Keep the tip of the pressure washer at least ten inches from the concrete surface to avoid risking any damage from the pressure. For stamped concrete, you need to keep the product cleaned as noted before, and reseal every 2-5 years. Also use plastic shovels for snow removal on stamped concrete.
The color sample pamphlets are meant to provide the customer with a good idea of what color the concrete will be, but should never be expected to be an exact match. The color of the concrete will always be a shade or two lighter or darker. The best way to assure color consistency is to have an actual poured sample for your project and even then, the actual product and the sample may slightly differ. Concrete is sensitive to the environment, and while we can assure the color will be a close match, we cannot promise a perfect match.
What are the advantages and disadvantages of concrete countertops compared to other countertop materials?
The main advantages to concrete countertops are that they are unique to each client, the client has full control over their design, and the concrete will take any form provided. The disadvantage to concrete is that they tend to be a little more expensive than granite when compared to the “big box” store prices.
With a full line of excavation equipment, Keith D. Smith Concrete can easily tackle grading and excavation, as well as footer installation. Our concrete services include driveways, patios, sidewalks, porches, pool decks, garage and pole building floors, cast in place walls, and stamped concrete. Other specialties are retaining and garden walls, project design services, concrete countertops, staining, engraving, and pervious concrete.
A poured concrete foundation wall will provide a much stronger wall when compared to a masonry block wall. Additionally, it is being found that concrete foundation walls are much quicker to construct and very competitive when priced against masonry.
Polished concrete can take nearly any concrete floor surface from bland to spectacular. The top reason people polish a concrete floor is because of its low maintenance over the long term and when compared to other flooring options it provides an owner with the most bang for their buck. It does not need to be refinished or replaced as long as the minimal maintenance is completed, which is typically just keeping the floor clean. Additionally, polished concrete gives the owner the ability to create their floor. The owner can add dyes to the floor for color, add score lines for patterns, and ultimately decide how much aggregate and how much shine they want the floor to have.
Real stone is extremely hard to replicate, so if the option is to use real stone or an overlay, most will pick the real stone provided that it is cost efficient. Vertical concrete overlays have a special place in the market, in that they are typically used where real stone cannot be used, or where it is not cost effective. Vertical concrete overlays are often used to finish a basement and provide a faux finish to walls without having to mix mortar, cut stone, and apply. They are a great option for creating unique environments in the home, or commercially where real stone is not an option.
Retaining walls are made of either concrete (known as “cast in place”), or concrete block (known as “modular block” concrete walls). Residentially, nine times out of ten, modular block retaining walls are constructed. Keith D. Smith Concrete offers many different product lines when it comes to these modular block retaining walls, so it typically isn’t difficult to find a block style and color to satisfy the client. These walls are beautiful when completed, and blend well with their environment. Keith Smith also specializes in garden walls, which are the same as a retaining wall, but they do not have the structural designs to hold earth. They are typically used as free-standing walls, or walls with only one to two feet of back-fill behind them.
The life span of pervious concrete is greatly dependent on the quality of the contractor installing it. If pervious is installed incorrectly, it could start to fail within a month or two. However, when installed correctly, it will last upwards of twenty years. Keith D. Smith Concrete installed pervious concrete at their shop location six years ago. Since that time, cars parked on it, equipment drove across it, materials were staked on it, and snow plows ran over it… and it’s still in good shape. It is a unique material that will hold-up well, as long as the contractor is educated and versed in installing the material. Give us a call to discuss this in depth, as Keith D. Smith Concrete has four trained installers of pervious concrete and six trained pervious technicians.