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How to Clean Concrete Floors

Once marginalized as an unsightly but necessary building material, concealed by flooring, drywall, or any other façade as quickly as possible, concrete has finally found its day in the sun with designers and homebuilders. It’s not uncommon to see exposed concrete floors and walls in modern homes and offices alike. In fact, some interior designers have moved to using concrete as the focal point in their designs.

Decorative Interior Design Concrete

And it’s hard to blame them. Concrete is a functional, practical, durable and beautiful product (in that postmodern, brutalism sense). It makes for a hard-to-beat surface for floors throughout a home.

But what’s the best way to clean interior concrete floors?

First, it’s important to know whether you’re dealing with sealed or unsealed concrete floors—as the cleaning method varies between these two surfaces. Interior concrete surfaces should be sealed with a film-forming sealer, rather than the penetrating sealers used on exterior surfaces. Not sure if your floors are sealed? It’s easy to test for sealer. Simply pour a small amount of water on the surface. If the water beads up and doesn’t soak into the concrete after a couple of minutes, you know it’s sealed.

How to Clean Sealed Concrete Floors

Sealers create a protective, nonporous surface on top of the concrete. So, cleaning sealed concrete is straightforward and easy—much like the other floors in your home.

Simply sweep or vacuum up dust and loose debris off the floor. Then, mix one gallon of water with 1/8 cup of mild liquid dish soap and mop the floor with the solution. Proceed with caution, as the floor will likely be slippery. Rinse out the bucket and mop, then refill the bucket with plain warm water and mop again to rinse off any leftover residue. Let the floor air dry. Steer clear of harsh cleaners, which can break down the sealer over time.

Make sure to reapply sealer per the manufacturer’s recommendations to ensure your floors stay looking great for the long haul. This timeframe can differ drastically from product to product, but a general rule of thumb is that you should start looking into reapplying interior film-forming sealers after about five years. It may be helpful to talk with an experienced concrete professional to help you determine when it may be time to recoat.

Example of Sealed Concrete Floor

How to Clean Unsealed Concrete Floors

Unsealed concrete is porous, which makes it susceptible to stains and wear. Therefore, it’s important to act quickly if anything is spilled onto the floor. Clean accidents up with a wet rag as soon as possible to avoid staining.

For day-to-day cleaning, go about it much the same way as described in the process for sealed concrete floors. Sweep or vacuum up dirt, dust and debris first. Mop a mixture of mild dish soap (1/8 cup) and warm water (one gallon) across the floor. Then, rinse with clean water and let the floor thoroughly air dry.

Attacking stains and stubborn messes takes a more concerted effort. Most stains won’t simply scrub away—although you can always try removing the stain with a mixture of dish soap and hot (or boiling) water and a stiff-bristled, nylon brush before going on to more aggressive approaches. If the dish soap and water mixture fails, you’ll need to “pull” the stain out of the concrete. Mix trisodium phosphate (TSP) with water and an absorbent material, such as kitty litter or sawdust, to create a smooth paste. Apply the mixture to the stain and wait until the paste dries. Then, sweep or vacuum it away. One application may not get rid of the entire stain, so patience and repeating the process may be necessary.

Be careful when working with TSP. Wear gloves and a long-sleeve shirt. Safety glasses and a respiratory mask are also recommended. When working indoors with TSP, make sure there’s adequate ventilation. Also, know that TSP can damage metal, ceramic tile, grout and glass, so proceed with caution when working around those surfaces. Some local regulations may have limited the use of TSP, so make sure to look into your local guidelines.

Premixed concrete stain removers may also be used. Just make sure to follow the manufacturer’s recommendations carefully. Even still, it may be best to test these products on a small, inconspicuous area of the floor before going after any stains in more visible areas.

Do NOT Use Vinegar on Unsealed Concrete

Don’t use vinegar or other acid-based cleaners for unsealed concrete floors. These can actually etch into the concrete, creating permanent or, at least, tough-to-reverse surface damage.

Intermountain Concrete Specialties

Cleaning concrete floors is similar to other types of hard flooring materials. Just make sure to use mild products for general cleaning to avoid damaging sealed floors. And when attacking stains in unsealed floors, take a graduated approach. Start with warm, soapy water and move to more aggressive methods with a mixture of TSP for those stubborn messes. Properly maintained, concrete floors will stay looking great for life. If you have any questions about maintaining concrete floors, contact Intermountain Concrete Specialties today. With seven locations from St. George, Utah, to Idaho Falls, Idaho, help is never far away.

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How to Choose Indoor Concrete Sealer

There was a time when interior concrete just meant the hard material buried under layers of basement carpet. Now, concrete is being celebrated as the durable, affordable, practical and, even, beautiful product it is. Indeed, concrete has made its way to the center stage of interior design. Just do a quick Internet search and you’ll find concrete floors, countertops, sinks, shelves and even furniture.

But here’s the thing: Concrete is porous. And that’s not necessarily a good trait for interior surfaces that are frequently exposed to stain-causing liquids and high traffic. Untreated concrete floors are prone to scuffs, stains and damage. And nasty bugs like Salmonella, Escherichia coli (E. coli) and other bacteria can find a comfy home in the minute holes in concrete countertops, sinks and other kitchen surfaces.

Sealing interior concrete is critical for a long-lasting and hygienic surface. It keeps liquid and dirt out and protects the surface from normal wear and tear. But what types of sealers are best for indoor applications?

Three basic types of concrete sealers are recommended for interior use: acrylics, polyurethanes and epoxies. Rather than penetrating sealers, which are commonly used on exterior surfaces that may be exposed to freeze-thaw cycles (the topic of a different blog), interior concrete benefits most from these products that form a thin protective coat on its surface. The three most common types of “film formers” are listed below.

A disclaimer: This is far from an exhaustive list of all the available indoor concrete sealers. Manufacturers offer a wide variety of products—some are even hybrids of the three most common types included here. This guide is meant to get you on the path to choosing the product that’s right for your individual needs and intended application.

Acrylics

Softer than polyurethanes and epoxies, acrylic sealers tend to wear down faster. However, their fast-drying nature means they may be best for those projects that need to be completed quickly. In fact, most acrylics will dry to the touch within an hour. And, even though they lack the durability of the harder sealers, they still provide adequate protection against liquid and dirt. Both water- and solvent-based acrylics are available, but note that solvent-based products will generally enhance color. Acrylics are commonly available in a variety of sheens. Pro tip: A “sacrificial” floor wax is recommended over acrylic sealers to prevent premature wear, scuffs and scratches.

Polyurethanes

These are nearly twice as thick as acrylics—making them much more durable. Polyurethanes provide a chemical- and abrasion-resistant finish. They’re common in high-traffic areas to help prevent scuffs and staining. But these film formers aren’t only used on floors; they’re commonly found protecting and enhancing the appearance of concrete countertops and sinks. Like acrylics, polyurethanes are available in a range of sheens and may “edit” the hues in colored concrete. Be sure to choose the sheen accordingly to achieve your intended finish.

Epoxies

If this list was in descending order of “soft” to “hard” sealers (which it is), we’ve arrived at the hardest of them all. Epoxies form a strong, durable, abrasion- and water-resistant finish. However, some of these products can yellow when exposed to UV light, so they may not be good for those areas bathed in afternoon sunlight shining through the windows. However, if you’re looking to “kill two birds with one stone,” many epoxies come tinted in an array of colors. (As an aside, there are additives available to color other types of sealers as well, but you’ll need to check the manufacturer’s specifications to ensure compatibility.) Epoxies are best used for those high-traffic areas or, most notably, garage floors. Some polyurethanes can also be used on garage floors, but epoxies are generally recommended for their superior durability, quality and stain-fighting powers. And again, just remember that epoxies don’t love the sunlight as much as the others and will have a tendency to yellow over time.

Intermountain Concrete Specialties

Choosing the appropriate sealer for the specific application will help keep your concrete in tip-top shape for years to come. If you need help, Intermountain Concrete Specialties is here with seven locations from St. George to Idaho Falls. We have the expertise and knowledge to help with any concrete undertaking—large or small. Contact one of our helpful and friendly associates today.

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Spring Cleaning and Home Maintenance Checklist

Spring has sprung! And the arrival of warm weather has us itching to head outdoors. It’s the perfect time to clear out the clutter and start fresh. Save the closet organizing for rainy days. Instead, tackle these outdoor spring cleaning and home maintenance projects to get your home ready for spring.

Decks, Patios and Porches
The first step to deck, patio and porch maintenance is a good spring cleaning. Sweep and power wash, clear weeds and debris and check for loose steps or railings. Once your patio is clean and repaired, consider protecting it from future stains and damage with a concrete sealer.

concrete patio sealer

Concrete Sidewalks and Walkways
Concrete sidewalks can take a beating during the freeze-thaw cycles of winter. The first step to spring concrete maintenance is a good cleaning. Sweep away or power wash any debris so you can get a good look at the current condition. Next, carefully inspect concrete, checking for cracked or crumbling areas. Visit one of Intermountain Concrete Specialties’ six locations in Utah and Idaho for the products, tools and tips you need to repair concrete cracks before damage progresses.

Foundation
Check concrete foundation walls, floors and slabs for cracking, heaving or deterioration. Some cracks are minor and can be repaired. If the crack is the width of a nickel, call a professional for assessment and repair.

Roof
Wintertime can take a toll on your roof, so perform a close inspection each spring. Check flashings and look for punctured, cracked, curled or missing shingles. Some are visible from the ground, but it’s a good idea to get a closer look to see if roof maintenance is required.

Gutters
Gutters and downspouts need to be clear of obstructions to properly manage rainwater and to prevent moisture damage to your home. Clear leaves and other winter debris from gutters, reattach loose ones and make sure water runoff is directed away from the house. If there are leaks, dry the area and use a flexible outdoor caulk to seal.

Siding
Check for loose siding panels and ensure the flashing is in place. Clean siding with a pressure washer to remove dirt and debris. Take care of any necessary exterior siding repairs or painting.

HVAC
Routine maintenance on your central HVAC unit can improve airflow, which in turn can lower cooling costs. If you have an outdoor unit, remove dust, leaves, grass clippings and any other debris that may be blocking airflow. Be sure to shut off the power to the unit before performing any maintenance.

General landscaping
This is a given when it comes to spring home maintenance. Clear dead leaves, branches and other debris; clean out garden and flowerbeds; prune and trim trees and shrubs; and reseed thin or damaged areas of the lawn.

Sprinklers
Check for leaky valves and broken or clogged sprinkler heads. Clean or replace poorly performing sprinklers, check operating pressure and adjust sprinkler heads as necessary. Open the main water valve slowly to allow pipes to fill gradually and avoid bursting a pipe.

Windows and doors
Check screens for punctures or holes, and inspect windowsills and doorways for cracks and potential leaks. To protect from spring rains, remove eroded caulk and fill cracks with fresh exterior caulking. Repaint and seal for a beautiful home enhancement.

Your home is one of the biggest investments you will ever make. Take care of it with a little home maintenance and spring cleaning so you can enjoy a safe and beautiful home for years to come. Don’t forget to check out our list of 7 Outdoor Concrete Projects for Spring and the10 concrete products you need to make them happen!

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Four Admixtures to Improve Concrete Strength

What are Concrete Admixtures?

Admixtures are defined as any material added to a batch of concrete other than the required three ingredients: cement, water and aggregate. Admixtures alter the concrete’s quality, manageability, acceleration or retardation of setting time and other properties. They can help ensure a successful pour in both hot and cold temperatures. And admixtures can even help decrease cost and increase productivity in certain conditions.

Outside Concrete in Winter

Types of Admixtures

While there are many different products available, concrete admixtures break down into two types:

Chemical Admixtures: Modify the properties of finished concrete—such as waterproofing it—and protect wet concrete during mixing, transportation, placing and curing.

Mineral Admixtures: Can reduce concrete’s permeability and increase its strength. They can be used with Portland cement or with blended cement individually, or in combinations, depending on the desired concrete properties.

Anti-Hydro®

Anti-Hydro International has helped harden concrete and masonry structures all over the world, from the Hearst Tower in New York to the Sears Tower in Chicago. Its Anti-Hydro® admixture is a combination of organic and inorganic chemicals that react with Portland cement to produce better hydration. And better hydration reduces water requirements, bleed water and shrinkage. The result is a denser cement paste that cures harder.

But Anti-Hydro® doesn’t only harden concrete. It waterproofs it, too. It can be used when pouring a concrete floor to make it totally waterproof. Plus, Anti-Hydro® is relatively affordable, making it a common-sense choice when considering certain concrete projects. Simply put, Anti-Hydro® can both strengthen and waterproof finished concrete, a bonus for, say, basement and garage floors.

Air-Entrainment

Concrete exposed to freeze-thaw cycles can benefit by adding air-entraining admixtures. Entrained air improves concrete’s resistance to damage caused by freezing and thawing, as well as to deicing chemicals. Grace Construction Products has a line of air-entrainment products that work well in the often-tumultuous weather patterns of the Intermountain West.

Water Reducers

Water-reducing admixtures do just what the name implies: reduce the amount of water needed to mix concrete. Using these admixtures increases concrete’s workability at the same water-cement ratio. And that makes for a product that’s easier to pour and stronger when cured. In fact, water reducers have been proven to increase compressive and flexural strengths in concrete. Using water reducers can also retard the set time of concrete, making it a smart choice in hot-weather pours.

Accelerators

Concrete poured in near-freezing conditions can benefit from an accelerator admixture. These speed the setting time and, thus, the curing time begins sooner. Using accelerators in conjunction with good curing procedures protects the concrete from freezing. And it’s been shown that concrete is actually stronger overall when accelerators have been used during a pour.

Conclusion

From adding accelerators to speed up the setting time in cold temperatures to adding water reducers to retard setting in hot weather, admixtures make concrete easier to work with and can increase its strength.

For all your concrete needs or questions, contact Intermountain Concrete Specialties. We have admixture products from Anti Hydro International, Grace Construction Products, Xypex and more. With more than 70 years of concrete expertise, you can count on us to give you the advice needed for a successful concrete project. And with seven locations from St. George to Idaho Falls, help is never far away.

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How Long Does Stamped Concrete Last?

 

Stamped concrete is an easy and quick way to create beautiful, multi-dimensional walkways and patios that look similar to their more expensive counterparts, such as bricks, stones or pavers. But how long can you expect a stamped concrete surface to last?

The short answer? Provided it’s installed correctly and adequately maintained, stamped concrete will last just as long as non-stamped, or standard, concrete—about 25 years. That’s because the processes of installing stamped concrete and standard concrete are mostly the same.

The only additional step required for stamped concrete is . . . stamping the concrete. This is done when the concrete is slightly dried but malleable enough to create a texture on the surface with a preformed stamp. Coloring is commonly added to give the surface the desired appearance. From antiqued to modernized, there’s a concrete stain or dye out there for every application.

Lastly, a sealer should be applied to keep the elements at bay. As an aside, some will argue that stamped concrete actually lasts longer than standard concrete due to the use of a sealer. However, standard concrete can also benefit from the use of a sealer, so . . . let’s just call it a wash.

Now, we need to remind you that only three things are certain in life: death, taxes and, at some point, cracks in concrete. And stamped concrete is no exception.

The fact is that stamped concrete hasn’t always been as durable as standard concrete. When it first came on the scene, it was common to hear frustrated homeowners complain about cracks in their relatively new stamped concrete. Back then it was difficult to ensure uniform depth throughout the stamping process. The unevenness of those early stamped concrete surfaces resulted in a decreased lifespan. Fear not, modern concrete stamps have resolved this problem.

Even with this durability, stamped concrete isn’t meant to be used for any substantial weight-bearing surfaces, like an RV pad or driveway. Instead, it should be used as an inexpensive and easy way to enhance the aesthetics of landscapes and improve curb appeal.

Do you have a patio to pour? Great, look to stamped concrete. Have a walkway needed? Stamped concrete for the win! Do you need some garden curbing? Stamped concrete can really jazz those up. Just install it correctly (or hire a professional), avoid substantial on-surface weight, keep it properly maintained and you’ll have a beautiful, functional, finished product that will last longer than you thought possible.

Intermountain Concrete Specialties has all the products, expertise and equipment you need to tackle any DIY concrete undertaking. We even rent concrete stamps—because we know you probably don’t stamp concrete every day! Visit us at any of our seven locations from St. George to Idaho Falls and talk to one of our knowledgeable concrete experts for help with your next project.

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What Does the ‘PSI’ on a Bag of Concrete Mix Mean?
August 31, 2019 | Concrete Expertise

2,500 PSI. 3,000 PSI. 4,000 PSI. 5,000 PSI. Is your head spinning yet? What do all the numbers on a bag of concrete mix mean? And, more importantly, how do they influence your next concrete project?

The strength of concrete is measured in pounds per square inch (PSI) and is a measurement of the concrete’s ability to carry loads or handle compression. The higher the number, the stronger the concrete. Strength is the result of multiple factors, but is primarily the outcome of the concrete’s composition—the ratio of cement, water and aggregate.

Pounds per square inch are measured via several methods in labs or, in some instances, on-site. But for the purpose of this article, we’ll avoid our inner concrete-nerd and focus on the need-to-know basics for your next home project. Use this information to be sure you use the right strength of concrete for your project type and application. While other ratings of concrete are available, here are the most common ratings every homeowner should know, along with suggested uses.

trowel

2,500 PSI

Often more affordable than higher strength concrete, 2,500 PSI can be useful for driveways and walkways. However, some may choose a stronger concrete, like 3,000 PSI, to avoid excessive cracking. A good use for this concrete is a walkway on the side of a home that doesn’t receive excessive traffic. Make sure to check your local building code to ensure 2,500 PSI concrete is permitted for your intended use.

3,000 PSI

The residential workhorse of concrete, 3,000 PSI can be used for driveways, patios and sidewalks. Its durability will help shrug off the freeze-thaw cycle of harsh winters. This is a fine choice for any general construction use.

3,500 PSI

Although less likely for general home use, where 3,500 PSI concrete shines is in slab foundations and footings. This is also a good choice wherever heavy loads are expected to be stored or moved, like RV pads.

4,000 PSI

Typically used in warehouses and factories where heavy traffic or machinery is expected. However, for the homeowner, 4,000 PSI can be a good option for backyard workshops or sheds, due to its strength and surface durability.

5,000 PSI

Used in special construction applications, including some large-scale commercial and industrial properties, 5,000 PSI can withstand heavy impact and extreme wear and tear.

These are general rules and each scenario and use will vary. A comparatively higher strength concrete can be used on any job—but may not always be called for. And using a lower PSI concrete saves money. Just ensure your local building code allows the strength of concrete for the specific project you’re planning.

Lastly, don’t forget the importance of properly forming your project and avoiding water problems by planning for adequate drainage.

ics locations

Intermountain Concrete Specialties is here to answer any of your questions along the way to ensure you get a superb final product. From equipment rentals to our huge offering of forms, stakes and screeds, we are here to help. And with seven locations from St. George to Idaho Falls, help is never far away.

 

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What’s in Concrete?
May 20, 2019 | Concrete Expertise

It’s not uncommon to hear chat around the Intermountain Concrete Specialties water cooler about last nights’ dream of that perfect walkway or stamped patio. Alright, that may be an exaggeration, but we still live and breathe concrete. But what exactly is this building material that makes up so much of our modern infrastructure?

Concrete is a mixture of three ingredients: cement, water and aggregate. While concrete has rudimentary roots dating to ancient Egypt, modern iterations are more refined. But what are these three ingredients, and how do they work together to form a material that is both malleable in one form and incredibly strong in another?

concrete jungle

Concrete plays a big role in our modern infrastructure

Cement

Let’s clear up a common misconception straight away: cement isn’t concrete, and concrete isn’t cement.

The two terms are often used interchangeably. But, in fact, cement is an ingredient in concrete—it is the binding material. Think of cement as the caramel in the concrete chocolate shell of a Snickers. Good enough, but now what is cement?  

While there are several different types, we will focus on Portland cement. And it’s worth knowing about. Portland cement is undoubtedly the most widely used building material in the world. In fact, more than 80 million tons of it are produced per year. Portland cement is a key ingredient in high-rise buildings, dams, roads and DIY projects.

Portland cement is a fine powder. It’s most commonly made from limestone and clay that has been superheated, then pulverized into a fine powder. Cement fills in the gaps between aggregate and holds everything together.

drying concrete

Concrete is malleable in one form and incredibly strong in another

Water

It’s clear you know about water. But do you know what an important role it plays in concrete? The water-cement ratio dictates the strength of the finished product. The major compounds of cement form chemical bonds with water molecules through the process of hydration. Too much water results in weak concrete, as it overhydrates the cement. Too little water renders the concrete unworkable.

Aggregate

The final ingredient in concrete? Rocks. However, calling aggregate rocks is too simple a definition for an ingredient this important. Aggregate adds mass and volume to concrete. Without aggregate, concrete would be prone to cracking, excess shrinking and would be outrageously expensive. Aggregate varies in size—ranging from sand to large rocks measuring six inches across, like those found in dams, according to the project. Concrete without aggregate would just be cement. Think of aggregate as the peanuts in a Snickers.

concrete aggregate material

Common aggregate material

Knowledge is Power

They say knowledge is power. Now that you know more about this powerful building material you can more confidently tackle those DIY projects on your to-do list. Stop by one of our seven locations—from Orem to Idaho Falls—to speak to one of our product experts and learn more.

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Residential and Commercial Concrete Trends That Are Changing the Way We Do Everything
August 30, 2018 | Concrete Expertise, Tips and Advice

For a building material that’s been around seemingly forever, concrete is constantly being improved, repurposed and reimagined. We dug up these emerging trends for contractors, interior designers, DIY homeowners and anyone looking to improve their space with an interior or exterior concrete update.

trendy concrete curb design

RESIDENTIAL

Decorative Concrete

This concrete trend has been around for a while, but new developments in coloring and texturing agents keep decorative concrete constantly evolving. While concrete’s traditional gray hues suit current interior design trends like the farmhouse look, homeowners have endless possibilities when it comes to color, pattern and texture.  Decorative concrete also enhances outdoor spaces, such as patios, walkways and decorative curbing made with reusable stencils.

 

Interior Design

Typically associated with outdoor utilitarian uses like patios, driveways and foundations, concrete has made its way indoors thanks in part to the popular industrial design trend. From concrete flooring to countertops and furniture to accessories, interior concrete can be customized to suit any décor style.

 

tilt up construction concrete trends 

INDUSTRIAL

Tilt-up

Tilt-up construction is soaring to new heights with a recent record lift of 100 feet. Thanks to new developments, products and processes, the tilt-up industry is shaking up conventional labor and production on these large-scale building projects.

 

Load-bearing walls

The latest trend in concrete formwork, load-bearing walls utilize an innovative tunnel-form method that allows walls and slabs to be poured simultaneously. This means faster setting and removal of wall forms to allow for acceleration of construction projects.

 

Reinforcement

Performed on the job site, post-tensioning reinforces concrete with extremely high-strength steel strands and bars. Post-tensioning with a combination of concrete and steel creates an incredibly strong component that allows for a final product that is stronger than ever.

concrete reinforcement

 

NEW TECHNOLOGIES

Emerging trends in concrete are changing not only what we can build, but also how we build it. Here are two new concrete trends from cement.org.

 

Reactive powder

This highly workable, durable, ultra-high strength concrete eliminates the need for coarse aggregates. With a potential compressive strength of 30,000 psi, reactive powder concrete’s tensile strength is on par with steel fibers.

 

Translucent concrete

Adding optical fibers to a concrete mix creates a “see-through” effect that challenges the opaque nature of traditional concrete. Thanks to the optical fibers, light is conducted through the stone from one end to the other.

translucent concrete

Photo from cement.org

 

New advancements in concrete and concrete products are completely changing design and construction. Stop by your local ICS showroom in Utah or Idaho and let us help you decide how to make the latest concrete trends work for you.

 

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7 Tips for Maintaining Outdoor Concrete

Outdoor concrete is an investment – and one that is often at the mercy of the elements. Protecting this valuable investment is essential to preventing trouble down the road. With proper curing, sealing and maintenance, concrete is an asset that can last for years to come. We’re sharing 7 tips to help you maintain your outdoor concrete.

1. Know your environment
Here in Utah, we have extreme temperature variables throughout the year. Outdoor concrete surfaces can take a beating, especially in summer and winter. Snow run-off and spring rains can cause damage if it sits on the surface too long. Be sure to slope concrete away from the home to prevent water damage to the surface and the foundation. Rain, snow, ice and heat can affect concrete curing times.

2. Pouring and curing
The ideal temperature for pouring and curing concrete is between 50 and 90 degrees. Extremes in either direction may compromise the final product. Too cold and the freeze-thaw cycle can cause concrete to expand and contract, creating cracking and spalling. Too hot and the concrete will set faster but may compromise strength. In other words, concrete must be cured properly to achieve maximum durability.

3. Sealing concrete
Choosing the right sealer for your concrete project is an integral part of finishing the job right. This final layer of protection can enhance the appearance of decorative concrete; block against moisture, dirt, oil and stains; and protect against excess wear. The type of concrete sealer used will depend on the type of project. Two of our most commonly requested sealers are W.R. Meadows for commercial and industrial application, and ICS High Gloss Sealer for decorative concrete applications. Find the right sealer for your project here.

4. Keep it clean – basic maintenance
Practice basic maintenance by cleaning concrete surfaces immediately of spills and debris to minimize staining or other damage. This includes weeds and grass, oil, tire marks and more. Frequent cleaning keeps outdoor concrete surfaces looking their best. Once your patio is clean and repaired, protect it from future stains and damage with a concrete sealer.

5. Apply a fresh finish
A clean surface is key to properly staining or painting concrete. Before applying a top coat, stain or other decorative concrete, sweep and pressure wash the concrete surface. Recoat concrete every three to five years to protect the surface, especially in high-traffic areas like driveways, walkways and patios.

6. Check for cracks
Check concrete foundation walls, floors and slabs for cracking, heaving or deterioration as part of routine maintenance. Some cracks are minor and can be repaired. If the crack is the width of a nickel, it’s time to call a professional.

7. Consult an expert
Intermountain Concrete Specialties has locations in Utah and Idaho where our concrete experts can help you make the most of your investment by providing  maintenance and protection solutions for your specific concrete needs.

An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Keep these 7 tips in mind when pouring, curing, cleaning and sealing concrete for a concrete investment that lasts.

 

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Exterior Spring Cleaning and Home Maintenance Checklist

Spring has sprung in Utah and the arrival of warm weather makes us want to head outdoors. It’s the perfect time to clear out the clutter and start fresh, but save the closet organizing for rainy days. Instead, tackle these outdoor spring cleaning and home maintenance projects to get your home ready for spring.

√ Decks, Patios and Porches
The first step to deck, patio and porch maintenance is a good spring cleaning. Sweep and power wash, clear weeds and debris, and check for loose steps or railings. If you notice cracks in concrete patios, follow the same steps we recommend below for sidewalks. Once your patio is clean and repaired, protect it from future stains and damage with a concrete sealer. Consider beautifying with decorative stamped concrete to enhance home value and appearance.

√ Concrete Sidewalks and Walkways
Concrete sidewalks can take a beating in winter. The first step to spring concrete maintenance is a good cleaning. Sweep away any debris so you can get a good look at the current condition. Next, carefully inspect concrete, checking for cracked or crumbling areas. Visit one of Intermountain Concrete Specialties six locations in Utah and Idaho the products, tools and tips you need to repair concrete cracks before damage progresses.

√ Foundation
Check concrete foundation walls, floors and slabs for cracking, heaving or deterioration. Some cracks are minor and can be repaired. If the crack is the width of a nickel, it’s time to call a professional.

√ Roof
Winter can take a toll on your roof so perform a close inspection each spring. Check flashings, and look for punctured, cracked, curled or missing shingles. Some are visible from the ground, but it’s a good idea to get a closer look to see if roof maintenance is required.

√ Gutters
Gutters and downspouts need to be clear of obstructions to properly manage rain water and to prevent moisture damage to your home. Clear leaves and other winter debris from gutters, reattach loose ones, and make sure water runoff is directed away from the house. If there are leaks, dry the area and use caulk or epoxy to seal.

√ Siding
Check for loose siding panels and ensure the flashing is in place. Clean siding with a pressure washer to remove winter’s dirt and debris. Take care of any necessary exterior siding repairs or painting.

√ HVAC
Routine maintenance on your central HVAC unit can improve airflow, which in turn can lower heating and cooling costs. If you have an outdoor unit, remove dust, leaves, grass clipping and any other debris that may be blocking airflow. Be sure to shut power to the unit before performing any maintenance. HVAC spring maintenance is definitely something you want to tackle before Utah’s summer heat kicks in.

√ General landscaping
This is a given when it comes to spring home maintenance. Clear dead leaves, branches and other debris; clean out garden and flower beds; prune and trim trees and shrubs; and reseed thin or damaged areas of the lawn.

√ Sprinklers
Check for leaky valves and broken or clogged sprinkler heads. Clean or replace poorly performing sprinklers, check operating pressure, and adjust sprinkler heads as necessary. Open the main water valve slowly to allow pipes to fill gradually and avoid bursting a pipe.

√ Windows and doors
Check screens for punctures or holes, and inspect windowsills and doorways for cracks and potential leaks. To protect from spring rains, remove eroded caulk and fill cracks with fresh exterior caulking. Repaint and seal for a beautiful home enhancement.

Your Utah home is one of the biggest investments you will ever make. Take care of it with spring cleaning and home maintenance so you can enjoy a safe and beautiful home for years to come. Don’t forget to check out our list of 7 Outdoor Concrete Projects for Spring  and the 10 concrete products you need to make them happen!

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