Concrete is one of the best materials you can use for a sweet backyard patio. You can choose to have a traditional concrete patio installed, or you can go the extra mile and have a stamped or colored patio instead. But before you give your concrete contractor a call, you need to be aware that there are a few problems that can and will crop up should you decide on a concrete patio. As with any material you choose for your patio, concrete will show wear and tear over time, and it is not meant to last forever. Just so there are no surprises in the future, here are a few problems associated with concrete patios.
Common Concrete Patio Problems
Cracking– There is no doubt whatsoever that eventually, you will notice that cracks are appearing on your concrete patio. All concrete will begin to crack over time; there is just no way around that fact. However, there are different types of cracks, and some might show up sooner than others. For example, you might notice cracks due to settling at the subgrade level, or you could suffer cracks because you had a heavy load on your patio.
Surface Scaling– Scaling is the peeling or flaking on the hard concrete surface mainly as a result of the freezing and thawing cycle. At first, it will usually start in small patches but might expand to larger areas. Scaled concrete can also occur if the surface was overworked or received too much water.
Discoloration– Concrete discoloration often comes in the form of stripes, dark spots, blotchy spots, and general color differences that are noticeable. There are several causes for concrete discoloration. Discoloration can happen to new concrete surfaces if too little or too much water was used, low-quality materials, and inconsistent mixtures. Discoloration can also occur if puddles of water leave behind rust or dark stains from dirt. De-icing salts can also cause discoloration.
Blisters– Blisters are hollow bumps that pop up shortly after the completion of the patio project, they can be small blisters, about the size of a dime, or they can get up to about three inches in diameter. Blisters often form when the surface becomes prematurely sealed as it dries. This can be caused when the wind blows over the concrete surface, causing it to dry too quickly.
Curling– When the edges of a concrete slab curl up or curl down, it can be attributed to drying shrinkage. The most common occurrence of curling happens when one surface of the slab changes size relative to the other. Curling is often most noticeable on the side and corners of the concrete slab.
Preventing Common Concrete Patio Problems
Cracking– There are several reasons why your concrete patio suffers cracks, and sometimes there is really nothing you can do about it. A few reasons your concrete patio has cracks include settling, changes in temperature, and applied loads. Settling can often be addressed during the initial installation by ensuring that the base is adequately compacted. You can also make sure that downspouts are at least five feet away from your patio.
Surface Scaling– Much of the prevention of surface scaling falls into the hands of the concrete contractor. As long as the contractor mixes the concrete properly and allows it to cure adequately, you shouldn’t have to deal with a scaling patio. In addition, homeowners can prevent cement scaling by minimizing exposure of concrete to corrosive substances like sodium chloride and other de-icing salts.
Discoloration– Again, there are several reasons why you might suffer a discolored patio, and much of it has to do with improper installation. The bottom line is you shouldn’t have any problems with cement discoloration as long as you hire a competent and knowledgeable concrete contractor. Homeowners can avoid patio discoloration by ensuring there is no standing water on the patio and by keeping the patio clean and free from wet leaves and other materials that trap moisture.
Blisters– The forming of blisters on your concrete patio comes from improper installation. The good news is that if your concrete contractor completed the project correctly, you won’t have to worry about blisters at all.
Curling– Once again, curling is caused at the point of installation, and the fault lies with the concrete contractor. It is a good idea to ensure that the contractor you hire for your cement patio has a solid reputation for good work.
Solutions to Common Concrete Patio Problems
The biggest solution to many of the problems you might encounter with your concrete patio is in the installation process. Hiring the right contractor will go a long way in ensuring a patio that will not suffer problems and will give you years of enjoyment. But there are solutions to many of these common patio problems.
There are several solutions to cracking concrete. You can take the easy way out by simply calling your concrete contractor and hire them for repairs. There are also several products on the market that you can use to patch up those annoying cracks. Fixing concrete cracks is as easy as picking up the right supplies from your local hardware store.
Like cracks, scaling can be repaired by homeowners who enjoy a little challenge. It will take more effort to restore scaling concrete than it will to repair cracks, but the method is similar, as are the products needed to complete the project. You can also call your contractor to do the repairs.
A discolored concrete patio is an eyesore, and you will want to resolve the issue as soon as possible. Depending on the cause of the discoloration, you can simply clean the concrete surface. There are products on the market that make cleaning concrete a breeze. Here is a great article that will take you through the concrete cleaning process.
Blisters and curling are problems that should be resolved through your contractor. And if you would like to know more about the problems that can occur when you have a new concrete patio installed, please feel free to contact us.