CD Designs Blog

    Spring Maintenance

    Fully Resealed Driveway

    Fully Resealed Driveway

    Although we had snow in the middle of March this year, it looks like winter has finally gone. Sometimes the weather can affect a driveway, but it is usually only superficial damage.

    If your driveway looks like it needs a facelift, there are a few things that could have caused it. The most common is what we call blooming, which is where moisture has gotten into the sealant. Don’t worry, the concrete underneath is fine and this is easily fixable. The picture above is a resealed driveway which previously had blooming, and as you can see it looks great! We did a blog on this last year which you can see here.

    Another common problem is where the sealant has worn away over time, making the driveway look old and shabby. Be aware that this means the concrete is not protected any more, and we would advise a full reseal in order to protect it from the elements. You can see examples of where maintenance is needed in this blog from last year.

    Your driveway may just have become dull over winter, with the colour not as vibrant as it once was. This is probably just an example of weathering on the seal, and shows that the sealant has been doing its job. A reseal would bring back the full colour of the concrete underneath, and make the driveway look as good as new.

    If you would like some advice about driveway maintenance, or you would like to book a reseal, please phone 01706 827180 or leave a message here.

    Installing your own pattern imprinted concrete driveways in cold weather

    As the winter draws in, you might think of packing up your tools and leaving any pattern imprinted concrete driveway and pattern imprinted concrete patio work until next year, when spring starts to draw in. After all, the cold weather can have a lot of negative effects on concrete projects, making it hardly worth it?

    We would say yes and no. The cold weather does present you with some challenges when installing concrete, but it is by no means impossible. Let’s look at some tips for beating Jack Frost back from your concrete!

    When planning your winter concrete driveway installation, make sure you have everything ready to go. This includes all your materials, a properly prepared installation site, and weather protection such as insulation materials and heaters. The critical objective is making sure the concrete does not freeze, or get too cold for it to cure properly. This can happen if your concrete loses heat and moisture too quickly at the early stages.

    Planning tips:

    * Using a lower slump concrete is good for cold weather, as it will reduce the necessary setting time and cut down on bleed water.

    * Consider using accelerating admixtures or Type III Hi Early cement. These will get through the critical setting/curing periods quicker, so need protection for less time.

    * Request a preheated mix of concrete from your supplier.

    * Don’t use flyash-containing concrete if at all possible, as it will take longer to set/cure.

    Next up, let’s look at the placement stage. To start with, make sure all snow and ice is removed from the concrete and sub-base. Use heaters to keep the sub-base above freezing temperatures, and try to keep the concrete itself between about 13 and 23 degrees centigrade.

    After placement, don’t start finishing the concrete until bleed water has dispersed. At the same time, you should make sure that the concrete doesn’t dry out complete while curing. And never let ice form on your concrete while it is curing! Ideally you should keep the template of the concrete above 10 degrees centigrade using heated enclosures and/or insulating blankets for about three days to a week after pouring, and then keep it up to at least 5 degrees for four days after that.

    One last tip — when you remove the heating/insulation, do it gradually, so the concrete doesn’t cool too rapidly (by 5 degrees or more per 24 hours).

    How much ice do you need…before you call in an ice breaker?

    We’ve already talked in previous concrete driveway blogs about methods you can employ to de-ice your pattern imprinted concrete driveway or patio. These are easily manageable for a small residential setting. But think about what it would be like if you had to keep a whole road system de-iced and operational?

    For example, a twenty mile section of the M8 Motorway in Scotland was completely frozen under compacted snow and ice last winter, leaving hundreds of motorists stranded. This kind of problem becomes more commonplace in the UK each year, with increased numbers of cars on the roads, and harsh winters to contend with.

    The two maintenance firms that deal with the majority of Scotland’s roads, Amey and BEAR Scotland, have stockpiled a total of 52,000 tonnes of salt and other de-icing material to ready themselves for this year’s winter. So you know if you leave your pattern imprinted concrete driveway this winter and head out on to the roads of Scotland the agencies should have you covered.

    And it doesn’t stop there — a gargantuan icebreaker machine has been been shipped over from Scandinavia to join the hundreds of snow ploughs, gritters and other vehicles that will wage war on Scotland’s ice problem this winter. We’ll be rooting for them!

    How Rock Salt and De-Icer can Damage your Pattern Imprinted Concrete Driveway

    We have talked a few times about how your pattern imprinted concrete driveway can suffer from damage at the hands of salt and de-icer. Here we’ll talk a bit more about how this happens.

    First, the basic way de-icer works is to form a brine by mixing with the water in ice and snow. This brine has a lower freezing point than water, so continues to melt the snow and ice until it becomes too diluted to function effectively. The trouble is that this brine can seep into concrete, especially unsealed porous concrete. As temperatures get lower, the brine can refreeze, which causes cracking and other damage to the concrete. In the spring, you may experience a continuous freeze and thaw cycle, which can cause much more serious damage.

    Second, rock salt will dissolve in the moisture left behind as it melts snow and ice. It too can then seep into your concrete, and when the climate becomes warmer and the moisture evaporates, the salt will recrystallise, causing the surface of the concrete to spall, or flake off. The process is also known as sub-florescence.

    Third, if rebar metal is present in your concrete, you can face another problem – the de-icer and salt can corrode the metal, and the corrosion process can exert pressure on the surrounding concrete, making it crack and break down.

    To mitigate such problems, we would advise that if possible, you shouldn’t use salt and de-icer on your concrete driveway or patio at all. If you think you’ll need to, make sure your concrete is sealed properly, to cut down on the chance that brine/liquid could seep into the pores. And make sure you use small amounts as needed – don’t saturate the area with de-icer or salt.

    Can We Mention Snow Yet?

    Ok, ok, we probably need to apologise for this one immediately, before we go any further. You’ve just about got over the rainy summer (it was in the grim North, anyway). You are hoping for a windy but hopefully not too wet autumn. And then the folks over at CD Designs go and start banging on about winter weather already? Despicable, some might say.

    But hold on there — it is certainly not our intention to attempt to condemn you to an endless winter. We just wanted to share a few nuggets of advice to prepare you for the cold spell.

    For a start, make sure you get yourself a decent shovel: this has endless uses, from the obvious (shovel that snow), to the more inventive (shovels are also good makeshift toboggans, if you have a decent wide, flat one.)

    Next, you should think carefully about what you use for grip on your pattern imprinted concrete driveway. Using sand, or a sand a gravel mixture is ideal, as it provides grip when the snow falls, then you can simply wait till the snow has melted and shovel it up and re-bag it, ready for next year. Using Salt on your drive is not a good idea, as it can corrode your concrete.

    Complete Driveway Designs Ltd

    The Yard, Stubbins Lane, Ramsbottom, BL0 0PT
    T: 01706 827180

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