5 Crucial Tips for Concrete Care

Here are five easyand relatively inexpensiveways to keep your concrete as strong as King Kong, according to Acid Magic.

Let’s faceit:Its pretty easy to takeconcrete patios, sidewalks,drivewaysand basement and garage floorsfor granted. After all, they seempretty darninvincibleas you walk and drive all over them, day after day, month after month, year after year. And concreteisstrong and durableuntil its suddenly not.

Like a weight-lifter who stops working out, an unmaintained concrete slab can slowlydeteriorate. Couple that with the fact that concrete isnt cheap (one recent survey pegged theaveragenationwidecost of installing a concrete patioatabout $2,630),its clearly inyour best interests to protect this seeminglyinvulnerableinvestment with a little TLC.

acid magic concretevia ACID Magic

With that in mind, here are five easyand relatively inexpensiveways to keep your concrete as strong as King Kong:

1.Seal the Deal

Concrete always should becoatedwith a protective sealant to repel moisture and resist stains.Why? While itappears to be assolid as a rock, concreteactuallyisveryporous. As such, it absorbs water. Andin most climates,thats not good for longevity.

For newly poured concrete, expertsrecommend not applying asealer until the concrete cures completely, which takes 28days.What kind of sealer should you use? There basically are too kinds: acrylic-resin and penetrating sealers. And applying them isnota one-time proposition.

How oftenyoull need to reseal your concretedepends onfactors like theweatherandhow muchvehicle/foottrafficit receives. But generally speaking, youll need to reapplyacrylic-resin sealersroughly every two years, whilepenetrating sealerscan last for five to10 years, experts note.

Either way,sealing concrete isa fairly easyDIY project; all you need is a reputable sealing product and apaint roller with a -inch nap.Thecostof sealantwill vary by locale, but typically runs between15 to25 cents per square foot.

2. Keep It Clean

Oils and other chemical stains not only look bad, they can eventually lead to concrete deterioration. Moreover, because concrete is porous, its best to clean stainsquickly, before thematerialcanseep into the concrete.

Heres whereACIDMagicfrom Certol Internationalsteps in. For rust, scale, mineral build-up,mildewstainsandother stainseven efflorescencethiseco-friendlyyet still powerfulform ofmuriatic acid,anintensecleaning agent,is your new BFF when it comes to cleaning concrete.

ACID Magic is a safer alternative to standard muriaticacidand a one-for-one replacement. Better yet, itgenerates up to 90 percent less fumes, which makes it easy to use indoors (with proper ventilation, of course). Furthermore, thanks to buffering agents,it wontburnintact skin.(But you should still wear gloves and eye protection while using it.)

Formore informationabout how to clean withACIDMagic, pleaseclick here.

acid magic garage floorvia ACID Magic

3.Avoid Deicing Chemicals

Experts advise against using deicers on concrete, especiallynotbefore its a year old. Interestingly enough, its not the deicers that actually cause problemsits the increased number of freeze-thaw cycles that they induce.

Heres what happens: Deicing agentswork bychemicallyloweringthe temperature at which water freezes.Asthey work,deicers convertsnowand ice into a salty brine solution. This solution keeps thawing and refreezing as the weather and temperatures change, which means the concrete enduressignificantlymany more freeze/thaw cycles thanitotherwise would.

Furthermore, this briny solution keeps migrating into theporousconcrete, where italsofreezes (expands)and contracts(thaws), causing more damage.Keep in mind that watervolumeincreasesabout 9 percentwhen it freezes and expands!

Deicers that containammonium nitrates and ammonium sulphates are especiallybadbecause theyactually attackconcrete chemically. Rock salt (sodium chloride) or calcium chlorideinflictless damage, but harmsvegetation. Using sand and thoroughlyshoveling/scraping offsnow and ice is the best alternative.

4.Etching Made Easy

Painting or coating a concrete floorwith an epoxy coveringcan make itnot onlymore attractive, but help it lasta littlelongerby protecting it from nasty stains and other corrosive elements. But before you do anything, you must do the prep work and etch the concrete.

Why? Etching helps open up the concretes pores, which in turn allows it to better bond with the paint, forming a tight adhesive seal. Sure, you could skip this step, but only do that if youtruly love toperiodicallyrepaintyour floor!

Now, you could go through the expense and hassle of hiring a contractor to shot-blast the concrete. But itseasierto just buy someACIDMagic and use this eco-friendly product to etch the concrete.

Some simple rules apply, such as start with a diluted, 1:4 ratio ofACIDMagic to water (one gallon ofACIDMagic to four gallons of water, for example). If that doesnt do the trick, you can try up to a 1:2 dilution. Moreover, always add theACIDMagic tothe water, not vice-versa. Anduse itonlyon concrete thatsmore than90 days old, andneverapplyACIDMagic todryconcretealways wet it down first. (For more details about etching concrete withACIDMagic, click onthis link.)

BONUS: Another Painting Tip

Just as water can seep into concrete, it also can migrate up from below. Poor perimeter drainage, climate conditions, leaky pipes, high water tables and so forth can cause this condition, which is problematic because damp concrete and paint mix about as well as oil and water. The bottom line: Paint doesnt adhere very well to moist concrete.

So how do you know if you have a moisture problem? Aside from obvious visual evidence, you can perform a fast and inexpensive test.Just cut a 16x16 piece of plastic sheeting andaffixit to the floor with duct tape on all four sides.

After 24 hours, peel off the plastic sheet and see if theres either condensation on the underside or a damp, dark area on the concrete floor. No condensation or darker area? Its all goodget ready to etch. If not,sorryits time to call in a professional.

Concrete-Painting-acid-magicvia ACID Magic

5.A Joint Venture

Expansion joints, those felt-lined gaps between concrete slabs, allow room for the slabs to expand and contract as weather conditions change. If those joints arent water-tight, however, water gets under the slabs, whichcan causethem to pitch and heave, rise and sink.The resultingstress can crack the slabs.

To prevent this, remove worn-out felt and fill the gap with a self-leveling sealant, available at hardware stores and home centers. Heres how to do it:

  • Use a utility knife to remove the old felt. You might even need to use an angle grinderto get it all out. (Please remember towear gloves and safety glasses.) If you dont ownanangle grinderand dont want toinvest in a tool you may not use very often, many home centersrentthem.
  • When the felt is removed, useashopvacto collectthedebrisinthe joints.
  • To minimize the amount of sealant required to fill the gap,fill it withclosed-cell foambacker rod,also known as filler rope.

BONUS:

Buy backer rod thats about 1/8 of an inch larger than the expansion-joint gap.

  • Push the backer rodinto the gapfar enoughthatit tucks underthebottom of theslabs.
  • Followmanufacturersdirections to apply the self-levelingcrack sealant.

acid magic productvia ACID Magic

ACID Magic is sold at Ace Hardware and True Value hardware stores, as well as many companies that sell pool supplies. To learn more about where ACID Magic is sold, clickhere.

Sponsored by Acid Magic