Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Placing concrete driveways in Ohio & the Midwest

Good morning! I just returned from a "photoshoot" as the photographer of the guys placing a concrete sidewalk and garage apron for a homeowner. It is going to look great, and I can't wait to see the finished product. It is regular concrete with a broom finish, pretty standard, but with a stenciled border. The homeowner's choice of stencil was a keystone pattern. The colors are Brickform color hardeners of Terra Cotta with a hint of Cappuccino, which will perfectly pull out the stone on the porch. The stone is opposite; more of a cappuccino color with a hint of terra cotta. I will have to return with pictures of the final product. Don't let me forget!

Part of the reason for my post is to warn you about placing a driveway past the middle of October. This will be our last driveway/apron placement for the year. Even though the homeowners can drive on their new apron in 10 days, (allowing it time to cure enough before driving on it for this time of year,) it really is still curing for many days to follow. At temperatures just above freezing, fresh concrete hardens very slowly.  However, concrete made and cast at low temperatures may eventually be stronger and more durable than concrete made during warm weather provided it is cured long enough and does not freeze. In this initial few months, the concrete is more susceptible to damage caused by salts and deicers, and this can include road salts dropped from vehicles.

"Owners should not use salt or other deicers during the first winter, especially if concrete was placed after mid September and was not air dried and sealed." (As stated in a brochure from the Ohio Ready Mixed Concrete Association. We suggest using sand instead to improve traction. Or a trick we have found helpful is to clear the snow immediately after falling and before foot or auto traffic has packed it down. The sun and air will do it's magic and clear any remaining snow very quickly. NEVER use any deicer that contains either ammonium sulfate or ammonium nitrate (fertilizers.) It will react with the concrete and cause damage.

Thanks to our friends at Ohio Ready Mix for delivering the concrete today. It is great to work with another quality company!

Blessings to you and your family. I hope to talk to you again soon! Let me know if you have any questions!