shutterstock_111427361When homeowners decide to use concrete for their patio or other outdoor landscaping, they most likely are hoping that it will be more durable and usable for longer than some of the other similar alternatives. The reality is, concrete is exposed to all of the extreme elements your area’s climate brings — so there is probably going to be more wear and tear than people would prefer. Luckily, there are ways to maintain your concrete surfaces so that it has greater longevity and can withstand difficult weather conditions more reliably.

The fact is, concrete is an expensive investment that needs to be preserved and maintained for as long as possible to get your money’s worth and to protect your investment. It would be quite a shame to pay a pretty penny to install the concrete to begin with, only to need to replace it in just a few short years.

Let’s go over some different pieces of advice for how you can ensure that you get your money’s worth for your concrete investment.

Start off strong. The most important step to having concrete that lasts a long time is to start off with a good concrete mixture (or “mix design”) from the very beginning. If the “genetics” of the concrete are weak, you will constantly need to maintain the concrete to have any hope of your concrete lasting a long time. Pay the higher upfront price if you need to in order to ensure a long life of concrete.

Curing is important. If curing is not done properly, then you will not be able to maximize your concrete mixture’s full potential. Some assert that, if the temperature is 70 degrees Fahrenheit and the relative humidity (with a slight breeze) is 70 percent, then curing is not at all needed. Unfortunately, that is completely false — curing is always important. Make sure it is done properly from the beginning and you will encounter far fewer problems because of it.

Water is the worst. When it comes to concrete enemies, water is surely the most damaging of them all. If you have water that is sitting on concrete for long periods of time, it will get into any of the cracks, holes, and other imperfections in the concrete. The best way to handle this is to have some sort of runoff system; often people simply opt for a slightly slanted surface.

Know your climate. If you come from a climate that has more extreme fluctuations in temperature, then most likely you are going to be dealing with more concrete damage. The key is to know this ahead of time and to prepare properly ahead of time. After the 28-day curing period, make sure the concrete is properly sealed in order to protect it from the warping, expanding, and contracting that can come with extremely warm and extremely cold weather conditions. Do your homework beforehand to ensure that all the steps are accounted for.

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