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Beautiful Concrete And More!

Do you live in a beautiful home, but have damaged concrete?

Does your driveway have "little holes" popping up all over the place?

Is your stamped concrete damaged?

Have you been told that your only option is to replace the damaged areas at thousands of dollars?

You have other options!

Here's The Point

We'll Never Know If You Don't Call Me!

What about driveways and Stamped, (decorative), concrete?

    To date, I have a customer, a doctor, who lives in a very prestigious neighborhood in Cranberry Twp., about five minutes from me. The surface of several of the pads, about 10'x12', are falling apart. According to the contractor, and the concrete supplier, the damage is due to salt and not to fault with him or his supplier. The concrete was sealed by the contractor with Linseed oil, (I'll get to that in a minute). When I met the doctor, I told him that salt has no effect on concrete. Let me say that again:


I know your shocked to hear this however, I don't say this lightly, or without proof. Check this out:

Effects of Various Deicing/Anti-Icing Chemicals

"A study sponsored by the Federal Highway Administration and National Department of Transportation in 2007 revealed the effects of various deicing/anti-icing chemicals to Portland Cement Concrete. In the test there were four key deicing brines that were evaluated, but in this post we will discuss only sodium chloride (NaCl) known as salt or rock salt, commonly used as a deicing/anti-icing agent."

Here's the main reason why I am sharing this with you. Like you, I want to know "why" I am doing something. I don't want to be like every other contractor out there that hears something and believes it without proof. When I first started this business, I wanted to separate myself from the other guys offering the same service. The big question to that is, HOW??? Everybody claims to have the best product on the market, but how do we really KNOW if we do? The answer: KNOWLEDGE. Seriously though, how many of you out there have time to sit in front of a computer and study for hours about concrete damage, protection, and care?

After all, any search about salt damage and concrete will bring up hundreds of results claiming how salt damages concrete. But that's just plain false!

So, how did I find contrary evidence? Hours of research! What sparked this research? One customer who just happened to be the Professor of Concrete Engineering at Pitt University. When I learned of his profession, I asked him how to stop salt from damaging concrete. What he said started my exhaustive research into the real cause of concrete damage, and how to prevent it.

"Salt Doesn't Damage Concrete, Water Does"

How in the world can this be true??!! His response, people who live in "no ice" areas of the country, like Arizona, New Mexico, Nevada, have the same issues with their concrete as we do here in Pennsylvania. REALLY??!! That's when the research kicked in. (This is a picture of my cousins driveway.....who lives in Southern Arizona!!!) Here's some more from that article:

Effects of Salt (NaCl) on Concrete Pavement

"As a variety of tests that were performed to see if salt (NaCl) effects concrete, the data revealed no visible distress detected when specimens were exposed to the concrete with the concentrate salt solutions. The exposure resulted in little to no chemical interaction with the concrete. Concluding that the salt brine is not harmful to Portland Cement Concrete and is safe for use as a deicing or anti-icing agent with concrete."

For the full report, click here

This report involved the following contributors: Iowa DOT, Colorado DOT, South Dakota DOT, Montana DOT, Illinois DOT, Wyoming DOT, CALTRANS, Texas DOT, and several Federal Highway Department Representatives. So, the next time your concrete contractor tells you that salt damaged the concrete, ask him where he got his information from.

For Those of you who are skeptical of government reports, would a report from The Portland Cement Association work?  Who is The Portland Cement Association, you ask? These are the guys EVERY CONCRETE ENGINEER LISTENS TO WHEN IT COMES TO CONCRETE PROBLEMS!!

Here is what they say about deicing materials:

    "Deicers such as sodium chloride, urea, and weak solutions of calcium chloride do not chemically attack concrete"

For their report, click here

That brings us to the million dollar question: Which sealer should I use to protect my concrete?

There are several good chemical sealers available for use however, not all manufacturers are the same. The overwhelming consensus is Linseed Oil is the best however, it has a few drawbacks. One, it is an oil, and oils attract dirt. It will, over time, turn your concrete brown. Two, it is an oil, a natural chemical susceptible to UV radiation breakdown. It's short-lived, less than a year. Three, the best "delivery system" to get it to penetrate into the concrete is kerosene. That's illegal for one, and just plain unsafe for you and your family. After all, do you want fuel poured all over your concrete where your kids and your pets play? The other option is a solvent derivative however, this is counter-productive as solvents deteriorate oils.

I like Silane. Silane is recommended by The Portland Cement Association, and does a fantastic job of protecting your concrete. However, it is not intended for aggregate, stamped, or other designer concrete, just the "normal" stuff. Silane is a milky white liquid that goes on clear and leaves no trace of its existence, other than the extreme "beading" action that occurs when water comes into contact with your protected concrete. It must be stated here that normal rock salt did cause the water to sink deeper into concrete than concrete without rock salt, and had a lower resistance to re-freezing than the other chemical deicers. This freezing resulted in cracking in the concrete due to the freeze/thawing that naturally occurs. Bottom line: GET YOUR CONCRETE SEALED!!

Go to my "Technical Data" page for detailed information on sealers, types, uses, limitations.


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