Friday, October 19th 2012
As the autumn rain and cooler weather sets in to Kansas City, many of us can’t help thinking about the coming winter and what it will mean for the concrete around our landscape. Will it only be snowy and wet? Or will it freeze as well? In either case, there’s always a chance that wet winter weather in the Midwest will be followed by freezing temperatures. Unfortunately, this combination of water and ice wreaks havoc with the asphalt roads, as well as with the concrete driveways and walkways around our homes.
We tend to think of our concrete as being ultra-durable, near impenetrable, and able to withstand anything Mother Nature throws at it. But in reality, concrete is quite porous. When concrete is saturated with water (especially in the winter when large amounts of snow piles up) and subsequently frozen, ice crystals will form inside the concrete. And since ice expands in a different manner than concrete, this process weakens the structure of the concrete and causes cracking and pitting during the freezing and thawing cycles in winter. The same thing happens to the asphalt on the roads – and that’s why we get those bothersome potholes.
Note: This, by the way, is one of the main reasons you should get out into your driveway and shovel away the snow as soon as possible. Get all that wet stuff off your concrete surfaces and let the sun dry them. Make sure to shovel your porch and walkways as well.
Rain, snow, and freezing temperatures are expected every winter. It’s something that we have come to expect here in the Kansas City area. So, one of the best pieces of advice we can give to those who wish to prepare their concrete driveways, walkways, or sidewalks is to invest in a professional sealing for all your concrete areas. Sealants are beneficial in that they penetrate into the concrete to fill and seal the porous surface of the material – preventing against much of the water saturation and subsequent damage during the freezing and thawing periods. Professional sealing can extend the lifetime of your concrete driveway by years.
Of course, there are some concrete driveways and walkways that have been negatively impacted by winter after winter – freeze and thaw and freeze again – and require a facelift, so to speak. Fortunately, the concrete industry has seen a number of advancements and changes over the decades. There are a number of new products that can rejuvenate or resurface plain gray driveways that have seen better days. So, if you’re looking to improve the appearance of your old driveway, you can choose from a number of design aesthetics – a cut stone or cobblestone pattern or other unique texture – that are both cost-effective and long-lasting.
At Concrete Concepts in Kansas City, we pour concrete that can be stamped, formed, patterned, and stained to create beautiful additions to buildings and homes. We are the experts in Kansas City when it comes to creating driveways with distinction and decorative walkways to complement them.