Research has shown that spending time outdoors has positive affects on our health, happiness and even creativity. So it makes sense to invest in a good concrete patio for your home. Plus, with such a small window of opportunity to use our patios in the Chicago-land area, we want to take full advantage of chilling, grilling and just sitting on our patios whenever we can.
While concrete is an extremely durable material, it’s not totally maintenance-free like some may think. Over time a concrete patio can crack, sink and get moldy and dirty. Your once perfect outdoor oasis becomes a not-so-pleasant place to sit. The good news is most concrete patios can be brought back to life without the headache and extremely high cost of replacement. In this article, I’ll describe a few simple and cost effective ways you can revive and extend the life of your sunken, cracked and dirty patio.
1. Raising Sunken Concrete Patio Slabs
The most common issue we deal with as concrete repair specialists in the Chicago area is raising patio slabs that have settled along the home. It is very common for the ground around the foundation to settle over time, since that area was backfilled after the home was built. Downspouts discharging water near the patio can cause settling to occur, too. So it makes sense that the patio sections closest to the home tend to settle. But this can create trip hazards and a dangerously high step at your back door. Furthermore, patio slabs that are pitched the wrong way will direct rainwater towards the home, which can wreak havoc in your basement. Sound familiar?
Solving the problem of sunken concrete is actually a lot easier than you think. With modern advances in technology and materials, we now have a minimally invasive and long lasting method for raising and leveling sunken concrete patios. By using the power of expanding polyurethane foam, we can quickly and easily raise a patio at a fraction of the cost of replacement. Here’s how it works: first, small injections holes are drilled into the slabs; next, high-density polyurethane foam is sprayed below, filling all open voids and raising the concrete back into place. Once complete, the holes are patched and the concrete is now good as new. What makes this method so great is that the polymer will not shrink, wash away or change shape over time, which means you don’t have to worry about your patio sinking again. Lastly, the process only takes a few hours and you can get back to grilling and chilling right after it’s done! Click on concrete raising using polyurethane to learn more about this process.
2. Power washing Your Concrete
We get many calls from homeowners looking to improve the look of their patio without having to do a full replacement. Sure, there are a variety of resurfacing products available that can transform the look of it, but they are not cheap to install and sometimes can cost almost as much as replacement. Most of the time, I recommend just a simple power washing to refresh the look of the patio. Since concrete is a porous surface, over time it gets full of dirt and even mold. All that is needed is a good high pressure cleaning. There are chemical cleaners that can be used, too, but I typically prefer to use just water. There’s is a unique sense of satisfaction one gets when power washing away dirt from a patio, it’s almost a therapeutic exercise. It cost very little to do and the results are typically drastic. Pro Tip: Make sure to use a power washer that is least 3000 psi and if you can use an orbital over a wand you will get the job done faster and avoid streaks.
3. Caulking Cracks and Joints
One thing we can be sure of in construction is that concrete cracks. As concrete cures, it also shrinks, which can cause cracks to form. Also, slabs built over the ground in Illinois are subject to ground movement each freeze and thaw cycle, also causing concrete to crack. Now, just so you know there is nothing wrong with having a small crack in concrete. In fact the joints (the lines on your patio) were put there to induce cracking to occur in the seam so it’s not as noticeable. However, over time cracks and gaps that hold water can grow in size as the water freezes and expands. And water that seeps below the slab can cause the concrete to sink. So it is important that cracks and gaps on your patio get caulked. Not only will this prevent future damage to your concrete, it will also give it a nice clean look. Pro Tip: A silicone caulk will last the longest since it will dry flexible and is UV stable, and won’t shrink and crack. Click on caulking cracks to learn more repairing and protecting cracks and joints.
4. Sealing Your Concrete Patio
Most homeowners are used to sealing their wood decks, but very few ever think about sealing their concrete patio, which is just as important. Concrete’s greatest enemy is water and ice. Concrete is essentially a very hard sponge that absorbs water and when it gets into the pores and freezes, surface damage can develop such as scaling and pop-outs. This is why rock salt should not be used on concrete…because it accelerates the freeze-thaw cycles. This can all be avoided by simply applying a good sealer to prevent water from getting into the pores. Pro Tip: For standard concrete, use a penetrating sealer instead of an acrylic. A penetrating sealer will last 5-10 years vs. just 1 or 2 years with the acrylic, and it will not alter the color or texture of the surface. Click on concrete sealing service to learn more.
Concrete Hero to The Rescue
Concrete Hero offers homeowners looking to bring new life to their concrete patio or driveway a 4-step Revival System which includes raising settled slabs with our PolyLift system, power washing the surface clean, caulking cracks and joints and finally applying a sealer. The cost for a typical patio revival ranges $900-$1,600 depending on the amount of lifting needed and the work takes 1-2 days to complete. Below our some recent patios we completed.
Concrete Hero is a family owned and operated concrete repair and protection company that specializes in raising, sealing, coatings and replacement. Service area includes such cities Arlington Heights, Buffalo Grove, Schaumburg, Algonquin, St Charles, Elgin and surrounding communities. If you are interested in receiving a free estimate for your patio click here or give us a call at 630-940-2805.