Arkansas’ hot summers and harsh winters mean concrete damage is par for the course. While repairs to your concrete driveway or patio can control damage temporarily, the ideal strategy is prevention by having your concrete laid properly. In hot weather, it is especially important to adhere to concrete curing best practices and use a trusted concrete expert.
Pouring/ Curing Concrete in Summer
There are many effects hot weather can have on how concrete sets. If you plan on pouring concrete in Arkansas during the summer, you will need to prepare for hot weather concreting.
Freshly poured concrete responds to temperature, humidity, and wind. In summer, these conditions are often far from ideal. When temperatures get to about 90 degrees Fahrenheit, there can be dramatic differences in mixing, setting, finishing, and curing concrete.
What exactly happens to concrete in hot weather? In short, the high temperature speeds up the chemical reaction that occurs within the aggregate mixture after adding water. Concrete sets as the cement hydrates (sucks up water). When the concrete is hot, the reaction goes faster. The problem is that if the reaction happens too fast, the concrete sets quickly but without enough time to grow strong.
Here are some tips for pouring concrete in summer.
1. Start work early.
Plan to pour and work with the concrete during early morning hours when temperatures are cooler. This will allow you more time to work with the wet aggregate mixture.
2. Do not add extra water.
Adding extra water to the aggregate mixture might seem like a quick fix, but it can also lead to problems when curing the concrete. You can keep the mixture cool by using ice water to prepare it or spraying the subgrade with water as it sets and cures to keep the concrete from shrinking and cracking.
3. Add hot weather retardants to your mixture.
There are special “evaporation retardants” you can add to your wet concrete mixture before pouring. These help slow the evaporation process and make your concrete set stronger.
4. Diminish the effects of sun and wind.
Setting up a sunshade or windbreakers can help you manage temperature and evaporation levels by keeping the surface temperature at a more controlled level.
5. Add a concrete sealant.
Even if everything goes smoothly setting and curing the concrete, hot weather can do damage after the fact. As the surface expands, there is the potential for damage like cracks and divots. You can help prevent this by coating the concrete driveway or patio with a waterproof sealant. This will keep water from entering, and prevent expansion during high temperatures.
How to Care for Concrete in Arkansas
Having a concrete patio or driveway requires far less maintenance than others. Compared to a wood deck, it is a complete dream. However, it is not maintenance-free. Here are a few tips to care for your concrete:
Apply Sealer Regularly
Occasionally applying a concrete sealant will help it stay smooth and good-looking. No need to overdo it; most concrete only needs to be resealed every two or three years depending on weather conditions and how heavily trafficked the area is. Be sure to clean it (powerwash is best) before adding the sealer.
Quickly Remove Stains
Accidents happen, especially spills. To keep your concrete looking fresh, remove any oil, gas, or grease spills from your concrete as soon as possible. If they stay for too long, the concrete may absorb them, becoming permanently stained. However, there are some solutions to concrete stain removal.
Repair or Replace Broken Concrete in Arkansas
Winter and summer concrete damage is the norm in Arkansas. Repairs are possible, but eventually, you will need to replace your concrete driveway or patio. Here are the warning signs to look out for. Contact a concrete specialist like Razorback Concrete Company to get advice or a quote on repairs or replacement.
It is important to know the difference between superficial cracks and deeper, more problematic ones. Superficial cracks are shallow, and, though unsightly, are generally not detrimental to the function of your driveway. Deeper cracks will expose the inner material. When they are at least 1/2 inch apart, they are a problem. Generally, this means the damage will continue to extend and can be unsafe. Repairs are possible for a time, but eventually, a replacement will be necessary.
Your concrete driveway or patio is only as good as the land beneath its surface. If the land starts to sink or shift, it will affect the concrete and can cause cracked or sunken areas to appear. In order to stop this process, you will need to solve the land problem beneath it.
Concrete driveways only last so long, and generally need to be replaced after about 25 years. If you live in areas with extreme heat or cold (like Arkansas), the concrete may have an even shorter lifespan. If your driveway or patio is nearing its end, consider replacement over repairs.
Ready for a New Concrete Driveway or Patio? Razorback Concrete Company
With the right approach, you can keep your concrete driveway in excellent condition despite Arkansas’ summer concrete damage. If you are ready to replace your concrete, you can contact the team at Razorback Concrete at (870) 455-0700.