Concrete Repair, Maintenance and Purchasing Tips

Michelle’s Marvelous Concrete Repair, Maintenance and Purchasing Tips

3 Tips for Designing and Installing Durable Concrete Retaining Walls

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Building a retaining wall is an art that if not performed properly can put the entire project in jeopardy. A well-designed and constructed concrete retaining wall can hold back soil for years and withstand hydrostatic pressure. Apart from its core purpose of preventing soil erosion, a properly installed retaining wall can increase the aesthetic function of your home, thus improving the value of your property. Here are some fundamental tips for homeowners to bear in mind when building a concrete retaining wall. Approvals and Permits — A concrete retaining wall project is a huge investment for homeowners. Therefore, ensure that all the local building codes are followed to prevent potential violations. Have the design of the retaining wall made by an expert, who will consider the nature of the terrain of your home. The local authority should approve all your construction plans before you can kick-start any groundwork. If you own another property in another state, never assume that local building codes, especially regarding retaining wall works, are similar. Consider Drainage — One main reason why many concrete retaining walls never survive for years is because of poor drainage around them. Poor drainage automatically compromises the integrity of the concrete retaining wall because it weakens its foundation. The design process should ensure that the drainage factor is considered prior to construction. The type of soil around the site will determine the nature of drainage design to be adopted. Soils that have poor drainage capability will need to be removed and replaced with gravel. You will also have to install polyvinyl chloride (PVC) pipes beneath the wall to drain water behind the retaining wall. Explore Different Designs — Traditional retaining walls were made in a straight fashion that left no room for alterations. However, modern homeowners have started to explore diverse designs that add texture and aesthetics to their homes.  Curved concrete retaining walls are becoming trendy due to their elegance. As for the height of the wall, it is recommended that you stay within four feet, especially if it is a DIY project. Otherwise, you can extend the height beyond four feet if you will incorporate reinforcements and seek the professional services of a structural engineer.  Also, when designing a retaining wall, integrate them with the natural environment to create a sense of unity. For instance, you can build a raised flowerbed off the retaining wall. An elevated flower bed that extends from the concrete retaining wall is indeed a thing of beauty....

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Why Opt for Concrete Kerbing Versus Any Other Border Material?

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Borders for your landscaping are very important; they stop weeds and other plant life from invading your landscaping features and provide a nice contrast between the landscaping and your lawn. A border with a certain color can enhance the look of your landscaping and keep it anchored, allowing flowers and other features to stand out. While you have many options for landscaping border, you might note why concrete kerbing is the right choice versus rubber borders, gravel, and the like. Durability Concrete is very durable, more so than standard rubber or plastic pieces you might use for borders; if you were to run your lawnmower against one of those pieces, the border would probably chip and break very easily. However, concrete holds up well against a weed trimmer or edger or any other such equipment you might use on your lawn. It’s more difficult for dogs to dig up concrete kerbing than cheaper border materials, so it may very well last for many years longer than any other option. Depth Keeping moisture in an area of landscaping is often very important, so that plant roots stay healthy and strong. Concrete kerbing can act as something of a small retainer wall for your landscaping features, if you have those borders poured deep enough to keep moisture in that area. Most other materials used for borders and edging are only large enough and set deep enough in the soil to keep them in place, not to actually retain moisture in that area. Using concrete means that you can create a small retainer wall around one area but then have the same type of design around another, without the same depth if it’s not necessary. Your landscaping then has a uniform look while being protected from moisture loss where needed. Versatility Concrete can be poured in any direction with any angle or curve you want, without compromising the integrity of the material. Trying to curve rubber or plastic edging can be difficult if not impossible. You can also have concrete painted, stamped, or stained to look like another material, including brick, stone, or something that matches your home’s exterior. You typically don’t have as many choices for styles and appearance with rubber or plastic or another such material. Using concrete kerbing allows you to create a look that is uniquely your own and then change that look later, if you have the kerbing repainted or stained again in the...

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3 Common Causes of Concrete Pump Blockages

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Concrete pumping is a quick and cost effective method to lay concrete over a large surface. However, concrete pumps can become blocked, slowing down the operation and causing costly delays on your construction site. Below are 3 common causes of blockages during concrete pumping. Bad Mix If the sand and water is added in the wrong quantities during the mixing of the concrete, it can lead to a bad mix. A mix will cause water to bleed out, which causes the concrete mix to separate. This can lead to the pumping lines becoming clogged with particles. These blockages will take time to clear. To avoid this problem, you need to check each batch of concrete which is added to the pipe to ensure it is correctly mixed. Delayed Pumping Another common cause of blockages is delayed pumping of the concrete. If the pipes are not set up before the concrete is mixed, or if the cement mixer is late arriving at your site, the concrete may began to set. The hardened concrete will attach itself to the inside of the pipes and narrow the flow. This places additional pressure on the pumping system, increasing the chance of further blockages. You should ensure that the pipes are set out and connected and that the pump is primed for action before you begin to mix and add the concrete. Incorrectly Configured Pipeline and Pump When you are buying or hiring a concrete pump for your construction site, the first thing you should consider is the length of pipe you will require to pump the concrete to its final location. This will help you to work out the size of motor you require to effectively pump a certain volume of concrete the required distance. If the pump is underpowered, the chance of a pipeline blockage increases as the slow moving concrete is likely to begin to set while still in the pipe.  When laying out the system of pipes, you should try to minimise the number of bends. A large number of bends can increase the chances that concrete will become stuck at these points. You should also check that the pipe in completely clear of bits of old mud or concrete before you begin pumping, as these may detach from the side of the pipe and cause a blockage. If you wish to hire a concrete pump, you should contact a professional concrete pumping service like Hunter Concrete Pump...

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Five items You Need to Successfully Convert a Concrete Slab Into a Makeshift Patio

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If you have a large slab of concrete that you want to make into a patio, you don’t necessarily have to remove it and put in patio stones. Instead, you can use a concrete cutter to score it, and you can create the look of patio stones. Here’s five items you need to make this project a success: 1. A concrete saw with changeable depth settings Whether you are hiring a concrete cutter or buying one, make sure that it has a changeable depth setting. When you are using a concrete cutter to score a slab, you only want it to cut a centimetre or so into the concrete. You don’t want it to go all the way through the slab as you would need to if you wanted to remove a chunk of concrete. 2. Measuring tape Once you have the right saw, you need to decide how you are going to score your slab. Ideally, you should measure it. Then, you should make a plan to subdivide it into even squares. For example, if your slab is 2 metres wide and 1 metre long, you may want to divide it into 200 squares that are each 10 centimetres by 10 centimetres. If you don’t measure first, you won’t be able to ensure it’s even. 3. A laser level After you have decided on the size of the squares you want to score into your concrete, you need a way to ensure the squares are level. There are a number of ways you can do this. You can use chalk and draw lines along the cement — if you do this, use a plank to ensure your lines are straight. Otherwise to reduce the chance of error, you could use a laser level. You simply set the level to one side of the concrete slab, and then, it emits a line. This give you a straight line to cut along with your concrete cutter. As you finish each line, you simply move the laser level to the next spot and repeat the process. In most cases, it’s easiest to do all of your vertical lines followed by all of your horizontal lines or vice versa, rather than scoring each square individually.   4. A garden pipe Once you are done scoring the concrete, you should remove the dust. A simple garden pipe or a pressure washer workers perfectly for this. If you don’t want the cement dust to migrate to your grass, consider using a shop vac to pick up the loose dust first. Then, wash the rest away with water. 5. Concrete stain Cutting your concrete creates a cool look, but if you really want it to look like a patio, you may want to stain it as well. You can buy concrete stain and apply it yourself. Alternatively, you can hire a professional to help you with every step of the project from cutting to...

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Here is why a stamped concrete finishing is ideal for your home’s paving

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There are several types of concrete finishing you can choose from. They include seeded aggregate, concrete painting, concrete staining, and exposed concrete. With such a wide range of options, you might be wondering which of the finishing works well for the concrete paving outside your house. You should choose one that can stand the pressure when people walk on it, yet adding beauty to the overall look of your outdoor space. Here are a few reasons stamped concrete is ideal for the paving outside your house: Aesthetics and different choices Certainly, there is a wide range of choices when you choose to use stamped concrete finishing. Unlike other types such as the exposed concrete, the stamped finishing allows your workers to use different patterns and colours. This attribute gives it the ability to mimic other surfaces such as marble, weathered lumber, and stone. Essentially, it can be fine-tuned to add to the aesthetic value of your outdoor space, blending in with other elements such as the paint on your house. Cracking and repair Just like most concrete finishing, stamped concrete tends to crack after prolonged use. Notably, it often doesn’t have to do with the quality of the finishing. When the temperatures change drastically during the day and night, they force concrete to expand and contract. This makes most concrete surfaces crack after some period of use, and the stamped concrete finishing is no exception. However, it can be easily repaired when the cracks occur by filling in fresh stamped concrete finishing in the cracks after they have been prepared for repair.  Moreover, you do not have to worry about losing the patterns and colour used on the finishing because they can be restored during the repairs. Ease of Installation An added advantage of the stamped concrete finishing is that it is easy to install. This process involves the preparation of the concrete, pouring it over the area that you would like to pave, and stamping the fresh concrete to make it uniform and flat. Generally, it requires fewer workers compared to other forms of concrete finishing, especially those that require pavers. It can also be set up within a short period, which will help you cut down on the cost you incur to lay the paving. This applies to a simple, stamped concrete that does not require too much d├ęcor. If you opt for colouring and a combination of many patterns, the workers will require a little more time for the detailing. For more information, contact a company like Liquid Rock Constructions Pty...

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Tips to Help You Cut Concrete Using an Angle Grinder

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Angle grinders can be used for several purposes, including cutting concrete. This article discusses some useful tips that you should remember as you embark on that DIY project to cut a slot for a window in a thin concrete wall in your home. Mark the Cut Line Ensure that the cut that you will make in the concrete is straight by marking that line in advance. First, use a pencil and a straight edge to demarcate where you would like to cut. Next, use a chisel and a hammer to make a groove along the pencil line that you have just made. The grinder blade will fit snugly into that groove and it will be hard for the cut that you make to stray from that line. Check Your Grip Hold the angle grinder in your hands without turning the machine on. Confirm that you can comfortably handle its weight, and that you have a good grip. The machine shouldn’t feel too heavy at this point because you will need to apply some pressure as you use it to cut the concrete. If you feel strained by the weight of that particular angle grinder, rent or borrow another one that you can handle comfortably. Keep both hands on the angle grinder while you are cutting the concrete. Protect Yourself Do not wear any loose clothes because they may be caught in the machine accidentally. Wear gloves so that you have a better grip on the machine handles. Keep concrete debris out of your eyes by wearing safety goggles. A facemask is also a good item to have because it will protect you from the dust generated during the concrete cutting process. Prepare the Work Area Ensure that there is no obstruction around the work area. Remove any object that you may trip over as you work, such as twigs. The power cord of the angle grinder should never be close to where the blade is facing because it can be cut accidentally. Confirm that there is ample ventilation around the area where you will be working. The tips above should not be looked at as an alternative to the instructions given in the user manual of the angle grinder that you have purchased or rented. Use the tips above as extra measures that you can take to ensure that your project proceeds safely and effectively. For more information on concrete cutting, talk to a...

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Concrete Construction: Selecting an Ideal Core Drill

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Concrete core drilling is an essential process during the construction of pertinent structures. This is a process that is designed to bore the concrete and extract a cylindrical core of the hardened concrete. The material obtained can be utilised in testing the strength and resilience of your new concrete structure after analysis in a specialist laboratory. Additionally, this drilling process is critical in creating pathways for utility networks that will be installed to service the building. These important products include electrical wires, water pipes, data cabling and even sewer drainage lines. Ideally, the drilling task should be performed by a professional concrete cutter, but you can obtain the drilling equipment yourself prior to the task. Here are crucial considerations for choosing the perfect core drill for your concrete project. Drilling Capability  The core drill is designed and manufactured to cut into the concrete and extract a cylindrical piece of the material. When choosing the right drill for your project, it is important to consider the potential size of the extracted core. This will help in ensuring that the holes created in the concrete are suitable for the pertinent applications. The diameter of the core is presented in the form of a range, so inquire about the minimum and maximum measurements for the holes. In addition, it is critical to think about maximum depth for the drill. If there is no equipment with the desired depth, you should acquire barrel bits from your supplier. These are designed to elongate the drilling part of the equipment. Equipment Power There are different forms of power that are utilised in concrete core drills. It is critical to check the types in your rental or purchase shop and compare with the conditions of your work site. Generally, suppliers will provide hydraulic, pneumatic and electric drills. Electric drills are convenient if you can access the supply lines or a generator from the area to be drilled. However, this can be expensive for large-scale drilling in larger buildings. Hydraulic and pneumatic drills harness the power of contained fluid and compressed air respectively, so these are cheaper and more convenient. Additionally, you should consider selecting core drills that can regulate power depending on concrete hardness and core size. Handheld or Mounted You can select handheld or rig-mounted core drilling equipment. The right choice will depend on the scope of the project. Handheld units are appropriate for small-scale residential work while large-scale buildings require rig-mounted alternatives. Moreover, there are intermediary drills that can be handheld or mounted on...

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4 ways to use decorative concrete in your home

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As a versatile and cost-effective building material, concrete is on-trend for a variety of applications in and around the home. Decorative concrete can be customised to suit your needs and tastes, providing an aesthetically pleasing and durable surface without breaking the bank. Here are four ways that you can integrate decorative concrete in your home. Internal flooring While decorative concrete has become a popular choice for driveways and patios, it is still a relatively new solution for internal floors. With a wide range of surface textures, stencil and colouring options, your new decorative concrete kitchen, dining or even living room can be designed to mimic your favourite flooring finish. If you have your heart set on a traditional ceramic or slate tile, but your budget just can’t stretch that far, decorative concrete is a inexpensive alternative that can produce identical aesthetic results. A wood flooring finish can even be created by an experienced professional using acid staining and decorative overlays. Concrete kitchen countertops Assimilating perfectly with the clean lines and style of a modern kitchen, decorative concrete is the perfect surface solution for your kitchen countertops or island bench. Not only do they complement the stainless steel and glass common to contemporary kitchens, the durability of concrete countertops makes them a top contender for the ultimate home cook’s kitchen paradise. As concrete can be dyed and finished with a high gloss epoxy resin, it also makes for a clever alternative to the traditional tiled kitchen backsplash. Bathroom and Laundry As tiling a bathroom or laundry can be a rather costly project, it can feel like a waste of money for an area of the home that is primarily just a functional space. Concrete flooring, wall treatments and even sinks or baths might be the perfect economical answer for your wet areas. After the concrete has been finished with a marine-grade epoxy resin shell, your bathroom or laundry will be robust enough to stand the test of time. You’ll also have a vast range of colour and texture options available, allowing you to customise the appearance of your bathroom or laundry to create a attractively functional space. Shed or garage While decorative concrete driveways are popular, many homeowners overlook the usefulness of decorative concrete as a shed or garage flooring solution. Sheds and garages are often multipurpose spaces- workshops, storage facilities, activity rooms, home bars and even a musician’s studio. Why not imbue this versatile room of your home a little more visual appeal and warmth with a textured decorative concrete floor? If you already have a concrete floor in your shed or garage, consider having it upgraded with customised engraving and stencilling to create an instantly welcoming multiuse room in your home. As you can see, the potential applications for decorative concrete in and around your home are only limited by your imagination. Contact your local decorative concrete contractor today for professional advice and a competitive...

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Questions You Might Have About Concrete Core Drilling and Sawing

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Concrete core drilling refers to cutting rounded holes through concrete, typically done in a home when you need to run new plumbing pipes or electrical conduit through a concrete wall or slab. Concrete sawing can also be needed for when you want to add an egress window in a basement or need something other than a rounded hole drilled through concrete. If you’re a homeowner or even a contractor who may need this type of work done, note a few questions you might have about the work and then discuss these with a concrete contractor. 1. Can concrete be drilled underwater? If you have a bridge or causeway on your property or are a contractor needing to make repairs to such a structure, you may need to drill through its foundation. Underwater storage tanks may also need drilling for patching or replacement. Whatever the reason, note that some concrete cutters may have hydraulic motors that can work underwater. Don’t assume that you can’t have the concrete cut or drilled as needed but note that even concrete that’s underwater can usually be repaired by a contractor with the right equipment. 2. What is the width or depth of the cut or drill? Concrete drillers and cutters will have a wide variety of drill bits and blades for the work you need to have done, but note that they may also be able to access the concrete that needs cutting or drilling from both sides. If, for example, you need a basement wall cut through for an egress window and your concrete slab has been underpinned or is otherwise thicker than normal, a concrete contractor may be able to cut it from both the inside and outside. This can allow them to make the cut all the way through the foundation safely and easily. Never assume that any concrete is too thick or too deep for a cut but note that concrete contractors may be able to offer a solution for drilling or sawing that you need done. 3. What if only a section of concrete needs to be cut away and not drilled? If you just need to remove an outer layer of concrete in order to perform repairs or patchwork, you may want to ask about concrete slot cutting. This refers to taking out a section of concrete on just the upper layer rather than cutting or drilling all the way through. Most concrete contractors will be able to cut slots or recessed areas of concrete just as easily as they drill all the way through, so don’t hesitate to ask about this service if this is what you really need....

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Questions Many Homeowners Have About Concrete Countertops

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Concrete countertops are becoming a popular option for homeowners today, as concrete is very affordable and very eco-friendly. It can be painted, stamped, or stained to look like just about any other material, including stone or polished glass. If you’ve been thinking about new countertops in your kitchen, note some questions you might have about concrete as an option and then discuss these with a concrete contractor. 1. Is concrete safe for a kitchen? You might associate concrete with being dirty, simply because it’s often used for driveways and walkways, but concrete is just as safe as any other material when it comes to your kitchen countertops. Also note that concrete needs to be sealed regularly to protect it from cracks and damage, and you can opt for a food-grade sealant for your countertops in the kitchen. This will provide a safe environment in which you can cook. 2. Are concrete countertop difficult to clean? Don’t assume that concrete is tough to clean because you have a hard time getting oil stains out of your driveway floor; the sealant you use on kitchen countertops will protect concrete and make it no more difficult to clean than laminate countertops. You want to avoid using anything that might scratch the surface of the countertops when it comes to cleaning; this would include wire scrubbing pads and brushes. However, if you use nothing more than soft, damp cloths for your kitchen countertops, they should stay clean and in good condition at all times. 3. How long do concrete countertops last? Concrete is very durable when it’s been sealed properly; your concrete countertops should last indefinitely, even for the life of your home. You may need to have the finish touched up if you didn’t seal the concrete properly and it suffered cracks or scratches on the surface, but the material itself is very durable. 4. Why call a contractor to install concrete countertops? There are kits you can buy to make your own concrete countertops, but one reason to leave this job to a professional is that concrete is very heavy. A contractor will want to check the structure of your home and ensure your kitchen floor can manage the added weight of concrete countertops without buckling or cracking. It also takes some skill to create painted or stamped concrete that looks like marble or buffed glass, and a contractor will have more experience in these techniques than most homeowners. To ensure your countertops are safe and look their best, it’s good to call a concrete contractor, such as...

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