Residential Concrete

A Warning to Homeowners:

 Not All Concrete is the Same

Not all concrete is the same.  Concrete leaves a concrete plant the same, whether for a residential project or a commercial project. But, something happens in residential projects that almost never occurs in commercial projects: water is added at the jobsite.  Excess water weakens the concrete mix, and sets up your driveway and sidewalks to fail when exposed to winter conditions.  The water-to-cement ratio is a very critical ratio. When it is exceeded, the concrete is considered defective. When the contractor causes the ratio to be off, the concrete provider will not warranty the concrete.

So why do concrete contractors add water?  Quite simply, it makes it easier to move around. (You’d be surprised how many contractors don’t know how much this practice damages concrete!) A standard 3000 psi mixture should never exceed a 4-inch slump, but a 4-inch slump is very hard to move around once it comes off the truck.  So, the contractor adds 15-25 gallons of water to loosen it up.  It makes his job easier, to be sure. But it destroys the structure of the concrete, creating large pores and air pockets that get trapped just beneath the surface.  When the concrete sets, these air bubbles become the places that fill with water and brine. When they freeze, the surface pops off (this is called “spalling” in the concrete world).  

CreteDefender™  WILL NOT PREVENT spalling in concrete that had an excessive water-to-cement ratio.  We highly recommend that you not apply CreteDefender to a residential driveway or sidewalk until it has gone through at least one winter that had 2 or more wet freeze/thaw cycles.  Salt is a slow killer, but it will make itself known quickly if the concrete is sub-standard.  If you decide to apply CreteDefender before your driveway is 2 years old and has been through at least 2 wet freeze/thaw cycles, CreteDefender’s warranty will be null and void.  

CreteDefender works on sound, properly placed concrete.  It will not make good concrete out of bad.  Our experience has been that residential concrete is almost always done incorrectly.  If your concrete is a few years old, and still looks good, consider yourself lucky. CreteDefender will keep it looking great.  If it is new, or you are planning a new pour, please read the article “How to Order Concrete” posted on this site.  You may want to read it anyway, since it has some good information on the mistakes most concrete contractors make when pouring driveways and sidewalks.