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WHY do basement cracks occur?

Concrete-shrinkage-Miramar Concrete Blog

While many times homeowners feel that they received low quality concrete or faulty installation, some cracking is normal in concrete basement walls.  Here's why; volume changes and other movements at an early age result in different kinds of cracks. These cracks can grow if the walls are not properly designed, due to the continued horizontal pressures applied by soils, water, and temperature. Cracking can be minimized and problems prevented if certain design and construction practices are implemented.

Most builders or third-party providers offer limited warranties for basements. A typical warranty will require repair only when cracks leak, have measurable vertical displacement, or if the crack exceeds 1/8-in. (3 mm). The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) requires repair or corrective action when cracks in basement walls create a leak into the basement.

As stated, cracking is not necessarily a sign of poor materials or workmanship, or even a structural problem with the concrete wall. If repair is necessary,  epoxy injection, dry-packing, or routing and sealing can be used to repair and stabilize cracks. Before repairing leaking cracks, the drainage around the structure should be checked and corrected if necessary. Good crack repair techniques depend on knowing the causes and selecting appropriate repair procedures that take these causes into account; otherwise, the repair may only be temporary. Successful long-term repair procedures must address the causes of the cracks as well as the cracks themselves.

Poor construction practices—A wide variety of poor construction practices can result in cracking in concrete structures. Foremost among these is the common practice of adding water to concrete to increase workability. Added water has the effect of reducing strength, increasing settlement, and increasing drying shrinkage. When accompanied by a higher cement content to help offset the decrease in strength, an increase in water content will also mean an increase in the temperature differential between the interior and exterior portions of the structure, resulting in increased thermal stresses and possible cracking.

A very in-depth report and additional reference information can be found at the American Concrete Institute.

concrete maintenance

Concrete Maintenance

In most cases concrete is a durable, long lasting product without maintenance. That's why so many people are surprised when the subject of maintaining concrete is brought up.

Properly maintaining concrete, however, can greatly extend the life-cycle of the concrete and the appearance of the concrete. While plain concrete can look clean and bright-instead of oil stained and grimy. Decorative Concrete can look the same after years of enjoyment, just as it did when it was brand new.

So not only do things keep looking good, just importantly, properly maintaining the concrete protects your investment in the concrete, particularly if you've incurred the expense of installing decorative concrete.

Keeping Concrete Looking Like New Consists of Four (4) Steps

Cleaning Concrete on a Regular Basis (at least once per year)
• Removes normal dirt and grime build up
• Removes rust or other stains

Repairing Cracks in Concrete
To maintain a structurally sound surface (and new appearance) while minimizing water leakage through the cracks which can cause problems with the sub grade and potentially bigger issues.

Sealing Joints in the Concrete
• Minimizes water intrusion through the joints
• Eliminates dirt collection in the joints
• Eliminates opportunistic weeds from sprouting through the joints

Sealing the Concrete Surface
• Repels water
• Dust proofs the surface
• Makes surface abrasion resistant
• Helps protect the concrete surface from UV sunlight

For Decorative Concrete
The same steps as above will apply, but it is strongly suggested you follow any special instructions you were given by  the manufacturing installer of your surfaces.

For instance, if you used a concrete topping or dressing, or a certain brand of colored concrete, or a spray on decorative finish, again, contact the installer to check what works best for their products.

A Concrete Means To Elevate Your Miramar's Home Profile

 

Increasingly,  property owners looking for an economical means to make their home a lot more habitable and also increase curb appeal with an eye toward resale and are embracing the nationwide fad of creating outdoor space.

These areas normally feature spaces for enjoying time with friends and family while barbecuing, entertaining, and unwinding. That often suggests an area for a patio, a grill, a fireplace or a sink and kitchen prep area. Some consider it as including a family room and kitchen without the roofing.

For numerous, the structure strategy of option when creating these rooms asks for utilizing segmental concrete paving. This strategy uses interlacing units-called concrete pavers-that are solid, long lasting and are growing in popularity worldwide.

Frequently made use of in walkways, patio areas, plazas and historical repair tasks, pavers are produced in a range of appearances, colors and also forms and also can be easily removed and reinstalled.

One kind of home-improvement job where pavers are increasingly being used is an elevated outdoor patio. These patio areas are known for their resilience and can create a new feeling of area in a yard, especially when matching up with an existing deck. Such rooms can be utilized as an exterior home entertainment area, full with hot tub or barbeque pit.

There are a number of reasons why pavers have actually come to be preferred in jobs such as these:

• Their consistent size and also top quality enable them to fit tightly together for a strong, interlocking surface.

• Paver joints allow for a small amount of motion without breaking. That indicates they will not crack like asphalt or poured-in-place concrete.

• Their style makes them easy to repair and also set up

• They're offered in a wide array of shades, structures and also shapes.

• And they can be installed by either an expert or a competent do-it-yourselfer.

Among the newest styles provides the premium look of rock for a much more moderate rate. Called "rolled" or "antiqued" pavers, they can be used to add a stately look to a pathway, patio or driveway.

One kind of home-improvement task where pavers are significantly being used is an increased outdoor patio. - Paver joints allow for a tiny quantity of movement without fracturing.

Outdoor Kitchen Pavers Miramar
Firepit pavers miramar

DIY Concrete Projects and When to Call a Professional

If you’re planning to put in a new concrete driveway, patio, or other surfaces, you might be considering pouring the concrete yourself. Unfortunately, it’s not uncommon to run into practical and aesthetic issues, or even safety concerns, when pouring concrete yourself.

Keep reading to find out what you need to know before you start your own DIY concrete project and when you should call a professional.

Pouring Concrete Yourself: What Can Go Wrong

Pouring your own concrete is a lot more complicated than laying pavers, spreading gravel, or even pouring asphalt. Doing it correctly requires knowledge, skill, and careful planning, along with the right materials, tools, and equipment.

While pouring your own concrete is doable in certain situations, it’s important to do plenty of research to make sure it’s something you want to tackle yourself. Here are some common DIY concrete mistakes you’ll want to avoid:

Improper Preparation

Excavating the area with a shovel and clearing plants and debris is not enough to prepare a site for pouring concrete. If your concrete is sitting on top of loose soil, it will quickly start to crack, crumble, and degrade as the soil settles.

To achieve a long-lasting concrete surface and avoid cracks, it’s important to create a firm base. This involves using a plate compactor to make sure the soil is tightly packed, carefully leveling the surface, and building, installing, and leveling forms (borders).

Weather Conditions

Weather conditions (like rain and wind) can damage your concrete in the hours and days after you pour it. It’s also important to consider the long-term effects of your area’s climate on your concrete’s durability and appearance.

If you live in an area with freeze/thaw conditions in winter, you’ll want to make sure you use air-entrained concrete to prevent cracking, scaling, and crumbling over time.

The Wrong Tools

Using the wrong tools can leave you with an uneven surface and lead to bumps, holes, and cracks. Strong, heavy-duty tools are necessary when working with concrete since wooden or plastic tools can snap while you work. Since pouring concrete is time-sensitive, it’s critical that you have everything you need on hand before you begin mixing your concrete.

Here are the most important tools you need:

  • Large wheelbarrow to transport your concrete
  • Concrete mixer (electric mixers are most efficient)
  • Bull float or darby to flatten the wet surface
  • Magnesium float to smooth bumps
  • Heavy-duty concrete groover for installing control joints
  • Broom or concrete brush to create enough texture to avoid a slippery finish

The Wrong Amount of Water

One of the most common DIY concrete mistakes is using the wrong amounts of water and dry concrete. The ratio of water to dry concrete in your mixture is very important to the appearance and durability of your concrete surface. Wet concrete should not be runny or chunky, but smooth and malleable.

It’s common for homeowners to add too much water to the mixture because softening the concrete makes it easier to work with. But even a small excess of water tends to weaken your concrete mixture, leading to a runny, uneven pour and compromising the strength of your concrete.

Insufficient Safety Precautions

There’s a reason that the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has specific safety standards for construction workers. Any time you’re working with heavy equipment and potentially hazardous tools and materials, it’s important to take safety precautions.

Concrete is a relatively safe material to work with. That being said, it’s important to protect your eyes, ears, respiratory system, and skin when mixing and pouring concrete. You also want to be careful lifting heavy items to prevent injury.

At a minimum, you should have the following when mixing and pouring concrete:

  • Long pants and sleeves
  • Safety glasses, sunglasses, or other eye protection
  • Earplugs or other ear protection (when operating heavy equipment)
  • Alkali-resistant gloves
  • Work or rubber boots
  • Face mask
  • Soap and water nearby to wash skin and rinse eyes if necessary

When to Call a Professional

The best way to make sure you end up with high-quality, durable, and aesthetically pleasing concrete is to work with a team of knowledgeable, experienced professionals who are local to your area and know your climate.

If you’re pouring a basic slab of concrete on level ground in the middle of a mild, dry summer, you may be able to handle it yourself. You’re most likely better off calling a professional if any of the following are true for you:

  • You’re unsure of what you want or need
  • You have a particular (or custom) design, color, or texture in mind
  • You’re dealing with a slope or uneven ground
  • You don’t have the right tools

If you just don’t feel comfortable doing it yourself for any reason, contacting a professional is the way to go!

Are you looking for a professional concrete company you can trust? Have questions about your project?

With many years experience working with decorative concrete, Miramar Concrete Contractors offer customized solutions and can promise you a safe, clean, and timely process. Whether you’re looking to replace your old, cracked concrete driveway, install a new pool deck, or design a unique custom porch with incorporated lighting, we’ll give you a beautiful, functional result that will last for years to come.

Call us today at (954) 329-0244 or contact us online to get a free estimate.