[Posted on September 4th, 2013 by Ashley Aguirre Teekell]
Concrete in Houston can be used around a property to create driveways, patios, retaining walls and other structures. Homeowners who are planning this type of project are sure to have some questions and even some concerns. Here are some basic frequently asked questions about concrete work that homeowners should know before hiring a contractor.
Concrete Takes Time to Cure
Concrete in Houston is a beautiful and durable surface, but it does take time to cure. Once the foundation is prepared and the concrete is poured, it should not be walked on until the third day. Homeowners who are investing in extensive concrete work around their home should make sure they still have an entrance and exit to use while the concrete is curing. If a driveway is installed, cars cannot be driven or parked on the concrete until the fifth day.
Pricing is Based on the Individual Project
While concrete suppliers have a set price per square yard, contractors have to base their prices on each individual project. It all depends on the scope of the project and the fine details. Contractors will consider whether there is old concrete to be removed, if the area requires excavating and any other special considerations. Every job is unique, and they all have unique prices.
Concrete Lasts a Long Time
Concrete is an investment that carries a higher initial cost, but it also lasts longer. While wood starts to rot after a few years and gravel has to be replaced regularly, homeowners can expect concrete to last thirty years or longer. It may need a little maintenance, and regular sealing will help it last longer. However, the long life expectancy makes it a very cost-effective option.
The Expansion Lines are Vital
Expansion joints are usually placed at ten-foot intervals to prevent cracking. Most contractors lay out the joints to form nice, neat squares that are appealing as well as functional. This is important on the driveway, and it’s even more important to make sure the lines are properly placed on patios that will see a good deal of use.
Sealing the Driveway Makes it Last Longer
Concrete sealants protect the material by protecting it from the sun’s UV rays, minimizing chemical absorption and preventing water from penetrating the surface. Sealing a driveway is an easy project that most homeowners can handle, and it should be done every few years to protect the driveway and avoid costly repairs.
Driveways Should be at Least Four Inches Thick
Concrete driveways are going to see a lot of use over the years, and they should be able to withstand the pressure. Reputable contractors make them at least four inches thick to ensure longevity. Driveways that go to five inches will cost a little more, but they will also last longer.
Hand Troweled and Broom Finishes are for Different Uses
While both finishes are attractive, hand troweled finished are generally used inside where the surface needs to be hard and completely smooth. Driveways and outdoor surfaces that will be exposed to the weather are generally finished with a broom to create a more slip-resistant surface.
Before hiring a contractor to handle concrete work, it’s wise to know what to expect. These are some of the questions commonly asked of contractors. Concrete is cost-effective and durable, so it’s a great investment for the home. When hiring a contractor, look for one who is licensed, insured, experienced and willing to answer all of the customer’s questions.