This month’s dramatically falling temperatures and heavy freezes won’t damage concrete patios and driveways if the concrete was installed correctly. Unfortunately, too many homeowners will find themselves faced with cracked concrete next spring.

“Most concrete is not done properly,” says Lowell Russell, the owner of Lowell Russell Concrete in Lakeville, MN. While some types of cold-weather damage can be repaired, depending on the condition of the concrete, “in extreme cases, it will need to be replaced.”

“Concrete that looks just as good after a Minnesota winter as it did before has several characteristics, including proper control joints, proper reinforcing and a proper Class 5 (gravel) base” explains Russell.

Proper control joints will prevent damage to the concrete from frost heaving, the result of pressure created from a combination of freezing temperatures and soil defrosting. Frost heaving is the main cause of cold-weather damage to concrete patios, pathways, driveways and other surfaces. “If the proper control joints were used when the concrete was installed, the concrete will settle back in its original position once the frost goes out” says Russell.

Curing is another of the most important steps in concrete construction, and when it’s done properly, the concrete’s strength and durability are greatly increased. Curing concrete is the term used for stopping freshly poured concrete from drying out too quickly.

Concrete hardens as a result of hydration, the chemical reaction between cement and water. However, hydration occurs only if water is available and if the concrete’s temperature stays within a suitable range. During the curing period, usually from five to seven days after placement for conventional concrete, the surface needs to be kept moist to permit the hydration process.

“Concrete must be properly cured before a deep freeze” says Russell. Once the temperature drops below 60 degrees, the professionals at Lowell Russell Concrete place frost blankets on newly poured concrete to ensure proper curing. And that’s just one of the many important steps they take to make sure that you’re completely satisfied with your new concrete surface.

For additional information, or if you would like an estimate on a project, give Lowell Russell Concrete a call today!