Repairing for your concrete doesn’t just mean replacing it when it seems like you’re dealing with moisture damage. Sometimes it means getting ahead of that damage when signs of it first start to appear. Nasty smells and standing water can often indicate that something’s wrong with your concrete, but you can also watch the concrete itself for signs of trouble. Concrete that’s started to pit, stain, or flake is often concrete that needs repairing, if only on a superficial level. Luckily, the professional contractors serving Colorado Springs and Denver, CO, can walk you through the process of repairing this damage while also helping you get ahead of more substantial structural losses.
Pitting, Flaking, and Staining: The Basics
Pitting, flaking, and stained concrete never looks good, but it doesn’t pose an immediate threat to the overall integrity of your home. Instead, it suggests you may have to contend with more substantial damage later down the line.
Distinguishing these forms of damage from temporary aesthetic changes in your concrete can be a challenge. Each of these forms of damage, however, has distinct features that will help you tell them apart. These include:
Pitting – Pitting is often mistaken for spalling, or the discoloration of concrete inside of or outside of your home. Traditional pitting resembles, as the name suggests, the generation of small, often interconnected holes in your concrete. These holes will typically only permeate a level or so of your concrete, never revealing the dirt or ground underneath the concrete unless they’ve been growing for some time. Spalling, comparatively, typically sees the top layer of your concrete discolored without the presence of small holes.
Flaking – Homeowners can often confuse spalling and flaking as well. Spalling, as mentioned, usually involves the discoloration and damaging of the first layer of a concrete structure. Flaking, comparatively, digs deeper. Concrete that’s started to flake will often develop large gaps in its upper several layers. These gaps can often be dangerous if you live in a home with residents who have difficulty maneuvering from one place to another.
Stains – If you fail to seal your concrete, you may start to see it change color. Mild changes, like the lightening of certain patches, can be attributed to spalling. However, more significant changes, like the development of rust-colored patches throughout your concrete, often indicate some manner of acid retention within the concrete. This can be the result of exposure to highly acidic groundwater or acid rain. It can also be a result of chemical runoff, should you happen to live in an area that sees significant use of pesticides or other similar products.
The Causes Behind Pitting, Flaking, and Staining
There are a few different forces that can cause your concrete to start showing signs of wear. These include but are not limited to:
Cold temperatures have the most immediate impact on the overall structural integrity of the concrete around your property. As the temperature drops, the molecules making up your concrete shrink. However, when your concrete faces a sharp drop in temperature as opposed to a measured one, the molecules can come under a significant amount of stress.
That stress is what causes the bulk of the pits in your concrete to first appear. Similarly, colder temperatures can cause your concrete to become brittle, resulting in the aforementioned flaking. If cold water stays on top of your concrete for an extended period of time, either icing over or sitting in place, it can cause discoloration that results in staining.
Moisture is the number one enemy of concrete, be it freshly laid or on the older side. Forces like hydrostatic pressure can weaken concrete on a molecular level, opening it up to all manner of damage. This includes pitting, flaking, and stains but also extends to cracks and sinking, should the initial damage go overlooked for an extended period of time.
Pits and flaking tend to appear when moisture has first made its way into absorbent concrete. Should the temperature, as mentioned, drop sharply or otherwise start to fluctuate, that water can cause your concrete to experience intense changes on a molecular level. Rapid changes can put your concrete under a significant amount of stress. Just as that stress is starting to set in, you’ll begin to see pits and a bit of brittleness on the top layer of your concrete. At this point, especially if you suspect that moisture plays a starring role in your concrete’s decay, you’ll want to reach out to area professionals for repair guidance ASAP.
Mistakes Made During Construction
The team who initially laid your concrete may have also made a few mistakes while they were doing their job. Concrete, despite its reputation, is complicated. It requires a certain amount of moisture to cure appropriately or it may become brittle. Similarly, it’s possible for a construction team to cut concrete before it’s completely cured, making its edges more brittle than they might otherwise be.
Those mistakes during the construction phase tend to lend themselves to different kinds of early damage. Brittle concrete, for example, is going to be more prone to flaking than concrete that’s appropriately cured.
There are times when your concrete has started to wear away due to age. If the people who originally owned your property failed to protect your concrete, or if you forewent a sealant upon moving into your new property, that concrete’s going to be more vulnerable to the elements. Even the strongest of sealants can wear away over time as well, meaning that any family that failed to stay up to date with their concrete care may see pits, stains, or flaking in the years following their first sealant application.
This kind of damage, in some ways, is unavoidable. No matter what, your concrete is going to age. However, if you make a point of repairing or protecting your concrete on a regular basis, you can avoid the worst of this kind of damage for years at a time.
Getting Rid of Pitting, Flaking, and Staining
Just as there are a few different ways for your concrete to suffer damage, there are a few different ways to get rid of that kind of damage. You can opt to resurface your damaged concrete if you think that only the first few layers of the structure in question have suffered damage. Resurfacing your concrete doesn’t have to be a lengthy process. Instead, professionals in your area can use polymer cement to create a new top layer for your concrete. This cement can cure in a relatively short period of time, meaning you can get back to taking care of the rest of your home in little to no time at all.
If, however, you feel that the damage that’s been done to your concrete is more significant, you have the option of tearing out the structure in question and repouring it in full. This process works best if you’ve had problems with your concrete before, either due to an initial uneven pour or the growth of errant tree roots in the area. The professionals in your area can walk you through the removal process and help you decide whether you want to invest in protective measures after the new cure is finished.
Note that you should not attempt to fix pits, flaking, or staining without professional guidance. The professionals serving Colorado Springs and Denver, CO, can help you procure the materials and tools you need to clean up your concrete in no time at all, meaning you won’t have to go through the process of researching what you’ll need and buying it on your own time. Similarly, area contractors have experience working with pits, flaking, and stains, meaning they’ll be able to restore your concrete to its original—or better—condition without compromising the integrity of any other structural elements on your property.
Protecting Your Concrete from Pitting, Flaking, and Staining
If you’re not sure where to start, when it comes to protecting your driveway, pool deck, or other types of concrete from the above type of damage, don’t worry. You can work with the professionals in your area to discuss what kind of measures might help you avoid having to deal with this kind of wear and tear.
If you’re concerned about the conditions inside of your home, you can install a wide variety of waterproofing measures. Everything from vapor barriers to sump pumps to waterproof insulation can help create a barrier between your concrete slab and the moisture or cooler temperatures trying to make their way inside of your home.
You can also waterproof or otherwise protect the concrete structures you have elsewhere around your property. Talk with area professionals to determine whether you can seal off your concrete with waterproof sealant. This sealant will not only drive water away from your concrete, but it will also create a barrier between your concrete and the elements, limiting the impact colder weather can have on the integrity of your deck, driveway, or other structure.
Concrete Pitting, Flaking, and Staining
Your concrete slab and the concrete fixtures around your property can pose a threat to your family’s well-being if they’re allowed to suffer extensive damage. Pitting, flakes, and stains may not seem like an immediate cause for concern, but if you leave them alone, they can easily worsen. Even before these conditions evolve, they can lower the overall value of your home, making it more difficult to sell.
Selling a Home with Damaged Concrete
Putting a home with damaged concrete on the market isn’t impossible. It can, however, be difficult. If you don’t make a point of repairing your home’s damaged concrete, you may have to list as much on the ad you put out for your home. This is always the case if the damage has caused your foundation or concrete slab to slip; however, you may be able to get away with not listing pitting in your initial advertisement.
However, there’ll be no hiding any pitting, stains, or flaking when families start to make their way out to your property. In these cases, if you refuse to take care of the damage at hand, you risk losing up to 30 percent of your home’s market value.
Caring for Your Family
Damaged concrete poses two dangers to your family, especially if you allow the damage to fester. First, it can make it more difficult for those parties who have trouble getting from place to place to maneuver outside of or throughout your home. Pits, in particular, can catch walkers’ feet or mobility aids, generally making your home less pleasant to maneuver around. This kind of damage can also evolve into the kinds of cracks or decay that can make a driveway or sidewalk unusable over time.
Second, damaged concrete can easily become an incubator for all manner of molds, many of which can cause your family to start suffering from respiratory problems. Your family doesn’t have to have a recorded history of these conditions. Instead, long-term exposure to allergenic, pathogenic, and toxigenic molds can make those residents who come into contact with them suffer from coughs, new allergies, and weaker lungs. Even if the mold growth appears outside of your home, their spores will have an easier time getting into your HVAC system, where they can wreak havoc for the whole of your family.
Pits, flakes, and stains may not seem like they’re doing much damage to your concrete. If you let these conditions sit for an extended period of time, though, they can weaken your concrete to the point where it can start taking on additional damage. The longer you wait to act, the more likely it is that you’ll have to contend with structural damage either outside or inside of your home.
Dealing with Pits, Flakes, and Stains
Your concrete tends to pit, for starters, when it ages or comes into contact with conditions that cause it to weaken on a molecular level. Salt and long-term exposure to moisture or ice can cause your concrete to discolor as it does when it spalls or stains. You can also trace flaking back to concrete’s long-term exposure to colder temperatures. If you work with professionals to properly seal your concrete upon first having it laid or otherwise moving to a new property, then you may not have to deal with these conditions all that often.
If you notice pits, flakes, or stains starting to appear across your concrete, you’ll want to act quickly. These symptoms are some of the first indicators that your concrete may be weakening or that it lacks the protection to fight off the worst effects of hydrostatic pressure. You can get in touch with the professionals in your area to discuss potential repairs as well as the measures worth investing in to prevent similar damage from appearing in the future.
Other Signs of Damage to Watch For
Pitting, flakes, and stains can all indicate that something’s wrong with your concrete, but they’re not the only signs of damage you may have to contend with. Other signs of concrete damage you’ll want to keep an eye out for include but are not limited to:
- Unpleasant smells inside or outside of your house
- Visible cracks near the joints of your home
- Brittle or decaying concrete edges
- Damage to your walls
- A cracked chimney
- Infestations inside of your home
- Mold growth
These signs tend to show up when moisture makes itself at home inside of or around your concrete. That said, moisture—or hydrostatic pressure—isn’t the only force that can work against the structural integrity of your home. You can work with the professionals in your area to determine whether the moisture you’re dealing with is the cause of your damage or if it’s a symptom of expanding soils, tree root growth, or another influence.
Pits, flakes, and stains aren’t all that fun to look at when they appear on your concrete. If you’re concerned about the cost of potential repairs, you may find yourself questioning whether or not professional repairs are worth it. Even if you do decide to move forward with a fix, you may forgo professional assistance and try your hand at DIY repairs. Unfortunately, while DIY repairs can be gratifying, they can also do more damage to both your repair budget and your concrete than you anticipate.
The Cost of DIY Repairs
When you repair pits, flakes, and stains, you often have to invest first in a concrete repour or patch, then in a concrete sealant to prevent the damage from reappearing. While this may not make it seem as though you need a lot of materials to get the work done, you’d be surprised. Before you start your DIY project, you’ll need to take into account the amount of concrete you need to repair your pits, flakes, and stains, as well as what tools you’ll need to safely mix and spread it. You’ll also have to do some digging to find a concrete sealant that you can apply without professional guidance. If you don’t plan on doing this kind of work again in the future, then you may find yourself purchasing several single-use tools or dealing with an overage of materials you don’t know what to do with.
All those materials and tools are going to cost you a pretty penny even before you get started on your repair work. As you kick off your patches, you may find yourself making mistakes and either damaging your tools or rushing through your supply of concrete and sealant alike. Replacing these tools and materials due to mistakes made on the job can run up your budget even faster, leading you to rapidly exceed the means you set aside for this kind of project. Professionals, comparatively, have the experience and the tools on hand to start repairing your concrete in little to no time at all, making it all the simpler for them to stay within your preferred budget.
Mistakes and Their Impacts
Making mistakes during a DIY project isn’t the end of the world. Those mistakes, however, can be both costly and a threat to your concrete’s structural integrity during pit and flake repair work. The pits, flakes, and stains in your concrete typically indicate that your concrete’s come into contact with some manner of moisture over the past few months. That moisture is in the process, at this point, of stressing your concrete to the point where, in the future, you may find yourself contending with cracks, fractures, and significant structural damage.
If you make a mistake while trying to repair your concrete, you may think you’ve prevented future concrete damage while, in reality, you’ve accidentally covered it up. That damage will have more time to worsen after you’ve finished your work, as you won’t feel the need to look your concrete over for additional damage. The longer you let that damage sit, the worse it’s likely to get. Professionals, comparatively, know how to address pitting, flaking, and staining on a structural level, eliminating the forces that have caused your concrete to decay while also restoring the look of your concrete. When you rely on professionals, you can rest easy knowing that your concrete will be in good shape for years to come.
Have a Professional Look Over Your Concrete
Have you noticed pits, stains, or flakes on top of your concrete? You may be contending with the early signs of concrete water damage. To repair that damage and to get ahead of the kind of forces that can disrupt your concrete’s structural integrity, reach out to the professionals serving Colorado Springs and Denver, CO, who can work with you to determine what kind of repairs might suit your property best. Once you contact us for a free inspection, you can walk away with a free quote noting what services you may need to restore your concrete.