Repairing Stamped Concrete

I have written a few articles about repairing stamped concrete and how the use of color hardener as opposed to integral color makes repairs possible to the degree that you can not tell that there was any damage in the first place. The pictures accompanying this article are of my driveway in New Jersey where County and State road departments insist on using road brine to melt snow. Unfortunately it works fine for them but is creating a nightmare for people with concrete driveways and Decorative concrete driveways. Even sealers that are generally used to protect the concrete are of no use. Brine goes through the sealer and attacks the concrete surface and deteriorates it. I first started noticing this on a driveway in Spring Lake, New Jersey at a house that the driveway was stamped in 2005. Never in my 28 years in the business at that time had anyone called me to say their driveway was peeling, especially after 6-7 years.

Upon a visit to his home I noticed that his SUV was parked in the area of the damage. My assumption was that it was salt damage. Inspecting my driveway closely where I parked my truck I also noticed peeling and popping occurring. I had to find a way to repair these issues but make the repairs totally perfect.

I have built a reputation in the industry of being capable of solving about any problem. Both in the U.S. and abroad.

Together with our in house colorist we began to work on our driveway stone by stone identifying what colors were used and on each stone that was damaged and using color hardener with a modified concrete that we

Together with our in house colorist we began to work on our driveway stone by stone identifying what colors were used and on each stone that was damaged and using color hardener with a modified concrete that we created were able to get and EXACT match.2014-04-26 06.21.21 IMAG0570

Please notice how dull the before picture colors were. This was due to removal of the sealer. Once new sealer was applied the colors popped.

Go to http://www.split-rok.com to see other examples of our work. This job is L.M. Scofield color hardeners

 

Resealing Stamped or Colored Concrete

I know that many articles have been written regarding this topic but I feel it necessary to write this to promote what I feel needs to be more clearly addressed regarding the proper preparation and application of sealers.
Some of this may sound redundant but I can assure you that this post is being written to make more clear what is an extremely costly risk you are taking with a cavalier approach to resealing your concrete.
Years ago we at Split-Rok Construction could and did instruct our clients who were handy around the house on how to apply new sealer. Very easy to do and effective whether done by us or them provided they followed simple rules of application. Today that is not the case due to Government intervention into the sealer industry trying to prevent Volatile Organic Compounds from going into the atmosphere. Their mandate was to replace one type of solvent with another in HOPE that this would produce the desired result. Yes I am a fan of protecting the Earth at a reasonable cost but this was not well researched and therefore has done more to hurt my industry than would have hurt the environment if better thought out. The result of this poorly planned and unnecessary restriction has caused problems that have resulted in making beautifully installed stamped concrete turn white and hazy after application as a result of changing solvents.
The main mistake being made is assuming that we can, Apply new sealer over old thinking that Sealer is Sealer. This is longer the case since VOC sealers do not commingle well with Non-VOC sealers.
Unfortunately and fortunately there is a solution but it can be costly to perform but absolutely necessary to assure a good result. Removal of ALL old sealer by use of Water Sandblasting and thorough rinsing prior to new sealer being applied in thin coats. Thin coats seem to insure a good application result.
Very important to have ALL sealer removed and area be clean and dry and only apply sparingly. If applied to thick you risk to thick a coat and the same problem you had at the start comes back.
Sounds more tricky than it is but its very doable. Preparation is the key.

Should anyone reading this need more clarity about this process I can be reached by going to our site http://www.split-rok.com and drop me an email.

Thank you for your interest.
Ted Mechnick
Split-Rok Construction Company

USE COLOR HARDENER FOR THE BEST REPAIRS ON STAMPED CONCRETE

Damaged Stamped Concrete Driveway
This was damaged by a Township Snow Plow
Repaired Stamped Concrete Driveway
Repaired Stamped Concrete Driveway

We have been promoting the use of Color Hardener as opposed to Integral Color for years. The attached pictures show why we feel that it is the best method of coloring Decorative Stamped Concrete.

This corner of the driveway of a client of ours was damaged as a result of a Township snow plow. Naturally our client was more than upset. She had spent a lot of money on her Stamped Concrete driveway and expected to get many years of use out of it along with having it look great for years.

If this job had been installed using Integral Color (Liquid Color in the Concrete Truck) the repair could not be done in a way that would match. The reason is that Integral Color from one load of concrete to the next is hard enough to match and if a job is years old, as this one is, it would likely be next to impossible to match although with our years of experience we have done it but it can be costly. Working with color is hard enough but matching colors is an Art Form.

Those using Integral Color claim that if you get a chip in your concrete that since the color goes all the way through, if chipped it will not be noticeable.  I for one would not be sold on that idea for the following reasons.

Even if the color goes all the way through who wants to look at a chip and especially a large one like that shown here. Furthermore those using Integral Color never tell you that although the color goes all the way through there are dark grey stone that show once the surface is compromised.

All the Stamped Concrete that Split-Rok Construction Company installs is done using Color Hardeners. Look at this repair and you can see why we use it and can Warrantee our work for life. No questions asked. Cracks or chips no matter since we document all jobs as to how they were installed and what colors we used to ensure that should damage occur that we can fix it.

Over the 27 years in this business, if memory serves me a have had to repair about  8 jobs. Even though in those cases the fault was not ours like this one, we repair damage like this free of charge. WHY! because at Split-Rok Construction we have always subscribed to the Old Fashioned way of doing business. We always GO THE EXTRA MILE and give people more than they ask for and want our work to always be the best that we are capable of delivering.

This is why we have been recognized as an Industry Leader since 1985.

Look at the Crack Repair on the other page on this blog. Gone

If you are going to invest to money in a beautiful Stamped Concrete Driveway, Patio or walk insist that Color Hardener be used and get a Warantee.

The cost of using Color Hardener might run a bit morebut this can easily be justified. It will last much longer with limited fading and if damaged it can easily be repaired to it’s original look. Don’t forget reseal when needed. Usually every 3-4 years. DO NOT overseal. It will cause problems.

Visit us on www.split-rok.com or www.resealconcrete.com. And please come back regularly to our blog for other interesting concrete related information.

Please be aware that we at Split-Rok Construction will always assist anyone who has a concrete related issue whether the job was installed by us or not. No matter where in this World that you live we would like to be helpful. I recently helped a person in the Mideast with a driveway that he was installing. Our reach has no boundries and niether does our knowledge base. If I don’t have an answer to you question I am sure that I can find one. for you.

Thank you for visiting The Concrete Professor

Ted Mechnick

Basement Renovations and Man Caves

Today more than ever before a basement is used for more than a place to keep stuff, do wash or keep the water heater for your home.

In this tough economic environment people are not as quick to move to a new home but in some cases have a need to make their home more livable by adding more livable space.

If a  family is one with a lot of kids or a husband of wife who just need a space to decompress after a tough day, the basement can become a refuge for them or a place to have your kids and their friends to hang out. A basement renovation can be the solution to capture more livable space without the hassle and the expense of moving to achieve that goal.

Even if the space is old  there are many things that can be done to turn what might be a non-livable space into another comfortable room or rooms. Concrete floors can be leveled,polished,stained or dyed and even stamped with a Decorative Impression to simulate stone, slate, brick, etc. A bathroom, office or family entertainment room could be added.

There are limitless possibilities of what can be done with a basement if you hire someone who can patiently listen to your ideas and guide you in the right direction to bring your dream to life.

Block walls can be gone over with Decorative Plaster to simulate an old world feel like that of an Old Wine Cellar with hints of stone showing here and there to simulate the look of a plastered stone wall. Cracks can even be added to give it an old look. Floors can be refurbished to look new again using overlays or by grinding and polishing.

PLEASE NOTE: Moisture content in concrete floors in a basement can be a problem but can be easily addressed if the Contractor is familiar with moisture testing methods that need to be used prior to installing any of the above mentioned applications. Please in any case where there is excess moisture present put down carpeting. Moisture gets trapped under the carpet pad and can allow a great environment for toxic mold to grow. This can create a health hazard to your family. Always have a moisture test performed before overlaying or polishing. Area rugs can be used if the moisture problem has been corrected by using a moisture barrier.

Windows that are generally small can be enlarged to add more light into the space to make it feel less like you are in a basement.

A lighting professional can also help in making the space more livable.

Access from the outdoors can also be added using a Bilco Door leading to an entry door that can be locked as you would your front door. This allows access to the basement without coming through the upstairs living area. This is a nice touch if you have a backyard pool or are having a party and want to access a basement bathroom so that guests are not going through the house with wet bathing suits on.

Anyone with a bit of imagination like our designers at Split-Rok Construction can, after meeting with you determine how you would like to use the space. We can then direct you as to how that can happen.

We also have a group of reputable quality centered professionals that can handle any phase of what is needed to achieve this goal. They like us are passionate about what they do and bring years of experience andvision to your project.

Any basement can be turned into more than a catch-all with a little imagination and artistic vision provided that you clearly know what you would like.

Don’t move just improve is our motto.

As Americans we are always improving. We never seem to sit idle. It’s no longer necessary to move to make things better. You can remodel and give your home a whole new feel.

Ted Mechnick (The Concrete Professor) and Owner of Split-Rok Construction

You can contact me at Ted@split-rok.com for any help you might need related to this topic.

The Best Stamped Concrete Installation Process

Split-Rok Construction has been in the Stamped Concrete business for the past 26 years and we are recognized as not only an Industry Leader in this field but recognized both Nationally and Globally as an Authority in The Decorative Concrete Industry.
Although there are many articles that promote the idea of using Integral Color as the type of concrete to be used for Stamped Concrete for the following reason I am writing this to inform those who are thinking of using it as to its Limitations.
Statement of Installer:
The color mixed throughout the entire load insures that should you get a chip or gouge
in your Stamped Concrete will not be that noticeable since the color goes all the way through.
Although the color does go all the way through the mix there are many downsides to its use and disadvantages long-term that may insure that what you paid for today might and will likely not be even close to what it will look like in the future.
ADVANTAGES OF USING COLOR HARDENER vs. INTEGRAL COLOR
Color Hardener as its name implies is a Hardener with Pigment added to give you a more dramatic Artistic and Realistic look that will be able to last and be repaired should that be necessary to do so should some mishap such as Chipping, or gouging occur.
This is possible since we at Split-Rok Construction Company document all colors used on your projects and can easily match colors years later if a repair is needed. Usually at no cost to you if it is minor.  THIS CANNOT BE DONE WITH INTERGRAL COLOR. You have to live with imperfections.
Ask yourself?
Do you expect your Stamped Concrete to look as great years later, provided you maintain it? Of course you do. You spent your hard-earned money for something that should last the test of time. Unfortunately the truth may come to visit that Integral Colored Concrete fades more dramatically than Color Hardened Concrete and if you have any damaged areas like chips or gouges you likely have to live with them due to the inability to match the color to repair them.
It’s next to impossible to match Integral Color years later if not only weeks later.
The use of Color Hardeners remove the following possible problems that may occur in installing Stamped Concrete with Integral Color.
1.      Mismatched Colors from load to load due to improper mixing of Integral Color
2.      Colors that fade. I have installed jobs 10-15 years ago with Color Hardener with little or no fading.
3.      Hardened Surface due to surface strength being about 7,000-8,000 PSI   (L.M. Scofield Company.
4.      Easily repaired if necessary
5.      We can provide a LIFETIME WARANTEE since we are confident that you will not have problems and if you do they can be and will be addressed.
6.      During the Stamping Process things happen since this is a manmade product not factory manufactured should accept as a consumer. Chips from incorrect lifting of stamps and poor placement. Cannot be fixed due to the inability to match the color using Integral Color.
Many in my field do not use Color Hardener due to contractors never taking the time to learn the proper use of Color Hardener and also due to it being harder to do. There is a definite technique to using Color Hardener. There are those who are committed to providing the best Stamped Concrete Installations possible. They are the Contractors that you will see using Color Hardeners.
Using an example at today’s prices and using 500 square feet for this discussion. Assume that you paid $8.00 per square foot for a job that could have been Color Hardened and would have likely cost .50-$1.00 per square foot more. Wouldn’t it pay to spend a bit more to get a better job that has all the Advantages listed above?  
We use only the Highest Quality Color Hardeners by L.M. Scofield Company. One of the reasons we use them is because they are the ones who have been in the Color Concrete business the longest and are committed to providing the best product.
We use their Color Hardener because we have tried others and have found that they lack the consistency that we require.
We use their Integral Color when we are doing a Colored Concrete application due to them providing a Product called Color wax that assures a better match of color.
Let’s assume that we are pouring an Integral Concrete job using either a Magnesium Finish or Broom Finish that needs multiple loads of concrete delivered. Ex. 60 C.U.Yards.
Assuming that all loads were 10 yards the chances of getting a good match from load to load are decreased due to human error or just plain not caring enough to mix each load uniformly. It’s all about consistency.
There are many out there who even though they have a License in the State of New Jersey have never had to qualify at any level to do this type of work. They have been taught and in most cases incorrectly, the wrong way to install Stamped or Colored Concrete.
We at Split-Rok Construction are not only recognized for the quality of our work but for our in-house training given all employees and my ACI (American Concrete Institute) Certification that I must qualify for by retesting every 5 years along with our Membership in ASCC (American Society of Concrete Contractors).
If you were building a High-Rise in Manhattan or a Large Project that required someone who had a good grasp and knowledge on the proper installation procedures that are required to install good concrete you would specify on those who were ACI Certified.
Over my 26 years in business and over 35 years total in the Business of installing both Decorative Concrete and Concrete in general I have always put quality at the head of the list.
My intent here was only to clarify what the reasonable expectations are in using Integrally Colored Concrete as a media for the Installation of Stamped Concrete. There are those who are skilled as we are in the proper mixing procedure and the correct method of installation using Integrally Colored Concrete.
If after reading this you are still skeptical or on the fence as to what media to use please ask those who you are thinking of working with to see some large projects that they have done using Integrally Colored Concrete. Ask to see some that are a few years old. If you can see a mismatch of colors or excessive wear you might want to consider hiring a Contractor that uses Color Hardener instead.
Ted Mechnick
Split-Rok Construction Company