Your Guide to Colored Concrete

Your Guide to Colored Concrete

When you think of concrete, you probably visualize a boring, grey slab.

Not many people associate concrete with color, but with the help of aesthetic treatments, it can really become a true work of art.

Before you start your next colored concrete project, it’s important to understand the advantages and ingredients involved.

Key benefits

1. Enhancing the appearance of your yard

The first and most obvious benefit of colored concrete is its aesthetic appeal. Whether you’re incorporating it into your new driveway or backyard patio, you’d be surprised at the difference a simple pop of color can make to your yard. 

But beauty isn’t its only benefit. 

2. Extra protection

The aesthetic treatments used to give colored concrete its pigment also provide a practical, wear-resistant coating and a beautiful finish. This will help your gorgeous slab maintain its fresh look over time, protecting it from weather and the damage of day-to-day use.

Understanding the two techniques

When it comes to concrete coloring, there are two main techniques: 

1. Stirring the colorant into the concrete mix itself 

This mixing technique is most commonly used in projects that desire one solid color. It works by mixing in a powdered pigment made up of inorganic minerals into the ready mix. This pigment is oftentimes made of chromium oxides and iron. 

2. Stamping the concrete

Concrete stamping, on the other hand, is used for projects that require special patterns or designs. This method involves layering colorant on top of fresh concrete then stamping it with texturing molds. This colorant is either made up of synthetic or natural pigments.

Synthetic pigments

Synthetic pigments are made up of metallic oxides and are created through industrial processes. During these processes, minerals (the raw material) are refined to change their physio-chemical properties.

These physio-chemical properties are what link each metallic oxide to their specific color. Cobalt oxide, for example, is a metallic oxide used to create blue concrete.

Natural pigments

Natural pigments are derived from mineral deposits, and like synthetic pigments, they’re made up of metallic oxides and hydroxides. Iron is most commonly used to apply this pigmentation.

Get prettier, longer-lasting concrete by coloring it. At Port Aggregates, our professional concrete contractors are highly skilled in creating beautiful, precise pours every time. Contact us today to request a quote for your next project!

The post Your Guide to Colored Concrete appeared first on Port Aggregates.

How to make green roofs really green?

How to make green roofs really green?

After three years of research, design and construction, our 130 square meter roof is finally finished! 

We are happy to share with you an overview of all the steps we went through, the sustainable technologies we integrated into this project, and the impact we think green roofs can have on our urban landscapes. 

Watch the video below for an explainer of the process of constructing our ecological green roof: 

This journey started three years ago with the demolition of the old roof and replacement with a glulam structure. Along the way we integrated several sustainable technologies that we have documented with articles and videos. For instance, we used recycled tyres for the foundations of our wooden wall structure and protected the exterior timber facade using our charring technique inspired in the traditional japanese process of Yakisugi. 

For more information about these researches, check our previous articles here.

CHARRING STATION

Charring Station

TYRE FOUNDATION

Green roofs are often proposed as a solution to the lack of green space in urban environments or as a way of slowing down the flow of water. But do conventional green roofs actually deliver on these claims? Our research of modern green roofs found that the materials used in construction often do not align with the sustainability ethos that a green roof proclaims. We sought to find alternatives to plastic filters, insulation, and drainage systems: the materials that typically make up the layers of a green roof. In our mission to adopt low-tech, sustainable architecture and construction techniques we wanted to reduce material consumption and also make it as easy to replicate and apply in other situations as possible.

Our green roof layers


Green Roof detail

EPDM


Laying EPDM around rooflights
Silicone fixing
EPDM Silicone

We needed a waterproof layer to cover the OSB roof layer and protect from water ingress. We chose EPDM, a synthetic rubber, due to its availability and long life span. 

Geotextile

To protect the cork from the plant roots and the substrate a geotextile layer is needed. This prevents silt and other fine particles from clogging the grid drainage system within the cork. Geotextiles are semi permeable fabrics that help separate soil layers but permit the passage of fluids. 

Irrigation System

For the climate we enjoy here in Porto an irrigation system is definitely not necessary. However in order to control the parameters of Neoturf’s experiment a system was installed. In the future we will build a rainwater harvesting system that will allow us to store and re-use rainwater for non potable purposes. Watch this space!

Cork Insulation

Cork
Cork grid

Laying the cork panels

The most cutting edge element of this design is the inclusion of cork insulation, thanks to a partnership with Neoturf, who conducted the research about this design. This is the first time this design and technology has been implemented on a green roof of this size so we are very excited and hopeful for the results. The expanded cork is a by-product of the industrial process for manufacturing wine corks and is being increasingly used in construction. We explain more about this carbon negative wonder material in a full article here. 

Cork is a carbon negative material as the trees it is harvested from absorb CO2 from the atmosphere as they grow. These cork boards provide insulation – with the thermal efficiency of Lambda 0.038-0.040 watts per meter kelvin or R3.6/inch.In cold months this is comparable to synthetic materials such as expanded polystyrene during warm weather synthetic insulation performs very poorly due to having low thermal mass [1].  Additionally, in order to allow water to drain a grid was pre-cut into the panels: vital to withstand Porto’s frequent downpours. By using this design and material we negate the need for synthetic insulation, plastic drainage cups, and other plastic liners. 

Substrates

The second experimental aspect of our green roof is being investigated in partnership with Neoturf, who specialise in landscape design and nature based solutions. The soil that is used on green roofs cannot be composed of simply hummus. It requires other gravels or materials that reduce compaction and promote effective drainage. Neoturf are investigating how well 3 different substrates that use recycled construction waste perform in contrast to the commercially available alternative. Should this research prove successful they will promote the widespread use of recycled waste as substrate across the industry. Over the next two years they will monitor the progress of the plants growing on our roof. 

Interview with Paolo Palha from Neoturf

Check out an in-depth interview with Paolo Palha, researcher and engineer from Neoturf, that gives us insights into the significance of his research and what they are expecting to find in the next couple of years, monitoring the plants’ growth:

Conclusion

This green roof represents three years of hard work, prototype development, and teamwork. Countless hands have helped repair walls, build structure, haul earth and the thousands of other tasks needed to realise this ambitious project. We send huge love and thanks to everyone who has helped in any way. This is a major milestone for us and we are excited to see our plants grow healthy and strong. Neoturf will continue with this research over the next two years, after which we can adapt the roof to grow our own food and reach a higher level of self-sustainability.


Are you interested in implementing an ecological green roof in your project? Critical Concrete can provide advice, design and construction services for the whole process: including structure, procurement and material sourcing. Contact our studio today!

Interested in using this technology in your project?

Critical Studio can help!

Learn More!

We need your support to continue researching and developing ecological, low tech solutions. Check out our patreon to see what perks we offer in return for helping us on our sustainable mission.

The post How to make green roofs really green? first appeared on Critical Concrete.
Did you miss our previous article…
https://cedarparkconcrete.org/?p=169

Co-ops, Cohousing & co.

Co-ops, Cohousing & co.
Cooperative housing is discussed in one module of our Sustainable-Sustainable Architecture postgraduate course; if the topics discussed in this article pique your interest, you may be a wonderful candidate. Learn more here.

Living in a single-family unit, either in a house or apartment building has become the living standard, but it isn’t the only possibility. Many houses are equipped with appliances and rooms that are used rarely or on a weekly basis, which suggests that there may be a more functional system out there. On the other hand, many houses in urban settings are cramped and unhealthy due to the rising cost of living in cities and urban migration. This inequity is only growing with urban migration patterns and gentrification. 

The single-family housing model is not a viable paradigm for the future. Not only is it an inefficient use of space, but it is also isolating and fails to nurture community. It tends to be cramped for the poor and leaves vulnerable groups to fend for themselves. On a deeper level, these aspects are the exact opposite of what allowed early humans to create society.

Architects, theorists, and dreamers have all wondered how our dwellings can be reshaped for better quality of life and higher affordability, but to solve these issues, they don’t need to strive for the most complicated answer. Two possibilities already exist to challenge the housing paradigm. Housing cooperatives have existed for over a century and challenge the notion of housing as a commodity. Cohousing is a method of living with others to maximize space, resources, and community. These ideas have potential to not only remedy urban housing challenges, but also to home in on environmental sustainability in domestic spaces.


a basic comparison

Cooperative Housing

Housing cooperatives, or co-ops, have existed throughout history, yet in most places they are not recognized as mainstream housing possibilities. In fact, they’ve gone so far under the radar that you might be wondering what in the world a housing cooperative is. Let’s rewind.

A housing cooperative is a housing business which has shared ownership by its residents.[1] The goal of this collective ownership is affordability rather than profit.[2] Aside from collective ownership, there is one feature that is almost always present in coops: democratic processes.[3] Residents get to vote on the major decisions of the cooperative, such as who can replace a former resident, or whether solar panels should be purchased for the building. Other important elements of cooperative housing are commitment to social goals, security in community, decent housing, personal growth, and transparency in management.[4]

The modern history of housing cooperatives in Europe began in the 1800s in Berlin with Victor Aimé Huber’s cooperative dwellings.[5] The practice evolved and expanded, becoming an opportunity for decent affordable housing and as a possibility for people to have more control over their living conditions. 

File:Kalkbreite.jpg
Kalkbreite Cooperative Zurich (CC BY-SA 4.0)

Differences between Cooperatives

As the practice of founding co-ops spread and grew more prevalent, many differences arose. There are limited-equity coops, often for low and moderate income shareholders, market-value ownership coops, which do not require affordability; rental co-ops which have more secure tenure and have mixed-income tenants; and mutual aid co-ops which are based on solidarity and self help and are usually self-built.[6] Depending on the country and its policies, funding a new housing cooperative could rely on government, banks, or private investors. Cooperatives can be rural or urban, high rise or groups of single family housing.[7] Some co-ops began as ventures to create exclusive and wealthy multi-family housing whereas others were intended to create housing for the poor.

The most pronounced differences between cooperatives comes down to financing and legal constraints, both of which are influenced by the government where a cooperative is located. Cooperatives around the world vary subtly because of governmental constraints in their respective countries, so these are a few examples to show the possibilities.

In Austria, a country with a strong social housing sector, housing cooperatives which are below market-rate are exempt from corporation tax.[8] The government offers subsidies through public housing schemes via low-interest grants or mortgages that cover some of the construction costs.[9] In Egypt, cooperatives are exempt from many taxes, from industry profit taxes to custom taxes and importing fees, some fees including building license fees and publishing fees, and interest of deposits in banks.[10] They receive a 25% discount on state owned land which can be increased to 50%.[11] 

Portugal’s government reduces the VAT from 20% to 5% for cooperatives, and they also provide tax exemptions on land acquisitions and subsidize interest rates for cooperatives with low-income target groups.[12] Pakistan has a unique system for cooperative development: the state provides land to cooperatives, but cooperative shareholders are responsible for the construction of their residence on the plot they are assigned.[13] Interestingly enough, in Germany, although housing cooperatives do receive tax relief, they do not receive money from social housing funds; co-ops are not part of social housing there.[14]

The presence of housing cooperatives often hinges on politics. Since cooperatives greatly benefit from the aforementioned subsidies, tax relief, government loans, and other governmental support, proliferation of new co-ops can fluctuate with political changes. Furthermore, governments can incentivise cooperatives through policy, but they can also place limits on the founding of new cooperatives. For instance, Poland banned cooperatives in 1990, a marked difference from the years they had spent becoming mainstream during the socialist regime.[15] On the contrary, Portugal experienced an increase in co-ops after an authoritarian government which opposed the values of cooperatives was replaced.[16] In Pakistan, a corruption scandal from a cooperative paused registration of new housing cooperatives.[17]

Membership practices in cooperatives mean that even in rental cooperatives, residents are less passive inhabitants than in typical multi-family housing. Democratic foundations within cooperatives mean residents vote on management, changes, and governing structures. Each shareholder can have one vote, but in some co-ops the number of votes is equal to the number of shares. Some cooperatives require all decisions to be voted on by everyone, whereas others allow members the option of voting. Whichever way the voting system plays out, members of cooperatives have a stronger sense of ownership and participation, and can motivate one another to create a greener, healthier housing cooperative.


Student Cooperative in California via tsakett on Flickr

Cohousing

Cooperative housing shouldn’t be confused with cohousing, a modern iteration of intentional living developed in Denmark.[18] Cohousing can be implemented within cooperative housing; the two are separate systems which have potential to work together. Cohousing challenges the single family home in favor of sharing space and creating a stronger community.

Although the idea of living with others isn’t new, the term “cohousing” only arose in 1988 after two architects from the United States observed the phenomenon in Denmark, where it had gained traction.[19] Exactly twenty years prior, architect Jan Gudmand-Hoyer had spent several months discussing housing alternatives with a group of friends, developing plans for 12 houses gathered around a common space.[20] Although the project never took form, he published an influential article on the project entitled “The Missing Link between Utopia and the Dated One-Family House” which elicited responses from many families eager to live in such a situation.[21] Another article, “Children Should Have One Hundred Parents” by Bodil Graae, garnered further interest in the concept.[22] After the articles were published, families came together to purchase sites and construct two projects by 1973, which formed the blueprint for cohousing in Denmark.[23]


Rudolph Schindler House in Los Angeles via Lian Chang on Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

The ideas are far from new. While Gudmand-Hoyer and Graae were writing these articles, the hippie movement in the sixties was awash with communes and ideas challenging single-family living. But unlike cohousing, many hippie communes were infamous for being financially and socially unsustainable. Additionally, with roots in the early 1900’s, the intentional communities called kibbutz are well known examples shared living from Israel. In California, the Austrian architect Rudolph Schindler built one of the first ever modernist houses, designed for two families to live cooperatively and share one common kitchen.[24] All this is to say that cohousing is not a particularly unique idea, although its less radical stance is possibly what makes it such a viable housing option.

However, what differentiates cohousing from similar ideas like kibbutzim or ecovillages is that cohousing is primarily an architectural design which fosters community alongside a social agreement to live cooperatively. It does not have ideological connotations and can manifest in various ways. Cohousing can be rural or urban, meaning unlike other kinds of intentional communities, it can respond to the global urban influx. Additionally, cohousing may be equipped to handle the challenges of  urban living, such as elder- and childcare along with social isolation. Some cohousing situations share chores in common spaces such as cooking, which tends to free up time for those with busy schedules. 

Sustainability in Cohousing

Cohousing has some inherent advantages for sustainability. First, dense dwellings groups are more efficient to heat or cool. If the kitchen and living areas are shared, less furniture is needed and kitchen appliances only need to be purchased once for multiple families. By living in close proximity, people can share their skills, which means residents can help each other with tasks like repairing broken items instead of wasting them and buying new things. Additional benefits include purchasing food in bulk, which is better for transportation and uses less packaging. Shared garden spaces mean some food can also be cultivated in a community garden. Having a garden also provides a space to incorporate a compost bin, a challenging feature for typical urban housing.

Cohousing also has the benefit of community learning and social practices, which helps propagate care for the environment and ecological values.[25] By living with many people, there can be less car dependence. Tasks like grocery shopping can be divided and commuting to work can be done with fewer cars.[26] Finally, shared meals can result in lower food waste.[27]

File:Sonnenschiff in Freiburg-Vauban 7.jpg
Vauban Cohousing in Freiburg via Andreas Schwarzkopf (CC BY-SA 3.0)

Housing More Sustainably

There is potential for even more sustainability in cohousing projects. The fact that many cohousing projects are cooperatively owned, purchased before construction is complete, or even designed with input from the future residents is something that allows for even more ecological interventions. If cohousing projects are designed with sustainability in mind, they can be more energy efficient and prioritize passive sustainable strategies. For instance, common areas can incorporate daylighting and efficient ventilation. The design can include a root cellar to store vegetables for long periods in winter without the use of a fridge. Natural materials such as hempcrete, mycelium, cork, rammed earth and many more could all be used as building materials. Since some cohousing projects include aspects of self-building or auto-construction, materials and techniques are employed with easy repairability and designs that factor in longevity. Some features of sustainable design, like solar panels, come at a premium, but if a project is cooperatively owned, these additional costs are spread out among all the owners.

Occupant ownership via the housing cooperative model also means that there can be experimental sustainable practices that wouldn’t usually be possible in conventional multi-family housing. A garden could be designed to have a phytodepuration wastewater treatment system, which would simultaneously provide a beautiful marsh landscape in the common area. There could be compost toilets, green roofs, or food forests, too. With an ecological group of residents, there is also potential for the use and maintenance of a biodigester to produce biogas for cooking. The possibilities are endless, especially with lots of community minded people with various skills willing to contribute to communal projects.

Cohousing and cooperatives are two approaches to financial and ecological housing issues. They provide a peek into what housing would look like if we didn’t approach it from a single-family perspective. When the concepts are combined, they create feasible models for better living conditions, affordable housing, and stronger communities. Moving away from profit and towards collective action gives an added opportunity for a more ecological way of living. Existing cohousing cooperatives are great launch pads for pushing the possibilities of environmentally sustainable multi-family housing, while budding cohousing cooperatives have the opportunity to design healthy living spaces for both people and the planet. 

Footnotes

[1] https://4bfebv17goxj464grl4a02gz-wpengine.netdna-ssl.com/wp-content/uploads/drupal/Profiles%20of%20a%20movement%20final%20web%20ISBN.pdf

[2] Note: There are some cooperatives which are not intended to be affordable housing, but the collective ownership does improve the affordability, even in those cases.

[3] https://www.ica.coop/en/events/cooperative-housing-key-model-sustainable-housing-europe

[4]https://4bfebv17goxj464grl4a02gz-wpengine.netdna-ssl.com/wp-content/uploads/drupal/Profiles%20of%20a%20movement%20final%20web%20ISBN.pdf

[5] https://www.housingeurope.eu/event-183/cooperative-housing

[6] https://www.housinginternational.coop/sdgs-2/cooperative-housing-models/

[7] https://4bfebv17goxj464grl4a02gz-wpengine.netdna-ssl.com/wp-content/uploads/drupal/Profiles%20of%20a%20movement%20final%20web%20ISBN.pdf

[8] https://4bfebv17goxj464grl4a02gz-wpengine.netdna-ssl.com/wp-content/uploads/drupal/Profiles%20of%20a%20movement%20final%20web%20ISBN.pdf

[9] Ibid.

[10] Ibid.

[11] Ibid.

[12] Ibid.

[13] Ibid.

[14] Ibid.

[15] Ibid.

[16] Ibid.

[17] Ibid.

[18]  https://www.cohousing.ca/about-cohousing/history-of-cohousing/

[19] http://www.cohousingco.com/cohousing

[20] https://www.cohousing.ca/about-cohousing/history-of-cohousing/

[21] Ibid.

[22] Ibid.

[23] Ibid.

[24] https://www.archdaily.com/783384/ad-classics-kings-road-house-rudolf-schindler

[25] https://www.iberdrola.com/social-commitment/cohousing

[26]  https://www.moneycrashers.com/communal-living-cohousing-types-benefits-intentional-communities/

[27]  https://www.moneycrashers.com/communal-living-cohousing-types-benefits-intentional-communities/

The post Co-ops, Cohousing & co. first appeared on Critical Concrete.

Knowing our Food: Preservation

Knowing our Food: Preservation

If you are interested in our kimchi making process, click here to skip to the section about kimchi directly.

Do you ever stop to think about how you’re able to enjoy fresh strawberries, blueberries, and peaches in Winter? Contemporary food systems make an enormous variety of food available at any time of year. Produce travels long distances to be sold where it isn’t in season, undermining the business of small farms and emitting greenhouse gases. Local foods are riper at harvest because of shorter travel times, and choosing to buy local also supports the local economy. But even while shopping local, unseasonal food can be harmful to the environment; energy-intensive food production methods like greenhouses can produce 3-10 times the emissions as imported foods.[1]

Understanding why our food goes bad and what accelerates its decay helps reduce food waste, but fridges are only good at storing fresh produce for relatively short periods. There is a wide range of alternatives to fridge storage that keep fruits and vegetables from rotting for months or even years. This article will detail some long-term storage methods and their benefits depending on region and culinary purposes, and we will take you through our process of fermenting cabbage for kimchi.

When you decide to cut down the carbon emissions of your food, the produce available to you changes seasonally. The good news is that there are ways to store these foods for long periods so that you can still eat and cook with foods after their peak seasons. Alternatives to refrigerating food have existed throughout history, but the availability and convenience of the fridge has brought some of these practices out of the mainstream.

The two categories of traditional, low-tech food preservation are storing food in containers that control temperature and humidity, or preparing food to slow down its decay. 

Storage Methods for Food Preservation

It is important to note that food storage differs in summer and winter because different variables cause food decay in each season. Traditional food storage containers address the needs of produce through passive strategies that make use of the climate.


Zeer Pot

In hot and dry climates, natural fridges make use of evaporative cooling on the outer surface of a clay pot. In this method known as the Zeer Pot, water evaporation converts sensible heat to latent heat. This means that energy is released when liquid water is converted to vapor, reducing the temperature inside the container. The method uses two clay pots, one inside of the other. Between the pots is a layer of sand into which water is poured to begin the evaporative cooling process. Evaporation is continuous, ensuring that the natural fridge stays cool all day, but it relies on an outside temperature hot and dry enough to cause evaporation. Because the Zeer Pot serves the function of a fridge, it does not extend the life of food or preserve it any longer than a fridge, but it is necessary to mention when discussing how to store food without refrigerators or freezers. 


Root clamp using upcycled container

In cool climates and during the Winter months, some vegetables can stay fresh for longer by taking advantage of a steady temperature underground. Root vegetables can avoid frost by being buried, as ground temperatures fluctuate significantly less per day and can stay warmer than the winter air temperature.

Burying vegetables (and some fruits) can be done through covering the planted vegetables with soil or straw, or through harvesting the vegetables and putting them in small underground holes called clamps or silos.[2] Underground food cellars, when available, serve the same purpose. Given that a majority of the world population lives in urban areas, the first option is not as accessible, as it relies on growing your own food in large quantities. The last option, an underground root cellar, is useful for larger quantities of foods and can also be used to extend the shelf life of more than just fruits and vegetables.


Root Cellar

The most accessible of the three ways of burying vegetables is the “clamp” or pits that are completely or partially buried. These can be built relatively quickly using very little garden space and can upcycle used household items (such as washers or steamers). Proper care must be taken to ventilate to avoid mold and to protect the food from rodents or other pests. For protection against rodents, the trench can be lined with rust-resistant metal mesh, which simultaneously aids ventilation. Another method to strengthen ventilation is to place a bundle of twigs in the center of the pit to act as an air shaft. The old drums of washing machines are perforated, which makes them perfect pest protection, but bricks can also be used for the walls and ground of the pit as well. To protect against rain, a plastic sheet can be used to cover the pit, although there may be a problem if the soil around the vegetables becomes extremely saturated from heavy rainfall. 


Root Clamp

Sand storage is helpful to use in tandem with other cold storage methods because it regulates moisture conditions. It can be done at multiple scales, so in large boxes in a root cellar, in a root clamp or food pit, or even at the bottom of your fridge drawer, and it works with all root vegetables, onions, leeks, shallots, and cauliflower.[3] Sand storage entails pouring sand into a container and then submerging the vegetables completely.[4] The sand serves the purpose of a humidity regulator, removing excess moisture, so vegetables cannot be washed before they are stored in this way.[5] Sand storage requires that there be space for ventilation between the vegetables being stored, and the sand container should stay out of heated rooms or areas that are below freezing.[6] If you do not have a food pit, cellar, or food clamp, you can use this method on its own if you have a cold enough garage or, as mentioned above, in the bottom of your fridge drawer.[7]

Preservation Through Food Preparation

Drying


Drying food using a dehydrator, an oven, and the sun

Drying is a method best used for fruit, mushrooms and herbs. It is more easily done during summer because there is more heat and more fruit available to dry, but in the winter, citrus and fungi can be dried in the oven which helps heat the house. Vegetables can also be dried, but they should be blanched, or boiled quickly, before drying, which removes some healthy enzymes.[8] Dried foods retain most of their vitamins, except vitamin C, which degrades quickly.

Foods can be dried in the sun, in an oven, or in a dehydrator, making sure to allow sufficient space for ventilation. The process of drying takes several hours, but it is very hands-off, as most of the work involved is preparing the food by slicing it and putting it on drying trays. When using the oven, care should be taken to set a low enough temperature to avoid burning. Dried fruit is a delicious snack and can be added to baked goods for its flavor and texture. Mushrooms and herbs are multipurpose when dried, and just like dried herbs, mushrooms can be ground to produce a delicious seasoning powder for any meal.

Fermenting

Fermented foods preserve well because the acidic environment blocks bacteria from multiplying. Lactic fermentation is the process in which lactic microbial organisms convert sugars into lactic acid, creating an acidic environment that inhibits bacterial growth.[9] It is best known for making sauerkraut and other cabbage dishes, like kimchi and Salvadorian curtido. Usually the process is to cut vegetables, season them, and leave them in their own juices to ferment for a few days or a few weeks. Then, jars are stored in a cool place—either in a cellar or fridge—and last a year or more. At room temperature, sauerkraut lasts up to a few months,[10] but kimchi will only last about a week if left out.[11] Lactic fermentation allows more raw vegetables to be eaten throughout the year without relying on food travelling long distances. When eaten uncooked, fermented foods preserve their enzyme and vitamin content while adding healthy probiotics.[12] Fermentation adds acidity and a distinct fermented flavor.[13]

Canning and Salting

Canning relies on heat to kill both bacteria and enzymes.[14] Canned food is prepared by placing food in sterilized jars, then boiling the closed jars of food for several minutes to stop factors that cause decay, so the food stays edible almost indefinitely.[15] Canning is an easy process that is helpful for storing foods that will be cooked anyway. However, if we relied on canning to preserve all our food, we would miss out on beneficial enzymes and vitamins.

Salting protects food from the multiplication of bacteria because salt draws the moisture out, creating an inhospitable environment.[16] Often, salted food is rinsed before it is used for cooking, which reduces the sodium but, unfortunately, removes some of the nutritional value from water-soluble vitamins.[17] To work around this disadvantage, salting is best used if the preserved food is intended to be cooked with a high amount of salt, such as in broth, or simply consumed in small quantities.[18]

Our Approach

Every method for storing food in the long-term has specific conditions for which it is ideal. At Critical Concrete, we implemented some of these strategies according to the conditions in Porto.

Local climate is a necessary component of food storage strategies. In the case of Zeer Pots, low humidity is essential to ensure evaporation. As Porto is relatively humid even in the summer, evaporative fridges are not appropriate for keeping food cool in this area. On the other hand, burying produce is optimal in a cool and dry climate.[19] It can even be effective in places that receive snow, as long as certain precautions are taken against moisture.[20] Food preparation for preservation often lasts six months or more. Fermented foods last longer when stored away from sunlight and direct heat, while dried foods need to be stored in a dry environment, such as in dry bags or jars.


Pouring water in the sand layer of our natural fridge to trigger evaporation

In the Summer of 2019 we attempted to build a natural fridge. However, the temperatures inside were not cold enough to store food; on the hottest day, the fridge was 17 degrees, and on cooler days the temperature inside was 13 at the lowest. This is quite logical given Porto’s humid climate, which resulted in less evaporation, and on the warmest day we recorded temperatures, it was only 21 degrees outside. Our unfortunate results emphasize the need for attention to specific climate in storage methods for food preservation.

Kimchi

To look into food preparation methods for long-term storage, we attempted lactic fermentation, using a recipe for vegan kimchi available on the blog Maangchi.com.

We compressed it into the jars to avoid air bubbles. After 5 days fermenting at room temperature, we placed the delicious kimchi in the fridge. (Normally, fermentation at room temperature only occurs for 1-2 days, but we stored it in a very cold unheated room.)

In these before and after images, we can see the evidence of fermentation: there are dozens of air bubbles where, prior to fermentation, we could only see a few. The difference in hue is only due to the artificial lighting used in the first image, however the cabbage is slightly more translucent after fermentation.

Our kimchi turned out wonderfully, but we noticed a few things in the process of making it. First is that it is not shelf stable, relying on the refrigerator to extend the lifetime past a week. (When we build a cool cellar in the Critical Concrete kitchen, the kimchi can be moved there to limit reliance on the fridge.) Secondly, when getting the cabbage ready to ferment, we noticed that the wider jar made it easier (than two other small jars we filled) to pack kimchi without allowing bubbles. Third of all, though slightly minor, is that when preparing kimchi, it is necessary to soak cabbage in brine and then rinse several times to remove the salt. This has the same caveat as preserving food with salt: losing water-soluble nutrients from rinsing. That being said, kimchi makes up for any lost nutrients in probiotics and flavor, and can last more than a year when stored correctly.

Conclusion

When used in the relatively humid summers of Porto, the Zeer Pot technique offered little relief from the hot outside temperatures. In drier climates, it could be a simple and low tech way to expand cold storage or, even better when possible, reduce the need for a fridge. During the winter, burying food is a great way to extend the life of vegetables, although, as mentioned, the reality of urban living makes it difficult to accomplish in many homes. If it is an option, there are many traditional ways to go about it, but each one needs to carefully protect against moisture, cold, and pests.

How to store food outside of the fridge

Salting and canning are two simple methods of food preservation that are perfect for certain dishes, but both affect the nutrient content of food significantly. Dried food offers a wide variety of purposes: in baked goods, as snacks, or as seasoning. As most homes have an oven, it is quite accessible. During the summer it is more energy efficient, but, on the other hand, can help heat your home in winter. The process of fermenting requires very little energy expenditure and can be used for a wide variety of produce, but it is especially suited for vegetables. In fact, as drying can be better for fruits and fungi, and fermenting is great for vegetables, these two methods of preservation complement each other. Although fermentation alters the flavor of raw foods, this can be a benefit. In the case of our homemade kimchi, fermentation was a success. However, it failed to reduce our reliance on the fridge, while still posing some of the problems of salt-preserved food.

Our food culture is built around having every variety of food available constantly, without inspiring consumers to consider where and how that food is produced. There are often significant challenges to eating local, seasonal food, and, at the same time, it won’t solve the world’s problems to only eat such food. However, eating seasonal food when possible leads to more delicious, nutritious meals and helps the environment simultaneously. 

Stay tuned for our next food article in the series, on the use of food scraps.

Sources

[1] Ritchie, Hannah. “You Want to Reduce the Carbon Footprint of Your Food? Focus on What You Eat, Not Whether Your Food Is Local.” Our World in Data, Global Change Data Lab, 24 Jan. 2020, ourworldindata.org/food-choice-vs-eating-local. 

[2] Preserving Food without Freezing or Canning: Traditional Techniques Using Salt, Oil, Sugar, Alcohol, Vinegar, Drying, Cold Storage, and Lactic Fermentation. Chelsea Green Pub., 2007. 

[3] https://www.gardeningknowhow.com/edible/vegetables/vgen/storing-root-crops-in-sand.htm#:~:text=Root%20veggies%20that%20grow%20vertically,to%20entombing%20them%20in%20sand. accessed 18 February, 2021.

[4] https://www.gardeningknowhow.com/edible/vegetables/vgen/storing-root-crops-in-sand.htm#:~:text=Root%20veggies%20that%20grow%20vertically,to%20entombing%20them%20in%20sand. accessed 18 February, 2021.

[5] https://www.gardeningknowhow.com/edible/vegetables/vgen/storing-root-crops-in-sand.htm#:~:text=Root%20veggies%20that%20grow%20vertically,to%20entombing%20them%20in%20sand. accessed 18 February, 2021.

[6] https://www.gardeningknowhow.com/edible/vegetables/vgen/storing-root-crops-in-sand.htm#:~:text=Root%20veggies%20that%20grow%20vertically,to%20entombing%20them%20in%20sand. accessed 18 February, 2021.

[7] https://www.gardeningknowhow.com/edible/vegetables/vgen/storing-root-crops-in-sand.htm#:~:text=Root%20veggies%20that%20grow%20vertically,to%20entombing%20them%20in%20sand. accessed 18 February, 2021.

[8] Preserving Food without Freezing or Canning: Traditional Techniques Using Salt, Oil, Sugar, Alcohol, Vinegar, Drying, Cold Storage, and Lactic Fermentation. Chelsea Green Pub., 2007. 

[9] Preserving Food without Freezing or Canning: Traditional Techniques Using Salt, Oil, Sugar, Alcohol, Vinegar, Drying, Cold Storage, and Lactic Fermentation. Chelsea Green Pub., 2007. 

[10] https://growyourpantry.com/blogs/fermenting-pickling-preserving/how-long-does-sauerkraut-last, accessed 18/01/21.

[11] https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/does-kimchi-go-bad#shelf-life, accessed 18/01/21.

[12]Preserving Food without Freezing or Canning: Traditional Techniques Using Salt, Oil, Sugar, Alcohol, Vinegar, Drying, Cold Storage, and Lactic Fermentation. Chelsea Green Pub., 2007. 

[13] Preserving Food without Freezing or Canning: Traditional Techniques Using Salt, Oil, Sugar, Alcohol, Vinegar, Drying, Cold Storage, and Lactic Fermentation. Chelsea Green Pub., 2007. 

[14] Seymour, John. The Self-Sufficient Gardener: A Complete Guide to Growing and Preserving All Your Own Food. Dolphin, 1980. 

[15] Seymour, John. The Self-Sufficient Gardener: A Complete Guide to Growing and Preserving All Your Own Food. Dolphin, 1980. 

[16] Preserving Food without Freezing or Canning: Traditional Techniques Using Salt, Oil, Sugar, Alcohol, Vinegar, Drying, Cold Storage, and Lactic Fermentation. Chelsea Green Pub., 2007. 

[17] Preserving Food without Freezing or Canning: Traditional Techniques Using Salt, Oil, Sugar, Alcohol, Vinegar, Drying, Cold Storage, and Lactic Fermentation. Chelsea Green Pub., 2007. 

[18] Preserving Food without Freezing or Canning: Traditional Techniques Using Salt, Oil, Sugar, Alcohol, Vinegar, Drying, Cold Storage, and Lactic Fermentation. Chelsea Green Pub., 2007. 

[19] Preserving Food without Freezing or Canning: Traditional Techniques Using Salt, Oil, Sugar, Alcohol, Vinegar, Drying, Cold Storage, and Lactic Fermentation. Chelsea Green Pub., 2007. 

[20] Preserving Food without Freezing or Canning: Traditional Techniques Using Salt, Oil, Sugar, Alcohol, Vinegar, Drying, Cold Storage, and Lactic Fermentation. Chelsea Green Pub., 2007. 

The post Knowing our Food: Preservation first appeared on Critical Concrete.

Why Maturix® Is Leading the Concrete Sensor Market with Next-Gen Tech

Why Maturix® Is Leading the Concrete Sensor Market with Next-Gen Tech

Technology is always evolving. That hasn’t been any less true for the concrete monitoring field. Not long ago, contractors were relying solely on field-cured concrete cylinders to understand the compressive strength development of their concrete. It was a time-consuming process with room for error. After all, field-cured cylinders cure at a different rate than concrete placed en masse. And they need to be transported for testing off-site. But now, there are many concrete sensors available on the market to simplify this process and provide more accurate insight into concrete strength.

One in particular has drawn attention over the past year or so. That would be the Maturix Smart Concrete Sensors. These next-gen sensors are helping to lead the sensor market, drawing interest from all over, and we’re here to explain why that is and why you should join the excitement.

 

Maturix Sensors Offer Award-Winning Concrete Monitoring

These heavy-duty sensors transmit concrete temperature data directly to a cloud-based platform and calculate concrete strength from there on a regular basis each day. That process allows them to provide builders with real-time remote concrete monitoring.

Their setup is relatively simple too. It starts with our Maturix expert creating an online account for builders. So all builders need to do is log in when ready. From there, they attach a cost-effective thermocouple wire to rebar. That in turn gets plugged into Maturix’s transmitting sensor, which is located outside the concrete placement. Builders can then start or refine the monitoring start time remotely through any device that can access a web browser.

That way, contractors can eliminate the time, labor, and money required to physically go to the worksite to collect data on concrete placements. Instead, they can easily access their concrete data 24/7 through the Maturix platform. They can also receive online alerts through Maturix software. That lets them know exactly when their concrete’s temperature has exceeded critical thresholds or fallen out of spec and when their concrete’s compressive strength has been met. For concrete strength validation in particular, that can save up to three days per pour.

Due to Maturix’s ability to streamline concrete monitoring in such a cost-effective way, the sensors earned a Most Innovative Product Award in 2020. And it wasn’t long after that when they garnered additional attention. Soon, they starred in an article about the future of concrete sensor technology, already showing just how much of an impact these sensors made.

A Maturix Sensor is angled to face the left without its cable.

On Top of That, They Are Built to Last Long

To add to their award-winning appeal, the Maturix Sensors have been redesigned. They can now withstand the harshest construction and precast manufacturing environments.

Given a durable casing that increases their resistance to both water and dust, these sensors will last for more than the entirety of one project. And unlike other sensors, Maturix Sensors are not gone after a single use. Instead, the thermocouple wires attached to the sensors are disposable. That way, the sensors can be used for as many pours as a contractor likes. That makes them ideal for those who are looking for a streamlined cost-effective solution on monitoring concrete temperature, maturity, and strength.

A builder is holding and looking at a smart phone in his right hand while holding a clipboard in his other hand.

Both These Features Help to Ease Worksite Information Sharing

With the ability to provide instant updates on concrete development and remain operational for many pours, Maturix Sensors make it easier to share information. There’s no concern about needing to replace them, after all. So contractors can instead focus on what’s important: the data surrounding their concrete’s development.

Because that data is received instantaneously, contractors can remain fully aware of any potential issues that might develop. Whether there’s a need to manage the mass concrete differential, cold weather, or hot weather, Maturix Sensors can ensure contractors know about it before it becomes a problem.

However, that doesn’t have to benefit just contractors. If other worksite team members need to know this information, a contractor only has to send that data in the form of a report with the press of a button through the Maturix cloud-based platform. That report will then be transmitted digitally to whoever needs it, expediting report work and worksite approvals in the process with very little effort required.

Contractors don’t have to worry about losing that report data either. The Maturix platform ensures that all data is logged and backed up, so contractors and their team have documentation associated with their project, which can help reduce liability.

A bridge has been partially constructed by the general contracting firm Kruse Smith.

ll of Which Has Helped Create a Number of Success Stories

After hearing about Maturix and trying it out for themselves, many contractor companies were happy to report their own success stories with Maturix features.

They’ve Helped The Walsh Group Ltd. Streamline the Monitoring of Multiple Wall Placements

In an interview with our Maturix specialist, Kris Till, Tanner Santo, a superintendent for The Walsh Group Ltd., stated that there were “a lot of moving parts and challenging logistics” to constructing the Southeast Treatment Plant in San Francisco. The company had to determine how to monitor 300 to 400 wall placements. And they had to determine how to minimize any downtime while doing so.

Their original process for this would have been time-consuming and costly. They would need to take multiple concrete cylinder samples, which would add on to the cost of the work. And they would also need to wait for a testing lab to determine when the concrete had reached minimum strength. Without the testing lab’s go-ahead, they would have to wait to remove the formwork, prolonging the progress of their work.

To expedite this process, The Walsh Group Ltd. decided to add Maturix. That streamlined their monitoring significantly. Santo was able to receive notifications on his cell phone, letting him know when the concrete reached minimal strength. As a result, he and his team did not have to take additional concrete samples or wait for a go-ahead and could safely strip formwork, knowing just when the concrete had hit minimal strength.

nd They’ve Improved the Documentation and Quality Control Processes for Kruse Smith

Hoping to innovate technologically and improve their on-site performance, the Norwegian contractor Kruse Smith also chose to work with Maturix. They made this decision with their work on the E39 highway project in mind specifically.

One of their biggest concerns surrounding this work was dealing with the weather. They would be working in freezing temperatures with lots of ice and snow. So they had to protect their concrete from freezing before it cured.

For previous projects, they kept an eye on this concern with manual data loggers. They were digital, but they didn’t transmit data online. As a result, Kruse Smith had to send out workers to physically check their concrete placements individually to collect temperature data. Then, the workers would have to do analytical work based on the information they recorded to get any insight from that data.

With Maturix during their E39 project, however, they received that information instantaneously through an Internet-connected device, which came with generated graphs and analysis already there. So there was less work involved for faster, more accurate results.

In turn, that allowed them to focus more on better active documentation and quality control. They could bring that data up in meetings with team members and their client to discuss the progress of their work and what they could improve. It created a lot of transparency and trust. And it made it easier to spot any possible issues with temperature drops or a slower concrete curing process.

A coffee cup on a light-brown wooden table rests in the background as a builder holds a tablet in their left hand looking at sensor data in the foreground.

That Just Proves How Reliable and Cost-Effective Maturix Is in the Long Run

In just a short while, Maturix has won an award for its technology and has proven itself out in the field as a reliable tool for saving contractors time and money when they monitor concrete. From streamlining the monitoring of around 300 to 400 concrete wall placements for The Walsh Group Ltd. to enhancing Kruse Smith’s active documentation and quality control, Maturix Sensors show that it’s possible to simplify concrete monitoring and cut costs without losing the quality and accuracy contractors are looking for in a worksite.

Convenient. Cost-Effective. Remote. Concrete monitoring with Maturix. Book a demo today!

The post Why Maturix® Is Leading the Concrete Sensor Market with Next-Gen Tech appeared first on Kryton.

Concrete Abrasion Resistance: The Bad, the Good, and the Better (Interview Part 2)

Concrete Abrasion Resistance: The Bad, the Good, and the Better (Interview Part 2)

In our first part of this interview series, we discussed why concrete abrasion is such an issue for concrete construction and how it’s often treated. (For all the details, give it a read!) Most of the solutions discussed were shown to be complicated and ineffective. But we ended on a positive note, briefly talking about a solution that could offer a more worry-free way to increase concrete abrasion resistance.

That solution turned out to be Hard-Cem. As the only integral concrete hardener on the market, it offers a unique advantage to construction workers. With Hard-Cem, workers only have to add it to the concrete mix during batching, and that’s it. Hard-Cem doesn’t need a complicated application process and has been shown to be effective at what it does. And what it does is double your concrete’s wear life while increasing your concrete’s resistance to abrasion and erosion.

But is all that too good to be true? How does Hard-Cem actually perform? To look into it, we asked our previous contributors, Technical Director Jeff Bowman and Kryton Western Canada Territory Manager John Andersen, to give us the details.

 

So, why don’t we start by talking about the performance you can expect to see when you use Hard-Cem for increased concrete abrasion resistance?

Jeff: To answer that, let’s first review some of the test methods you could use for abrasion resistance.

There are several established test methods published by ASTM. But the one I’d like to highlight today is ASTM C627 (also known as the Robinson floor test based on the machine that is used for the testing).

Now, what’s really interesting about this test is that it applies a much higher load and a much longer test duration than many of the other methods that people might use.

During the Robinson floor test, Hard-Cem proved that it could double abrasion resistance compared to control concrete with 25 MPa (3,000 psi).
And early in the days of Hard-Cem’s development, Dr. Rusty Morgan, working with AMEC, recommended using this test and adapting it to increase the load and the test time to make it more useful as a test for the abrasion resistance of concrete. One of the advantages of this adaption is that because the test panel is quite large, it allows you to get a more realistic look at real-world finishing conditions that you might use for your concrete.

Essentially, during the test, wheels rotate around the concrete, allowing you to measure the depth of wear directly just by using a pair of depth calipers.

A common result for this is a very straightforward, plain concrete mix of 25 MPa [3,000 psi] with about 1.8 mm of wear depth. And after 5,000 revolutions, the depth of wear of the Hard-Cem concrete is reduced by about half compared to your plain concrete. So it creates a very significant increase in the abrasion resistance of that slab.

How does Hard-Cem perform against competing products like dry shakes?

Jeff: There are a range of dry shake materials, products, and aggregates.

Some of them do perform really well.

But if you look at our Robinson floor test results comparing Hard-Cem with different dry shakes, Hard-Cem came in with the lowest wear depth at just under 1 mm, whereas other dry shakes that were tested next to it had around 1 mm to 3 mm of wear depth.

So, you’re getting excellent abrasion resistance and you’re getting the additional advantage of a simple and reliable installation. And you’re not making any compromises on the performance of that concrete.

The Robinson floor test also showed that Hard-Cem would keep concrete wear depth to under 1 mm where several dry shake products could not.

re there any case studies about Hard-Cem’s performance?

John: Certainly! I can share a couple right now.

This first one happened 14 years ago. It was a CorLiving facility that was built half with Hard-Cem concrete and half with regular concrete. So it was a good in-service test of control concrete versus the performance you can see with Hard-Cem concrete.

The facility team later invited us in to have a look at the facility’s concrete to see how it performed. And there was a clear visual divide. In one area, it was nice and shiny with nice, straight edges on the concrete. This was the Hard-Cem concrete, and it was right next to the regular concrete, which had broken edges and was worn out and dusty.

It’s a good example of what you can see when you put Hard-Cem in your concrete.

14 years at a CorLiving facility had barely affected the Hard-Cem concrete on the left, while the untreated concrete on the right had already started to wear and gather dust.
Another good example is this second case study for a concrete company. They placed Hard-Cem concrete in the exit area for their concrete batch plant trucks as a way to demonstrate the performance of Hard-Cem to their customers.

Even after four years at a busy concrete batch plant truck exit, the Hard-Cem kept its brush finish, while the untreated concrete to the left had lost its surface paste.
After four years, they came back and took a look, and you could see the control concrete with the heavy machinery, loaders, and concrete trucks driving over it. It was really ground down and its concrete paste had worn away, whereas with the Hard-Cem concrete, you could still clearly see the original broom finish marks in it and its paste was completely intact.

We’ve proven that Hard-Cem can be highly effective with no application hassle. But does it have any other benefits worth talking about? We’ll look more into that on the third and final part of this interview series.

Download our e-book today to find out why the industry is moving away from surface-applied concrete hardeners.

The post Concrete Abrasion Resistance: The Bad, the Good, and the Better (Interview Part 2) appeared first on Kryton.

Concrete Driveway Costs – How to Avoid Paying More Than You Have to

Concrete Driveway Costs – How to Avoid Paying More Than You Have to

What kind of concrete mix is used in concrete driveways? Concrete driveways have been an effective, economical way to increase the resale value of a home significantly. Concrete is a waterproof, wear-resistant material that’s ideal for garages, alleys, and driveways. Concrete’s inherent strength protects the concrete driveway from harsh weather conditions and extends a lifetime of at least thirty years. It is also eco-friendly, which is a consideration when everyone is looking for ways to cut back on their carbon footprint. With their durability, ease of maintenance, and affordability, concrete driveways have become the number one choice among homeowners for landscaping projects.concrete driveways

If you’re interested in doing your concrete work, you’ll first need to find out what level of expertise you have. If you’ve never built or repaired concrete driveways before, then you need Concrete Contractors Tampa, who know how to do it properly. Ask around to family and friends who may have some contacts for good concrete contractors. Don’t forget to check out your local yellow pages, telephone directory, and even the Internet to see if anyone has any recommendations for you.

Once you have some names of potential concrete contractors in your area, you need to find out what kind of experience they have. Decide whether you want the job done for you or if you want the job done right the first time. The cost might vary depending on who you hire, so it’s important to compare costs before making a final decision. Ask each concrete contractor for a list of references and find out how long they’ve been in the business. If they’re relatively new, you may have to wait for a while until they build up a large clientele.

When it comes to concrete work, you need to know the concrete costs so you can set a budget. The average concrete cost is about $3000 per foot but it varies depending on the type and number of layers needed. The more layers there are, the higher the concrete costs. If you do find a great deal on stamped concrete driveways at a cheap price, make sure that there’s plenty of life left in it and that you won’t have to repair it right away.

If you decide to use stamped concrete driveways in high traffic areas, you’ll probably want to put a coating on them right away. You can choose from several types of paint, including glossy or flat look paint, so you can easily match your existing exterior paint colors. This will help the new concrete driveway stand out even when it’s next to an identical color from several feet away.

Once you’ve determined the approximate concrete driveway cost based on the information you’ve researched, it’s time to check the price against the other features you might be considering. For example, if you want the space for your car to be able to fit into it without denting it, then you might want to consider the width, which is measured per square foot. There are several ways you can get the size you need, and the cost will vary accordingly. On the other hand, the number of curves is usually measured in inches, and you can use this as a rough guideline when looking for the perfect driveway.

If you’re not happy with the concrete driveway cost, then you can always consult a professional paving company. Contact the Paving Trade Council to see a list of professional paving contractors in your area. Many paving companies are members of the P paving materials association, which works to maintain a consistent standard of quality and workmanship among paving contractors. Professionals are bonded and insured, and they adhere to guidelines set by the Paving Trade Council.

Before deciding on a particular company, homeowners looking for concrete driveways should also contact the Better Business Bureau to find out if there have been any complaints lodged against a particular provider. Keep in mind, however, that even legitimate concerns about the quality of work may be escalated into legal action if they’re not taken care of properly. The Paving trade, for example, has a complaint ratio of about one complaint every one hundred thousand miles driven. If you’ve decided to have concrete laid, remember that you’ll be responsible for the cost of the labour and material as well as the final bill. Make sure you understand all the costs upfront, and ask each contractor you work with for a written quote. This will help you compare the pricing and service life.

How to Repair Cracks in Concrete Driveway

If you own a house and your driveway is starting to look tired and worn out, then it may be time to begin considering repairing it. It can be expensive and frustrating to deal with an old driveway that no longer looks like it is made from the same material it was when your home was built. There are some things that you can do to get it looking brand new again. Here are some suggestions of some easy and cost-effective ways of repairing cracks in concrete driveway.

 

Before you begin any repair work on your driveway, make sure that it is safe for you to do so. You will often need to have a contractor come out and look at it to see if any other cracks on the ground or beneath it could threaten your health and safety. Even small cracks can lead to bigger problems that can cost a fortune to repair. It would be a shame to do all your hard work and end up having to tear down the entire section of your house just because you accidentally mowed too low or went too fast down a hill.

 

The first thing you will want to consider about repairs to your concrete driveway is the type of material you have laid. It may be necessary for you to get an engineer out to determine what kind of foundation you have. Most basements have a layer of gravel that acts as a barrier between the earth and the interior of the building. This gravel acts to keep out water and moisture that can hasten both mold and mildew growth. If you find that the layers of gravel are starting to break apart, or if you even suspect that they have cracks in them, then it would probably be a good idea to have this repaired immediately. It will not only save you money in the long run, but it can prevent you from contracting mold and mildew in the future.

 

Another possibility is that the bricks that you have used to construct your driveway have started to crack. If you are not using a reinforced one, you are going to want to replace them. These are actually a widespread problem that occurs with concrete driveways. When you crack them, it causes the asphalt to expand, which in turn creates gaps. Depending on the size of the cracks in the bricks, this can mean that the driveway is going to be considered narrow. In addition to making driving harder, it will also make landscaping and parking even more difficult.

 

If you cannot find the original crack in the bricks, there is always the option of re-broken. You will be happy to know that this is one of the easiest ways to repair cracks in concrete driveway. The only thing that you will need for this project is a chisel and some cement. You have to chip away at the broken bricks until they are no longer visible. You may have to do this several times before the cracks are finally eliminated.

 

If you are looking to repair cracks in concrete driveway materials, another option is to use sealants. Sealants are very powerful when it comes to repairing concrete driveways. They can significantly reduce the cracking that occurs when the driveway is exposed to moisture, heat, and rain. While they do require some work on your part, you will find that this is the best way to go if you want to keep your driveway looking nice instead of having to spend time repairing cracks. The only drawback to sealing your driveway is that it is simply going to cost you some extra money to implement.

 

If you have tried all of the above options but still cannot find the answer to repairing cracks in a concrete driveway, you may want to check out what you can do about it. For instance, did you know that you can use a rubber texture product on your driveway? This product will help you tremendously in making sure that the area stays well protected. This type of product will also give your driveway a nice non-slip surface. As long as you make sure to seal your driveway correctly with a sealant, rubber texture products should be a great solution for helping you solve your question of how to repair cracks in a concrete driveway.

 

When you finally get around to learning how to repair cracks in concrete driveway materials, remember that you do not need to spend a lot of time and money to get the job done. One of the best ways to make sure that you save money is to make sure that you do not over-repair the damage. The last thing you will want to do is spend more money because you tried to get the job done the wrong way. It is also important to make sure that you take your time with the repairs so that the area will be well protected from future incidences. Keep these tips in mind when looking for answers as to how to repair cracks in concrete driveway.