Old Concrete: Leaching, Efflorescence, and Other Hazards

Summer is the season for barbecues, outdoor gatherings, and all manner of al fresco pursuits. It’s also a great time to boost your home’s curb appeal and property value with fresh landscaping and entertaining spaces. However, today, we at All About Curb would like to talk about some of the dangers of old concrete and ways to mitigate its negative impact. The hazards posed by cracked or crumbling patios, pathways, and other concrete surfaces can impact your family’s safety and the health of nearby plants.

The Tripping Point

Garden CurbingWeather, soil expansion and contraction, and even adventurous weeds can crack your paved surfaces over time. While a few minor fissures may not seem to be a big deal, after years of use and exposure, those tiny imperfections grow into much more significant concerns. Uneven walkways and driveways can pose serious hazards for the young and old, as well as individuals who aren’t familiar with the unique contours of your property.

While it might just be a momentary fright, tripping on uplifted or washed out segments of concrete paving can result in broken bones, severe abrasions, and other injuries that are best avoided. Plus, in the case of a cracked or washed out spot beneath a driveway, it can cause substantial daily wear and tear on automobiles. No homeowner should need 4-wheel drive to get to their garage.

Leaching and Efflorescence

Another characteristic feature of old concrete is its tendency to display odd white patches. This phenomenon is known as efflorescence, and those white patches are salts that leach out of elderly concrete over time. This effectively destroys the surface of any paving or curbing. Elderly concrete also tends to make any soil nearby unpleasant for plants. It substantially alters the pH of the ground and can kill your favorite flowers, herbs, and vegetables. Shrubs and trees may only struggle if they’re well established before substantial concrete leaching occurs.

Effloresence CurbingSo, what can you do if you have cracked concrete paving or an older patio that is beginning to impact bedding plants nearby? Pouring concrete has never been simpler or more affordable. At All About Curb, we can replicate the original paving with ease. Plus, we’ve done our homework. We make our concrete with cutting-edge admixtures to prevent efflorescence and leaching, which will extend the life of both the pavement and the plants nearby.

We are proud to be a part of communities across Salt Lake and Utah counties. It’s our privilege to assist homeowners in their efforts to beautify and modernize their properties. So if the time has come to increase the safety and loveliness of your outdoor space by replacing damaged concrete, we are at your service. Call us at 801-369-4423 for a consultation today.

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Essential Features: Concrete Planters and Curbs for Herbs

Summertime is around the corner, and for many in Utah, that means outdoor entertaining. It’s also one of the best times to spruce up the landscaping and enhance curb appeal. While this aspect of property does draw the eyes of prospective buyers, such projects also improve the quality of life for long-term residents. Concrete is the perfect building medium for these endeavors, permitting homeowner creativity to find its fullest expression in diverse projects, and we at All About Curb are excited to assist.

Herbs for Life

Colored CurbingMost might think of herbs as simple ingredients used in the kitchen. While many culinary herbs will enliven your cuisine, they also provide relief from outdoor insects. These herbs deliver their flavor via volatile oils and organic compounds, which also deter most six-legged pests without the need for expensive or dangerous lawn and garden treatments. Some common herbal helpers are rosemary, lavender, oregano, thyme, mint, the citronella geranium, lemon balm, lemongrass, and basil.

Common basil repels both mosquitoes and houseflies. If you allow it to bolt and produce flower stalks, bees and butterflies favor the tiny white blossoms, but you can easily pinch these off and prevent bolting. Rosemary, lavender, mint, lemongrass, lemon thyme and lemon balm all repel mosquitoes. However, it is advised that you plant mint, lemon balm, and lemongrass in containers, because they spread aggressively.

Concrete Creativity

The design team of All About Curb has a host of designs and ideas to implement your new patio herb garden or decorative plantings throughout your landscape plan that will suppress pests. If you’re exploring a new patio or pathway, why not include dedicated or raised planters. These will allow you to plant both perennial and annual herbs and flowers to brighten your days and keep bugs away. In each entertaining space, you can dedicate a little area for these handy, helpful plants.

Stamped CurbingConcrete curbing can also help to define border beds in which you want to plant bulbs, shrubs, flowers, and herbs. In this way, you can enrich your landscape, bring nature close to you, but skip the irritating gnats, mosquitoes, fleas, and flies that are also a part of the outdoor world.

We at All About Curb are privileged to serve the communities of Utah and Salt Lake counties, providing innovative and essential assistance for concrete projects of all sorts. If you’ve decided that your outdoor space needs an herbal treatment, call us today at 801-369-4423. It’s our pleasure to assist.

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Extending the Season: Greenhouses and Sunrooms Need a Firm Foundation

Garden CurbingAutumn brings bright days interspersed with stormy weather. It’s a time of year in which most homeowners are focused on putting their gardens to bed for the coming cold season. But fall is also a time to complete projects that can extend your enjoyment of life beyond the confines of your home. Whether you’re planning on putting your home up for sale in the coming year or have no wish to relocate for years to come, adding a sun-room, conservatory or a greenhouse can add to both your home’s value and your time in the sun.

Specific Intentions

Most might not distinguish between these three different types of structures, but they do vary in use and construction. What they all require, and what we at All About Curb are ready to install, is a solid foundation. Our skilled concrete artisans can help you design, locate, and implement this most important feature of any outdoor structure so that your room will suit your needs and perform its function in the best way possible.

The reason we would differentiate between sunrooms and conservatories and functional greenhouses is their particular use and needs. Sunrooms are, as your architect will tell you, adjoining structures that often have knee walls or partially solid construction. They are a direct extension of your home.

Conservatories lie in the gray area between sunrooms and greenhouses and are typically made of a metal framework with glass panes. These rooms also tend to be located as adjoining structures or nearby your main dwelling space. They are also typically slightly more formal than sunrooms, and the floor of yours may benefit from our beautiful concrete patterns and tints. Consulting with our design team, you can create a veritable work of art.

Vegetables and Flowers All Year

Sun-RoomWhile the two other types of external structures are primarily used for entertaining and living activities, greenhouses are a bit different. Whether you aim to erect a less expensive structure or are going all out, a firm foundation is essential. For permanent greenhouses, allowance for floor drains may also be desirable.

All About Curb craftspeople are not only capable of designing and pouring a greenhouse pad for you; we are excited about it. A greenhouse is a place in which the magic of the garden can be extended. Many people enjoy growing tropical plants such as orchids or bromeliads all year round in temperate climates, but you can also supply your table with fresh vegetables and fruits. Plus, greenhouse design and layout is often easier for those who aren’t able to kneel or bend in the vegetable garden, with elevated planting tables and vertical gardening racks.

If you’re dreaming of lush moisture and bright sun in the depths of winter, give us a call at 801-369-4423 for a free consultation. There’s no time like the present to start your greenhouse or sun-room project, and we are here to help.

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From Curb Dreams to Concrete Realities: Springtime Projects in the Garden

Stained PatioSpring is nearly here. It’s a time of year full of anticipation, when many begin to implement their plans for the garden. However, the end of winter can be just as important to homeowners. The last few weeks before warmer weather comes to stay are vital. They provide a space in which to lay the garden foundations that will give it a pleasing shape all year round. At All About Curb, it’s one of our favorite times to work with new clients on projects such as landscape curbing or concrete curbing that will enhance the value of their property and their enjoyment of it in the months to come.

Redefining Planting Beds

As the long winter months draw to a close, it’s a great time to install concrete curbing in Utah, retaining walls or bedding curbs. These will give shape and provide a dramatic definition to your overall landscape design guaranteed to draw admiring looks from all who pass by. We offer several styles of curbing, which are designed to prevent earth shifting over the course of the seasons.

Additionally, we can install concrete that will fool the most experienced garden gnome with patterns and tints to mimic a variety of other materials. Fieldstone, slate, and brick are all wonderful materials, but they tend to chip, fracture, or travel over time. With concrete pressed and tinted to perfection, you can enjoy the look of these without the worry.

Here Comes the Sun

Garden CurbingAs the seasons change, many turn their attention to outdoor living space as well as garden design. A welcoming outdoor living area is an important feature of any beautiful home in this scenic state, and now is a great time to bring your dreams to life. We can pour a patio or sun porch foundation floor in no time, which leaves enough room in your calendar to implement other parts of your master plan.

Your new patio will be the site of many future barbecues and relaxing visits with friends or family. Patterns and tints are easily incorporated, so you can also express your personality in a way that will last, whether it’s the appearance of tastefully patterned brickwork or a vibrant sun motif.

Our team at All About Curb is proud to be a part of the communities of Salt Lake and Utah counties. We’ve helped many homeowners bring their gardens to life and put finishing touches on concrete projects in and around their homes. There isn’t a project we aren’t proud to have been a part of, and we look forward to helping you bring your curb appeal to the next level. If you’re ready to begin planning your next project, call us at 801-369-4423 for a free consultation.

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Beauty and Utility in One: Concrete Benefits

Science has shown that humans are both pattern-seeking and pattern-creating organisms. This tendency is supported by our desire to create structure in our landscaping, and why we react positively to gardens built on a plan, however “wild” they may appear at first. Whether property owners are seeking to place their homes on the real estate market or they simply wish to enhance their landscapes, providing lasting structure to a design enhances property value.

 

Benefits of Concrete as a Building Material

Concrete CurbingBe it a gracefully curving garden path that leads the eye deeper into the property, durable, handsome edging for planting beds, koi ponds that maintain their shape and function or even patios for entertaining, concrete is a perfect material. Its lasting durability and almost endless capacity for variation in color and texture make it ideal, no matter what purpose to which it is applied.
Unlike masonry, vinyl, and metal edging materials, concrete won’t rust, sag or fragment. That means the homeowner can install edging, pathways, patios, and other features without fear that they’ll be required to replace them in a few seasons. Plus, with concrete, the nature of Nature is gently forestalled. Weeds, animal activities, and processes of erosion have little effect on edging or pavement applications, which makes concrete a superior choice when it comes to landscaping the natural beauty of Utah.

 

Summer in Utah

Pouring ConcreteNow is the season when everyone loves to be out of doors. We at All About Curb love that, and pride ourselves on being a part of the communities of Salt Lake and Utah counties. No project is too large or too small for our expert team to tackle. Whether you’re planning an ambitious network of garden pathways, ponds, and planting beds or simply want to add a patio for better outdoor entertaining, our design professionals work with you to bring it to life.

Choose from a wide array of tints, patterns, and textures to meet the aesthetic needs of your design. You might like the look of brick for concrete curbing and edging, which can be accomplished without costly masonry that will require upkeep. Similarly, the charming appearance of field stone for garden pathways can be mimicked by our product, but won’t require upkeep year after year to prevent individual stones from cracking or heaving.  If you’re ready to add value and beauty to your property today, call us today at 801-369-4423 for a free consultation. Our expert team at All About Curb is at your service.

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Why install in the fall?

Stamped CurbingFall is here, but don’t let that fool you for yard work.   Did you know fall is a great time of year to install your curbing and flatwork?   Don’t get caught up in the summer is over and time to prepare for Christmas.  (even though we do Christmas lights☺) If you missed getting your curb installed this spring or summer, don’t fret, there are many benefits to installing curb in the fall.

  1. Cooler weather – Cooler weather makes yard work very pleasant and almost enjoyable.  Also, with the cooler weather, your concrete will cure much slower than summer time installations, making it a more durable product.
  2. Installing garden beds and planting – Great for new trees,  bushes, and flowers.  You may not see the growth that you normally do during the summer days, but if you plant now, you will enjoy the beauty that comes in the spring.
  3. We love working in the fall – It’s easier on us installers!   While summer is great for working and getting things accomplished, the cooler weather in the fall, is a big relief from the hot summer days.
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Pouring a Pond, Stream, or Water Feature: The Advantages of Concrete Construction

Many landscape projects seem more ambitious and complex than they truly are. If you feel that your beds and pathways would benefit from a water feature or a koi pond, but have balked at the apparent effort of creating a long lasting and easily maintained water feature, don’t despair. We’ll talk about some of the various approaches to these beautiful additions to your landscape design below, and offer some reassuring advice on best practices.

Koi Ponds and Water Features

Water FeatureIn Utah, the seasons are well defined, which can mean a warmer, drier summer climate and a colder winter. This pattern of temperature and precipitation can be a cause for concern when it comes to features that involve water, plants, and even living animals. However, there are ways to ensure that everything stays happy and healthy, including the lining of your water feature.

The charming ambiance a water feature brings to any landscape design makes these elements an important focal point in many gardens. During high summer, the sound and scent of water offer a soothing note to the hottest days. A shaded pool in which bright fish lazily swim is an idyllic image, and can provide a valuable point of repose. Many individuals design a patio or organized planting around the edge that invites people to linger and enjoy the shade.

Advantages of Modern Concrete

While pre-form liners do have advantages in wetter, more sub-tropical climates, they don’t offer the level of insulation against colder soil temperatures that concrete does. When properly mixed and poured by professionals, concrete linings will not only withstand seasonal flexing of soil bases, but also help to protect plants and animals that live in the water.

Water FeatureIn the past, concrete was subject to developing cracks, efflorescence, and other major flaws. However, today, concrete mixes are more flexible and less permeable than they once were, allowing them to retain their structure and maintain a watertight barrier that’s perfect for fountains, built stream beds, and aquatic environments. As well, a poured concrete pond or water feature offers you the opportunity to fully design a unique environment—from lighting to plant selection, overall shape and other unique touches.

All About Curb is proud to serve the communities of Salt Lake and Utah Counties, providing expert services and top-notch concrete forms for landscaping and home improvement projects. Whether your plans are large or small, our dedicated team of concrete experts has the skills to help you realize your design dreams. Please call All About Curb at 801-369-4423 or email us today!

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An Ounce of Prevention: A Recap on Efflorescence

In our last article about efflorescence and concrete, we focused on what causes this phenomenon, what it is, and the mediums in which it occurs. While this buildup of salts in masonry products is a well-known occurrence and has been treated with pH basic solutions in the past, there are new ways to control it. At All About Curb, we believe that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, and the labor involved in scrubbing, too.

Efflorescence, A Quick Recap

Effloresence Curbing

This phenomenon is the buildup of various salts within the fabric or structure of man-made masonry products—bricks, terracotta, and, of course, concrete. It occurs because salts are chemically soluble in water—groundwater, runoff, and precipitation in this case. Man-made masonry building materials are permeable, with plenty of voids through which water saturated with these salts can travel. The water evaporates, but leaves the salt crystals behind, and over time, they grow. Salts will then appear on the surface of the material, and must be removed through scrubbing and pressure spraying.

Prevention, EFC Plus, and the Environment

All About Curb uses an admixture called EFC Plus to curtail the accumulation of salts within the structure of the concrete. Efflorescence doesn’t simply damage the surface of concrete, it can cause cracks to form, crumbling and flaking of the concrete, and other unsightly damage. EFC Plus makes the concrete that goes into your patio or garden edging less permeable to water, more elastic, and seals out salts. But why go to the trouble of mixing special concrete?

While concrete is relatively simple to produce and pour, it can become costly to demolish and re-pour sections of patio or landscape curbing repeatedly. While efflorescence can be scrubbed away, temporarily, that doesn’t undo the damage the salt crystals caused on the structure of the curb or patio. Nor does it preclude it from happening again. With EFC Plus, All About Curb is ensuring that your concrete will last longer and remain beautiful for many seasons to come.

EFC Plus is especially important in a region such as Utah, which has a seasonally variable climate. This can cause cracked concrete or that which is damaged by efflorescence to buckle or flake in an unsightly and potentially unsafe way. Because EFC Plus renders the concrete water resistant and more resilient to flexion of earth beneath or against the concrete surface, this won’t occur. All About Curb is proud to serve the communities of Salt Lake and Utah counties. Our team of experts works hard to provide excellent concrete surfaces and edging to beautify your home, along with expert knowledge and fast, friendly service.  Please contact us for more information, 801-369-4423

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A Brief Guide to Efflorescence Management

Efflorescence CurbingWhile concrete curbing in gardens and other outdoor areas has proven its superiority to other materials, it is still exposed to processes of weathering and evaporation. The experts at All About Curb in Utah would like to take a moment to provide some vital information about one of the major causes of weathering you may observe—Efflorescence. We’ll also offer tips on how to maintain and enhance the structural integrity of your concrete edging in relation to this natural process to ensure a longer lifespan for garden edging, concrete curbs, and other poured surfaces around your property.

What Is Efflorescence?

At its root, this is a process of evaporation that impacts any masonry, stucco or concrete materials in direct contact with earth, subject to rain and groundwater, and exposed to weather. Also known as whiskering, it refers to the evaporation of water carrying salts through any porous, created building material. These salts—molecular forms which may include many naturally occurring chemical elements—dissolve in water and percolate through the void spaces in the material in question.

As a part of an evaporation cycle, the process is subject to air humidity levels. When the air is moist, the cycle is arrested. When it is dry, the cycle is expedited. This results in a seasonal appearance of whiskers or salt crystals on the surfaces of concrete or masonry. During dry seasons, the salt crystals may form beneath the surface of the material, which can have a disruptive effect on the material’s stability if unchecked.

How to Remove It

Concrete is well-saturated with water on a molecular level, which actually makes coping with efflorescence far easier than in other masonry products. Pressure washing with a very weak hydrochloric acid solution—muriatic acid—or a slight more concentrated vinegar solution is the first step. Then, the surface is scrubbed or brushed thoroughly and an alkaline solution—diluted household ammonia—is applied. This process dissolves the salts that have formed below the surface, brings them out, and neutralizes them on a pH level. It’s also a part of future prevention of salt formation.

Efflorescence CurbingOf course, the best solution for this issue is to keep it from happening in the first place. Efflorescence isn’t a new phenomenon, and a great deal of research has gone into developing the most effective ways to curtail the formation of salt crystals within and upon porous masonry materials. All About Curb offers you an efflorescence-resistant concrete product by incorporating an EFC Plus admixture to their product. This renders the finished concrete curbs and surfaces both more flexible and more densely packed. The end result is a more durable product that is also highly resistant to salt efflorescence. If you’re ready to explore a landscaping edging and surfacing solution with a long life and lasting beauty, call us today for a consultation – 801-369-4423.

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