Category Archives: Concrete

concrete sidewalk and patio ideas

Concrete Sidewalk and Patio Ideas

This summer create original concrete sidewalk and patio ideas to help your outdoor space really come alive. Enjoy both style and practicality. Make your home an oasis of comfort and beauty, a place to recharge after a long day and reconnect with friends and family.

Beautiful Designs with Stamped Concrete

Enjoy exquisite luxury and beauty with original concrete stamp designs. Add images and interesting patterns to your walkways. Add a little bit of curb appeal with beautiful textures and shades. Choose from a variety of ideas like flagstone, brick, slate, or even wood. Stamped concrete patterns are ideal for sidewalks, patios, driveways, and outdoor decks. Use these patterns to line your swimming pool or provide a unique entryway to your home. Speak with your designer to find the right pattern for you.

Customize

Don’t choose drab colors for your concrete walkway and patio design. Instead customize your space with style in mind. Sidewalks can be curved or straight, minimalist or decorative. Use saw cut designs as a means of artistic expression, showcasing your unique taste. Flagstone, brick, or paver walkways can be created that fit the architecture of your residence. Work with experienced professionals to help your artistic vision come to light.

Functionality and Structure

Make your concrete patio and sidewalk ideas both aesthetically pleasing and functional. You can do this a variety of ways. Work with the organic structure of your home. Integrate steps, landscaping, and your natural use of the outdoor space to set up an ideal layout that maximizes both efficiency and comfort. Have structures like beautiful trees, a pond, or swimming pool? Design your patio and sidewalk to be an extension of these structures. Line the pool with an impressive walkway that leads to a comfortable patio space. Ideal for entertaining and refreshment on a long summer day.

Use these simple ideas to create an oasis in your own home. Enjoy your outdoor living space with beautiful walkways and a spacious patio.

hardscape ideas for small backyards

5 Hardscape Ideas for Small Backyards

You don’t need to own a castle to enjoy the benefits of beautiful hardscaping. These 5 hardscape ideas for small backyards are ideal whether you own a bungalow, cottage, or modest home. Enjoy a wonderful outdoor living space without the big space.

Work with Your Home’s Style

A small home needs a special touch. Work with your home’s natural architecture and landscaping. When designing your hardscape layout, keep in mind your backyard’s natural beauty. For example, if you have a small vegetable garden, you design a small patio and walkway that accentuate the lush greenery. If you have a pond, create a low wall around it for comfortable seating.

Think Outside the Box

Use this opportunity to be imaginative. Look at your backyard, close your eyes. What do you see? Can you place a beautiful fountain or pond in your backyard? Is there room for a paved walkway, or perhaps a deck for grilling and entertaining? Think about your favorite vacation spot, then try to imagine the same feeling and style (in miniature) in your backyard.

The Professional Touch

When designing the perfect hardscape ideas for small backyards, the experienced eye of a professional can help you realize your dreams. Engage their know-how and architectural prowess to truly reimagine your outdoor living space.

Nature

No matter your climate, letting your hardscaping accentuate the beauty of nature and the organic will give your backyard a sense of ease, relaxation, and aesthetic comfort. Make a haven just a few steps away, filled with lush greenery, a small patio, and a walkway that embraces the natural flow of your backyard.

Be Practical

You may want a massive waterfall or impressive pergola like the one that you saw at your favorite resort. Work with the space that you have. Think more about the style versus the actual fixtures. Enjoy transforming your outdoor living space, no matter how small.

backyard concrete patio ideaas

Best Backyard Concrete Patio Ideas for the Summer

Despite the unpredictable weather, summer is just around the corner. It’s time to start thinking about backyard concrete patio ideas for vacation time. Both versatile and easy to maintain, use concrete to realize your dreams. Enjoy the warmth of the summer and the companionship of friends with your own unique outdoor living space.

A Dive in the Pool

Your pool area can be a great place to socialize and enjoy some well-earned rest and relaxation. Choose simple yet stunning outdoor patio ideas like beautiful tilework, available in a wide variety of style, colors, and patterns. Some options may include Arizona Flagstone, an Italian Slate Pattern, Fan Cobblestone, or a Herringbone Pattern. Each is elegant but durable in its own right, lending to decades of aesthetic beauty and fun. Incorporate curved walkways into your pool area. Show a little bit of originality with an updated pool deck. A little bit of updated architectural masonry can add even more to your backyard living space.

Patios and Decks

Popular backyard concrete patio ideas include plans for beautiful patio spaces and wide expansive decks. These patios can offer places to cook together, enjoy grilling and dining, and socialize. Shaded outdoor patios provide a moment of coolness in the hot summer sun. Enjoy pleasure and playtime in your own backyard patio. There are many exciting design options for creating your own concrete patio from steps to walkways, to interesting architecture. Include a fun fire pit, a waterfall, or incorporate unique colors and patterns with the latest in technology.

Patterns and Colors

Today’s concrete patio has an incredible array of design options. Some options can include stenciling, engraving, and stamped patterns. Incorporate your landscaping with your concrete patio. Concrete is versatile, able to form into any shape your imagination desires. Concrete can imitate materials like brick and natural stone. Increase your home value with an attractive outdoor living area. Concrete will stand test of time, being especially durable in colder climates. Enjoy safety, durability, and style with your new concrete patio and pool area this summer.

The Effect of Deicers on Concrete

The Effect of Deicers on Concrete

You’ve probably heard lots of advice on what deicers are safe to use and which aren’t on concrete surfaces.  The frustrating part comes when that advice is confusing, contradictory or generally based more on something people have heard rather than hard evidence.  That’s where science comes to the rescue!

Researchers at the University of Kansas sought to answer this question once and for all in a recent study on the effects of deicers on concrete deterioration.  They exposed samples of concrete to four of the most common deicing agents – sodium chloride, calcium chloride, magnesium chloride and calcium magnesium acetate.  The study ran for 95 weeks, with regular cycles of wetting and drying.

As a general rule, they found that sodium chloride was the safest deicing substance.  Significant quantities of any of the other three will impact the long-term durability of your concrete.  That’s not to say they all affected it in the same way, but sodium chloride was the clear overall winner.

At low concentrations, calcium chloride had a relatively small negative impact, just like regular old sodium chloride.  That’s more damage than the control concrete suffered, but nothing too drastic.  The other two, however, caused measurable damage, even at low concentrations.

When the concentrations were cranked up, the results got worse.  Even sodium chloride caused measurable damage, highlighting the danger of over-deicing your surfaces.  The other three, however, were much, much more harmful – creating significant changes in concrete that result in loss of material and reduced stiffness and strength.

In short?  Stick with rock salt for your new concrete surface when possible.  It’s not as fast as some of the other alternatives, but it will cause the least problems for your concrete over time.  If you must use something stronger for extremely harsh conditions, calcium chloride is your next best bet.  Avoid magnesium, and definitely avoid ammonium – ammonium based deicers chemically damage your concrete.  As always, use caution and common sense, and your concrete will likely be just fine.

concrete

Guide to Maintaining a Concrete Driveway

One of the best features of a concrete driveway is the lack of regular routine care – it’s a strong, durable surface that can withstand a great deal of punishment.  That doesn’t mean that it’s entirely maintenance free, however – proper preventative maintenance can seriously extend the life of your surface and make sure your investment lasts as long as possible.  Here are our top tips:

Reapply Sealer As Needed

Keeping your driveway sealed prevents water from entering the surface, which can be a source of cracking and other damage in Ontario’s harsh freeze-thaw cycles.  There is no magic number for how often you should reseal your concrete; it will depend on the weather conditions it’s exposed to and the amount of traffic it receives.  As a general rule of thumb, resealing it every two years is a good plan.

Remove Stains Immediately

Concrete sealer does help prevent stains from being absorbed, but that doesn’t mean it’s impervious to stains.  Don’t let oil, gasoline or grease stains sit on your concrete; it will discolor it and ruin the aesthetic appeal.  If it does discolor, pressure washing is often enough to remove the stains, though there are also chemical cleaners you can buy if that doesn’t do the trick.

Avoid Deicing Chemicals

A recent study showed that using deicers containing ammonium nitrates and ammonium sulphates attack your concrete on a chemical level, in addition to the scaling and spalling caused by forcing moisture to thaw and refreeze.  Rock salt or calcium chloride is less harmful to your concrete, though they can harm vegetation and metal.  In general, try to deice as little as possible, especially in the first year of your concrete’s lifecycle.

A Little Care Goes A Long Way

It may be concrete, but it’s not impervious.  Residential driveways aren’t designed to handle, for example, large construction equipment or fully loaded moving trucks.  Use your new surface wisely and avoid subjecting it to excessive strains and loads, and your concrete will continue to look good for years to come.

Why is my Concrete Cracking

Why is my Concrete Cracking?

All driveways will eventually age and crack as the materials age and break down – but that’s something you should be dealing with in 15 or 20 years, not in the first few years after installation!

So, what is causing those cracks?  Here are a few of the most common sources of concrete or asphalt cracking – and how you can avoid them.

Freeze/Thaw Cycle

The single biggest source of cracks in the Toronto area is the freeze/thaw cycle.  Melted snow will seep into the pores in your concrete.  When it freezes again, it expands – and that causes the damage and cracking.  Salting your driveway only makes things worse; it gets into your surface and then attracts water, lowering its freezing point, and making more freeze/thaw problems.  Avoid using rock salt, and instead use calcium chloride – that lowers the freezing point far enough that those freeze/thaw cycles will be less common.  Sealing your concrete will help prevent the salt and water from penetrating in the first place, helping preserve your surface.

Heavy Loads

We may think of concrete or asphalt as indestructible, but in reality, it’s like any other surface.  If you had a parking lot made of glass, you’d expect heavy loads to crack it.  The same is true for concrete; we’re just talking much, much larger loads.  Vehicles weighing north of 5,000 kg can end up doing serious damage to your surface – and those cracks can be entry points for water for future damage.  If you’re expecting particularly heavy vehicles, you’ll need more heavy-duty concrete or other materials to withstand the load.

Sharp Objects

Those studded winter tires?  Snowblower blades?  Even the scraping of a snow shovel?  They can easily chip or crack concrete driveways.  If you must use metal, be very careful – and, when possible, use plastic shovels and tools.  They’ll chip before your driveway will!

How to Handle an Old Concrete Driveway

How to Handle an Old Concrete Driveway

After a while, even the best-laid concrete driveways will begin to show their age.  From discolorations to cracks, you’ll eventually lose the luster and yard appeal a brand new driveway can give you.  But what should you do with an old concrete driveway?  There are several options to choose from, depending on your specific needs and situation.

Repair

Your driveway may simply need to be resurfaced.  If it’s experiencing cracking, scaling or spalling – but not severe damage to the subbase – resurfacing can help restore your concrete to a nearly new state.  Resurfacing doesn’t just cover up the existing flaws in your concrete; it can help you create a brand new look with a variety of patterns and colors of stamped concrete.

If your underlying concrete is still structurally sound, concrete resurfacing can be a way to give it a facelift, restoring it to its original beauty and repairing the superficial damage that use and weather can cause.  Epic Paving and Contracting offers professional repair and resurfacing for cracks in concrete.  We seal cracks, repair patches, and much more.    You can contact us for a consultation, and we can examine your driveway and discern whether resurfacing is right for you.

Replacement

Not all concrete damage can be fixed with a resurfacing.  If you have widespread, deep cracks where settlement has occurred, or sunken concrete, any repair work will be temporary – and probably too temporary to really justify the time and expense.  In these cases, replacement makes much more sense.  This involves removing the concrete and sub grade entirely and starting from scratch.

From there, of course, you have options – you could replace it with a new concrete driveway, or opt for a different material such as asphalt.  If you’re planning on replacing a concrete driveway with asphalt, it’s best to remove the entire concrete driveway anyway due to the differing requirements in the subbase.  Either way, you don’t want to do a quick patch job that won’t hold up – if the damage becomes too severe, it’s time to replace with something long-lasting and well-designed.  Epic Paving can help ensure your new driveway will stand the test of time.