FAQ

/FAQ
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In most circumstances, your new concrete can support live weight the day following the pour. You should wait five days from the day of the pour before driving passenger vehicles on your new concrete, and seven days for heavy vehicles (moving trucks, etc.)

In most circumstances, Baltz and Sons Concrete warrants all of its concrete against structural failure for a period of twelve months. It has been our experience that any substantial problems with concrete will develop within that time frame if at all. It is important to realize that this does not cover stress cracks that will inevitably develop in most concrete. Should a warranted situation arise, Baltz and Sons Concrete will repair or replace the concrete at no expense to the homeowner. Please know that we are in the business of having satisfied customers — if it is wrong, we will make it right.

Washed concrete, or exposed aggregate concrete, is a decorative method of finishing concrete by washing away the surface of the cement paste to expose the stone within the concrete mix. A rarely used alternative method to achieve the same look is by “seeding” the surface of wet concrete with dry stone which is then tamped into the concrete and then rinsed.

The most critical factor in achieving a good wash finish is timing — this is where Baltz and Sons Concrete’s years of experience come into play. We have built a solid reputation for producing one of the most beautiful, consistently textured, and comfortable washed finishes in the area. We use proprietary tools that we designed, developed and manufacture that contribute to our exclusive methods.

The actual timing of the wash depends on a variety of factors, and can range from as little as thirty minutes after placement to as much as a full day later. Typically, the wash takes place two to four hours after initial placement.

This is a common, if not legitimate concern, especially when considering a pool deck or patio. While many washed finishes are rough, Baltz and Sons Concrete has spent years refining our methods of exposing concrete, and are proud to say that we are known to produce one of the more comfortable washed finishes available. A great deal of this can be attributed to the time and attention we spend in each, and particularly the final troweling and finishing stages of the installation, in addition to the actual method we use to wash away the surface. This enables us to provide a beautiful, consistent, and more comfortable surface than you might typically encounter.

While some methods of pigmentation are immediate, Baltz and Sons Concrete has developed proprietary pigmentation methods that include the use of acid-etch stains. Due to the nature of these stains, it is necessary to wait for the concrete to adequately cure, usually 10-15 days, before pigmentation. The staining process itself usually takes only a few hours to apply, with full color reaction taking one to eight hours. After this point, the surface is allowed to fully dry, and then sealed.

It depends on the finish. As a part of the process, we use sealers on all of our stamped concrete. We also recommend that it be used for washed finishes, but that is largely a decision of the customer. Typically, you do not use sealers on broom finish concrete.

The benefits of sealing concrete are largely cosmetic, but it does have a marginal impact on the concrete’s durability in that it reduces the amount of water that enters through the surface of the concrete. It helps keep the surface clean and uniform in appearance, and is arguably easier to maintain. Aesthetically, the sealer typically darkens and enriches the concrete’s appearance, giving the surface a “wet” sheen. Sealing both older and new concrete sections that are adjacent is a great way to achieve some continuity in the overall appearance.

We use a commercial-grade, non-yellowing, UV-resistant, high-solid acrylic-based sealer. It is designed to last three to five years, depending on a variety of factors such as exposure to sun-light, traffic, and the surface to begin with. We have found that the frequency at which concrete should be re-sealed largely comes down to personal taste: some of our clientele prefer a clean, bright, glossy surface (seal every year), whereas others like to seal once and then let the concrete develop its own patina over time. The good news is that the sealers we use do not abruptly fail or peel away. It is a slow process of incremental degradation that is largely indiscernible. Most any surface can be cleaned and sealed, or resealed as the case may be.

This is a legitimate concern, especially when considering a finish for your pool deck or patio. Of course, safety is a foremost concern in all aspects of any Baltz and Sons Concrete project. As a rule, we use specialized additives in all of our sealers that help provide traction and grip, without diminishing the cosmetic appeal of our concrete. This additive greatly reduces the slickness of the concrete’s surface by introducing a sand-like, yet virtually invisible texture to the sealer. This, coupled with the physical texture of the concrete itself, makes for a surface that typically is no more hazardous than comparable unsealed hardscape materials.

Baltz and Sons Concrete uses proprietary methods of introducing color and texture to our concrete installations. It is important to realize that this is a multi-staged process, where the final outcome can dramatically differ from the appearance during and after each stage. This is especially true of the acid-etch stained surfaces prior to sealing. For the most part, the sealer is what finalizes the color and appearance of the surface, and this stage by far has the most dramatic impact of the entire process. In some cases, if not often, the color resulting from the stages leading up to this point can be, quite frankly, unappealing. Baltz and Sons Concrete realizes that a key component of this process is communication. We will always let you know what to expect from each stage, and more importantly, listen to your feedback to ensure your satisfaction.

It is rarely necessary to wet down newly installed concrete in most residential applications. In some cases, the purpose of wetting down concrete is to cool it down, and slow evaporation of water. This in turn slows the curing process of hardening concrete, making for a better, stronger end-product. Today, most available ready-mix concrete contains a precise mixture of accelerants and or retardants carefully batched in to control the cure and hydration rates of setting concrete — making the process of manually wetting the concrete unnecessary.

Thankfully, the climate of this part of the country rarely prohibits installation of concrete — at least in regards to temperature. The generally accepted guideline is that one should not pour concrete in an exposed environment if the temperature will dip to twenty-five degrees or lower the second night after installation. The chemical reaction that begins the moment concrete is batched generates a significant amount of heat. Thus, the concrete keeps itself warm during the initial stages of the curing process. However, this process has slowed considerably by the following day, thus making the concrete vulnerable to freeze-damage. This can impact the long-term structural integrity of the concrete.

On the opposite end of the spectrum is extreme heat — in conditions of excessively high temperatures, about 100 degrees and higher, concrete can cure too fast, thus compromising the structural integrity of the concrete, often resulting in “shrink-cracks”.

Baltz and Sons Concrete carefully monitors the changing weather temperature conditions and forecasts, and simply will not risk the quality of our work (or the safety of our crew). Thus, we will only embark on a project if we judge there to be an ample window of weather for the work to be fully, soundly and safely executed.

Throughout the history of concrete, there are several examples of various methods to reinforce concrete — both the Egyptian and American Indian cultures are known to have reinforced mud bricks with straw; the Romans reinforced lime concrete blocks with shredded horse hair; and more recently, a French botanist, frustrated with the frequency with which his wife broke their terra cotta pots, first conceived wire mesh as a concrete reinforcement, building a wire frame within the pots as he cast them.

Today, there are a variety of fibrous reinforcements used in various concrete applications. Baltz and Sons Concrete exclusively uses Buckeye Ultra Fiber 500 in virtually everything we pour. By greatly reducing shrinkage, and controlling hydration for a better cure rate, Ultra Fiber 500, a cellulose fiber, makes a significant contribution to the structural integrity of our concrete. Because it is a micro-fiber, it is virtually invisible within the concrete, leaving no “fuzz” on the surface. And, because it is not synthetic, it does not impede, and often can actually help promote depth and richness of pigmentation, and sealer adherence in our decorative applications.