Cement a Home's Outdoor Touches
New walkway, stairs and driveway boost curb appeal
In the Midwest, the constant freeze-thaw cycles during the winter cause cement damage over time. It shows up in small cracks and pits in the material on driveways, walkways and stairs. If cracks are less than a quarter inch wide they can be patched, and that’s a good, temporary fix, but larger cracks may require redoing the cement work.
To ensure safety and increase curb appeal of the property, remodeler Mike Spillane decided to replace all of the cement surrounding the house. It was estimated the driveway was more than 20 years old and that’s the point where the material starts to fail.
While removing the concrete stairs leading to the front door, Spillane discovered they were hollow. Unlike pre-cast concrete stairs, the original stairs were enhanced with rebar. It was not an immediate need to replace them, but he was already bringing a concrete truck to the job site for the walkway and driveway repair. He also knew the home would look its best if all of the cement was brand new.
Spillane is putting in traditional, poured-in-place cement stairs. They are a little more expensive and labor-intensive but very durable and strong. They also have the strength to support handrails, providing safety. This is especially important for accessibility in households with elderly or frail members.
The biggest challenge is yet to come. Once the cement is poured Spillane must maintain the optimal conditions to successfully complete the curing process.
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