drdiy

Spalling Concrete Driveway / Cleaning a Fiberglass Garage Door

In Concrete, Fiberglass, Uncategorized on July 10, 2012 at 10:37 am

To all my followers: Please pass along my blog address to all your friends and family. I’d appreciate it!

Q:

Last year we began experiencing scaling, pitting and crumbling of our cement driveway. This winter the scaling has spread tremendously. Numerous homes in the subdivision are experiencing the same problem. Efforts by residents of the subdivision over the past 2 years to obtain some type of retribution from the builder on this matter have turned up void. The builder claims the reason for the problem is due to winter salt. I am having difficulty with this response since we have not salted our driveway since we moved in and it’s not happening to everyone.

My question is twofold, from a homeowner perspective, what can we do to prevent further deterioration of our driveway and what legal recourse do we have in this matter (if any)? It sickens me that we may have to spend thousands of dollars fixing our driveway when it appears that what we may be experiencing is poor quality.

A:

The scaling of your driveways is called “spalling”. Any one of four things can cause it:

  1. De-icing compounds.
  2. Allowing the concrete to dry and not cure.
  3. Adding too much water to the mix when the installer placed the concrete.
  4. Over-troweling or over-finishing the concrete.

Any one of the causes (2 through 3) put a thin skim coat on top of the concrete, which in turn will spall and deteriorate.

That being said, concrete is the best choice for walks and driveways. It can and will last for the life of your investment.

The Michigan Concrete Association has six requirements or recommendations for all exterior concrete flatwork.

  1. Don’t drive on new concrete for at least 7 days.
  2. Don’t allow drain water to get under the slab. This can cause settlement cracks or erode the base.
  3. Shovel the snow and ice off the concrete during the first year.
  4. Do not use de-icing chemicals for snow and ice removal the first winter.
  5. Never use de-icers that contain fertilizer ingredients such as ammonium sulfate, or ammonium nitrate. We’ve been using them commonly in the past several years to remove accumulated snow and ice from roofs, which they do not harm. De-icers such as calcium chloride and salt can be used after t he first winter.
  6.  Seal your concrete at least 30 days after it has cured with a concrete sealer or a 50/50 mixture of boiled linseed oil and kerosene. They also recommend re-sealing every 2 years. Some sealers can darken the concrete surface.

If I were you, along with your neighbors I would check with an attorney who deals with this type of litigation!

Q:

I have an 18 x 7 fiberglass garage door that was installed when we built our house many years ago. Through the years the sun has weathered it to where the fiberglass threads are becoming exposed. We really like the door as it lets light into the garage.

Is there some kind of clear lacquer or polyurethane finish that can be applied to the door to prolong its life span? I have called garage door companies without success. Paint stores have suggested that we paint the door because clear coatings would blister and peel, but that would defeat the whole purpose of trying to preserve it in the first place.

A:

I don’t see many fiberglass doors and I really like them because they indeed do make a garage lighter and brighter.

I do have a solution to your problem but it requires a lot of work. Start by sanding the door with 36-grit sandpaper. Wipe and clean the door so it is dust and dirt free.

Now apply 2 coats of surfboard resin. You should be able to find where they repair fiberglass boats. The resin, when mixed properly, can be brushed, rolled or sprayed onto the door. You’re attempting to apply about 18 to 26 mil thick coating. Sand and buff again when it hardens. When this job is done, the only wave you’ll feel like catching will be from your neighbor.

Twice a year you’ll want to keep it sealed with turtle wax automotive polish so it doesn’t yellow.

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  1. Lon, didn’t know you’re supposed to reseal every 2 yrs. With that same 50/50 mix?

  2. Useful blog on maintaining, cleaning concrete driveways. Concrete Cleaning Michigan.

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