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Brosco Concrete

Help My Concrete is Uneven!

Help My Concrete is Uneven!

There Are Many Reasons You Can't Leave Concrete Unlevelled

It is nearly inevitable as concrete surfaces get older that they will begin to sink, become unlevelled or crack.  Sometimes with poor installation, this can happen to newer slabs too.  This is disappointing because we install concrete to improve our homes.  Uneven concrete is unsightly and can give the impression that a home is run down or not maintained.  But concrete settling may or may not have anything to do with how well you maintain your property.  Most often it has nothing to do with you at all.

That being said uneven concrete poses a tripping hazard for you, your family, and your guests.  Take action on these concrete faults to avoid accidents. Repairs are essential to the well-being of your loved ones.

It Will Only Get Worse So Fix It Professionally

Once concrete becomes unlevelled, the damage only worsens until you correct the problem. Since it can cost too much to pour a whole new driveway, or paved area an inexpensive way to make repairs is concrete leveling.  Using this fix means the entire concrete area does not need to be replaced.  With concrete leveling, you will have a surface you can be proud of once more.

Call in the professionals, Brosco Concrete.  Projects like these should be left to the experts because specialized equipment, quality products not sold in hardware stores, and skilled knowledge is required for quality results. Brosco Concrete is the oldest and longest-running concrete slab lifting company in the area.

This Is What Must Be Done

At Brosco Concrete we use PolyLevel concrete lifting which consists of a polyurethane expanding foam injection that raises your concrete to the proper elevation for a permanent solution to your settling concrete problems. This method works for both exterior and interior concrete slabs.  Our team starts by drilling small 5/8’’ holes through the settled slab. Next using environmentally friendly expanding foam, our team will inject to repair the failing subgrade. Polyurethane then expands, once the void beneath the slab is filled, operators then accurately and with control, lift the settled slab to its proper elevation.

Help My Concrete is Uneven!
Help My Concrete is Uneven!

We are aware that with unsettling comes cracks.  Once leveled we want to ensure your concrete is restored to its prior beauty.  We take the time to effectively seal and repair concrete cracks, joints, and holes with the ultra-flexible NexusPro.  After the process is complete, faults are detailed with a thin layer of native sand to give a finished, smooth appearance.  You are left with aesthetically pleasing, property enhancing concrete.

You Get More Than A Restored Concrete Surface

There are also some great benefits that come from having leveled your concrete.  Your concrete slab is now impervious to water and moisture beneath it and resistant to freeze and thaw.  You fixed your concrete with minimal landscape disruption and at a small fraction of the cost of replacement.  Concrete leveling also comes with a great warranty.

Leveling is Not Just for Driveways

Many people only consider the driveway when it comes to concrete leveling.  However, there are so many places you can use it.  Some suggestions:  pool deck repair, interior concrete slab leveling, concrete steps repair, your garage slab, and porch/patio repair. At Brosco Concrete we believe you should have beautiful and safe concrete surfaces wherever they are and we have what it takes to provide them to you.

Concrete Pool Deck

Where Should I Put My Concrete Pool Deck?

There are benefits to placing your concrete pool patio in the right spot and downfalls if you don’t.  Here are some guidelines to help you make the best decision on the placement of your concrete pool patio.

Views

Take time to think about the position of the windows in your house and what you see from them.  You likely want a view of the pool to keep an eye on it.  You might just want to be able to admire your pool area from indoors from the best angle possible.

Outside you will want to consider what you see from your concrete pool deck.  You could face the house or face the yard.   Sometimes when people have their back to the house the only view is a backyard fence or a neighbour’s house.  Orientating the patio to look towards the front of the house may be better in such cases.  If you have natural views of trees or lakes or sunsets towards the back definitely accentuate what nature has given you.

Proximity to the House

If you are thinking of putting the concrete pool deck close to the house think about where entrances and exits to the yard and house are located.  On smaller properties the pool deck often adjoins the house.  As such make sure the colours and designs compliment the house and surrounding landscape.  Keep in mind that when a pool deck is close to the house it is great for watching children but may be a bit of a noise disruption in the house.

Concrete Pool Deck

On a larger property a pool may be placed further away from the house.  As a separate identity the concrete pool deck should be more defined to ensure the pool is making a statement.  The distance gives you more choices of design as it is optional as to whether the area needs to match the house.  Freeform designs appear more natural than rectangular surrounds.  Keep in mind it is best if the pool is still visible from the house.

Wind Direction

While wind does not always blow in one direction there is usually a prevailing direction the wind will blow in your yard.  Because it will change over the course of the year ensure you check during prime swim season.  It is best to place the concrete pool deck in an area where a house or other structure is blocking the deck from this wind.

Concrete Pool Deck

Patterns of Sun and Shade

Watch your yard for shade and sun angles.  You don’t want your pool in an area that gets deep shade.  A good rule of thumb is to put the concrete pool deck at the pools northeast or northwest corner (based on what area of the country you are in) to get the most afternoon sunlight.

Pathways

Why You Need a Concrete Walkway (and 14 Places to Add One)

Walkways are Classy

A sure way to add some class to your property is to add a concrete walkway.  Walkways and garden paths add value to your property and they never go out of style.  They enhance a home’s landscape and complement its exterior features.  Even the most discerning homeowners agree that adding a pathway adds luxury.

Pathways are Landscaping Art

With so many colours, textures and patterns available each walkway truly is landscaping art constructed with master craftsmanship.  Especially when you hire Brosco Concrete to do it. Your choice of concrete options allows freedom of artistic expression creating a path that is uniquely your own.

Walkways Create an Experience

Your walkway becomes an experience instead of just a way to get where you are going.  You and your guests will no doubt linger a while longer as you stroll down your artisanal path.  You will enjoy its curves and sway along them. You will spend more time taking in the beauty around you. When you decide to put in a walkway, know you are creating an experience of your own worth savoring.

Pathways are Practical

Let’s be real.  Pathways prevent you from walking on mud, wet grass, stones and other outdoor debris that can make us dirty.  They also protect those same elements.  If you have a lot of foot traffic across your lawn your landscaping is getting torn up.  It is like your yard is asking for a pathway there. Walkways are especially practical in the winter.  Shoveling them can give you access to parts of your yard you would not have without them.  Walkways truly are a year-round pleasure and a life-long joy.

Walkways Can Go So Many Places

That path from the driveway to the house with or without landscaping.

A walk straight walk up the middle of the yard from the sidewalk is classic.

It is beautiful to have a path running alongside well-tended gardens.

Create rooms outdoors by connecting patio to patio.

Divide up your yard with paths in multiple directions.

Lose the mess with a walkway to the shed or garage.

Feature your pond or playground with a landscaped scroll there.

Protect those bare feet with a path to the pool.

Put in a lighted path for those late-night walks to the house from the fire pit.

Create walkways in an annual vegetable garden.

Put stairs in a path to go up and down-hills.

A walkway leading to a gate really has a mystical feel to it.

There really are so many ways walkways can enhance your yard and your life.

Concrete Slab Foundation Problems and Defects

Concrete Slab Foundation Problems and Defects

Unless you have problems your concrete slab foundation is something you probably don’t really think about.  However taking some time to give it a look over even when there are no major issues could save you in the long run.  Small defects can lead to serious problems.  It is best to catch these issues before they become a nuisance and money drainers.  It is essential to know just how important a concrete slab really is.  Remember that it is responsible for stabilizing your entire home.  Issues with concrete slab foundation should be dealt with as soon as possible.

Don’t get me wrong concrete slabs are quite durable.  They are very strong and do not need much maintenance.  Also note, that some cracking may not be a big deal.  But there are other cases where small fractures can lead to major problems later.  Some situations require that things are dealt with as soon as they are identified.  Here are some common defects and descriptions of what is going on when you see them.

Cracking

Concrete slab foundations are known to have three main types of cracks: shrinkage cracks, settlement cracks, and frost heave cracks.

Shrinkage Cracks

Shrinkage cracks are a result of a change of moisture in the concrete slab.  Concrete is by nature porous and therefore contains small empty spaces.  These spaces expand when they absorb moisture and shrink when the moisture dries.  Shrinkage cracks occur when the concrete dries.  These cracks are not that serious because they do not indicate structural damage.  However, these void spaces can sometimes be an entryway for radon and water entry.

Settlement Cracks

Settlement cracks are a result of inadequate site preparation when the concrete was poured.  Small cracks may appear along expansion points and may be relatively harmless.  In worse case scenarios soil settlement under the ground can hollow out space under the floor causing the collapse of the floor structure.  Because the severity of these cracks differs dramatically it is important to get them looked at to determine the size of the problem.

Frost Heaves

Frost heaves are the most destructive cracks.  They cause uneven and cracked flooring as a result of soil expansion pushing part of the floor up while the rest of the floor down is left down.  They put the whole house’s foundation at risk and need attention as soon as possible.

Blisters

Blisters happen when air gets trapped underneath an already sealed slab surface.  They are typically fixed during installation but some blisters may still be found after.  Blisters are more of a harmless defect than a problem.  They do not cause any structural problems so nothing to worry about with this kind of defect.

Curling

Curling happens when the corners of your concrete slab foundation rise up.  This occurs because the top dries out and shrinks faster than the bottom wetter part.  Installers will typically deal with this problem before it becomes a defect during the drying of the foundation.  While a quality contractor like Brosco Concrete would never allow such a defect to occur during construction the same cannot be said for all installers.  If you find curling on your concrete slab call us.  Left unchecked curling can lead to significant cracking over the years.

Surface Scaling

Scaling is when the surface of the concrete degrades taking of 1.5mm to 10mm of depth off of its surface. This is usually due to poor surface strength.  However there is no clear reason for the cause.  The blame game ensues, it was the homeowner, it was the contractor, it was the redi-mix company, or it was the finishers.  The main issue with scaling is that if left unchecked coarse aggregate can eventually become exposed and could start falling out in chunks.  There are methods to both prevent and repair scaling and these treatments are highly recommended.

Investigate Your Concrete Slab Foundation’s Problems and Defects

Because defects and their severity are not always easy to identify it is always best to call in a professional when you see anything abnormal in your foundation.  What may appear minor could quickly grow into a much larger issue and there is no telling how long of short that time-line may be.   Address your issues and call in Brosco Concrete for an inspection as soon as possible.

 

 

How to Remove Oil Stains from a Concrete Driveway

How to Remove Oil Stains from a Concrete Driveway

A driveway is the first thing a person sees when arriving at your home.  Unfortunately, it gets dirtier faster than just about any part off your homes exterior.  Today we will focus on one kid of grime, oil stains.  As maintained as we can keep our own vehicles we cannot always count on others and accidents do happen.  Here is a quick fix for those leaks you catch right away and a more comprehensive fix for oil that has had time to sit and sink in.

For a quick fix turn too kitty litter.  This is for when oil spills are found relatively quickly.  Simply cover the exposed area with litter, leave overnight and clean up the litter the next morning.  Proceed to rinse with water.  Spills caught early make for a relatively easy clean up.

Moved a car after winter and found that some oil that has been sitting a few months? We’ve got it.  It is fairly easy and doable to remove it.  The best way to remove oil from concrete is to dissolve it and then draw it out.  For this project we recommend cornstarch and liquid TSP.  The cornstarch is used to draw the oil out, the TSP will break down the oil solvent compounds. Mix the cornstarch and TSP into a paste.  Spread the paste over the oil pool.  Use a stiff bristle nylon brush and scrub the mixture over the infected area ensuring the mixture is penetrating the surface of the driveway.  Once a fair amount had absorbed in, leave a layer of the paste covering the surface.  Let dry completely, usually a couple of hours.  Remove the paste with a putty knife the rinse area with a hose or power washer.  Deep stains may take more applications.

Enrich your Spring with a Concrete Patio

Enrich Your Spring With A Concrete Patio

If you are thinking about adding a patio you will be making quite the upgrade to your outdoor life. There are just so many ways to enjoy a patio.  A patio is sure to rally friends, families and neighbours to connect for good times.  You can use it for dinner parties, barbecuing up some shish-ka-bobs and eating to your heart’s content.  One can sit, relax and have a few drinks after work or during a late-night with your friends. Gardeners can get some containers and surround yourself in a colourful garden or even a culinary one.  You can lay yourself out and bask in the sun or spend the evening there watching the sunset.  A patio really enhances the quality of life in your backyard.

There are lots of reasons your life would be better with a patio, here are the top 3 reasons it should be a concrete one.

Style Options

Wooden decks can only be laid out in so many ways, not too much versatility of style there.  Same with gravel or crushed limestone.  But concrete has thousands of options for style and finish.  Finishing techniques like stamping that can reproduce brick, stone and tile looks.  Geometric designs can be scored into concrete.  Patios can be stained in solid or blended patterns.  For a little more money complete faux finishes of concrete can be made to emulate a variety of natural stones.  It is easy to create a patio that is entirely uniquely your own.

Enrich your Spring with a Concrete Patio
Enrich your Spring with a Concrete Patio

Initial Investment

Concrete will cost you far less than a wood deck or paving stones which can run almost double.  Wood in the short term, stones in the long term.  Remember to keep curb appeal in mind. Your patio style and colours should match the surroundings aesthetics of your house and backyard .  This will improve the value of your home.

Long-lasting Savings

Compared to wooden decks concrete patios have lower maintenance costs and less frequent repurposing is required.  Both do require being power-scrubbed annually but concrete only needs to be resealed every 2-3 years where as wood needs to be re-stained and resealed yearly at a much higher cost.

Compared to pavers concrete stands up way better to the elements.  Concrete won’t shift over time or give way to the dirt or weather predicaments the way pavers do.  Concrete lasts way longer before replacement is necessary.

Enrich your Spring with a Concrete Patio
Why Spring Brings Basement Leaks

Why Spring Brings Basement Leaks

Even a small amount of snow melting can result in gallons and gallons of water pooling, inevitably looking to seep into the ground.  Spring thaw water has to go somewhere and unfortunately some of the time that’s in your basement.

What’s the attraction?

When snow melts rapidly in the spring the water is limited in where it can go because the ground is still frozen and it cannot permeate below.  There are two main reasons your foundation is waters primary target.  One, foundations are warm.  Two, the soil around your house is not compacted.

Why Spring Brings Basement Leaks

Foundation Temperature

Your house throws off heat.  Unfortunately, the foundation of your house causes the soil around it to warm up so it thaws more quickly than the rest of the soil in your backyard. The result is the soil next to your house unfreezes first inviting pooling water to percolate into the ground and lay next to your foundation.

Low Soil Density

Another invitation to let water gather next to the foundation is the soil density.  When a house was built the ground around it was untouched for perhaps even millennia.  It was super compact ground.  So when a hole is dug for foundation air pockets are added and the soil becomes much less dense.  Water can move into these pockets and loose soil much more easily than the compact ground of the rest of your yard again making your foundation a likely target for the spring thaw.

Why Spring Brings Basement Leaks

Water in Basements is Not Uncommon

Given the increased chances of water gravitating towards your foundation it is not surprising to find water in basements.  If the slightest grading problem or foundation problem exists then water, finding the path of least resistance, will make its way into your house.

Water can come in in many ways, sometimes serious sometimes not.  Worst case scenario large volumes of water underground can push through around the footings of your house requiring excavation.  But often your issue might be as simple as a crack in the foundation or seepage through the pores of the concrete.  It might be your foundation settling, pressure from tree roots or issues with the seams of poured foundation walls.

Get Professional Help

Whether you want to take preventative measures, require excavation or waterproofing, or even just an inspection when it comes to basement leakage don’t mess around.  Call in the professionals at Brosco Concrete.  Your house is too big of an investment to risk.

What Causes Concrete to Sink?

What Causes Concrete to Sink?

So your driveway or path is uneven.  Some sinking has been going on and your slab is looking worse for wear.  If you have had concrete sink you may be thinking it needs to be replaced but there are more cost effective alternatives such as concrete leveling. Concrete levelling alters the foundation that the concrete sits upon helping to level out uneven surfaces.  This is a far cheaper alternative to having concrete poured.

No sinking yet?  If you are just worried about what may cause sinking but none has occurred yet you are in luck.  Leveling measures can be done ahead of time to avoid sinking happening at all.

The Impact of Running Water

While extremely durable concrete will crack from time to time.  Unfortunately water tends to flow through these cracks and sometimes quite forcefully.  While it can and does occur, loss due the mechanical effect of running water is not the main problem, chemical effects are.  Water dissolves ions and minerals it lacks such as calcium and leeches them into the water.  This causes a loss of mass due to erosion.

What Causes Concrete to Sink?

Ground Movement Caused by Roots

Plant and tree roots push soil beneath the surface.  This can cause multiple problems.  Soil disruption can cause pockets of loose soil or even soilless pockets which are prone to cause leveling issues.  Also the sheer strength of roots can lift a concrete upwards.  While it is very rare roots will break through a slab driveway, walkways and smaller paved areas are known to have problems and are also more likely to buckle.

Freeze and Thaw Cycles

There is a moisture difference between the rainy and dry season. In winter the ground freezes in spring the ground contracts. This fluctuation results in soil contracting and expanding which as a negative effect on concrete solidity.

What Causes Concrete to Sink?

Damage caused by insects and animals

Animals such as rats, mice and voles create tunnels and burrows underground.  These empty spaces weaken surface concrete.  Once enough animal construction has occurred the voids cause the concrete to sink into the created holes.

Insufficient drainage or grading

Water needs to run downhill away from concrete surfaces not to pool.  Clogged or poorly placed gutters, not enough downspouts or improper grading can all cause water build up below concrete.  Saturated soil below concrete compromises a concretes base.

What Causes Concrete to Sink?

Poor excavation and backfilling practices

When land is excavated afterwards it needs to be back-filled.  If there are issues with the back-filled land settling too much underneath concrete slabs sinking ensues.  This occurs because the land around the excavation was very compact and backfill is not.  Proper practices can compact the soil but when done wrong concrete will sink.

Concrete vs. Cement vs. Mortar

Concrete vs. Cement vs. Mortar

The terms concrete, cement, and mortar are often used interchangeably.  So are they the same?  They most certainly are not.  So let’s look at why they are so different.

Here is a brief overview.  You will see there is an overlap between all the substances which is likely what makes the terms so confusing to the general public.  Ironically, cement trucks are actually concrete trucks.  Who would have guessed?  At least now you will know the difference.

Concrete is a mixture of water, cement and sand just like mortar.  What makes concrete different than mortar is that it is mixed with coarse aggregates that make it strong and durable.  In concrete less water is mixed with the cement so it is a thinner consistency than its thicker counterpart mortar. Cement is the binding paste made of limestone, clay, shells and silica sand.

What is Concrete Used For?

Concrete is very strong and durable and therefore used in the biggest toughest jobs.  Concrete builds foundations. It is used for schools, sidewalks, and many other city structures.  It is great for landscape edging, front walkways and even kitchen countertops.  It is often used for outdoor projects like molded driveways.  Concrete takes easily to any mold.

Concrete vs. Cement vs. Mortar
Concrete vs. Cement vs. Mortar

What is Cement Used For?

Cement is primarily used as a binder for concrete and mortar but also has other applications.  Cement is usually the go-to in smaller jobs such as grouting and specialized masonry.  It is most commonly used to repair cracked and crumbling concrete such as in the case of leaky basements and foundations.

What is Mortar Used For?

Mortar’s consistency make it a better bonding element.  Mortar is primarily used to hold bricks together or stones in stone masonry.  There are various types available specific to different types of applications.

Concrete vs. Cement vs. Mortar

So it is easy to see why one might confuse the names because one is an ingredient in the others.  But today you learned the difference.  Now every time you see a mixing truck drive by you will think there goes that concrete truck.  Now you are in the know.

We Are 2019 Community Votes London Award Winners

We Are 2019 Community Votes London Award Winners

Thank you London! Because of you we are the winners of the 2019 Community Votes London Award!

This year’s Community Votes London campaign had 62,948 nominations and votes involving over 10,000 community members. Just under 6,000 businesses were nominated but only the top ten nominees from each category moved forward to the voting pole. When the votes came in for home, builder and contractor in masonry, cement and concrete Brosco Concrete Raising was number one.

2019 Community Votes London Award Winners

Nominations happened directly from community members who added their favorite business to Community Votes London 2019.  The goal in nominating is to share the news about great businesses in London.  Community Votes London holds that by sharing business success stories London becomes a better place to live.   By knowing the best businesses we all come to use the best of the best contractors and services.  Once nominated it was up to the public to vote.

Who does London think the best home, builder and contractor in masonry, cement and concrete is?

We Are 2019 Community Votes London Award Winners

Turns out it is us, Brosco Concrete Raising. With four levels of award, bronze through platinum, we came out on top! We are the platinum business.  Just doing our duty in making London a great place to live. We are happy to provide London the best masonry, cement and concrete experience that can be provided. Thanks for recognizing how hard our business works to be successful both in London and in your individual projects. It is so validating that people notice and go out of their way to vote for our job well done.

We know, no business stands alone with its award. We want to take a moment to recognize the people in our community that took the time to both nominate and vote for us.  Also, all the people who stand behind the reputation of our business. By referring us to your family, friends, and neighbours you do us a huge service. When you speak about us to others you build a community network that makes our business community-based. Without your support nominations for awards like Community Votes London would not be possible. It is fantastic to know we are recognized by London in such a positive way.

It feels amazing to win! Thank you London!