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Brosco Concrete

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!

7 Great Benefits of Having a Concrete Driveway

7 Great Benefits of Having a Concrete Driveway

Long-Lasting

Did you know concrete driveways can last 25-50 years, nearly a lifetime?  Concrete hands down just lasts longer than its other driveway material counterparts.  We are talking 60% longer and that is with less maintenance too.  If you are in it for the long haul concrete is the way to go.

A Good Value

When you consider longevity, and durability concrete is relatively affordable.  You may only have to do it once during the time you live in your home.  While concrete is more expensive than gravel and asphalt it is comparatively less expensive than pavers, cobblestone or brick.  It also outlasts all these options.

7 Great Benefits of Having a Concrete Driveway

Versatility of Design

Over are the days when a flat grey slab was the only option.  Various colours can now be added to the concrete as well as there being multitudes of textures.  These days your driveway can be a part of the overall design of your home.  You can make your driveway a unique attraction.

Easy Maintenance

Periodic sealing is required every few years but costs are minimal and it is mainly for preventing staining and surface damage.  If you come across stains it is as easy as soap and water for clean-up.  There are also ways to ensure your concrete driveway lasts to its full potential.  Contraption joints and penetrating sealers added at install can protect against cracks, de-icers and moisture.

7 Great Benefits of Having a Concrete Driveway

Curb Appeal

Concrete presents a stylish, clean appearance so you stand out in your neighbourhood.  Its design often even works well with the landscaping.  Need to sell? Concrete is sure to impress.  Concrete driveways raise your property value and you are likely to recover some of its value in the sale.

Durability

No matter what vehicle you have in your driveway the strength of concrete can handle it.  Whether it is trucks with heavy loads, boats or RV’s concrete will hold up to its stronghold reputation.  There will be no rutting other damage due to load bearing capacity.

Environmentally Friendly

Less energy is used to produce and place concrete driveways than other driveways.  Also, unlike asphalt, no petroleum products are used.  In addition, they are replaced less often consuming less energy through replacement cycles.