7. Product lifespan

– Although concrete has been in existence for thousands of years (see associated links at bottom of this page) as in most man made products, a duty of care is essential to the lifespan and its functionality.  Key areas that need attention:

  • Choice of product – Generally speaking with the explosive growth in a variety of manufactured, pre-cast concrete products and the wide availability of natural stone products, it would take a copious volumes to convey the necessary information.  What we do recommend, is that advice is sought from reputable and experienced companies and craftsmen in the selection of the appropriate product for given applications.
  • Installation – Whether one is embarking with self-build, or the engagement of a contractor, appropriately tried and tested installation methods are paramount to the long term viability of your project.  The key factors to take into consideration during installation are as follows:
    • Appropriate excavation and removal of organic matter and any unstable subsoil.
    • It is also advantageous to carry out such works in appropriate weather conditions as in avoidance of extremes of weather.
    • Putting in the correct hard-core to an appropriate depth, compacted to facilitate the chosen product and function it will support.  [We cannot emphasise enough the importance of this stage of an installation]
    • Determination of appropriate levels and falls, to accommodate drainage and water run-off.
    • Brick paviours used for driveways are laid on stone grit, which is laid on top of the hard-core and the brick paviours are then sand grouted and compacted into position.
    • Paving slabs are laid on a sand and cement mix, which is placed on top of the hard-core and the paving slabs are then grouted/pointed with SuperCrete Grouting Mix. (We will be putting in a link here shortly to our new video on pointing/grouting).  This minimises weed growth.
  • Aftercare – Provided all the above installation procedures are adhered to, concrete and stone products should give many years of wear.  The main problems that can arise with ground surface laid paving products, is that of accumulation of dirt, mould and algae, specifically due to the nature of our long wet damp Irish climate.  The Irish climate contributes greatly to the discolouration of all outdoor products.  The best way to protect against these climatic conditions is by the application of outdoor sealants.  Sealants work by providing a protective layer which repels the penetration of the mould and algae.  This protective layer also helps the ease of cleaning when washing off the accumulation of these residues in the springtime.  Annual application of sealers is highly recommended.  Please also note that heavy duty power washing is not advisable as can cause deterioration and accelerate greatly the lifespan and discolouration of outdoor products.  (See link to Advice on using sealers).

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