When Is It Time to Replace of Old Concrete Driveways and Patios?

Concrete driveways and patios can last quite a long time with the right maintenance and care. Eventually, they still do wear out and need to be replaced. Typically, you can expect to get between 20 to 30 years out of your concrete patio or driveway. As your driveway or patio starts to age, it will show signs that it could need to be replaced.

When Concrete Driveway and Patio Repairs Are Acceptable

To slow the signs of aging and help extend the life of the concrete, concrete driveway and patio repairs are necessary. Some of the more common repairs you should address sooner, rather than later, include:

  • Cracks: If you start to notice small cracks in the surface of the concrete, have these repaired by qualified Houston concrete contractors. If you do not repair cracks, they will continue to expand and get much bigger. Cracks will also start to become more noticeable, as water will erode the concrete and create gaps.
  • Chips: If there are small areas where part of the concrete has been chipped off, have it fixed. Chipping occurs when a heavy object impacts the concrete and causes part of it to come off. For instance, you might accidentally hit the edge of the driveway with a lawnmower blade.

 concrete sidewalk repair

What Concrete Driveway and Patio Maintenance Can Help?

In addition to taking care of concrete repairs when they occur, regular concrete driveway and patio maintenance also helps extend the longevity and useful lifespan of concrete. Maintenance should include:

  • Cleaning: You will want to clean your concrete driveway and patio every month. Basic cleaning involves sweeping off dust, dirt, and debris. It also involves keeping grass and weeds from growing around the concrete, as well as in between each concrete section.
  • Stain Removal: If you notice stains in the concrete, you will want to get these removed. Stains can set into the concrete and not only affect the appearance but also cause faster deterioration of the concrete.
  • Resealing: Depending on the amount of traffic and types of weather your concrete driveway or patio is exposed to, you will want to get it resealed every two to three years. Resealing the concrete helps protect against staining, the elements, and other issues which can affect how long concrete lasts.
  • Drainage Issues: If you notice the water is pooling and not draining away, it needs to be fixed. Drainage issues can result in additional damages to the patio or driveway, as well as cause faster deterioration of the concrete.

You can have both concrete driveway and patio repairs and maintenance taken care of by our Houston concrete contractors. We offer a variety of services to keep your driveway and patio looking great.

Five Signs You Need to Replace Concrete Patios and Driveways

No matter how well you keep up on your concrete repairs and maintenance, eventually you will still need to replace it. You will want to watch out for these signs to know when it is time to get a new concrete patio or concrete driveway:

  1. Repairs are becoming excessive. There is a breaking point you will reach where repairs start to become more and more frequent. When having to get your driveway or patio repaired is part of your normal maintenance routines, it is time to get your patio or driveway replaced.
  2. Wide, deep, or excessively long cracks. Cracks can get to the point where they can no longer be repaired. If you notice wide gaps, cracks that appear to go all the way through the patio or driveway, or cracks that run from one end to the other, it is time to get a new patio or driveway.
  3. There are sections of the driveway or patio which are no longer even or are sinking. If excessive drain water gets into cracks, it can cause the underlying soil to also erode. This can lead to parts of the patio or driveway sinking. In turn, this can lead to even more cracks and breakage, as well as unevenness in the surface.
  4. Large missing concrete chunks. If there are multiple areas where large chunks of the concrete are missing around the edges of concrete patios or driveways, these cannot be repaired. Any attempted patching does not hold long and quickly wears away.
  5. The driveway is already 20-plus years old. Getting a new concrete driveway or patio now will provide you and your family with 20 to 30 years of enjoyment and make your home look great.

Getting a new concrete driveway or patio installed not only improves the appearance of your home but could also increase its value. In addition, most homeowners only have to replace their concrete driveways and patios once or twice in their lifetimes.

What Can You Do with Old Concrete Driveways and Patios?

When you are having concrete driveways or patios replaced with a new one, you can recycle the old concrete being torn out. There are several neat landscaping design ideas where the old patio or driveway can be repurposed around your home.

  • Have the concrete broken into smaller sections and use it as a faux tile walkway. The broken up concrete can be placed over a solid substrate. To give the appearance of tile, mortar is poured in between each of the pieces. The surface is finished off with a clear protective sealant.
  • Use the concrete in place of mulch in flower and garden beds. You can have the concrete broken up into pebble-like pieces and spread it over your flower and garden beds. The concrete will look like small stones.
  • Use the concrete to build a retaining wall around a flower or garden bed. You can have the concrete broken into block-size pieces and use it to build a small retaining wall to create an elevated flower or garden bed.
  • Use the concrete to build a privacy wall. You will need some wire gabions—small metal cages. Fill the space inside the cage with the broken up concrete, and then secure the cage in the ground to make a decorative privacy wall.
  • Use it as drainage If you have drainage problems around your home, you can dig up the ground and fill it in with the broken-up concrete driveway or patio. You can also use it in this manner and place it around underground drain lines which route water away from the home.
  • Recycle part of the old concrete into your new concrete driveway or patio. The old concrete can replace some, but not all of the new concrete used for your new concrete driveway or patio. It is crushed down into a powder and then mixed into the new concrete.
  • You can take the old concrete and a pond liner to build a pond. Ponds are great water features to add around your home. Once built, you can put chunks of the concrete into the pond itself to give your fish areas where they can hide.
  • Use it in your fish tank. You can have the concrete broken down into right-size pieces and use it in your fish tank in place of pebbles or rocks. Small pieces also work well to serve as the foundation for new coral you are trying to grow in your tank.

This is just a small sampling of the many different things you can do with your old concrete driveway or patio. Hopefully, these ideas will give you the inspiration to come up with even more great ways to use the old concrete around your home.

new driveway_for_dual_garage_door

Why You Should Hire Professional Houston Concrete Contractors

When it comes to installing a brand new concrete patio or driveway, it is something that is better left to experienced Houston concrete contractors. It might seem like it is not that difficult to mix and pour concrete. However, there is more to installing a new concrete driveway or patio that tends to get overlooked.

First, the underlying surface must be properly prepared. It has to be dug out deep enough so that, when the concrete is poured, there will be a solid and strong piece of concrete. If the ground is not dug out correctly, then the concrete patio or driveway will not be thick enough. This will lead to premature cracking and splitting.

Once the ground has been dug out deep enough, then the soil underneath must be compacted to be as firm as possible. Depending on where you live, you may need to use another type of soil as the substrate layer and have that compacted prior to pouring the concrete. Otherwise, if the ground is not compacted correctly and the concrete is poured over it, it will lead to sinking, cracking, and splitting of the driveway or patio.

Next, some sort of added support needs to be placed over the compacted ground before the concrete is poured.  This often involves using solid metal bars, which will provide additional support after the concrete sets.

Last, the concrete has to fully cure, and then it must be properly sealed and protected. If you do not wait until it is cured and attempt to seal it early, it will only lock in excess moisture and cause the driveway or patio to wear out much faster.

 

Getting a new concrete driveway or patio requires following the right steps for a solid, strong, and great-looking driveway or patio. For all of your concrete driveway and patio repairs and maintenance or to have a new concrete driveway or patio installed, please feel free to contact the Houston concrete contractors at Cross Construction Services by calling 713-254-1703 today!

Why Design Your Concrete Patio or Driveway Project This Winter?

During the winter months, temperatures can vary greatly, especially here in Houston. One day it might be sunny and near 80, and the next day can turn much colder. Some winters, it even gets cold enough to frost and freeze. Then there are even those rare snow showers that occur every few years, too!

Since the weather in Houston is very unpredictable, it can be difficult to get much done on the outside of your home. However, that does not mean you cannot gear up for spring and summertime projects by developing your designs in the winter.

Two types of projects you can plan now are concrete patios and driveways. Even if the weather is freezing cold outside, you can still start making preparations now. Once it warms back up and temperatures are steadier, then you will be ready for your Houston concrete contractors to get to work.

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Tips for Designing Concrete Driveways

If your current driveway is older and wearing out, and it just looks bad, replacing it with a new concrete driveway will greatly improve the curb appeal of your home. On the other hand, if you currently only have a dirt driveway and are tired of dust, dirt, and other debris getting tracked into your vehicles and home, a new concrete driveway is a perfect solution.

Either way, you will want to consider each of the following aspects when designing your new concrete driveway:

Form over function or function over form?

Form over function is a modern design approach, where you place more of an emphasis on how the driveway is going to look rather than its purpose. Conversely, function over form is placing more of an emphasis on the function of the drive, rather than how it looks.

For instance, if you want to include various design elements in the driveway’s design, form is more important for you. On the other hand, if you do not care how the driveway looks, as long as it serves its purpose, then you care more about function.

Standard gray concrete or colored/texturized finish?

Some people don’t mind a standard gray concrete driveway. Other people want their driveway to stand out by having it finished in a different color, such as burgundy or tan, or having it texturized. You may even have the option of having the concrete colored when it is poured. If you want a specific color or texture of driveway, talk to your Houston concrete contractors to find out what options are offered.

custom_driveway_installed

What size and shape do you want?

Do you want a “traditional” rectangular shaped driveway that runs from the street to your garage? Would you rather have a circular driveway design that allows people to easily turn around and allows you to have a center area where you can put a fountain, flower garden, or another decorative centerpiece?

It can be beneficial to sketch out your design ideas on paper to get a better idea of how they might look. Your concrete contractor might also have special design software they will use so you can see “before” and “after” pictures.

Do you want to include a gate?

Some people have a fence around their homes and want to include a gate at the end of the driveway. If you want to include a gate, this will need to be incorporated into your design. You want to make sure the gate you select can open easily and without any obstructions after your new driveway has been completed.

Do you need to elevate the driveway to create a slope away from the home?

In order to pour a new driveway, your old one has to be removed. If you currently don’t have a driveway, you will need to dig out the ground to create the shape of the driveway where the concrete will be poured.

If you currently have problems with water pooling near your home or running into your garage, you will definitely want to have your driveway elevated and sloped away from the home. This way, rainwater drains away from the home and toward the street.

Tips for Designing Concrete Patios

You can use many of the same design tips for concrete driveways to help you design concrete patios, with a few minor variations. You will certainly need to decide if you want traditional gray or a colored finished patio. You also need to determine what shape and size you want for your new patio.

One of the biggest mistakes, which is not very attractive, is to just have a rectangular-shaped concrete patio poured right up near the back of the home. While you may want to have a patio right up near your home, you should consider if you should add other design elements to it or extend it into your back yard.

For instance, one popular design is to have a rectangular patio near the home that is elevated off the ground several feet, with concrete stairs going down into your yard. Another popular design is a ground-poured patio which is rounded and uses curves on the sides facing away from the home, rather than being flat.

Additionally, there is no set “rule” that you must have a patio right next to your home. You could have a concrete walkway poured and design your patio out in the middle of your yard instead. No matter what shape you decide on and where you want it placed, remember to take into account the following:

  • How much direct sunlight does your backyard get? If the location of the patio will be in direct sunlight all day long, you probably won’t use it much. Consider placing the patio in a location that is partially shaded.
  • Do you want a covered or enclosed patio? If direct sunlight is a problem no matter where you place the patio, you should consider covering it. If you want to be able to use your patio year round and not worry about rain, cold, wind, or our exceptionally hot and humid summers, then you may also want to have your patio enclosed.
  • If covering or enclosing the patio, do you want an outdoor kitchen, fireplace, or fire pit? These are added features you could have added to your patio to get more enjoyment out of spending time in your backyard. You could even have an outdoor-friendly TV and sound system installed so you can enjoy sporting events with your friends and family while firing up the grill and “tailgating” on your new patio!

concrete_walkway_pouring

Why Not Just Wait Until Spring or Summer to Design a Driveway or Patio?

Concrete companies in Houston start to get busier once spring and summer arrive. Finding a contractor to help you transform your design into a project plan could be met with long delays. It is not uncommon to discover a highly demanded residential concrete contractor to be fully booked until the following fall or winter!

If you want to make sure your new concrete driveway or patio is complete this spring or summer, you will want to get to work on your design now. It is equally important to start getting project quotes from Houston concrete contractors, as well.

When requesting quotes, make sure to fully explain what you want and provide a sketch of your design plan. You also will want to inquire as to whether the contractor you select is able to assist with the entire project from start to finish. If not, then you may need to find another contractor to assist with the finishing touches you want to put on your new concrete driveway or patio.

If you are not sure where to start your design or need inspiration and ideas for concrete driveway and patio construction in Houston, speaking to an experienced contractor now, when they are not as busy, is also a great idea!

For assistance in designing and planning a new concrete driveway or patio for your Houston area home, and to request a FREE quote, please feel free to contact Cross Construction Services (CCS Concrete Driveways) at 713-244-8509 today! We have over 30 years of experience in concrete construction, driveways, and patios.

How Long Should You Wait Before Sealing Your Concrete Driveway?

After getting a new concrete driveway poured, one thing our Houston concrete contractors highly recommends is having your new concrete driveway sealed. Sealing helps to protect and preserve the appearance of your new driveway and guarantees it will last a long time. Most concrete driveways, if properly cared for and maintained, can last as long as 25 years.

What You Need to Know About Concrete

Concrete is a mixture of water, cement, and either gravel or sand. It has to be mixed carefully using the right amount of each material. Mixing processes help ensure the concrete can be poured and smoothed easily. The mixing process also helps with the curing process, which is where the concrete gradually hardens so it is solid and strong.

Unsealed concrete is porous and can absorb various types of liquids such as water and oil. Depending on the type of liquid, it can cause the concrete to become discolored and stained. The fluids will also cause unsealed concrete to gradually start to deteriorate and break down. This can lead to cracking and chipping.

 

Why Wait to Seal Concrete?

While it can be tempting to seal the concrete right after it is poured, this is never recommended. There is excess moisture in the concrete that needs to evaporate during the curing process. The total curing process normally takes about a month before the concrete is solid and ready to be sealed.

If you were to seal the concrete any sooner, it would create a barrier and prevent the excess moisture from evaporating correctly. As a result, the newly poured concrete driveway would not be as strong as it should be. In addition, the concrete would be more prone to breaking and cracking. Furthermore, the concrete could become uneven as the concrete would not be able to settle correctly.

Sealing Process

The sealing process is pretty straightforward once your new concrete driveway has fully cured. It is a good idea to verify it is properly cured by having it inspected with a follow-up visit from our Houston concrete contractors.

  1. Clean the concrete driveway.

You want to make sure to clean the driveway before sealer is applied. Otherwise, anything left on the driveway will be sealed into the concrete and could lead to staining and discolorations. To clean the driveway, start by sweeping it off with a broom to remove leaves, dirt, and other debris.

Next, take a garden hose and nozzle and spray off the driveway to remove any remaining dust and dirt. If there are stains in the concrete that have started to appear, you will want to get these removed. You may use a pressure washer to help remove stains, but you do need to be careful to avoid damaging the concrete by not holding the end of the power washer wand too close to the cement.

Once the driveway has been cleaned, you need to let any water on the concrete dry fully before the sealant is applied. Normally, during a bright sunny day, it only takes between two and four hours for the driveway to dry.

  1. Choose the right concrete sealer.

There are several different types of concrete sealers. Some are designed to help protect against staining. Others are designed to enhance the appearance of the concrete and have a glossy finish. There are even sealers that are a mixture of materials to provide multiple benefits, like stain protection and high-gloss finish.

If you plan on sealing your driveway yourself, you should avoid sealants from general retailers. These products may not be as superior as the sealants you can get from your local concrete contractor.

  1. Apply the sealer to the driveway.

There are different application methods you can use to seal the driveway. You could use a brush and “paint” the sealer on. This method can take a very long time to complete, especially if you have a large or long driveway.

Another method you could use is to roll the sealant onto the driveway. This method is faster than brushing. Rolling the sealer on also provide a more even finish and better sealant coverage.

The easiest and fastest method to use is spraying the sealer onto the driveway. Spray sealing does provide an even finish and allow you to apply the right amount of sealant.

Regardless of which method you decide to use, the sealant should be applied until it starts to turn a light white color. This signifies a nice coating of the sealant to ensure the concrete is properly protected.

  1. Allow the sealant to fully cure and dry.

It is equally important to allow the sealants to fully cure and dry for at least 24 hours before walking on, driving over, or parking vehicles on the driveway. After the sealant has dried, you will want to inspect the entire driveway to verify there were no spots missed.

It is easy to see any spots you missed since there will be a color variation from the sealed section and unsealed section. If you find any unsealed areas, apply sealant to these and allow the area to cure and dry for 24 hours.

Applying_sealant_concrete

 

After Care and Maintenance

Once your driveway has been sealed, you will need to care for it properly. You should sweep off any dirt, leaves, and debris on a regular basis. You can also use your garden hose and garden nozzle to spray it off.

However, you should not power wash the driveway, as this can remove the sealant. If you spill anything other than water on the driveway, it is important to clean up the spill right away to prevent it eating through the sealant and staining your driveway.

Depending on the type of sealant used, it will need to be reapplied periodically. Most sealants will last about two years but can vary based on the type of sealant used and the amount of traffic and wear.

Why You Need a Professional to Seal Concrete

The steps required to seal your new concrete driveway are not always something everyone can do on their own. Our Houston concrete contractors can include driveway sealing as part of your new driveway installation so you will not have to worry about doing it the first time.

If there is staining or any other issues, we will take care of resolving these prior to applying sealant. Not to mention, we already have access to the equipment and sealants required to seal your driveway.

Common Mistakes People Make When Sealing Their Driveways

The biggest mistake people make when they want to seal their driveways themselves is applying the sealant too soon. They do not wait until the driveway is fully cured. This mistake ends up costing in the long run because their new driveway will not last as long and can develop cracks and other problems, which have to be repaired.

Another mistake people make is not cleaning their driveway before applying the sealant. When dirt, dust, and other types of debris are trapped under the sealant, it affects the performance of the concrete. Leaves are especially notorious for staining concrete if they are not cleaned off ahead of time.

 

Another issue that arises is when choosing the right sealant. If you do not select the right one, it may not provide the right protection you require for your new concrete driveway. For instance, if you just apply a glossy sealant, it may not have stain protection.

Last, not caring for your driveway after it is sealed can be a common mistake. The sealant does eventually wear off and need to be reapplied. If sealant is not reapplied at the right intervals, the concrete is no longer protected.

As you can see, these mistakes can be quite easy to make. This is why our concrete patios and driveways company recommends having us install and seal your new concrete driveway, as well as take care of any repairs and resealing you need.

For further information about our concrete driveway and patio services, please feel free to contact Cross Construction Services at 713-244-8509 today!

Construction 101: What You Need to Know About Your Concrete Driveway

 

The concrete driveway on your home is designed to provide years of use with the right care and maintenance. Even with the best care and maintenance, though, eventually your driveway will wear out and you will want to replace it with a new concrete driveway installed by your Houston concrete contractors.

Let’s take a look at the life of a concrete driveway so you can get a better idea about everything you need to know.

Building a Concrete Driveway

Your concrete driveway began as a plan drawn out on paper or in a computer app. The design of your driveway is essential to making your home look aesthetically pleasing. You want to make sure the shape, size, and route of the driveway best suits your needs. For instance, if you have a two-car garage but three vehicles, you will want to include a parking space off to one side for the third vehicle.

Once you have a design created, the next thing you will want to do is check with your local municipality office/county clerk to see if you need a residential permit to have the driveway installed. It is important to determine the right amount of concrete to use for the driveway.

Ideally, you will want it to be a minimum of four inches thick. Otherwise, it will crack and break because it will not be able to support the weight of vehicles on it. If you want to increase the longevity of the driveway, as well as the amount of weight it can support, you should consider adding another inch of concrete.

new driveway_for_dual_garage_door

To calculate the amount of concrete you will need, you need to multiply the length times the width times the depth. Then you divide the result by 27—the number of cubic feet per cubic yard.

For example, you want a rectangular driveway and measure out the length from the garage doors to the curb of your street and find it to be 50 feet. Next, you measure the width across the driveway to accommodate a two-car garage with a little extra space on both sides, and it is 15 feet wide.

Now you multiply 50 times 15 to get 750. Whether you want a 4-inch- or 5-inch-thick driveway determines what you multiple 750 by. If you want a 4-inch-thick drive, then you would multiply it by 0.34 inches. If you want a 5-inch-thick driveway, then you would multiply it by 0.42 inches.

For a four-inch-thick driveway, the result is 255, and a five-inch-thick driveway is 315. Now divide this answer by 27. For a four-inch-thick driveway, you will need 9.45 cubic yards of concrete. For a five-inch-thick driveway, you will need 11.67 cubic yards of concrete. This number is how much concrete your Houston concrete contractors will need to order.

Please Note: The calculations used here are for illustrative and informational purposes only; the amount of concrete you’ll need for your driveway can and will vary, based on its desired shape and depth.

Preparing to Pour a Concrete Driveway

Now that you have your concrete driveway design and know how much concrete your contractors need to order, the next step is to prepare your driveway. The dirt needs to be dug out, and the subgrade has to be properly prepared. There are different methods used to prepare the subgrade, depending on the type of soil you have.

In Houston, homes can have various clays, loams, and sands or a combination thereof. Most homes within the city limits typically have a dark clay soil. The subgrade must be compacted and leveled prior to pouring concrete on top. In addition, crushed rock or gravel is often used to help even out the area, as well as to address problems with soft soil.

In some cases, a soil plate compactor might be required to ensure the soil is nicely compacted. Once the subgrade is prepared, the next step is to build a frame around the area with the right forms and reinforcement materials. The frame will contain the concrete once it is poured.

To ensure a solid finished concrete driveway, you will want to add some type of reinforcement over the subgrade. Most people choose steel reinforcing bars that are connected together in each section of the driveway. These “mats” help increase support for the concrete and give it strength. Additionally, the steel “mats” ensure a more even disbursement of weight on the concrete.

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Pouring a Concrete Driveway

The concrete must be mixed prior to pouring it. There are various mixes, depending on the end result you desire. You can learn more about the different types of mixes available by speaking to your Houston concrete contractors.

There are also different methods used to pour the driveway. The most common one is to use a concrete truck and pour the concrete right from the truck. If it is not possible to get the truck into the right place, a wheelbarrow can be used to transport the concrete and fill up each section of the driveway. Another option is to use a special concrete pump to pump the concrete from the truck to the pouring area.

After the concrete is poured, it must be made even so it is flat. The surface does not need to be level, and it should slope away from the home and toward the street to ensure proper runoff and drainage.

The concrete must also have joints added to it before the concrete sets. Joints are one-inch-deep cuts made into the concrete every four feet or so. The joints allow the concrete to expand and contract to changes in temperatures and help prevent cracking. Joints can be made into the concrete to create a special pattern or other such design effects.

In addition to the joints, the top surface of the concrete should get a “broom finish” to help ensure proper traction and keep the concrete surface from becoming slick once it sets. A “broom finish” is not needed if you are using a different finishing method like a texturized colored finish.

pouring concrete onto future driveway

 

Curing the Concrete Driveway

Now that the driveway is poured and finished, it must cure. The curing process involves adding a moisture-retaining barrier over the surface. This can be done by applying a liquid curing compound or a special plastic sheeting. The concrete needs to retain some moisture as it hardens and cures, to prevent cracking. A sealant should also be applied, as this will help deter staining.

It is important to stay off the surface of the drive while it is curing. Depending on the humidity levels and temperatures, curing can take between three to seven days. You should also avoid driving over or parking vehicles on the driveway until it is fully cured.

Maintaining a Concrete Driveway

Concrete driveways are designed to provide years of use. In order to get the most life out of your new concrete driveway, it is important to complete regular maintenance at set intervals, as follows:

  • Keep the driveway clean. You should use a broom to remove dirt and debris from the surface on a weekly basis. You may also use a garden hose with a nozzle—but not a power washer—to hose off dirt and debris.
  • Clean up stains right away. To avoid stains from setting into the concrete and eating through the sealant, you need to clean them up right away. If you work on your vehicle at home, on top of the driveway, you should put down a tarp or another protective covering to catch any oil, grease, or other fluids.
  • Never use harsh cleaning chemicals. Certain chemicals will eat through the sealant and can cause the concrete to deteriorate, break, and crack.
  • Fix cracks right away. Concrete can develop small fractures and cracks over time, even with the best maintenance. Make sure to have these repaired right away by your Houston concrete contractors to stop them from increasing in size and weakening the concrete.
  • Keep heavy vehicles off the driveway. Delivery trucks and other commercial vehicles should never be parked on the driveway, as residential driveways are not designed to support the weight of these vehicles.

Once the driveway gets to the point where it is developing a lot of cracks, chipping, and other such problems, it is usually time to replace the driveway with a new one.

For further information about residential concrete driveway installation, repair, restoration, and other services in the Houston, TX area, please feel free to contract CCS Concrete Driveways (Cross Construction Services) at 713-254-1703 today! We also build patios, patio rooms, and patio coverings.

How to Keep Your Commercial Parking Lot Safe

The most important asset in a business is its customers, and a well-maintained parking lot for your business can provide a big boost to customer satisfaction and convenience. On the other hand, a commercial parking lot can also be a liability. If it’s not well designed or not looked after, it can be a nuisance—or, worse, a dangerous hazard—to your customers.

As a versatile and durable substance that provides excellent value for the money, concrete should be your first choice when it comes to a business parking lot. It requires proper planning and maintenance to continue being safe, so here are a few essential tips to make sure yours will always do right by your customers.

What Can Go Wrong

Anything that happens on your property, which includes your parking lot, is the responsibility of your business. That means if there’s an accident on your lot, you’re liable. Not only could a badly constructed parking lot cause a nasty injury to someone or damage to their vehicle, but it might also cost you thousands of dollars in costly lawsuits and claims for damages.

These kinds of accidents include:

  • Vehicle collisions within the parking lot
  • Striking pedestrians or other cars when entering or exiting the lot
  • Vehicle theft or damage
  • Customers tripping or falling in the lot
  • Collisions with the building, signage, or infrastructure

Determining who is at fault is always tricky in these situations, but you will have a much better chance of avoiding a lawsuit and having a much better relationship with your customers when you have a safe parking lot.

Old Mercedes car in parking lot

 

Constructing a Safe Parking Lot

Building a concrete parking lot might seem like it’s the simplest thing in the world, but a lot of thought has to go into the design and construction before you even get started. So many accidents can be avoided just by getting the parking lot right in the first place. Here are some factors you’ll have to consider before you build.

Stable Foundations

Done properly, a concrete patio, driveway, or commercial parking lot can last upward of 25 years. However, as a transport hub for your business, your parking lot is going to see a lot more traffic—and a lot more punishment—than a residential concrete slab.

With so much pressure applied to it, day in and day out, laying the concrete down on a stable and solid foundation is vital. Any existing structure will need to be removed or made uniform, or the soil foundation will have to be prepared adequately. Cracks, potholes, and unevenness will appear quicker than you think if this isn’t done properly.

Drainage

Both cars and pedestrians can be harmed by improper drainage on your site. Pooling of water doesn’t just cause your customers to get wet shoes—it’s much easier to slip and fall, or for a car to skid, on a wet surface.

Concrete gutters, correctly installed (and placed) drains, and even a gentle slope if necessary all go a long way toward ensuring that any rain or liquid can naturally run off your lot. Over time, some water pooling will be inevitable, but it’s your job to make sure that the water doesn’t stay around for long.

Weather

While heavy weather most often causes problems with drainage, it can present other hazardous situations, too. Depending on where your business is based, you may also have to deal with dust, hail, snow, strong winds, and ice.

The location and climate will have to be taken into consideration when your parking lot is designed, so you avoid environmental wear and tear (like cracks and holes) and dangerous surfaces. It’s always best to choose a concrete contractor that knows your area well.

Layout

Some of the most common incidents that happen in a business parking lot are low-speed collisions between cars as they are parking. While it is to some degree up to the driver to be aware of their surroundings, it’s also your responsibility to present customers with a parking lot that’s easy to navigate and not filled with blind spots.

Space is almost always at a premium, but you’ll have to make sure that you’re not trying to squeeze too many parking spots into your lot. Customers shouldn’t have to fight their way into and out of a spot. At the same time, the layout of the parking lot has to ensure a smooth flow of traffic at all times—frustrated drivers and those who can’t see where they’re going are more likely to get into an accident.

Safety Features

Other things to consider, although not specific to concrete parking lots, are the other security and safety features you’re going to install. Proper lighting deters crime and theft, and adequate signage will make the parking process smoother.

You may want to install security fencing to protect the vehicles and prevent overnight usage of the space, as well as CCTV cameras. A final thing to consider is to have regular and consistent monitoring of the carpark by a private security firm.

 

Maintenance

Thankfully, concrete installed by a reputable and professional concrete contracting company won’t need too much maintenance. Concrete is a tough surface, and it can withstand a lot of stress before it starts to show signs of wear.

However, you will want to prevent dangerous obstacles like uneven surfaces, cracks, and holes from appearing in the long term, which does require regular care. This maintenance includes:

  • Cleaning the parking lot with water and concrete-safe detergents
  • Laying down sand in the event of icy or snowy conditions
  • Weeding and clearing of debris
  • Reapplying paint markings
  • Cleaning up any spills immediately

Resurfacing and Replacing

If you are dealing with an old parking lot where cracks have started to appear, you’ll have to assess how much damage has been done. You’ll then be faced with a question: Should you resurface the concrete to seal the cracks and holes, or will you need to remove it entirely and start again?

Either way, you’ll need to address the situation before an accident happens. Both methods have their pros and cons, and it’s probably a sound idea to have your local concrete contractor recommend the next steps and provide a quote.

Parked_cars_parking_lot

Empowering Your Employees

Time is never on the side of a business owner. Sometimes you won’t notice problems with your parking lot before it’s too late. However, if you have multiple employees, you can turn to them for help.

By empowering your employees to monitor the condition of the parking lot and alert you of any potential hazards, they will develop a healthy approach to problem-solving as well as increase their emotional investment in the business. At the same time, you get a safe, beautiful parking lot that will greatly increase customer satisfaction. It’s a win-win.

 

A Parking Lot That Will Drive Your Business Forward

Cross Construction Services (CCS Concrete Driveways) is the Houston concrete contractor to call when you need a long-lasting commercial parking lot that will drive your business forward. With 30 years of experience, you’re guaranteed a commercial driveway that will not only suit you and your company (and fit your budget!) but keep your customers safe for years to come.

We’re honest, reputable, and passionate locals who can provide expert advice and professional, on-time services for all your concrete needs, whether that’s redesigning concrete patios or building a brand-new parking lot. Call us at (713) 254-1703 for a free quote and find out how you can expand your business today!

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