A small house built with sustainable concrete in Houston, something that Cross Construction Services can help build for your dream house.

Environmentally Friendly Benefits of Sustainable Concrete

Green building materials in the construction industry are becoming increasingly popular. The use of sustainable materials and recycled materials ensures resources are not depleted, so there will be sufficient building materials for future generations. One material that is quickly emerging and becoming a top choice for construction projects is sustainable concrete.

The Benefits of Using Concrete as a Sustainable Material

#1: Fully Recyclable

Used concrete is easy to recycle into aggregate materials that can be used for other purposes. For instance, when the aggregate is ground into a powder-like consistency, it can be used with cement to produce new concrete.

Other uses for concrete aggregate include using it as a base material for road construction, parking lots, and walls and protecting shorelines from erosion. Concrete can also be broken down into different sizes and shapes.

For example, concrete can be broken down into pebble-size pieces to be used in place of mulch or to give texture to concrete walkways, pool decks, patios, etc. Thus, concrete essentially can be recycled numerous times without losing its other excellent properties.

#2: Versatile/Adaptive Reuse

Concrete can be adapted to a wide range of surfaces, shapes, sizes, and forms when in a wet-mixed state that hardens into the desired output. The adaptability of concrete also allows it to be reused in various formats. For example, concrete office buildings can be converted into concrete apartment buildings to get further use out of existing buildings.

#3: Energy-Efficient

Concrete has the ability to insulate to help reduce the heating and cooling demands of buildings. If you have ever been in a basement in the summer, you know the basement is much cooler. This is thanks to the concrete foundation of the home.

Furthermore, concrete driveways, roads, and parking lots are energy-efficient. The energy required to maintain, repair, and construct concrete pavement is a fraction of that for asphalt pavement. Additionally, thanks to the light gray color of concrete, it reflects heat energy, keeping surfaces cooler.

#4: Lowest Carbon Foot

Concrete has the lowest carbon footprint compared to other building materials based on their life cycles. Since concrete is fully recyclable and reusable without change to the concrete structure, and thanks to modern concrete production methods, this benefit is one that potentially never ends.

#5: Emission-Free

Concrete’s emission environmental impact is zero. Once hardened and cured, concrete is inert, which means it does not give off gases, carbon dioxide, or VOCs (volatile organic compounds).

#6: Strong and Durable

Concrete is a rather strong material once it is fully cured. It is difficult to break concrete, making it very durable. Its lifespan lasts decades—often much longer than wood and other building materials.

#7: Low Maintenance

An added benefit concrete materials have is being low maintenance, thanks to their durability and strength. For instance, concrete driveways and parking lots are easy to maintain by sealing the concrete periodically and fixing any minor cracks.

#8: Produced Locally

Recycled eco-friendly concrete is often produced nearby by local businesses. Not only can you help support the local economy, but you can also help do your part in reducing your environmental impact. Additionally, since green concrete is made locally, it reduces shipping costs and any related emissions associated with shipping.

#9: Resilient

The strength and durability of concrete make it a relatively resilient building material. It will not rust, decay, rot, or burn. In addition, concrete is fire resistant, wind-resistant, and water-resistant. As a result, following earthquakes, hurricanes, and other natural weather events, concrete structures tend to remain standing while other structures built with different materials do not.

#10: Cost-Effective

Concrete structures, buildings, driveways, roads, and parking lots are more cost-effective than other building materials. Thanks to the durability, strength, long life span, low maintenance, and recyclability of concrete, it is an affordable and eco-friendly building material.

#11: Increases Rainwater Collection

Where pervious concrete is used for roadways and other surfaces exposed to rain, it makes it easier for the rainwater to pass directly through the porous concrete and directly into the ground. This reduces the need for excessive rainwater collection methods like flow-off channels, storm drains, etc.

#12: Promotes Recycling Other Building Materials

Steel is a common building material used with concrete construction for buildings, roads, and other structures. By recycling the concrete, it exposes the steel and makes it also possible to recycle and reuse the steel. Steel can be heated and remelted into liquid molten steel. The liquid molten steel can be poured into cast molds and made into new steel products.

Why Is Concrete Considered Sustainable?

A 2 story house built with sustainable concrete in Houston, something that Cross Construction Services can help build for your dream house.

Concrete is made using various raw materials that occur naturally in the environment or are by-products of other production methods that would otherwise end up in landfills.

The primary material used for the cement in concrete is limestone. Limestone is found just about anywhere in the world. It is one of the most abundant materials that can be recycled and reused.

The by-product materials used to make concrete include silica fume, blast furnace slag, and fly ash. These by-products come from manufacturing plants, power plants, and steel mills. Once used to make concrete, these materials can also continue to be reused and recycled to make new concrete or new concrete materials.

Sustainable concrete is an excellent material to use for a wide range of residential and commercial construction projects. To find out more about sustainable concrete for home renovation and improvement projects, new home construction, or commercial projects, please feel free to contact Cross Construction Services at 713-254-1703 today!

5 Tips to Lengthen the Life of Your Concrete Patio

refinished concrete patio with overhead covering

A concrete patio is a luxury that turns your outdoor living space into somewhere to gather, entertain, or enjoy a book or snack in the fresh air. The downside is it’s vulnerable to the elements. Weather extremes such as hot and cold temperatures and rain, snow, and hail can take a toll. General wear and tear can affect concrete over time, as well. Once cracks appear, they can expand and, eventually, cause your concrete to crumble.

When well-cared for, concrete can last for two or three decades and sometimes up to 50 years or longer. However, the long-term durability of your patio is dependent on how well you maintain it. You can add years to the life of concrete surfaces and the functionality of your patio with these tips:

1. Allow Enough Time to Let the Concrete Cure

Concrete dries best in warm temperatures. It helps to schedule your patio project when temperatures are forecast to remain consistently warm. The more optimal the temperature and moisture content of the concrete is during curing; the more desirable its properties will be.

Proper curing enables concrete to harden to its full strength. It involves chemical reactions within the cement that help it bind. A reaction between water and cement, known as hydration, also occurs, which generates heat as the concrete is drying.

So, how long does the process take to complete? If you’re just concerned with walking on the surface, it’s best to wait seven days. Heavy vehicles and equipment should be kept off the surface for at least 30 days.

construction worker smoothing wet concrete with tool

2. Maintenance

As was stated earlier, maintenance is essential for any concrete patio. This can significantly improve its longevity, so it’s vital not to ignore regular upkeep. The best forms of maintenance include:

  • Cleaning: Not all homeowners know how to clean a concrete patio. Without cleaning, water, soil, and contaminants with a high mineral content can erode the concrete. To prevent this, use a garden hose with a spray attachment, or a pressure washer, to clear away dirt and debris about every week or two. Stubborn spills can be treated with liquid dish soap, then scrub the concrete with a broom before applying a water spray.
  • Inspections: By regularly inspecting concrete, you can find cracks in its early stages and take the appropriate measures. The problem will only get worse over time. The best times to check your concrete include late in the summer season when expansion due to heat may have generated cracks. During the winter, freeze-thaw cycles can put concrete under stress. Ground settling, expanding tree roots, water intrusion, and rust formation can worsen crevices, so take a glance now and then to prevent against future high-cost repairs.
  • Sealing: Whether there are cracks or not, sealing the concrete can help protect it and extend the life of your patio. Sealers can prevent dirt, oil, and grease from causing stains, as well as stop water, snow, and ice from getting below the surface layer where they can cause severe damage during freeze-thaw cycles. The proper sealer can avoid further cracking, flaking, and scaling. All you need is a brush, roller, or household broom to apply it. Your concrete can look like new for much longer.

worker cleaning driveway with gasoline high pressure

3. Repair Any Damage

Damage to concrete leaves it highly vulnerable to additional deterioration. Sometimes minor damage can be repaired with items from home improvement stores. Resurfacing compounds can be used for small cracks, but make sure the surface is thoroughly cleaned first. You’ll need a high-pressure washer and duct tape/weather-stripping to protect the concrete joints.

Larger cracks require additional steps. Widen the break with a chisel and hammer (by at least ¼ inch) and remove deteriorating concrete or fragments. Brush away any loose material. If there are cracks more than ½ inch deep, insert a backer rod, and use a caulking gun to apply a sealant.

However, repairing damaged concrete can be tricky. If you don’t have experience in this area, Cross Construction Services can help with your Houston concrete patio repair. Our experienced technicians apply the most appropriate polyurethane sealants and polymer-based cement resurfacers. In addition to using top-quality compounds, we can address stained, cracked, or crumbled concrete, even if retaining walls, expansion joints, drainage, plumbing, or hand railings seem to be complicating matters.

concrete cracks and gaps

4. Seasonal Preparation

In addition to power washing concrete every couple of months, it’s essential to ensure your concrete patio is ready for the challenges each season brings. Here are some ways to provide seasonal protection:

  • Apply a concrete patio sealer at least once a year (less frequently used surfaces can go two or three years between sealing). Otherwise, the permeability of a concrete surface will leave your patio vulnerable to water entry, ice, and erosion due to salt. Reapply the sealer whenever the sheen starts to disappear, or the surface color starts to fade.
  • Clean the gutters and downspouts to ensure water is properly draining from your roof. Blockages can cause overflows and damage that put your concrete surfaces at risk. Also, point gutters/downspouts away from masonry to prevent water from over-saturating the pavement and causing excess wear. For maximum protection, relocate your downspouts entirely or install underground drainage.
  • Stock up on non-chemical deicers. While ice can do plenty of damage, ice-melting chemicals not only break down the sealer but also the concrete material below. The damage may first appear as small divots on the surface, but it will get worse over time. Aside from safer deicers, you can also use sand. Another added means of protection is to lay rugs (on covered patios), which can protect the concrete from stains and damage from furniture.
Modern Patio Cover Install and Design

5. Install a Patio Covering

Patio covers provide a roof to protect concrete. While some covers have an open lattice design for partial shade, a solid patio covering entirely blocks rain, snow, and other outside elements. At the same time, it can provide full shade. It can be sized to cover every square foot of the patio and the furniture, equipment, or dining space it contains. The cover can also protect televisions, sound systems, and other entertainment-related equipment.

With a patio covering, you can also add extra features such as retractable shades, sliding doors, and, for additional comfort and cooling, ceiling fans. You can even extend the ductwork from your home HVAC system to provide heating and cooling on your patio. At Cross Construction Services, our team can also add sunscreens, gutters, plastic composite/glass enclosures, and other functional elements, along with insulating materials such as aluminum or polycarbonate.

Some patio covers are designed to match the exterior façade of the house, right down to the shingles. The choices enable homeowners to match their patio cover with a larger design scheme. For professional assistance designing and building a concrete patio in Houston, TX, and suitable protection that can extend its life, contact Cross Construction Services at 713-254-1703 for a free estimate today!

Ways to Accessorize a Patio

Many homeowners underutilize their patios. The truth is, even if you have a small patio, you can accessorize it to add comfort and function. From adding patio covers to elements of nature, to cooking areas and places to lounge, you can accessorize your patio to make it your own personal retreat. Enclosing your patio can let you, your family, and guests enjoy outdoor living with all the amenities you enjoy indoors—but, first, here are some great ways to spruce up your outdoor area.

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Seven Benefits of Adding an Enclosed Sunroom onto Your Home

Do you have a patio that is exposed all day long to direct sunlight? Enjoying your patio is then not much fun, especially during the hot Texas summers! Even during the fall, winter, and spring months, the weather can still get rather hot and humid. Not to mention, there are pests of all sorts that can make spending time outdoors even less fun and exciting.

If you have a patio on your home but rarely use it for these or other reasons, you should consider this trendy patio design idea: Convert the patio into an enclosed sunroom! An enclosed patio not only makes it possible for you to fully utilize the entire space of your home by gaining additional living space but also to enjoy the outdoors without worrying about the weather or pests.

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Concrete Driveways: More Durable and Economical Than Asphalt

So, you are in need of a new driveway in Houston because your current one is worn out. One of the most important things you will need to consider is what material you want to use for your new driveway. Most homeowners choose between asphalt and concrete.

While some homeowners do choose asphalt, concrete is becoming a more popular option for several reasons. From being an eco-friendly choice to long-term savings, concrete can be the perfect choice for the new driveway for your Houston home.

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How Houston HOAs Ensure Homeowners Rectify HOA Violations

Homeowner associations (HOAs) were created in communities to help manage the upkeep and appearance of the shared common areas, such as streets, sidewalks, community pool, and so on. In addition, they may include certain services like trash pickup, recycling, and lawn mowing as part of the HOA provided services for the community.

HOAs also ensure each homeowner in the community maintains their property according to the community guidelines and standards. This can include limiting what types of exterior changes are allowed, whether one can install a fence, and other such aspects. For instance, an HOA could require a homeowner to maintain their driveway and keep it in good condition.

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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.

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