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cleaning concrete steps

Cleaning Concrete Steps: Here’s a Plan to Get Rid of Mildew

Cleaning concrete steps is an essential routine maintenance task for every homeowner — it helps keep up appearances and make your home’s exterior look as beautiful as the interior.

Your concrete staircase has to face the extreme Utah elements, and it takes a toll. Since concrete is a porous material, moisture penetrates and contributes to mold growth when the surface can’t dry out quickly.

What can you do to get rid of the moldy black spores that are ruining the look of your concrete steps? Try these three steps to tackle this problem.

1. Bleach Kills Mold

Some concrete stains are impossible to eradicate, such as motor oil. But you don’t have to live with mildew on your front steps.

The top substance for killing mold in all its forms is bleach. Bleach will also lighten the look of the concrete and remove some of the less serious stains that are impacting your curb appeal.

Make sure you sweep your steps before you start cleaning, getting rid of as much dirt and grime as possible. Next, put on rubber gloves and mix three parts bleach with four parts water. Spread the solution all over the steps with a sponge or mop. You may want to wear a mask to avoid breathing in the strong fumes.

2. Use Elbow Grease

Next, grab a sturdy scrubbing brush and work the bleach into the concrete. Cleaning concrete steps effectively involves a little bit of elbow grease. Once you’ve thoroughly scrubbed the surface, let the bleach solution sit for at least 10 minutes.

3. Follow Up with Power-Washing

You can rinse the solution away with a standard garden hose, or you could really work on those mildew stains with a heavy-duty power washer. Power-washing concrete is effective and helps erase years of built-up grime. It’s one of the fastest ways to improve the look of exterior concrete. You can rent a power washer at your local home improvement store.

Improve Your Curb Appeal

Cleaning concrete steps with bleaching, scrubbing and power-washing brightens your home’s exterior surfaces and drastically improves your curb appeal. It makes you smile when you walk up a clean staircase and lounge on an unblemished patio. But what about when the steps, walkway or pool deck start to sink?

Concrete lifting is also good for appearances. When your staircase, patio or driveway is cracking, shifting and sinking, depend on Lift-Up Concrete to help even out the surface affordably and quickly. Neither you or your concrete has to settle — our team is here to help!

reinforced concrete Utah

What Is Reinforced Concrete?​

Reinforced concrete might sound like an oxymoron. As one of the most durable, strongest building materials in the world, why would concrete ever need reinforcement?

Surprisingly enough, your own concrete patio, driveway or pool deck is likely reinforced by steel bars, fiber or wire mesh. Reinforced concrete can support much more weight than just a plain concrete slab.

Why Does it Need Reinforcement?

There’s a difference between compressive and tensile strength. Compressive strength refers to the ability to withstand being pushed together. Tensile strength means the material can withstand being pulled or bent apart.

Concrete has both, but its compressive strength is much higher than its tensile strength. It can handle heavy weight. In fact, most residential concrete can handle loads between 2,900 and 4,600 pounds per square inch. But when it is subjected to a high level of stress, its tensile strength doesn’t match its compressive strength capabilities.

When materials known for their tensile strength are built into the structure, this weakness diminishes. Three of the main types of reinforcement materials used are steel bars, synthetic fiber mesh or steel wire mesh. Sometimes both steel bars and mesh are used.

Together, the reinforcement materials and the concrete are able to withstand even higher levels of stress without showing any signs of degradation.

Does Reinforced Concrete Crack?

Reinforced concrete is durable and resilient, but just like any building material that loses its stability, it can still crack. The reinforcing frame itself doesn’t prevent cracking, but it does help to hold the structure in place so that cracks don’t automatically lead to sinking.

While steel and mesh help your concrete stay strong for decades, it may corrode over time if exposed to moisture or chloride (such as rock salt.) Best case scenario: You have some rust stains that are easily removed. Worst case scenario: You need repair from a concrete specialist. In both scenarios, this is a problem with a typically straightforward solution.

When You Need Repairs

Despite the sturdy construction of reinforced concrete, there are still cases where slabjacking is necessary to restore it to its previous even, level surface. For example, these two issues can severely damage the structure, regardless of the level of reinforcement:

  • Improper drainage

Without a proper water drainage system in place around the slab, rain and melting snow leads to soil erosion. No matter the strength of the material, without a solid foundation, it can crack and sink.

  • Insufficient soil compaction

If your reinforced concrete was poured and formed on soil that wasn’t fully compacted, the entire slab may settle more than anticipated. This can also lead to cracking and sinking.

Having an issue with your reinforced concrete? The team at Lift-Up Concrete will quickly assess the problem and offer a free quote for an affordable, effective solution.