Are you planning on having a new driveway built, but are worried that does anyone guarantee concrete not to crack as that is what it always does eventually? Or maybe you would just like to have some info about concrete or cement warranty as they are often seen as synonyms?
If your answer is yes to either of these questions or just you want some general knowledge about concrete warranties, just read further as I’ve got this subject covered. We have to remember that these things change from place to place, but this is something you can expect to have.
What do I mean by that? Well, as it is general knowledge that somewhere, contractors can give out these kinds of warranties, it’s not that unnatural to expect concrete contractors around the globe to hold standards close to these.
I know that these things have been going down decade after decade, but for concrete, there still should be some standards.
Acceptable concrete cracks
Acceptable concrete cracks? This went down fast you might be thinking. Let me assure you, there are reasons for this part at the beginning.
As we know, while concrete cures, it’s form change from wet to a solid one. It gets harder and harder week after week.
The first week, it’s about ¾ of the strength we are expecting it to have for construction purposes. After 4 weeks we see that it has reached its maximum practical strength.
The curing process goes on after that, but gains are so minimal we don’t have to think about it here. What we might notice though, are some hairline cracks in the concrete slab and it might seem like these shouldn’t be there.
Now, hairline cracks are nothing to be worried about. All it means is that the surface got hard a little bit faster and as the concrete shrinks while it cures, it made some cracks in the harder surface when the concrete below it shrank.
Sometimes the small cracks are a sign of too much water in the concrete when it was being poured or that it wasn’t watered enough while it was curing.
This is a good spot to leap to how to stop concrete cracking when drying? Well, if you’re water curing it you need to start watering it multiple times a day soon enough. Also, you have to make a slump test when you’re pouring to know the density of your concrete and is it proper for your slab.
It might seem like trouble and something you shouldn’t be worried about, but ask the contractors to do these. It’s your slab and you should get it done properly.
This way you shouldn’t have any cracks in new concrete driveway or garage slab or whatever you’re pouring.
As a final thought, usually a 1/8 inch wide crack is seen as acceptable and it won’t affect the structure.
If it bothers you, you can fill it with something like epoxy injection to prevent it from expanding. You can also fix the surface to look like it’s concrete.
Exterior concrete warranty
When concrete can last from few decades to half a century, it’s surprising that most of the contractors will only give a driveway warranty for a year.
There might be details for some sort of damage that they will cover even later, but usually for shrinking and small cracks the year is the limit.
Is the spalling on the warranty
What surprises me, even more, is that concrete spalling might be something that they won’t cover. You can read from the link more about it, but if the concrete is spalling after a year, the contractors did something wrong.
Personally I’d avoid people that give that kind of warranty. What else do they not take responsibility of if not their own work. Hairline cracks I can understand.
The good thing here is that if the year is pretty much a standard, look for those who can guarantee their work for a longer time. Even two years is double from that. So before any kind of deal takes a place, ask for their concrete construction warranty letter to browse through.
Now there is quite probably a concrete crack disclaimer in the warrant so look it up and compare it here and to other warrants, you can browse online and see if it’s reasonable.
Decorative concrete has some extras
If it’s something like stamped concrete warranty they should cover the cracks like everyone else. There might be something that is out of their hands like color changes and such things should be expected.
I say that because matching the color of something that exists to something that is made with wet concrete is so hard that I don’t think anyone should give a promise on that. I’d like to see them do it before I believe it.
It’s kind of the same as when we do a pigmented rendering of house facades. We make the mortar on spot and add pigment to it. The surface is watered and small changes are in the air moisture and such.
So matching something done in that day in the next day would not be happening. It’s best to do one single piece of work that day.
Also, warranty on concrete driveway will probably mention heavy vehicles and such that might cause concrete cracks. Thin slabs aren’t for trucks etc.
Residential concrete warranty
Residential concrete warranty is pretty much the same as what it is at exteriors. The builders most often offer a warranty for a year and for things that might cause hazards it could be longer than that.
The concrete workmanship warranty covers pretty much the same things as outside, but they won’t be mentioning cars or such. You can look up what they say about cracks and what size cracks they are willing to repair.
You can also lookup local law and see what it says about structural damage and warranties. If the concrete is not done properly and might be a potential danger, like supporting structure not being safe, you could have the law at your back.
If you have decorative floors like polished concrete or stained concrete, you can look at the concrete construction warranty letter what it says about those. Remember that these might be different contractors doing the job as other pour slabs while others decorate.
So it is important to know where to look. Now, if you can’t trust in new home concrete warranty, you can also look for a third party that provides warranties.
Personally, I invested in one as you never know and it’s a small price to pay for sleeping well. Again, you need to read what they cover carefully.
You should have some idea now how long is a concrete warranty and what does it cover. I can’t go too much into detail as I don’t provide these services for you and what might be demanded from contractors change from place to place.
We also need to understand that contractors need to cover their backs as well. If the job they have done is damaged by improper use, it wouldn’t be a good business to repair it all the time.
Still, I quite like the idea that you can look for the people who offer longer or more specified warranties. Maybe they offer more than their competitors.
It’s always good to have little more on the paper and maybe they are confident in their craftsmanship.
Also, you should make sure they know how to prevent shrinkage cracks in concrete. Sometimes people are too much in a hurry to care and even when it should be their job, they might not.
So that’s when you step in, make sure the preventive measures are involved in the contract. This will make you have a little bit better end results.