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Concrete Flatwork

Homeowner Use and Maintenance Guidelines

By maintaining good drainage, you protect your home's foundation and the concrete flatwork: the basement floor, porch, patio, driveway, garage floor, and sidewalks.

Concrete slabs are floating—they are not attached to the home's foundation walls. These are not a home's structural (load-bearing) element and are covered by the one-year material and workmanship warranty.

We install a flexible collar around the top of the furnace plenum. Gas and water lines include flexible connections, and drain lines have slip joints. The basement stairs do not rest on the floor, and the support posts under the I-beam are separated from the floor slab. Parasol incorporates all of these details in the construction of the basement floor because we know the floor will move in response to the soils. Movement of the basement slab or any concrete slab results in cracking. Minimize this movement by following {Builder's} landscaping recommendations, the objective of which is to prevent moisture from reaching soils around and under the home.

Cleaning

Avoid washing exterior concrete slabs with cold water from an outside faucet when temperatures are high and the sun shines on the concrete. The abrupt temperature change can damage the surface bond of the concrete. We recommend sweeping to keep exterior concrete clean. If washing is necessary, do this when temperatures are moderate. Repeated cleaning of the garage floor by hosing can increase soil movement by allowing water to penetrate existing cracks. We recommend sweeping to clean the garage floor.

 

Cracks

A concrete slab 10 feet across shrinks approximately 5/8 inch as it cures. Some of this shrinkage shows up as cracks. The cracking of concrete flatwork also results from temperature changes that cause expansion and contraction.

During the summer, moisture finds its way under the concrete along the edges or through cracks in the surface. In winter, this moisture forms frost that can lift the concrete, increasing the cracking. Maintaining drainage away from all concrete slabs will minimize cracking from this cause.

As cracks occur, seal them with a waterproof concrete caulk (available at hardware or home improvement stores) to prevent moisture from penetrating the soil beneath.

 

Expansion Joints

We install expansion joints to help control expansion. However, as the concrete shrinks during the curing process, moisture can penetrate and lift the expansion joint. When this occurs, fill the resulting gap with a gray silicone sealant, which you can purchase at most hardware stores.

 

Heavy Vehicles

Prohibit commercial or other cumbersome vehicles such as moving vans and other large delivery trucks from pulling onto your driveway. We design and install concrete drives for conventional residential vehicle use only: family cars, vans, light trucks, bicycles, and so on.

 

Ice, Snow, and Chemicals

Driving or parking on snow creates ice on the drive, which magnifies the effects of snow on the concrete surface. Remove ice and snow from concrete slabs as promptly as possible after snowstorms. Protect concrete from abuse by chemical agents such as pet urine, fertilizers, radiator overflow, repeated hosing, or de-icing agents, such as road salt that can drip from vehicles. All of these items can cause spalling (chipping of the surface) of concrete.

 

Post-Tension Slabs

If your home is built on a post-tension slab, avoid any action that penetrates the concrete. The risk of hitting a cable or tendon under considerable tension makes such actions dangerous.

 

Sealer

A concrete sealer, available at paint stores, will help you keep an unpainted concrete floor clean. Do not use soap on unpainted concrete. Instead, use plain water and washing soda or, if necessary, a scouring powder.

 

Parasol Limited Warranty Guidelines

Concrete slabs are floating—they are not attached to the home's foundation walls. Because these slabs are not a structural (load-bearing) element of the home, they are excluded from coverage under the structural warranty. The limited warranty coverage is for one year unless the requirements of your loan state otherwise.

 

Color

Concrete slabs vary in color. Parasol provides no correction for this condition.

 

Cracks

If concrete cracks reach 3/16 of an inch in width or vertical displacement, Parasol will patch or repair them one time during the warranty year. Subsequently, concrete slab maintenance is your responsibility. If you prefer to have the slab replaced, we will obtain a price for you and assist in scheduling the work upon receipt of your payment. However, we advise against this expense since the new slab will crack as well.

 

Finished Floors

Parasol will correct cracks, settling, or heaving that rupture finish floor materials that we installed as part of the home as you originally purchased it.

 

Level Floors

Concrete floors in the habitable areas of the home will be level to within 1/4 inch within any 32-inch measurement, except an area specifically designed to slope toward a floor drain.

 

Separation

Parasol will correct the separation of concrete slabs from the home if separation exceeds one inch.

Settling or Heaving

Parasol will repair slabs that settle or heave over 2 inches or if such movement results in negative drainage (toward the house) or hazardous vertical displacement.

 

Spalling (Surface Chips)

Causes of spalling include repeated hosing of concrete for cleaning, animal urine, radiator overflow, fertilizer, uncleared snow and ice, ice-melting agents, and road salts from vehicles. Repair of spalling is a home maintenance task.

 

Standing Water

Water may stand on exterior concrete slabs for several hours after precipitation or from roof run-off. Parasol will correct conditions that cause water to remain longer than 12 hours unless it is from roof run-off of melting snow or ice.