Wohlwend Concrete Blog

Common Masonry Construction Repairs

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As a concrete and masonry construction contractor in Roseville, we see our share of needed repairs to masonry and concrete. Here are a few of the most common repairs we do for our customers.

Water Damage

Water can be masonry’s worst enemy, especially during the winter months. Water will get into the masonry, freeze and expand, causing damage to the stone and discoloration. Water penetrates stone that is not properly sealed, and that can cause even more damage in the long run. That’s why hiring us for any masonry construction is so important. Professionals like us know exactly what we are doing and how to properly seal the stone so water and moisture don’t get in there and cause cracks.

Tuck Pointing

This process is when we replace the damaged or deteriorated mortar between concrete, brick or stone. Mortar can deteriorate due to a number of reasons: weather, water and old age are three common factors. Tuck pointing is important to help keep the stone, brick or concrete from cracking and undergoing further damage. Plus, tuck pointing helps with the aesthetics and the overall look of the stone work.

Chipping

Sometimes, masonry can chip. This usually happens at the corners or along the mortar joint. This usually happens by accident, but sometimes it can also happen because someone who is inexperienced at repairing mortar uses mortar that is too hard. Professionals like the ones here at Wohlwend Concrete know what kind of mortar to use to get the job done right the first time so there is no risk of further chipping or other damage.

Do you need masonry construction in Roseville? Call us here at Wohlwend Concrete at 651-426-2610 or you can contact us and get a Free Quote on our masonry construction services and more.

How to Safely De-ice Your Concrete Steps

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With winter nearly upon us, sooner or later we are going to have to deal with at least one ice storm. So how can you safely remove ice from your concrete steps in St Louis Park without destroying them? Read on for some tips from the professionals here at Wohlwend Concrete.

When it’s time to de-ice your concrete steps, you want to make sure you don’t use the old stand-bys like rock salt (aka sodium chloride). Rock salt itself won’t damage your concrete steps, but the rapid heating and then refreezing can.

What you should look for when you’re in the market for a good concrete step de-icer is something called calcium chloride. It will quickly melt the ice off of your steps without destroying the concrete itself, and it’s actually more environmentally-friendly than sodium chloride, so Mother Earth will be thanking you too!

The biggest thing to remember when de-icing your concrete steps is that once you put the de-icer on, you still are not done with the task. You should take the time to completely remove all of the slushy ice. Taking a few minutes to shovel your concrete steps and fully clear them of slush and ice could save you a world of hassle and money in the long run. This important step helps to preserve your concrete steps and can help extend their life span.

Magnesium chloride is also a great de-icer. It’s also environmentally friendly and safe to use around plants. While this might be a bit more expensive than calcium chloride, it is worth the extra money if it means your concrete steps will last awhile longer!

So when you need more information about concrete steps in St Louis Park, call on Wohlwend Concrete at 651-426-2610 or contact us for a Free Quote Request.

Why Should You Seal Your Stamped Concrete?

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As a concrete contractor serving Minneapolis, we are sometimes asked if sealing stamped concrete is necessary. The answer to that question is a resounding yes! Concrete is a porous material and easily absorbs water and chemicals. Protecting it with a sealer can help ensure it will last for a long time. Here are several more reasons sealing your stamped concrete is so important.

When you hire us as your concrete contractor, we won’t just install your stamped concrete. We also offer a sealing service that will ensure your stamped concrete looks good for years to come. Sealing stamped concrete helps to block the penetration of oils, stains, chemicals that de-ice and other similar contaminants.

Not to mention, sealing your concrete can also help protect is from abrasion and wear, which is especially important with the winter months ahead of us. Salt and other de-icing agents can really wear down concrete if you’re not careful. And since snow is usually in the forecast here in Minnesota, sealing your concrete is especially important in this area.

Sealing concrete also helps you with maintenance in the long run. Your stamped concrete will be easier to keep clean and maintain in the long run. This could save you a lot of time and elbow grease in the future! Not to mention, sealing them now means you won’t have to worry about having them replaced by a concrete contractor any time in the near future.

Plus, sealing your concrete can help make it pop. Sealers can help to enrich the color intensity of your concrete, making it more pleasing to your eye. You can also add sheen to the surface of the concrete. The sheens range from satin to high gloss and everything in between.

Ready to hire a concrete contractor in Minneapolis? Call Wohlwend Concrete at 651-426-2610 or you can contact us for a Free Quote.

The Difference Between Concrete and Cement

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The words “concrete” and “cement” are sometimes used as synonyms, but using them as such is incorrect. And because we install concrete steps in Roseville, we are well-versed in the differences between these two materials. So what is the difference? Here is a brief rundown.

The basic difference is this: cement acts as a binder that holds concrete together. Cement is made from several different materials such as limestone, aluminum, silicon, iron, calcium and other ingredients. Cement is a very fine powder, and concrete cannot be made without cement.

Concrete is known for its strength and longevity, which is why concrete steps are so popular and long-lasting. Plus, you can have your concrete steps colored or stamped with a certain pattern. You can give your home more value and more curb appeal when you have concrete steps installed.

Plus, concrete steps can tie the outside of your home together. If you have landscaping that you are proud of and want to show off even more, concrete steps can help tie the look and feel of your home’s exterior together. Concrete steps will never rust, rot or burn, so you will have them for a long time. Light-colored concrete steps also reflect the sun’s heat back out, so they are generally cool to the touch.

Concrete is also a great building material because there is usually minimal waste when it is made. It can be produced in the quantities needed to complete each job.

For more information on concrete steps in Roseville, call Wohlwend Concrete at 651-426-2610 or get a Free Quote.

Maintaining and Caring For Concrete

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Concrete is everywhere. It surrounds us on a daily basis, and many folks have concrete steps that lead into their homes or patios attached to the back of their homes. So how do you go about caring for Minneapolis concrete steps? Here is an overview of the best ways to maintain and care for your concrete steps or patio so they last for a long time.

In the weather like what we get here in Minneapolis, temperatures and precipitation can be pretty extreme at times. It’s either incredibly hot in the summer or extremely cold in the winter, not to mention all of the summer storms and winter blizzards we usually get! The outside elements can take their toll on your concrete steps and other concrete parts of your outdoor landscaping and living areas.

So in the wintertime, it’s very important for you to keep up with snow and ice removal. And do a visual inspection when your concrete steps or patio are clear of snow and ice. This means looking for cracks and other damage. If water seeps into those cracks, it can freeze again and expand, and that can cause even more damage in the long run.

When the weather starts to warm up again, do some spring cleaning. Use a pressure washer (and be sure to follow the instructions so you don’t damage the concrete). Get all of the dirt and grime off of the concrete, and then do another visual inspection to check for damage that will need to get fixed.

In the summer months, you might want to consider covering your patio with an awning or outdoor rug. A runner on your concrete steps is also a great way to keep them covered. Plus, an awning and some rugs can add some color and decorations to your outdoor living space!

For more information on Minneapolis concrete steps, call Wohlwend Concrete at 651-426-2610 or get a Free Quote.

Fun Facts About Concrete

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As one of the best builders of concrete steps in Edina, we’ve learned a few things over the years about concrete. Here is a list of a few of our favorite fun concrete facts!

  • The oldest piece of concrete in the world was discovered in Israel in the 1960s. It is 12 million years old!
  • The Ancient Egyptians used concrete as an infill material when building the Giza Necropolis pyramids. (Funny to think the same material we use to build concrete steps was also used to build some of the pyramids!)
  • The Pantheon’s dome is the largest unreinforced concrete dome in the world, and it was built in 120 AD.
  • The first tensile and compressive strength tests took place in Germany in 1836. Tensile refers to concrete’s ability to resist tension. Compressive means concrete’s ability to resist compression. These two things are expressed in PSI, which means pounds per square inch. Knowing the levels of PSI concrete can withstand helps in building concrete steps!
  • The Alvord Lake Bridge was the first reinforced concrete bridge. It was built in San Francisco in 1889 and it still stands today.
  • In Baltimore, Maryland, in 1913, the first load of ready-mix concrete was delivered. This helped to revolutionize the concrete industry. (And it makes our job of building concrete steps much easier!)
  • L.M. Scofield was the first company to produce colored concrete.
  • The Hoover Dam was completed in 1936 and was the largest scale concrete project ever done up to that point. It is on the Colorado River bordering Arizona and Nevada.
  • Decorative concrete was developed in the 1950s by Brad Bowman.
  • Assembly Hall at the University of Illinois was the first concrete domed sports arena and was built in 1963.

For more information on concrete steps in Edina, call Wohlwend Concrete at 651-426-2610 or contact us for a Free Quote.

How They’re Made: Concrete Steps

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One of the more interesting aspects of our work here at Wohlwend Concrete is the process of building concrete steps for Twin Cities homes.

The first step in building concrete steps involves a lot of math! We have to calculate how tall and wide each step must be to go from the ground to the doorway. You should consider how many steps you want too. For the height, we divide the height by the number of steps you want. For the width, we usually want a girth of at least 6 inches wider than the door, and in general, the wider your staircase, the easier it is to walk up the concrete steps.

We want to be sure we are building on top of footings or post footings. This way we are building according to local and city codes.

The form panels are then built and assembled, and then the concrete steps are reinforced (usually with steel) so the lifespan of the concrete steps is increased and the steps themselves are better supported.

The concrete steps are then installed and braced. Finally, the concrete is poured into the panels and various finishing touches are added, like curfing the edges, which means making them round. We can then add stone to the side of the steps that will enhance the steps’ look and make them look more decorative and nicer to look at.

When the concrete has hardened, the stair riser boards are removed and any remaining imperfections are fixed or smoothed over.

There are your concrete steps!

And when you’re ready to have concrete steps installed at your Twin Cities home, call Wohlwend Concrete at 651-426-2610 or get a Free Quote Request.

Start Thinking Concrete

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Have you started thinking concrete? Contractors in the Twin Cities sure have! It’s been a long, harsh winter and we’re ready to get back in the game. We have been itching all winter long to install concrete steps, walkways and driveways. We can’t wait to improve the Twin Cities, one concrete project at a time. When you’re ready to install a project on your property, contact the team. Things fill up quickly during the spring and summer, so let us know as soon as possible.

Spring Concrete Projects

March 20 is the official start of spring. While that doesn’t necessarily mean an increase in temperatures right away, it means warm weather is on its way! Now is the time to start thinking about your spring concrete projects. If your home’s walkway, driveway or stairs needs a little TLC after this long winter, contact us. We like temperatures to be consistently a little warmer than they are now, but those days are just ahead, we can feel it! Don’t hesitate to get on the schedule as soon as you’re ready.

Concrete Steps

Do you need to install new steps at your home? Concrete steps could be an ideal addition. There are many reasons why concrete is a superior choice for your home’s steps. Here are just a few of the benefits of installing them:

  • Concrete steps are visually appealing, and can be made more so with the addition of embellishments.
  • One of the most durable types of steps you can add to the outside of your home are concrete steps.
  • Concrete steps are easy to maintain and repair, if need be.

Ready to start planning your spring concrete projects in the Twin Cities? Contact us today by calling 651-426-2610 or Request a Free Estimate.

Happy Thanksgiving, Minnesotans!

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Gobble gobble! Turkey Day is almost here – just one more week until we are eating turkey and all the trimmings until our pants are too tight. After that, some people will retire to the TV room to watch the football games. Others will settle in to watch some holiday-themed movies (Miracle on 34th Street, anyone?). Even your favorite Twin Cities concrete contractor will be enjoying time with friends and family. But if you’re more of the active type and you want to get out and explore the Twin Cities, here are a few suggestions:

  • Como Zoo and Conservatory is open every day, including Thanksgiving. Take your out-of-town guests to this popular zoo that also features a conservatory and other attractions, like visiting exhibits. It is open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
  • Head down to The Depot to work off some of that turkey and stuffing! Their indoor skating rink opens on Thanksgiving Day from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. The skating rink was named one of the top places in North America to ice skate by MSNBC, Fodor’s Travels and USA Today.
  • Or if you’d prefer a slightly less active activity, try St. Paul’s Phalen Park. It is transformed into a sea of lights and color, featuring more than 50 holiday sculptures and animated displays. Plus the money raised by charging admission ($10/car most nights) goes to charities like Second Harvest Heartland, Union Gospel Mission, St. Paul Parks Conservancy and UnderConstruction.
  • On November 29 and 30, the most famous of all Twin Cities holiday traditions begins: the Holidazzle Parade! These parades will be held Fridays and Saturdays through December 21, starting at 6:30 p.m. between 12th and 4th Streets at the Nicollet Mall.

We here at Wohlwend Concrete wish you and yours a very happy (and filling!) Thanksgiving! While you have some time off work, take a minute to evaluate the concrete and masonry work around your home. Make a list and call us! Schedule an appointment for tuck-pointing or any indoor concrete work you may need completed.

Request a free quote online or give us a call at 651-426-2610 to schedule an appointment with our experienced Twin Cities concrete contractor.

Proper Snow Removal from Concrete: Tips

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Like it or not, winter is nearly here. The air is crisp, the temperatures are dropping and it’s getting dark earlier and earlier in the day. Soon enough, the Twin Cities area will be dealing with regular snowfall. Here are a few tips for proper snow removal from your concrete driveway or walkway from us here at Wohlwend Concrete.

Before the snow hits, take the time to mark off where your driveway or walkway ends and your yard or flower beds begin. This will protect your garden and lawn from accidentally getting damaged when you shovel or plow the concrete. Also, be sure to mark off where your propane tank or fire hydrant is (if you have one near your home or driveway/walkway).

Using calcium chloride instead of rock salt to remove ice from your concrete driveway or walkway can save your flower beds or lawn from being damaged or destroyed. Although calcium chloride can be expensive, a little bit goes a long way, so you can use it sparingly and still get the same results as you would with rock salt. Of course, you can also go the cheaper route and use kitty litter or builders’ sand and get the nearly the same result – the ice won’t be melted but it will skid-proof the surface and help with traction. Just be sure to take your shoes off before you go into the house, as these materials are easily tracked into your home! But don’t use any products that contain ammonium nitrate and ammonium sulfate: these products will break down concrete and other masonry materials.

And, of course, the usual advice also applies: get a good snow shovel and use some elbow grease to get the snow off of your driveway or walkway. This will take care of most of the problem, but de-icing with calcium chloride or rock salt will take care of the worst of the problem and will ensure these surfaces are safe to walk and drive on.

Wohlwend Concrete is here to help with any masonry and concrete needs you may have this winter and any other season of the year. Give us a call at (651) 426-2610 or request a free quote.