5 Ways to Prepare Your Concrete Alfresco for Summer
The warm weather is on the horizon. It’s a busy season where you probably have a million things to do. While you list your tasks, don’t forget about transforming your concrete alfresco to get ready for some outdoor fun with family and friends.
In this blog, we’re sharing five helpful alfresco ideas for creating an oasis that will stand out this summer.
1. Clean and Sweep
Start with the most basic but essential activity. Sweeping is crucial for removing debris, such as leaves and twigs, that may have accumulated during autumn and winter. It’s not much, but it does help make your outdoor space clean and inviting. It is also one of the most straightforward practices on how to get rid of ants, as well as other insects and rodents. Even without these pests, sweeping can make your alfresco area much safer, as it helps eliminate possible tripping hazards.
Use a soft-bristled broom to avoid scratching the surface, especially if you have exposed aggregate concrete. Prepare other cleaning items like a dustpan, garden hose, bucket, and mild detergent. If surface stains exist, use a scrub brush after cleaning the spot with water and detergent.
2. Repair Cracks
Although tiny, hairline cracks on your alfresco concrete should never be left unaddressed. They can compromise the integrity of the material, especially when ignored. This causes concrete expansion, weakening it and leading to more damage over time. Cracks are not only ugly to look at but also unsafe in areas with foot traffic.
The good news is that you can repair cracks on your own, mainly if they are not extensive. You will need special tools, however, including:
- Concrete crack filler
- Wire brush
- Putty knife
In some cases, you will need a curing compound to cure the patching material into the crack. A concrete bonding adhesive may also help if the damage is deep or wide.
3. Sealant Application
Sealing concrete is one of the most crucial maintenance steps that you should not fail at. This material is highly porous, meaning it can absorb water. By sealing the surface, water can no longer penetrate, which protects the overall integrity of the structure.
Typically, you only have to seal concrete once every one to three years, depending on varying factors, including location and foot traffic. Consider sealing concrete more frequently than usual if you live in a heavy rainfall-prone area. Do the same after winter if you have abnormally freezing temperatures.
Aside from the mentioned benefits above, sealing alfresco concrete prevents staining. This is often particularly significant for those with coloured concrete. The last thing you want is to mess up the hue and brightness of the surface. Therefore, you should seal it for protection, as well as for revitalising the colour.
But how do you seal concrete? The easiest way to understand the steps is to read the instructions given by the manufacturer of the product. Generally, here is a look at the step-by-step procedure of concrete sealing:
- Make sure that the surface is clean with absolutely no dust, dirt, or debris.
- Remove any stain by washing the concrete with water and mild detergent. If it doesn’t budge, you can use a pressure washer or garden hose if you have coloured concrete.
- Have you picked a suitable sealer? You have a few options, such as acrylic, penetrating, and epoxy, so double-check that you are using the correct product.
- Pour the sealer into a roller tray and apply in thin, even coats using a roller. You can also use a sprayer.
- Overlap your strokes just a tiny bit to keep the coverage as even as possible. Remember that you should never apply too thin and too thick, which can result in a cloudy appearance.
- You can use a paintbrush for the edges to help you finish the job.
- You may have to apply multiple coats depending on the product or your desired level of protection.
- Follow the instructions of the manufacturer when letting the coat dry.
Just like pouring concrete, you need to allow the product to cure. Cure time will depend on the sealer but is usually around 24 to 48 hours.
4. Enhance Looks
There are so many things you can do to beautify the alfresco area. You’re free to add some potted flowering plants with delicate foliage. However, if you want something more dramatic, you can put a spotlight on the walls where you can incorporate some artful displays.
Add colours to welcome the summer vibe. A fun pattern will match your exposed aggregate concrete or coloured concrete. Plus, it’s the easiest task, not to mention cheap. You can just place comfortable cushions and pillows in cheerful colours to liven the space. An alternative would be to integrate decorative pieces that can brighten up not only the area but your mood as well.
If your creative juices are not flowing, you can always look up some inspiration online.
5. Furnish and Shade the Surrounding Area
Summer, in general, is warm and bright. There are longer days, too, so you can bring more entertainment to your guests. But sometimes, Perth weather can be extremely hot. These tips can help:
- Pick the right furniture, which should be quick to clean. If they come with fabric, make sure it is weather-resistant.
- Don’t use metal, as it will eventually rust. Choose teak, stainless steel, cedar, and other non-tarnishing materials. That way, you do not have to keep moving the items due to unpleasant weather.
- Don’t forget to cover the space. Install fans if you must. If the area has no roof or only partial coverage, you can plant trees and vines for shade.
- An awning and timber battening can also help with cooling and shade. It’s also a good idea in case you have a nosey neighbour, or you simply wish to turn the area into a private backyard.
Summer is coming. Now is the best time to get to work and bring your alfresco to life. Follow the tips above to take care of your alfresco concrete. If your preparation involves concreting, contact us, and we will help make your alfresco stunning for the summer.