Pointers on the care of concrete edging:
Concrete edging really is a low maintenance item. It reduces yard work by reducing the need for trimming along edges, and eliminates the need to edge grass borders along beds. Your curb should last over 20 years if it is cared for and not abused. We have been installing curbs for many years in the Edmonton area, and the first ones done are still looking great in spite of the harsh winters.
1) The first day (important): Please keep pets, children and objects away from the curb for the first day. Concrete will be “hard” to the touch at this point, however it needs several days to fully harden. Please make sure your sprinkler system does not come on for 24 hours after the curb is installed. Concrete does not “dry”, it cures. The slower it cures, the stronger it is. This means it should be kept from drying out too fast. On hot days we spray the concrete with an anti-evaporant which helps to slow the curing process.
On the day of installation: If the weather is really hot, it is a good idea to wet smooth finished curbs with water after it is set up enough to not wash out. A light mist may be applied gently. Do not direct the spray right at the curb, but allow the fine droplets to fall from the air.
RAIN: if we anticipate rain, we will cover the curb with plastic secured with nails. This can be removed as soon as the rain is safely past. If a sudden thunderstorm comes up and we have not covered it, please attempt to cover the curb with tarps, plastic or any other material you have on hand. If rain damages the curb, however, rest assured- we assume all risk related to rain damage, and will replace any significantly damaged curbing!
2) Day 2-5 (not so critical) : If it is still hot for the next couple of days, soak the curb and ground around the curb a couple of times a day. You can do landscaping work around the curb after just a day, but use a little extra care with wheelbarrows, shovels and other sharp or heavy objects. If you have a landscaper working for you, warn him not to drive onto the curb or bump it with any vehicle. Wheelbarrows can be moved over the curb, if a small mound of dirt is built over it or a piece of plywood protects it. Concrete sometimes looks splotchy until it is fully cured. It starts out dark and lightens up in color as it cures.
3) Gap in front of Curb: After installation there is a small gap in the sod in front of the curb. This usually grows in by itself. If you wish you can stuff in a piece of sod, or add a bit of soil, but only about 1/2 ” deep- don’t fill right to the top of the curb, because grass grow up on top of soil, not down into it! If you fill up the gap to the top with soil, your grass will soon grow onto the surface of the curb.
4) Sealant: if you have stamped curb, you need to understand the importance of concrete sealer. Re-application is your responsibility, and is neccessary to get and to keep the curb looking its best. VERY IMPORTANT. See our sealing page.
5) Edging: If you have a lawn service do your spring clean-up. instruct them to do the power edging along the curb as well as sidewalks and driveway edges. This helps keep grass from overgrowing the curb over the years. See Edging page.
6) Cracks: Our concrete mix is much stronger than what gets used in driveways, basements and sidewalks. Concrete curbing, like any other concrete, can and will crack. it is normal for it to crack at the joints we made. We see very little “bad” cracking in our product because of a strong mix, reinforcing fiber and use of control joints. Typically you might see one or two cracks develop between joints in a long stretch of curb. This is not usually very noticeable, and you can safely ignore them. Cracks are mainly a result of hot dry weather during curing more than anything else.
If the crack opens up, it can be filled with a concrete caulking available at most home improvement stores. Do not use silicone based products on concrete! If there is a bad crack, (over 2 cm wide) we can cut the curb and insert a repair section between control joints. Keep in mind if the curb is tinted, it will be impossible to get a perfect color match. NOTE: A crack is always far less noticeable than a patch. see Guarantee page
7) “Heaving” or settling: Having responded to a few calls about “heaving”, we have found that most of the time, this is actually caused by driving on the curb with a vehicle. Sometimes spruce or black poplar tree roots push it up. You can dig out the root, flatten the ground under the curb, and re-align it with not too much effort. Sometimes the excavated area around a home will settle to the point where the curb might shift. This can be fixed. You can lift the curb with a shovel and pack material under it- gradually raising and re-aligning settled sections. You can use PL premium construction adhesive on the ends to glue it together. Occasionally, extreme moisture in the ground at freeze-up causes heaving.
Also note that trees with concrete tree circles should be watered in the fall with a deep root water probe, NOT by filling the curb up with water like a pool. If it freezes, it will push the curb outwards. You must understand that we have no control over any of these ground conditions, and we therefore do not guarantee curb against heaving or settling. Steel cable reinforcement installed with the curb can reduce issues where curb may be subject to settling or heaving forces.
8) Mowing: We recommend that you drive your mower wheels on the curb when you mow the lawn. This keeps the grass trim right to the edge. We also recommend you use a weedeater occaisionally to trim down to the roots close against the front edge of the curb. This keeps the lawn from leaning over , and over the years, from growing over the curb. Curb should also be occaisionally edged with a hooked knife, hand edger or power edger, to keep grass from growing over the front edge. See Edging page.
9) Damage/ realignment: We can splice in repairs if the curb is damaged by a heavy vehicle or grader. There is a minimum charge. See add-ons.Our curbs will withstand being run over by cars and mowing equipment when the ground is dry and firm, but when the ground is soggy wet the curb will break or be pushed into the ground. Repairs can be made, but splices in tinted or stamped curb may show a colour difference- as colours are almost impossible to match perfectly in concrete.
It is usually possible to glue broken curb with PL Premium construction adhesive, epoxy, or polyester adhesive ( gorilla glue). If curb has to be lifted, it can be picked up in sections- try prying under a joint with a bar and stepping on the block to get a joint to crack. Then move the curb as needed and reassemble using sand for a base. When you reassemble the curb, use PL premium construction adhesive to glue it end to end. If a curb needs to be lifted, just pry it up and jam sand or soil under with a bar or shovel handle.
10) Dirt, Stains, Mildew: Birch trees drip sap in the spring, which can stain light coloured curb to a rusty colour. Sunshine usually clears this up after a couple of weeks. Discolouration can be removed using a pressure washer or 50% vinegar/water solution or dilute bleach in a bucket and a stiff brush.
11) Efflourescence (rare) : Sometimes concrete can leach out salts, leaving a white powdery residue. This can be due to excess watering, or prolonged rain or high humidity just after installation. It shows most on charcoal mower edge. If necessary, a 50% solution of vinegar and water can be used with a brush to scrub away the residue, which might reappear a couple of times and eventually fade away. Sealant generally prevents efflourescence from recurring.
12) Disposal: When you are done with your curb in 25 or 30 years, it is easily recycled. There are several operations in Edmonton that grind old concrete to be used as road base material. An easy one to deal with, is the city of Edmonton at 17 street just north of Whitemud drive. The photo shows rain damaged curb we took to the Standard General recycle plant at 170 st just north of the Yellowhead .