A concrete block wall or retaining wall can be a major part of your landscaping. Whether it is used simply as fencing or as a major supporting or structural component, the last thing you want is for it to crack or crumble. This means you will need to properly maintain the wall. Although concrete is low maintenance, it's not no maintenance. The following tips will help you keep the wall in good condition.
Tip #1: Prevent erosion
Erosion can eat away the soil at the base of the wall, which can then compromise the structural integrity. If erosion washes out a channel below the wall, it won't be supported and the wall could settle unevenly and crack. The key to preventing this is to plant over bare soil that borders the wall. Plants such as turf grass, low hedges of sub-shrubs like lavender or privet, or a groundcover plant are good choices. If you prefer not to grow plants, then cover the bare soil with landscape fabric and top it with gravel or wood mulch to minimize erosion.
Tip #2: Manage the weeds
Weeds are another major issue when it comes to maintaining the integrity of your wall. Weeds can work their way into nearly invisible cracks and then force them wider until the wall almost literally falls apart. Spray weeds with a broad spectrum herbicide to kill them. Attempting to pull them can cause more damage as the roots are pulled through a narrow crack. Kill weeds as soon as you notice them so major damage doesn't occur.
Tip #3: Skip the deicers
Avoid using salt-based deicers on sidewalks near concrete walls. The salt residue against the wall can cause pitting and flaking – to both the wall and the sidewalk. If your wall borders a city street that is treated with deicers, make a point of rinsing off the salt spray with clear water whenever temperatures are above freezing. This can help minimize damage. You may also want to have a concrete sealer applied to better protect against salt spray.
Tip #4: Attend to crack quickly
If you do notice a crack or pitting, act immediately. The cracks can be filled with an epoxy-based concrete filler, which will expand and contract with the temperatures just enough so the crack doesn't grow. You can even have the concrete resurfaced with a stone or aggregate veneer to hide the damage – but don't use a veneer to cover damage until the damage has been properly patched.
For more help, contact companies like Hofmann Concrete Construction LLC.