As the snow melts and the weather warms, you’re getting a first good look at what winter may have done to the concrete walkways and patios in your association. The freeze/thaw cycle in Minnesota is hard on many things, but in particular paved surfaces. The process can literally attack from above and below. The importance of proper base material and regular maintenance are critical factors in maintaining the beauty and functionality of your association’s paved surfaces. The Base The most important factor for the base material is that it is uniform. If a soft spot forms under your concrete slab, you’re likely to have curling that creates tension points. These tensions will cause cracks in the surface. The base should be flexible and uniform (no soft spots) so it moves consistently across the entire slab. A good subbase mix of gravel and sand that has been compacted should provide the base you need. The Surface In addition, the surface of your concrete slab can be porous. Sealing your concrete regularly will fill in the porous areas and prevent water from collecting in the surface material. When water is present and freezes, it can push your surface apart and cause surface cracking. Even though concrete is hard-as-a-rock, it is susceptible to the elements. It pays to take care of it. With proper care, your concrete should realistically last 20 years or more.