It really depends what kind of weight will be applied to the concrete on a regular basis. We recommend: Sidewalks to be 4" thick, driveways to be a minimum 5" thick, and anything used for heavy equipment to be 6" to 8" think. Each situation is different so we will assess each project accordingly.
Yes, unfortunately it is very normal for concrete to crack, it's just a matter of when. This is not "always" a sign of poor workmanship. There is no guarantee that your concrete will never crack.
Please allow 24 hours for the concrete to cure before walking on it. As for driveways, it's recommended that you not drive on the concrete for approximately 7 days. But it can take approximately 30 days for concrete to fully cure.
Most average sized residential jobs require two days, at most, to complete for the standard finishes - one day to tear out and one day to pour new concrete followed by clean up. For decorative concrete, it could take an additional day or two as we need to return to clean and/or seal. For more complex projects, it will require additional time.
The lines are called control joints and the purpose is to try to control any future cracks. Though we cannot guarantee that your concrete will not crack, the control joints will help relieve any tension within the concrete and if any cracks form, it will hopefully stop at the joints. There are other preventative measures that can used for your project, please do not hesitate to ask about them while we are quoting your project.
There is no such thing as a safe de-icer. De-icers will cause flaking. It is best that you use sand for traction. Road salt from your tires can cause damage to your concrete driveway. It is recommend that you clean your driveway with fresh water as soon as possible from any possible road salt. It is also recommended that you clean the snow off your new concrete with in a reasonable time period. The freeze and thaw cycles can cause flaking of the surface of the concrete.
Your stamped concrete should only be resealed when it's absolutely necessary to help maintain it's beautiful characteristics. Heavy traffic areas or an extreme winter can create wear on the sealer. If your stamped concrete has lost it's shine but passes the "resealing test", we do not recommend resealing. Stained surfaces are sealed; therefore, the same rules apply as for stamped concrete. Unlike colored or stamped concrete where a color additive is mixed into the concrete, the stain is applied onto existing or fresh concrete and sealed. Sealer through time may wear off; how frequently is out of one's control.
Surface maintenance is out of Contractor’s control as heavy traffic, heavy use, chemicals and severe weather may and can affect the performance of the sealer. All future care and maintenance of decorative concrete is the Client’s sole responsibility. The frequency with which decorative concrete will need reseal will vary from project to project. It is highly recommend that stamped concrete projects be kept clean and resealed only as needed. Between sealing, the surface shine and color may fade slightly. A fresh coat of sealer will protect and keep the color vibrant similar to the day it was installed; however, too much sealer can cause a host of other problems - the most common is whitening.
THE RESEALING TEST: To determine if the concrete needs to resealed, sprinkle water on the concrete surface. If the water is absorbed and makes the surface noticeably darker, the sealer has worn off and resealing the project will restore some or all of its original beauty. If the water is not absorbed and beads on the surface, the concrete should still be protected and likely does not require additional resealing.