Concrete Emergency


My wife and I have a very unusual situation. A plastic bottle of a "Cactus Food" tipped over and sat in the solution for a day or so. It is a slightly low spot of our concrete patio so it did not evaporate as quickly as it might have on an area that did not "pond." The solution is comprised of the following ingredients:
1.0% Nitrate Nitrogen 7% Available Phosphate (P 2 0 5) 6.0% Soluble Potash (K20) 1.0% Calcium
Derived from: Ammonium Nitrate, Calcium Nitrate, and Potassium Phosphate.
What has happened is that it has stained our concrete patio, and where the bottle had layed down, it has etched a groove in the surface of about 1/2" or so. When we called the company they took no responsibility, in fact they were rude, saying that this had never happened before and it was impossible. My wife talked with someone in a concrete manufacturing company who said this type of solution could damage concrete. I did not know where to turn so I am curious about what you folks in the chemistry community might think of this. Also, it is odd. Since this has happened, every morning the area where the spilled occurred appears wet, even though it is not currently raining. It almost looks like moisture is being leeched out of the air and drawn towards this spot? The person in the company did tell my wife to drench the area with bleach, but that did not help at all. Any idea, suggestions, etc. would be greatly appreciated. We do not even know who to ask to help us as we do not want the concrete to degrade now that it has been deeply etched. Thanks in advance for any help you folks can offer.
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Anonymous One wrote:

Ammonium Nitrate, Calcium Nitrate, and Potassium Phosphate are all nicely reactive compounds, and all of them are weak acids.
Concrete is also reactive. Any kind of acid will erode it.
I would cover the spot with moist baking soda, which is alkaline and will neutralize acids, and let it sit for a day, then wash it thoroughly with lots of water. It doesn't much matter what you do, because the damage to your concrete is permanent.
You can leave it alone, cover it up, or patch it. If you decide to patch it, I recommend you make a "feature" in that spot. (The first rule of decorating: If you can't hide it, make it stand out.) For instance, you could: * Cover it with a fountain. * Use a grinder to make an artistic pattern. * Cut a section out to make a small flower bed. * Use concrete stain to decorate. * Inset decorative blocks or stones.
Let us know what you decide to do.
--
Steve Bell
New Life Home Improvement
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Couldn't you just stain the rest of the patio to match? Lou
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On Thu, 18 Sep 2008 21:13:41 -0700, Anonymous One

snip
Why would you expect them to take responsibility? Take responsibility for what?

Well, there's no excuse for that.

They don't know that.
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Surely you lead a sheltered, cosseted, pussy-whipped and protected life if a stain on your concrete patio classifies as an "Emergency"!!
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Why should they? You think they should be testing cactus food on patios before selling it? What else should they test it on? Maybe roofs, trampolines and iguanas?
They probably figured you were trying to squeeze some bucks out of them. Maybe line them up for a legal damage claim.
What if someone in this NG tells you to try something and it makes it worse? What then?

Plain ground clay cat litter will suck many liquid things out of concrete. Frequently used to remove oil on driveways. Remove oil by putting some on, grind in with your foot, let it sit over night. Sweep up next day. Repeat until it no longer will remove anything else. Live with what's left. Disclaimer: Should you decide to try this on your patio keep in mind it could make they eyesore worse. Not practical on patio to hide it by parking over it.

Live with it or repair. Sometimes a repair is worse then the original eyesore.
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