7 steps to fix concrete damage

7 steps to fix concrete damage

Do you have concrete surfaces in disrepair, with visible cracks, chips, or other signs of damage? Do you feel like the appearance of your concrete needs to be added to the overall aesthetic of your property?

Or are you concerned that the damage will worsen over time if left untreated? Whatever your concerns are, with this guide, I can help you restore your concrete surfaces to their former glory.

Minor damage on the concrete surface may be unsightly. Still, it will not affect the slab’s overall structural integrity if fixed when it appears. Fixing substantial damage requires removing crumbling bits, filling cracks, and resurfacing as necessary.

For those who want to do this maintenance themselves, I’ve done a six-step guide to doing it as efficiently as possible. All the needed tools are essential, so it will be easy to get them.

How to fix concrete cracks

Step 1: Remove any crumbling concrete with a cold chisel and ball peen hammer. Use a brush to remove the more significant concrete pieces from the crack so you will see what you’re doing.

Continue enlarging the cracks to form an inverted V shape with a cold chisel. This will allow you to patch the crack but prevent the concrete patch from popping out over time.

When the crack is in a V shape, the concrete will have more area to adhere to, and the patch will be more durable—no need to go overboard, though.

When you’re done removing crumbling concrete and enlarging cracks, clean big pieces of concrete with a brush and use a wet/dry vacuum to clean the rest of the dust. It will be easier to vacuum if you manually take the rough waste.

Step 2: Next, apply a layer of concrete bonding solution to the surface that will be touched with the concrete patch. With V-shaped cracks, apply it to the chiseled crack. If there are holes, use it to the inner sides of it.

Try to get it only at the places you patch; it will show everywhere else. After you’ve gone through all the spots you will fix, please leave it to dry. The manufacturer’s label should have the time; you will notice it when you touch it.

How to fill a crack with trowel

Step 3: Mix enough patching concrete with water to fill all the cracks. Pay particular attention to the water and concrete mix ratio: too much water and the concrete will prematurely crumble. Also, if you’re patching walls, it will be hard to stick into them as they’re too much like a liquid.

Force the patching concrete into the crack using a trowel. If you have bigger holes, use a finishing trowel to help you patch them.

Feather the edges of the crack patch so it blends with the surrounding surface. A sponge float, for example, is suitable as it will level the edges; you need to press all the water out of it before you start.

Allow the crack to cure covered with plastic for several days.

TIP: Use a trowel, brush, or float to mimic the pattern of the surrounding concrete slab on the surface of the concrete patch. You need to wait a bit for the concrete patch to cure as if it’s wet, those tools will eat away at your patched surface.

When the surface is hard enough to touch without leaving a mark but still moist, use the tools to give texture.

Step 4: Examine the surface of the concrete. If it is in relatively good condition, you can stop with the repairs. If it is in poor condition, resurface the entire concrete slab.

If the concrete slab has undefined edges, build formwork along the sides of the slab that extends 2-4 inches above the existing surface. You don’t have to fill out the entire form; it will just help make straight and sharp edges as the leveling compound doesn’t fall over the edge.

If you are resurfacing a slab with a defined edge, such as a wall, remove any obstructions preventing you from adding a thin layer of mortar over the existing slab.

Step 5: Clean the concrete slab thoroughly. Like with the cracks, it will help the bonding agent to adhere. Then, you apply the concrete bonding agent to the slab’s surface. Coat the inside surface of any formwork with a light film of vegetable oil. This will help when you remove the forms.

Step 6: Check how thick the manufacturer label lets you level. Don’t go over that, as the self-leveling compound will probably crack. Bigger fills need to be done before you do the final surface.

Mix self-leveling compounds according to the manufacturer’s instructions. If you feel comfortable doing that area, mix enough self-leveling compound to cover the whole surface of the concrete.

Pour the self-leveling compound onto the concrete slab. Pour it into several areas and spread it with a trowel. Over several minutes, if properly mixed, the self-leveling compound will coat the concrete with a thin coat of concrete.

Step 7: Remove any formwork after the concrete has cured for 12 hours. This way, you can easily remove the forms without cracking the edges. You can use a sharp tool to slice the border of the slab and form it so it will be intense. Allow the concrete to cure for 24 hours before walking on it.

Now, you wait as long as the manufacturer’s label says. It might be 2-3 days. Some self-leveling compounds need to be watered a little over the next two days; the info will be on the same label. Just remember that a small water spray is enough to moisten the surface. If it gets pouring wet, it might weaken the compound.

Conclusion

You should know how to fix concrete cracks and small holes and even level the surface. Remember that the products are a little different worldwide; not all need bonding agents, and so on. All the polymer fiber compounds I’ve used are delicate to operate without it.

It’s crucial to ensure that the surface you’re patching is thoroughly cleaned beforehand. Without a bonding agent, cracks and holes in the surface must be moistened to enhance adhesion.

Imagine trying to apply concrete to a surface covered in dust – the concrete wouldn’t be able to penetrate the dust layer. Similarly, if a concrete crack is filled with dust, any patch you apply won’t have a strong hold.

That’s why it’s important to make sure the area is spotless before proceeding with patching. By taking this extra step, you’ll be able to achieve superior results compared to even the most experienced professionals who often overlook this crucial step.