How to repair cracks in concrete driveway

How to repair cracks in concrete driveway

Do you have an old driveway that has seen some better days, but you would still like to repair it? Or you may have a new one that, for some reason, needs a little bit of fixing.

For both of these problems, I have a guide here. This is mainly for fixing rough damage as the means are heavy, as are the fixing materials.

There are other guides linked later that will work as well and might do better with hairline cracks.

So why does concrete crack? It might be from ground heaving, pulling forces, too much pressure, or erosion with time.

It just happens naturally with time. Sometimes, you might need to resurface the concrete driveway, but we will concentrate on cracks and holes here.

That’s why all concrete driveways require some maintenance after years of constant use, and a crumbling driveway isn’t that unusual.

With enough time and exposure to the elements, almost every homeowner will eventually find it necessary to patch their concrete driveway in some manner. Luckily, filling potholes with concrete or repairing cracks can be done with essential equipment.

As the concrete in the driveway ages, it becomes prone to cracks that, when left unattended, grow into large crevices and even into potholes that can become quite deep and wide.

While patching a concrete driveway is not difficult, it is always best to address driveway issues quickly before they expand into the scope of a major repair that may need professional intervention, which can be extremely expensive in some instances.

How to repair a broken concrete driveway

We need to go through all the working stages to answer how to repair the concrete driveway. Doing it well is essential to get the best lasting results, as we want to avoid repeating this every year, right?

Tools needed for fixing a concrete driveway are essential. A wheelbarrow to mix concrete in (or bucket and mortar mixer), a trowel, a shovel, a broom, a small hammer and chisel (or hammer drill if you own one), and a garden hose or pressure washer.

These also work if you have access to polymer fiber cement products for concrete patching. These don’t have big aggregates on them but fiber, so they work well with small cracks as well.

First, we inspect the driveway for cracks and loose concrete. Using a chisel and hammer (or hammer drill), remove small pieces of loose or soft concrete around the crack. That loose and soft concrete is the weak part that can let our patch loose a year or two later.

We thoroughly go through the entire driveway and then rinse the concrete driveway using a pressure washer or garden hose. A pressure washer is better as it removes some extra dirt and loose aggregates from the spots we are fixing. Still, a garden hose will do as well if it’s used to wash the spots carefully.

Filling potholes with concrete will help in damage control

How to repair large cracks in concrete driveway

After we have done the groundwork removing loose concrete, the first step is to decide what concrete mix we want—either premixed concrete or Portland cement that you mix with sand yourself and gravel. Either will work with slab concrete repair as it’s the same material.

While making your concrete using Portland cement usually lasts longer than the ready-made concrete mix, it can be made improperly, resulting in a weak repair. So, for this article, it will be assumed that you have purchased the ready-mix variety of concrete.

Mix your concrete inside the wheelbarrow (or bucket with a mortar mixer) in moderate-sized batches to be used before it dries, and use your trowel to fill existing holes and cracks in your concrete driveway.

It’sIt’s good to let the cracks have little moisture before we pour and restore, as we don’tdon’t want the existing concrete to suck all the moisture too quickly. It will lead to weaker concrete if the cement doesn’t have enough humidity when curing/hardening.

Watering the patched potholes will help them cure harder.

I usually use some water spray bottle that I stole from my wife and use it on the cleaned pothole before I pour the concrete into the patch. Some hours later, I returned to give little moisture as the garden hose can lead to too much water, making the concrete repair weak.

The next day, even a garden hose can be used moderately. Also, before I repair big potholes, I might add some rebar to the edges. I drill a hole for it and use concrete injection glue to hold it in. After they have cured, I hammer them straight a little if needed. This way, the concrete patch will come off slowly.

After we leveled the cracks and potholes with concrete, we should take our time and smooth the new concrete mix in a level manner to make a neat and professional-looking repair, and when finished, remember to clean your tools well before storing them away.

I usually use concrete float to finish the surface. One with a rubber surface will do OK, or sometimes a sponge float can be good as it will level the edges well. We must wait long enough that it won’t roll the concrete away.

As said before, we must remember the day after we patched a concrete driveway to spray the entire driveway lightly with water using a garden hose. Hence, the drying process is more gradual, as this will prevent new cracks from appearing.

It’s always a good idea to wait at least two to four days before driving on the concrete repairs so that the new concrete can harden before being tested. If it’s not raining during those days, I’ll still water the driveway as big potholes take longer to set.

Conclusion

This is how we repair holes in a concrete driveway in a way that lasts. From groundwork to finish, we must take time so the patches will last as long as possible. Slab concrete repair might only sometimes be possible. See this guide on mudjacking vs. polyjacking to know more about sunken slabs.

Remember that there are other ways to do crack and hole repairs. There are other guides on this site with other methods; every method will work. Here is how to fix hairline cracks in the concrete driveway, as pouring concrete isn’t an option.

Different problems need other solutions as they go. This way of fixing concrete damage works best with polymer fiber concrete patching products and potholes with concrete.

If you want to look at preventive means, like protecting concrete surroundings, here is how to make concrete wheel stops and how to install them.