Do you have an old driveway that has seen some better days, but you would still like to repair? Or maybe you have a new one that for some reason needs a little bit fixing?
For both of these problems, I have a guide here. This is mostly 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 here we will concentrate on cracks and holes.
That’s why all concrete driveways require a bit of maintenance after years of constant use and a crumbling driveway isn’t that unusual. With enough time and exposure to the elements, and eventually, just about every homeowner will find it necessary to patch their concrete driveway in some manner. Lucky for us, filling potholes with concrete or repairing cracks can be done with basic 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 to patch a concrete driveway is not difficult to do yourself, 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 broken concrete driveway
To answer how to repair the concrete driveway, we need to go through all the working stages. It’s important to do it well to get the best lasting results as we don’t want to repeat this every year right?
Tools needed for fixing a concrete driveway are somewhat basic. 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 either a garden hose or pressure washer.
If you have access to polymer fiber cement products for concrete patching, these work as well. 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 chisel and hammer (or hammer drill) remove small pieces of concrete that are loose or soft around the crack. That loose and soft concrete is the weak part that can let our patch loose a year or two later.
We go through the entire driveway thoroughly 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 carefully wash the spots.
How to repair large cracks in concrete driveway
After we have done the groundwork removing loose concrete, the first step is to decide what type of 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 own 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 the purpose of this article, it will be assumed that you have purchased the ready-mix variety of concrete.
Mix your concrete inside of the wheelbarrow (or bucket with a mortar mixer) in moderate-sized batches so that it will be used before it dries, and use your trowel to fill existing holes and cracks in your concrete driveway.
It’s good to let the cracks have little moisture before we pour and restore as we don’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 moisture when curing/hardening.
Watering the patched potholes will help them cure harder
I usually use some water spray bottle that I steal from my wife and use it on the cleaned pothole before I pour the concrete into the patch. Some hours later I come back to give little moisture as the garden hose can lead to too much water and that will make 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 them in. After they have cured, I hammer them straight a little if needed. This way the concrete patch won’t come off so easily.
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 remembering 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 fine or sometimes sponge float can be good as it will level the edges well. We just have to wait long enough that it won’t roll the concrete away with it.
As said before, we need to remember the day after we patch a concrete driveway to spray the entire driveway with water lightly using a garden hose so 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 has had a chance to harden before being tested. During those days, if it’s not raining, I’ll still water the driveway as big potholes take longer to harden.
This is how we repair holes in a concrete driveway in a way that lasts. From groundwork to finish, it’s important to take our time so the patches will last as long as possible. Slab concrete repair might not always be possible thought so see this guide of mudjacking vs polyjacking to know more about sunken slabs.
Remember that this is not the only way to do crack and hole repairs. On this site there are other guides 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 there.
Different problems need a different solution as it goes. This way of fixing concrete damage works best with polymer fiber concrete patching products and potholes with concrete as well.
If you want to look in preventive means, like for protecting concrete surroundings, here is how to make concrete wheel stops and how to install them.