Concrete is made to be durable and strong for your walkway and driveway. However, even strong surfaces will eventually break down. As time passes, you will run into problems that demand concrete crack repair. Then your walkway or driveway will be ready for outdoor coatings that will beautify your house and yard.
Smaller cracks are fairly easy to repair. Armed with a hammer, chisel, trowel, and the proper compounds, most people can tackle these cracks themselves. Tackling small cracks is important because wear and the weather will soon turn them into larger problems.
Deeper cracks may indicate bigger issues. If they are widespread, you may need concrete crack repair. Alternately, you may have problems with the soil underneath the concrete. If that is the case, the concrete may need to be torn up and replaced.
Fix problems to have curb appeal on budget
If parts of your driveway or walkway sink, the subgrade was probably not properly prepared. Sometimes, entire slabs may need replacement. Alternately, concrete repair professionals can drill holes in the surface of the concrete and pump in ash, sand, and other materials inside the subsurface soil. The idea here is to float the concrete back to the correct level.
Frost heave is a serious problem in cold climates. Moisture that starts under your concrete may freeze and push slabs of concrete upward. This will cause unevenness and widespread cracking. Concrete professionals can replace the affected slabs most of the time.
Resurfacing helps if you have imperfect, discolored, or cracked old concrete. Polymer overlays are used. They come in various patterns and colors and can help your concrete to look as good as it did when it was new – or even better.
Driveways, whether they are commercial or residential, do take a beating from vehicles and bikes, and children and adults. If you’re tired of having a driveway that is only functional, concrete professionals can help you show off your property at its best.
Driveways completed with limestone coatings or stamped concrete finishes. They will give your driveway a unique look and a durable finish. There are simple ways to add colors to your concrete walkway or driveway that has been recently repaired or poured.
Stained concrete finishes will give your concrete a mottled, rustic color that is very effective at hiding stains. Either way, your concrete will be beautiful and decorative and make an excellent impression on your visitors.
Repairing cracks in concrete
Repairing concrete cracks can be done in many ways and with many products. Here is one guide for repairing concrete cracks on different surfaces and here is for repairing concrete driveways. What follows in this article is general directions on how to fix small to larger cracks.
How to repair a small crack in concrete
First, the crack will need to be cleaned out thoroughly with a wire brush in order to get rid of any loose stones, sticks, and other debris. As much dirt as possible should also be removed using either a broom-like brush or water hose.
Next, the crack will need to be washed with a concrete cleaner. It is recommended that the cleaner you use is of the same brand as the compound you will be used to patch the crack. If you own a pressure washer it will be easy to wash the cracks.
Once cleaned with the concrete cleaner, let the work area dry. Deep floor or ground cracks should be filled with sand until the crack is about 1/4″ deep.
Apply the crack sealer by pouring in enough to make a layer 1/4″ deep Allow the sealant to dry overnight.
After drying, pour another layer 1/4″, let dry, and another until level with the floor or ground level. Scrape or sand down any sealant that breaches the surface for a pleasant finish.
How to repair large cracks in concrete
Repairing large cracks in concrete can also be achieved just as easily. It just takes a few more steps depending on the product.
First, the crack will need to be shaped so that the top is wider than the bottom. This can be done using tools such as a hammer, pick, sledgehammer, etc. Having the crack in V-shape will help with adhering as there is more surface to adhere to.
With a chisel, remove and loose spots. These could possibly weaken the bound that the sealant will make will the interior walls of the crack
For cracks 1/2″ and deeper, a bonding adhesive made by the same company that makes the patch you are using should be coated into the crack. Allow the adhesive the dry before proceeding with the application of the patch.
However, with cracks 1/2″ and less, set a vinyl patch into the crack. Mix as instructed by the directions on the bag and trowel the crack with a 1/4″ layer.
If more layers are needed, allow the patch to dry for as long as required. This could be multiple days. Then apply a new layer before finally troweling the last layer making it even with the surface.
For even deeper cracks, using the directions on the bag prepare a sand mixture then trowel it in the cracks until it is at surface level.
The patch on cracks normally has a watery sheen soon after being completed. After the sheen dries, you can use a piece of wood to smooth up the surface. This will also give it a texture similar to the rest of the concrete.
No matter what the problem is, most of the time there is a solution before replacing the concrete. Of course, sometimes the hard choice has to be made, but with properly installed concrete there are often other solutions left.
It’s good to remember that there are also many products to use and when you pick one, check the manufacturer’s label what it says about the product and how to use it. All the proper manufacturers have an info page on the internet as well, personally, I use those if I’m using an unfamiliar product.