Working with concrete is not always a simple do-over or tear-out job and it might be hard to identify. Concrete has many surface discolorations, imperfections, and cracks that can easily be repaired.
In other words, do not give up on your concrete installations before you research the damage. It may be very easy to renew regardless of appearances.
Of course, you must not discount the fact that concrete sometimes cannot be repaired and must be replaced. You will know this to be the case when there are deep cracks that are widespread and caused for example, by settlement.
When concrete has sunken or is damaged by frost heave, you can try patching it up but this is a quick fix that will most likely be short-lived.
When is concrete impossible to repair
Concrete is impossible to repair when it has deep, widespread cracks and has cracked its way through the surface area. You will need to prepare the subgrade and remove the concrete.
The subgrade will then need to be replaced after removal. Depending on the situation, the subgrade may also be utilized again.
New subgrades will need compacting before new setups of concrete is accomplished.
Typically occurring as a consequence of subgrade that is poorly prepped, sunken concrete also results to extreme weight placed on the surface.
If you have a sunken surface, you will want the advice of an engineer that specializes in the soil to make suggestions regarding correct sub grading before doing more installations that are concrete.
Frost heave is more frequent in cold climates and occurs when ground moisture freezes and forces the concrete upward. Just like sunk concrete, you need to re-subgrade before laying out newer concrete.
Once you have made a determination that your concrete does not have widespread, deep cracks or is heaved or sunken, you can begin repairs.
Repairing small concrete damage
Surface cracks on concrete or thin hairline cracks with no settlement signs can quickly be repaired. In order to repair your concrete, use a chisel on the crack and hammer it with a cold chisel. The goal is to make a back-angled concrete cut.
Sweep and clean any material that is wayward in the crack with a portable drill fitted with an attachment that is a wire wheel, or a wire bristle brush. Slowly remove all the debris before going on to the next step.
Clean the crack with a garden hose or pressure washer. I believe in water over vacuum as it can remove even the smallest dust well. If you don’t have that option, a vacuum is better than nothing. After washing let it dry.
Apply a layer that is thin on the adhesive bond of the area. Apply the bond adhesive using a paintbrush since this is the best way to make sure that the adhesive is pushed into the crack.
Adhesive bonds are useful since this keeps the material used for repairing stationary within the crack.
Vinyl-reinforced patching compounds are the best material for use when crack-repairing. Trowel the compound within the crack and then do a featuring of the area using the trowel and create an even surface.
Yet another option for repairing is to replace the adhesive for bonding using sand poured into the cracked area. Use a sand-mix type of concrete with a fortifier.
There is a more detailed guide on this site for fixing concrete cracks and potholes over here as well. There are multiple ways to fix concrete so keep that in mind as well as there are many different concrete repair products depending on where it is and damage.
Professional concrete demolition
Not always we want to do this ourselves. Especially if it involves concrete demolition as you need to have proper tools and means of transport for the waste.
As stated before, many times damaged concrete can be renovated and repaired for a new look. There are times, however, when surfaces made of concrete needs to be totally replaced and removed.
This is often the case with widespread, large cracks of frost heave damages that are severe. There are times when a new project requires removing the old structure first.
Demolition of concrete is a large project that needs special tools and technical knowledge. The basics of concrete demolition are listed here for you to know what to expect when you need to have a structure removed in the future.
Getting the permit
In some cases, demolitions of concrete require a permit. This is so that steps for safety and precaution will be followed when the concrete gets removed and demolition takes place. Contractors are often the people who help you acquire the permit.
There are also times when it is the homeowner that is able to apply for the permit when the project for demolition is for their home. Permit costs are not high, but if demolitions will affect sewer, water, or electric services, these entities will need to be informed.
Many times, a proper inspection is required before starting the project. Since the process for permits can sometimes be complicated, it is recommended that you get the help of a concrete professional contractor who comprehends and can speed up the process for you.
The needed tools
There are different tools you need for demolishing concrete depending on the size of the project and space. Hydraulic and pneumatic breakers are used for big projects like foundations and sidewalks. Machines come in varying sizes so you need to find what works best for your project.
The bursting pressure is a solution that is not uncommon for home demolitions since it is less messy and is quieter. With this technique, holes that have been drilled in the surface of the concrete are inserted with substances that break up and expand the concrete.
Pieces that are broken can be removed from the premises. Big projects need heavy equipment like explosives or balls and cranes. These methods, however, are not used in residential demolitions, normally.
Disposal of the broken concrete pieces is the final step in concrete demolition. This can sometimes be the most complicated step of the process. Landfills do not take concrete and those that do require permits to do this.
Concrete recycling is an environmentally friendly, cost-effective solution. The concrete can thus be moved to a center for recycling, or tools to break them down into a substance that can be recycled can be taken to the site of demolition.
The concrete is then broken down or crushed into an aggregate that is reused in the concrete of New Portland Cement. Any concrete type can be recycled using these techniques.
A messy, large job, concrete demolition is handled best by professionals. If you need a driveway, floor, or patio removed, you need to call a concrete professional contractor to check out what the job entails.
Concrete contractors can handle all concrete demolition aspects, between breaking down the structure to removing the pieces effectively and safely.
Repairing concrete is yourself is a good way to save money and prolong the life of the concrete. It’s good to know when it’s a sensible thing to do and when to get rid of it.
When you repair the concrete, remember to read the manufacturer’s instructions to know how to apply the products. It will make a great difference if the surface is dusty or not or how much water you add to the fixing product etc.
If it comes to demolition job, it might be wise to let professionals do it. I like to think that my time has value as well. If my time is more valuable than hiring someone to do it, then it’s only sensible.
Renting the tools, transporting the waste and doing the job has a price as well. The waste part can be problematic as well depending on where you live.
With small jobs that can be handled with a truck and trailer, I’d do it myself though. Just need to remember that the weight of the concrete adds up really fast when transporting so don’t overload your vehicle.