How To Repair Cracked Concrete
A properly installed concrete patio or driveway can last for decades but it’s inevitable that small cracks or holes may eventually appear. Unlike other materials, such as wood, concrete can be repaired and restored to its former glory so it looks like new. If your concrete has developed a few imperfections, it’s important that you get it repaired as soon as you can. While certain types of cracks may appear to be minor, they can actually create more damage over time if not fixed. Not to mention that they’re unsightly and can be a tripping hazard, too.
Don’t let a small problem turn into a larger (and more expensive!) issue. While there are certain types of cracks that a seasoned DIYyer may feel comfortable taking on, in most cases, we generally recommend that homeowners call in the professionals to repair a cracked driveway, walkway, or patio. Regardless of who is going to do the repair, it’s important to know what you’re dealing with. Let’s dive in!
The concrete repair process
In general, repairing a crack in concrete is pretty straightforward. Once the area is clean and completely free of dirt and oil, the steps are as follows.
- Key the crack: The crack needs to be “keyed,” which means making the inside of the crack wider than it is on the surface. Keying ensures the patching material will bond with the old concrete. Simply hold a chisel at an angle and use a hammer to break up the material inside, making sure to chip up any crumbling or loose concrete. Chisel to about one inch below the surface. You can also use a grinder with a diamond wheel for this process.
- Clean the crack: Clean the crack after it has been keyed. Use a wire brush and vacuum nozzle to remove any remaining loose pieces and rinse the area well and let dry. For outdoor jobs, cracks can be cleaned while pressure washing. Hold the tip of the spray wand a couple of inches from the surface and parallel with the crack to force out weeds, dirt, etc. After cleaning the surface and the cracks, use a wet/dry vacuum to remove standing water from the cracks. Let dry. Remember to wear the proper protective gear, like goggles, since the work is very dusty.
- Repair the crack: There are different repair materials for different types of cracks. We’ll get more into that below! Use your chosen material and slowly fill the cracks. After a few minutes, see if the material has settled into the crack and apply more if needed. Use a trowel to smooth everything out.
- Cure and seal: Follow the package directions and let the material cure. Depending on the product you use, additional filler material may need to be applied after the first application has cured. Once the concrete is repaired, you can proceed with the next step of your project: maybe an overlay, or simply a color and seal. Whatever you decide, when finished, you may want to consider sealing the entire area. This prevents the concrete from absorbing stains in the future.
The right product for the job
Not all cracks in concrete are the same! You might be dealing with a small crack or a large one. Maybe yours is shallow and horizontal or deep and vertical. Is your crack localized or is there widespread damage? The key to a successful concrete repair is using the right product. A professional assessment of the situation is essential to ensure that the repair is handled properly. Don’t waste time and money (and potentially make the problem worse) by using the wrong materials.
Concrete Crack Repair
- Proline’s Concrete Crack Repair System fixes structural or moving cracks running through the entirety of a concrete slab. Consisting of Crack Repair Fabric, Elastomeric, and Rapid Repair, this system is a convenient way to fix cracks that run from an edge to an edge, a joint to an edge, or a joint to a joint.
- Proline Pro-FastPatch is strong, rapid curing patching cementitious material. It’s able to patch and repair concrete from 0”-1/2” thick (or ¾” – 1 ½” with pea gravel).
- For non-moving surface cracks or those that do not begin or end at a joint or edge, fill using Proline’s Pro-Surfacer. This popular polymer cementitious overlay can be used to finish patching/feathering over the repaired crack and waterproof elastomeric membrane. Use a second thin coat, and possibly a third (in some cases) over the entire surface and blend all the repairs together. Your area is now ready to be resurfaced with a broom finish, spray texture, or other coating system.
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