The Proper Way to Care for Cracked Concrete
A concrete walkway in your yard can give it a beautiful look, but if not well maintained, cracked concrete can make it look rundown. It can also be a tripping hazard if one side starts to lift up higher than the other side. The good news is that there is something that you can do about your cracked concrete. I'm going to go over what causes cracked concrete, how to fix it, supplies needed, where to buy the supplies, and approximately how much you will spend on fixing your cracked concrete.
Things That Cause Your Concrete To Crack
Before we find out how to fix cracked concrete, you should first know what causes concrete to crack. By knowing this, you will be able to prevent it from cracking next time. Here are some common causes:
- Too much water in the mix can cause concrete to crack. This means that when you were making the concrete mix, you added too much water. Although this made installing much easier, it also took away some of the strength found in concrete. Concrete mixes do not require much water. Unfortunately, there is no way to prevent your concrete from cracking except to repair it once it cracks and know next time not to add so much water.
- Concrete poured during the winter can cause cracks as well. Concrete should be poured during the warmer months, so that it has time to dry. Also make sure it is poured on even ground without any snow or compacted soil.
- Wear and tear is another reason for cracked concrete. With people walking on it so many times per day, and maybe even driving on it, at some point the concrete will begin to crack. This is completely normal. Just as wood would crack if a lot of weight was put on it, concrete is the same way. Fortunately, concrete is stronger than wood, but still it will begin to crack at some point. These cracks should be repaired with one of the methods I've included below. You may want to avoid walking on the cracks, since this can cause further damage.
- The weather can cause cracks to appear in your concrete. The freezing, thawing, heating, cooling, getting wet , and drying can cause cracks to appear.
- Chemicals can cause concrete to crack as well. Most likely, cracks will appear when chemicals come into contact with the concrete before it is dry.
How to Fix Cracked Concrete
There are many options when it comes to fixing cracked concrete. First you must know if your concrete has a wide crack or thin crack. A wide crack will require more patching (or whatever repair you are using). Thin cracks, also called hairline cracks, are easier to fix, and won't require as much repair material. In summary, you should find out what type of crack you have and continue on from there. Below I've included a list of different concrete crack repair you may find helpful.
Wide Crack Repair
- Use a vacuum or damp cloth to remove small particles that may be inside the crack.
- Mix a concrete patching compound using the instructions that came with the patching. Once you have mixed the concrete patch, apply it to the crack. Tamp the mixture so that any air pockets will be removed.
- Smooth the mixture with a trowel. Once the patch has set, smooth the surface so that it matches the concrete.
Seal the crack by using a heavy-duty water-based polyurethane.
Hairline Crack Repair
- Use a vacuum or broom to remove all dust and dirt from the surface. Rinse the area with water, and allow it to dry.
- A good option for repairing hairline cracks is a vinyl concrete patching compound. If you decide to use this method, apply it onto the crack and use a putty knife to smooth out the surface.
An epoxy injection is a common way to repair cracked concrete. Basically, you place Surface Ports (tube-looking items) onto the crack, and seal an epoxy paste around it. You seal the entire crack so that no crack is visible except where the ports are. Start injecting the epoxy through one port until it begins flowing out of the hole. Put a cap onto the port, and move on to the next port. Continue doing this until every port has been used. After 48 hours of letting it cure in room temperature, remove the ports. You can also use polyurethane instead of epoxy when doing this concrete crack repair.
- Wash the crack/hole before applying a dry pack. Allow the area to dry.
- Apply a thin layer of cement grout to the surface. Then, apply the dry pack before the grout dries.
Supplies and Tools Needed
The supplies and tools you will need will depend on which method you choose to use. However, I have included a list below for most of the supplies you will need.
- Broom (if you don't use a vacuum)
- Safety glasses
- Concrete patch material (dry pack, patching kit, etc.)
- Cement grout (for dry packing method)
- Epoxy injection kit (if you are using the epoxy injection method)
Average Cost to Fix Cracked Concrete
The cost to fix cracked concrete will depend on how much concrete is cracked. For 100 feet of basic crack filling, you will spend about $329. However, this cost does include the pricing for hiring a professional to fix the concrete for you. Also keep in mind that taxes and permit fees are not included in this estimated price. If you choose to fix the concrete yourself, the cost should go much lower. Here is about what each item should cost:
- Concrete patching materials can cost from $3 to $30, depending on how big of a tub you get.
- An epoxy patching compound can cost from $50 to $150.
- If you decide to hire a handyman to do the job for you, it can cost from $20 to $200.
- A sealer can cost from $3 to $120.
Where Can I Buy Cracked Concrete Repair Materials?
Hardware stores such as Home Depot, Lowe's, and Ace Hardware should sell concrete crack repair materials. Amazon should sell the materials too. As for finding a professional to do fix the concrete for you, you will need to search for local contractors. ConcreteNetwork.com may be able to help you find someone who can help you install your concrete repair.
Next time you see a crack start forming in your concrete, don't panic. I've gone over everything that you need to know about how to fix it. I hope that this article has served as a good reference for you on how to fix cracked concrete.