There's More to Paving Than Sidewalks

A Homeowner's Guide To Patching Concrete Cracks

Whether in the patio, garage, or basement floor, concrete cracks are a frustrating and unsightly nuisance. Left untreated, they may also have a negative structural impact down the line. Luckily, repairing cracked concrete isn't as hard as you might think. This article will provide you with a basic understanding of the concrete patching process.

Prep Work

In order to guarantee a long lasting patch, it is necessary to begin by thoroughly cleaning the crack in question. The first step in this process, if necessary, is to remove any oil or dirt stains that may be present. Accomplish this task using a mixture of water and detergent, preferably one that contains a degreaser. This will remove any oil or grease to ensure that the filler material is able to bond properly with the cement.

Key The Crack

The smoother the walls of your crack, the more effective your filler will be able to bond with them. Thus the next step is to remove any large chunks or half-attached pieces of concrete from inside the crack. This process, known as "keying," is best accomplished with a hammer and chisel. Holding your chisel at an angle, carefully pound out any irregularities in the crack.

Ideally, the sides of the crack should be either vertical or sloping together as in the letter V. Now brush out larger pieces of debris with a broom. Then use a vacuum to remove as much concrete dust as possible from inside and around the crack.

Fill The Crack

Now you're finally ready for the crack filling operation to begin. While there are a variety of crack filling substances, by far the easiest to work with is self-leveling crack filler. This substances comes in a caulk-like tube, meaning it can be conveniently and accurately applied using your caulk gun.

Slowly apply the filler along the length of the crack. Be aware that the filler will settle somewhat in the first few minutes after application. This may necessitate going back for a second pass in order to ensure that it comes up the level of the concrete on either side of the crack. Allow the filler to dry overnight, or according to the manufacturer's recommendations.

Seal The Filler

Water is the natural enemy of concrete and may have been one of the prime agents in the formation of your crack in the first place. To ensure that your crack is thoroughly water-tight, apply a couple coats of polyurethane sealer in the vicinity of the filled crack. Heck, if you want to really be on the safe side, consider using this sealer on the entirety of your concrete surface. It may save you precious repair time down the line.

For professional help tackling large or numerous cracks, contact a company like ACPLM.