Your patio, driveway, and sidewalk see a lot of foot traffic, which can lead to cracking over time. Concrete surfaces look great when they’re newly installed, but over time they can become cracked and stained. Your concrete may need to be repaired for both functional and aesthetic reasons.
What causes cracks in concrete?
There are several reasons why concrete surfaces develop cracks, including:
- Temperature changes. Concrete is susceptible to cracking when there are drastic temperature changes, such as freezing temperatures or prolonged exposure to heat.
- Settlement. Cracks can also form when the ground underneath the concrete settles or shifts.
- Poorly compacted subgrade. A poorly compacted subgrade can cause the concrete above it to crack.
- Improper installation. If concrete is not properly mixed or placed, it can lead to cracking.
- Shrinkage. As concrete dries, it shrinks slightly. This can cause cracks to form if the concrete is not allowed to properly cure.
How can I repair cracks in concrete?
There are several ways to repair cracks in concrete, including:
- Use a patching compound. Patching compounds are available at most hardware stores and can be used to fill small cracks.
- Use epoxy. Epoxy is a strong adhesive that can be used to bond together pieces of concrete that have cracked.
- Use polyurethane caulk. Polyurethane caulk is a flexible sealant that can be used to fill cracks and prevent them from spreading.
- Place concrete backer rod into the crack. Concrete backer rod is a flexible foam rod that can be placed into cracks to prevent them from spreading.
- Inject concrete grout into the crack. Concrete grout is a thick mixture that can be used to fill cracks and prevent them from spreading.
What are some tips for preventing cracks in concrete?
There are several things you can do to prevent cracks in concrete, including:
- Use expansion joints. Expansion joints are gaps that are left in concrete surfaces to allow for expansion and contraction due to temperature changes.
- Use a sealer. A sealer helps protect concrete surfaces from weathering and staining.
- Be careful when watering plants near concrete. Over-watering can cause the ground to settle and crack the concrete above it.
- Avoid parking vehicles on concrete surfaces. Parking vehicles on concrete can cause it to crack or break.
- Inspect concrete surfaces regularly. Checking for cracks and other damage on a regular basis can help you catch problems early and prevent them from getting worse.
What if I don’t repair cracks in my concrete?
If you don’t repair cracks in your concrete, they can continue to spread and get worse. Cracks that are left unrepaired can also become trip hazards. In some cases, cracks can even cause pieces of concrete to break off, which can pose a safety hazard.
Who can help me repair cracks in my concrete?
If you need help repairing cracks in your concrete, there are a few options:
- Hire a professional. If you’re not comfortable repairing the cracks yourself, you can hire a professional to do it for you.
- Contact your local building department. Your local building department may be able to give you advice on repairing cracks in concrete or refer you to a professional.
- Call a concrete contractor. A concrete contractor can usually repair cracks in concrete quickly and efficiently.
Now that you know more about repairing cracks in concrete, you can make an informed decision about whether or not to do it yourself. If you decide to hire a professional, be sure to get multiple quotes and compare services before making your final decision.