Concrete Cracking: Repair and Maintenance Tips
Did you know that concrete is the most-used manmade material in the world? Concrete is found everywhere, from buildings to bridges to sidewalks.
When concrete cracks, it can worry owners and cause cracks to grow. Don’t worry, though! There are steps you can take to prevent and fix those cracks before they spread.
This article will walk you through concrete cracking repair and maintenance tips that you can use anywhere you live. Keep reading to learn more!
Assess the Type and Severity of Cracks
Cracks can be classified according to width, length, type, and location. Wide cracks are likely to need more extensive repairs than narrow cracks. They could require additional reinforcement before repair.
The type of repair will depend on the cause of the crack. Horizontal cracks could be caused by overheating from weather exposure. Meanwhile, vertical cracks are often caused by subsurface contacts, such as water pressure.
Finally, the severity of the crack should be determined by measuring the depth of the crack. Knowing the true cause and severity of the cracks will help guide the repair and maintenance plan, ensuring that repairs are done properly and are long-lasting.
Clean and Prepare the Crack
Remove any broken pieces of concrete and sweep away dirt and debris. This will help you confirm the severity of the damage that could have been hidden by them.
It is also important to secure any loose or chipped pieces of concrete to ensure a successful repair. For cracks greater than half an inch wide, it may be necessary to cut out and remove the damaged material to ensure a surface that is free of loose material.
It is also vital to clear any water, oil, or other liquids that may have seeped into the crack. These liquids can interfere with the curing process of the concrete.
Choose the Right Repair Material
Polymer-modified cementitious repair mortars may be the best solution for repairing cracks in concrete structures. This type of material is highly durable and resistant to weather, wear and tear, and chemical attack. These properties make it an excellent choice for repair and maintenance.
Other options include epoxy-based materials, concrete patching and leveling compounds, and urethane-based products. Each has its advantages and disadvantages, so it’s important to research which ones will be best for the particular repair or maintenance job.
For example, epoxy-based fillers are ideal for structural cracks, while polymer-modified patching compounds work well for surface cracks. Consult a professional or follow manufacturer guidelines to choose the right repair material for your specific crack.
Apply the Repair Material
Before applying, consider mixing the repair material according to the product directions. Make sure to conduct a patch test before using it.
When applying, use a trowel to fill the cracks with the material. If there are any minor holes or cracks, use a pointing tool to insert the material into the crack.
If a thickening agent is recommended for the material, mix it thoroughly into the product before applying. When finished, allow the material to dry completely, according to the product’s instructions.
Seal and Protect the Repaired Area
Sealing and protecting the area will ensure the repair stands the test of time. It helps prevent it from being cracked again in the near future due to environmental factors.
The sealant should keep unwanted moisture from reaching the area and will add another layer of protection. The sealant should also help bond new concrete and fillers to the existing surface, preventing further breaking.
For best results, it is recommended to apply multiple layers of sealant and to allow it to cure fully before covering it with paint for a longer-lasting finish. Finally, the sealant should be inspected periodically to ensure it has not become cracked or damaged over time.
Preventive maintenance is one of the best ways to avoid the need for concrete repairs. After all, proper maintenance is cheaper compared to an actual repair. Here are some things that you can do to take care of concrete:
Control Moisture and Temperature Changes
The continuous presence of moisture and wide temperature fluctuations can cause cracking. It is important to take the necessary precautions to avoid such damage.
Standing water can lead to moisture-related issues and accelerate crack formation. Ensure proper drainage and prevent water from pooling around concrete surfaces. Use expansion joints or control joints in large concrete slabs to allow for movement and minimize the potential for cracking due to temperature changes.
Apply a Protective Coating
The expansion joints should have appropriate sealants, insulation, and draining systems installed. This will further control moisture infiltration and temperature changes.
The surface of the concrete should also be coated with a protective sealant. This will offer resistance against mildew, mold, and ultraviolet rays.
Avoid Heavy Loads
Heavy loads increase the stress on the surface, leading to more cracks over time. Build concrete surfaces on a solid, stable base and properly compact the soil before pouring concrete.
Use the correct concrete mix according to the instructions. Repairs should be conducted as soon as the damage is spotted. Underpinning and concrete resurfacing may also be required in some cases.
Perform Regular Inspections
Inspections should be done regularly, at least once a year, to ensure cracks are noticed and repaired immediately. Between inspections, it’s important to stay alert for any changes in the condition of the concrete.
Look for uneven surfaces and crumbling edges, which are signs of damage. By conducting regular inspections and addressing small issues before they become big problems, you can save time and money in the long run.
Stop Concrete Cracking Through Proper Care and Repair
Concrete cracking should not go ignored. Regularly inspecting and repairing cracks in concrete will help to prolong its life and ultimately save money in the long run.
Adopting these concrete cracking repairs and maintenance tips will help ensure your investment remains secure. All it takes is a little bit of time and effort to protect the safety and integrity of your concrete structures.
With the right care, your concrete structure will remain in excellent condition. Now is the time to get proactive about concrete repair and maintenance!
For more amazing content, check out the rest of our website!