A home owner invests a lot in the concrete around their home, and when a concrete sidewalk or concrete driveway has been poured, the last thing you want to see is a newly formed crack. Improper construction of expansion joints and control joints, or a poorly compacted ground before the concrete is poured, can lead the concrete to eventually fail.
If the concrete develops a crack, even the smallest crack can continue grow until the concrete sidewalk or driveway is a broken and cracked up mess. This can make a home seem neglected and in disrepair. Over time cracks can lead concrete to eventually buckle and heave, making it a hazard for people to walk on.
If you hire a concrete contractor to repair your concrete, he’ll probably take the following approaches. First off cracks in concrete cannot be made to disappear completely. Cracks can be repaired though, and made to look much more attractive.
Concrete Hairline Crack Repair
The best opportunity to repair a crack comes when you first see it. Catching it early on can prevent the crack from growing, causing more expensive repairs later. A contractor, on a small crack, will typically use Concrete Sealer. Concrete Sealer is a common element in a contractor’s toolkit.
Large Crack Prevention and Preparation
A hairline crack that that’s left unfixed will turn into a larger crack when winter arrives. Freezing water will settle into the crack, and force the fissure to expand. This is why its so important to fix a hairline crack early on.
If the hair line crack in the concrete has turned in to a large crack, it will need to be cleaned before the patching and repair process. The concrete contractor will remove loose chunks of concrete and brush out other bits and debris with a wire brush.
In order to repair the crack, the crack will have to be wider at ground level than it is on the surface. This may require the crack to be expanded. If the concrete has not cracked all the way to the base, the crack will have to be at least 1/2 inch deep for the repair to work. If necessary, deepen the crack.
Next, the concrete chips and debris have to be removed with a wire brush. That will be followed up with a broom. To finish cleaning the crack, the contractor will use trisodium phosphate and water. TSP can cause burns to your eyes, skin and mucus membranes, so this part demands professional attention.
The best patching agent is vinyl concrete patch cement. The finished results of the crack repair are worth the extra money. After it’s applied the contractor will fill the crack using a cement trowel. After the vinyl concrete patch has been smoothed, they will leave a wet piece of burlap over the patch for two days. Be sure to keep the burlap wet if you are tending to it. After a couple of days the cement should be solid and dry.