While concrete patio installations can be beautiful and functional, they often develop cracks, and patio repair is something many homeowners face with their outdoor patios. Cracks in concrete not only detract from the look of your patio, but cracks can also lead to potential problems in the future as moisture begins to seep into the concrete. Luckily, there are a few easy ways you can repair your cracked concrete patio and prevent further damage.
How to Repair Cracked Concrete Back to Its Original Beauty
Concrete installations are designed to last hundreds of years, but sooner or later, most concrete patios end up developing small cracks, gaps, holes, and crevices. If your concrete path, patio, or driveway has begun to show signs of cracking, it may be time for you to make the necessary repairs sooner rather than later. While in some cases it may require help from a professional, almost anyone can fix a cracked concrete patio.
Here are a few ways you can make your cracked concrete patio look brand new.
Caulk and Sealers
Caulks and sealers are easy and inexpensive, non-structural surface patches, but are only meant to be used for cracks less than 1/2″ wide such as hairline cracks. Narrow concrete cracks can be filled using an elastomeric filler that can be applied with a caulking gun, but many caulk and sealer products come in bottles with a special applicator tip.
Caulk and sealer compounds are typically mixed with water and applied with a putty knife or trowel and have a texture similar to grout and can be smoothed or textured to blend with the surrounding area. Once you have your preferred caulk or sealer, place the mixture into your caulking gun and begin to fill the crack. Spreading a small amount of caulk or sealer over the crack will do form a seal to keep the foundation dry and to prevent water damage or widening of the crack, but you will want to make sure that you apply it very deep into the crack(s) so that it expands and fills the entire gap. After it has expanded, place a little more onto a putty knife or trowel and wipe it across the edge of the crack for a nice, smooth finish.
Resurfacing the concrete on your own is another inexpensive, semi-structural option to repair the concrete to the full depth of the crack. This option is best for best for cracks 1/2″ or wider because it can be difficult to force the new concrete into a narrow crack all the way down in a six-inch-thick concrete slab. This option also gives your patio a brand new look at half the price of hiring an experienced contractor and the cracks you’re covering up won’t return for quite some time.
Before getting started, you can expect to pay around $2.25 per square foot for basic patio resurfacing, but if you want a specific pattern or color, you will likely pay around $4 to $8 per square foot. Before you can resurface existing concrete, you will want to remove any unsound concrete and repair other minor/noticeable cracks so that the new concrete has a solid base to bond to. Because concrete is relatively weak in tension, it cannot prevent slab movement if the foundation is less than 100% stable. For best results, noticeable cracks should be undercut with a chisel to form an inverted V notch for maximum holding power at the joint between new and old concrete.
Lastly, the most popular way to patch up cracks formed in concrete is with polymer resin. This option is the most expensive DIY option as it not only fills the entire depth of the break but also forms a permanent chemical bond with the concrete slab, gluing the slabs together to seal it from any structural moisture. Polymer Resin does require attention to detail and following some steps for an effective patch, and it must be mixed with a hardener before it can be used. The main advantage of Polymer Resin its amazing compressive strength, which at 12,000 psi or greater exceeds that of most concrete. Polymer Resin does, however, cure very slowly and it generally takes hours to harden. The procedure of using polymer resin is different for each project and varies depending on the crack location and whether the concrete cracks are horizontal or vertical.
Hire a Professional
Doing it yourself can be a daunting task. We understand. Which is why there’s no shame in hiring a professional, so you don’t have to worry about anything. Hiring a licensed concrete contractor provides you with confidence that the work will meet all of your expectations and they can even provide you with insight into the underlying problem so that further damage is avoided in the future.
Another great thing about hiring a professional is that they will use cutting-edge technology, products, and solutions to ensure the repaired area blends in perfectly with the untouched area. Most concrete contractors can offer a basic quote and rough time estimate over the phone, but you should always make sure they do a thorough examination of your patio before beginning the project. Before choosing a concrete professional, talk to multiple contractors before you make your decision and be sure to ask detailed questions about the project.
Concrete professionals are just like any other home improvement contractor, and they should be able to provide you with answers to all of your questions, as well as references so that you can verify they have done similar work before.