How To Repair a Cracked Concrete Patio

Concrete slab surfaces are typically durable and strong, however, that does not mean that does not make it completely unbreakable. When it comes to cracking concrete patios, not only do they become unappealing to the eyes, but they may also cause many different inconveniences. This will not only endanger the safety of residents but also the lifespan of the patio and concrete itself. These small cracks can end up causing bigger damage caused by weeds or moisture to the concrete.

In fact, there are even instances in which one side of the crack rises higher than the other side, with this, a concrete cracking condition called lippage can lead to trips and falls. Do note that any large out-of-control cracks may require you to completely demolish and rebuild the patio. When it comes to repairing some simple concrete cracks for a patio, then you may require to utilize methods and inexpensive concrete materials. Taking care of these can effectively prevent weeds from growing, cure the concrete debris problem, and even prevent other patio problems for home improvement.

Rules For Crack Repair

In some cases, repairs to concrete patios could be subjected to codes or municipal regulations, however, this is not always the case. Permissions may be required when it comes to large-scale repairs that would even require patio concrete demolishment. Our concrete company takes on large-scale concrete repair services that even involve concrete demolishment. If your patio has such large cracks, then don’t hesitate to contact us. 

Things To Remember With Concrete Patio Repair

Concrete cracks cannot be patched with concrete since concrete contains aggregate rock pieces that are too large to fit in cracks. As a rule of the thumb, people typically use some polymer-based, also known as sanded acrylic-latex concrete filler. This polymer slab lifting is then inserted through the crack of the concrete using a concrete repair caulking gun or also smoothening it over with a putty knife. 

As people may see it, elastomeric repair concrete fillers also have the advantage one could get by allowing the fix concrete to slightly shift over time. Additionally, throughout the whole repair process, it will maintain the concrete’s structural stability which works as concrete patio repair.

In fact, even though the concrete patch will always be quite noticeable up to a certain amount of degree, the visibility of this patch can be effectively minimized by using a type of repair concrete mix filler that has a color closely matching the color of your patio. Moreover, some people would also prefer to surface the entire concrete patio or paint it after conducting repair in order to completely hide the crack repair. In the instance you’re to do this, make sure that you choose a paintable crack filler.

Also, do remember that concrete patios are always at the mercy of temperature and moisture fluctuations as opposed to house room interior concrete work in which the environment is controlled up to a certain point. It may depend on the material but for most patch materials, 50 and 90 degrees Fahrenheit is the typical air and concrete temperature. 

Keep in mind that during the whole process, the old concrete surface should be completely dry for the next 24 hours with no concrete precipitation in the forecast. Today, fully dried concrete patios that are covered can be patched during precipitation.

Fixing Or Replacing?

When it comes to how to repair cracked concrete, they may only be cracked on the concrete patio surface or has hairline cracks in which both sides of the crack are still level and can be successfully fixed. When it comes to fixing cracked concrete, there are certain indicators that suggest the cracked concrete would better get replaced. 

This is because simply patching or filling these types of cracks would simply be a waste of time, money, and effort for such short-term solutions. On top of not being a great fix, you may also end up spending money on resurfacing the concrete or doing a decorative topping.

Sunken Concrete With Patio

There are times in which sunken concrete occurs to concrete slabs when the subgrade is not properly prepared. The general reason for such subgrade to be improperly prepared is that the dirt used may have been loose. The water from sprinklers or rain may often go under the concrete which then settles the dirt and makes the concrete unsupported, which makes it all vulnerable to sinking. 

Additionally, another possibility is that the subgrade itself was compacted, however, great amounts of stress or weight are applied to the concrete, allowing the possibility of concrete to sink. In any case, this may not be fixed by some simple patching. The best possible option would be to contact a professional as the method of fixing it typically requires special equipment that raises the concrete that would not end up damaging the slab.

Deep Cracks And Settling Concrete Cracks

Another often damage to concrete that may require a different type of fixing aside from patching is when cracked uneven concrete goes all the way through the slab or settling concrete cracks. With this, replacing the concrete surface would be a way better option than trying so hard to patch up the crack. The causes of such damages are pretty straightforward, these include heavyweight surface stress, improper preparation of subgrade, erosion of subgrade, and other such reasons.

Concrete Frost Heave

Aside from the earlier mentioned factors, there is also the fact that frost heave is a common problem that needs cement replacement that occurs in colder climates. This can be easily explained as the surface moisture that is in the ground freezes while the concrete is raising and pushing upward.

Steps On Patching Patio Concrete Cracking

Repairing By Widening Cracks

The best possible option would be to ask a professional for some assessment and then work based on the expert’s judgment, however, in most DIY cases, the first step involves widening the crack. While doing so, it is recommended to create a V-shaped hole which will make sticking the new patching materials easier. 

Naturally, during this whole operation, you are not only required to be fully equipped but the homeowner should also be geared with safety equipment in order to prevent unfortunate injuries. When fully geared with safety equipment, you may then proceed to place the edge of the masonry chisel into the crack at a 45-degree angle.

In any case, the chisel needs to be forced in for about 1/4″ into the crack, and so, lightly tapping it with a hammer should do the trick. While continuing and following the crack, be sure to be careful as to not chip out large sections of concrete. While in this process, it is best to try and continuously maintain a width-to-depth ratio of 2:1.

Cleaning Cracked Uneven Concrete    

The next step would be to cleanse the crack itself. You may use any brush so long as it would work with the crack. Preferably, a new wire brush can be used to strenuously brush the crack. With this, some of the random smaller particles can be removed. While brushing, do it in the direction of the crack, and if the brush is then unable to continue, a new shop vacuum can be used to remove the smaller debris and dust on the cracked concrete patio decks.

Using Solid Concrete Crack Filler Patch

For the next step, it is important to first determine the exact depth of the crack. As it is confirmed, if the depth goes deeper than 1/4″, then the necessary sections of the 1/4″ depth should be filled in and brought up. Although you are free to use whatever material you would like, there are some considerations that a professional would likely advise you about.

One of which is that using liquid crack filler products for deep areas is not at all desirable. This is because it may cause an extension within the curing time, result in a sinking filler, or perhaps even unnecessarily add to the overall cost of the repair project. 

There are also different ways to add solid fillers. One of which is to dispense clean sand by hand through a funnel. This can be done by having one hand holding the funnel itself and the other would be keeping hold of a tiny amount of sand. This will then be slowly dropped on the funnel. Going for such a method makes it inexpensive, especially with the ability to vary the height of the crack filler as you keep going.

Apart from that, there is also the method of forcing a closed-cell backer rod into the crack. For 1.27cm cracks, a three-quarter-inch backer rod should be designed to perfectly fit on how to repair this concrete. In any case, it should be possible to force the backer rod through the cracks with the simple help of fingers. Then, when you reach higher new concrete areas that do not need Quikrete filler, you can cut off the backer rod.

Using Crack Concrete Patio Filler

After the addition of some solid crack filler, it is then time to apply some concrete crack filler. To start off, you are first to cut off the end of the applicator tip. After doing so, some may recommend you shake the crack filler container itself. Additionally, keep note that some smaller amounts of slab crack fillers will undoubtedly separate, with that in mind, you may add a small amount of filler onto a piece of cardboard. 

You may keep this up until a thicker filler appears. Moreover, some techniques also involve forcing a bead of the filler into the crack. In doing so, it should end up slowly drawing it along, which results in ensuring that the filler fully settles into the slab crack before moving on, which helps in repairing cracks.

Fix And Flattening

With the fillers applied, it is time to keep the fillers flattened. Additional tooling may not be necessary for the concrete patio slabs area that fills the crack from side to side and is flat. Meanwhile, you may utilize a putty knife and draw it in the direction of the crack to flatten the filler when it comes to high areas. As for lower areas, more filler may be added in those areas and then immediately trowel them down with the putty knife.

Curing Determining Expansion Concrete Cracks

When all things are done, let the patch material cure for at least 24 hours before use or before painting or surfacing. Keep note that new seal expansion joints should also still remain in order to keep them working as it is designed. It is important to know that not every crack or gap within the concrete surface can be considered bad. 

Properly installed concrete patios should have expansion joints, which are designed to allow the slabs to move or give them somewhere to crack other than the field of the pour patio. To easily identify them, these expansion joints are basically the gaps created during installation between two concrete surfaces. 

When it comes down to it, repairing and sealing these expansion concrete cracks should keep plants, bugs, water, as well as other similar hindrances from calling the crack home and causing damage. For a better understanding of the topic and services, make sure to find and contact our professional concrete contractors.