Do you have some heavy vehicles that regularly use your concrete driveway? Concrete is a well-known concrete material that is popular for offering great durability. It is a material that lasts for a very long time. However, concrete will not stay like that forever.
When concrete is not kept and maintained properly, some cracks are bound to appear on the concrete. This will become a major nuisance when you use it. Not only will it be structurally problematic with all the bumps on the ground, but it will also make the driveway unappealing. It is important to fix these concrete driveway cracks to improve both your home value and experience.
Finding Out Why Your Concrete Is Cracking
There are tons of reasons why concrete can get damaged and cracked, which is why to find out how to fix these cracks, it is important to first learn why they crack. By doing so, you can proceed to a method of repair that fits the reason your concrete is cracking. To do so, you can even hire a professional if you want thorough research on your concrete driveway, the same as with a cracked concrete patio. That way, you can effectively find out about what you’re looking for.
Even while the concrete driveway is just being installed, some installation errors such as improper water to concrete mix proportion may occur, or perhaps the concrete driveway might not have enough control joints. With this, cracks may appear after just a few years of being installed.
Even without those installment errors, concrete driveways will still get damaged over time. After installment, as the concrete slab starts to settle to the ground beneath, it will most likely develop more cracks. Apart from that, there are also a bunch of other outside factors that can damage the concrete. One of the biggest problems with concrete driveways is the nearby trees or large bushes. Their roots would be growing under the driveway, thus, causing it to lift some of its portions, resulting in cracks.
Naturally, the more structural load there is on the concrete, the more likely will concrete cracks appear. This especially applies in cases where the heavyweight of a vehicle is focused only on a small area. Some cracks may also appear to only be small, however, it is still important to take care of them as they will only get worse when left unattended.
There are some places in which your concrete slab may be prone to freeze and thaw cycles. In this case, water works its way into the cracks and freezes, expanding and crumbling just a little more of the concrete. In these sorts of conditions, there could be may thaw the next day, only to repeat the process again that night.
This cycle should be immediately stopped to minimize the damage to be done to the concrete slab. To minimize and potentially stop the damage to the concrete driveway, it is important to repair the cracks that are on the outdoor slab as well as the cracks that need to be filled. Although freeze and thaw cycles can be considered one of the most troublesome issues for concrete driveway cracks, there are several other problems.
Another problem that comes with concrete slab cracks, making the issue bigger is the small dirt and dust that enters through these cracks link opens. With these, some vegetation would likely appear and grow in the dirt-filled cracks over some time.
As these plants and vegetation grow, it will cause more and more damage from the concrete crack no matter how small the plant may be. They will start crumbling and crack, making them bigger, and in turn, allowing larger plants to enter. In the end, it will turn into a cycle, repeating the process some more.
Using Concrete Crack Fillers To Repair Larger Driveway Cracks
In most cases of minor or small concrete cracks, using filler concrete products should be enough. In any case, similarly, to concrete mixes, there are also some different concrete fillers. As with both mixes and fillers, they both have different performances and result in qualities depending on the concrete crack repair product.
Concrete fillers for repair shouldn’t even be all that expensive, in that case, there’s no need to settle for the cheapest one when you can get better quality fillers for only a bit more expensive price. Sometimes, easier to apply or use products may also not be as effective as other filler products. When it comes to concrete repairs, it is best to prioritize quality so that it lasts for longer amounts of time.
One type of concrete filler is the caulking-like concrete filler material. These types of concrete fillers just work fine. These usually come in a squeeze bottle or caulking tube container and can be easily applied by squeezing them through the concrete crack gaps. Although this may work fairly nicely, you may find yourself some better fillers that last longer in the exterior. Another thing to take note of is that using these on concrete driveways decks that regularly receive heavy loads may not be all that great of an idea.
For a longer-lasting repair option, you may find some specialty cement mixes to prove useful. You can see these repair materials in all sorts of different size containers so you can choose one depending on the amount you would need. As the name suggests, these are already mixed with all the needed cement and bonding agents so all it needs to work would be some water. This filler may be difficult to apply on a very small concrete crack, but it may work when using a thin tool such as a trowel.
You may also use some epoxy-based materials, however, these are most likely best left to small jobs. Mixing epoxy and getting it well into 50 feet of small-width cracking could be an exercise in futility. If the concrete isn’t suffering much from cracks and only has a few sections damaged, then using epoxy-based materials can be a great long-lasting solution.
Another good filler material to use would be grout along with some cement glue. Grout is also known as a cement product, however, this product should be used alongside other materials such as sand or gravel, if not, this will remain weak and would not hold up as great. This cement glue can be combined and put right into the grout mix patch. By doing so, the grout is able to provide some bond and strength within the sides of the concrete slab crack.
In any case, the grout alongside some of the necessary materials may also be considered a great concrete crack filler. Additionally, non-shrink grout can also be a great option if you would be dealing with larger works. This is because they are usually sold in 50-pound bags for only a little more cost than the 20-pound concrete patch cans.
Getting Ready To Apply Concrete Driveway Cracks Filling
It is always important to contact professionals whenever you’re dealing with structurally damaged concrete surfaces, however, if you’re only dealing with some small scale concrete driveway cracks and your local concrete contractor has decided that it is not much of a problem, then you should be able to deal with it by yourself with a concrete patching filler. Remember that if you would rather not work on the concrete crack, or there are too many small cracks, then you should be able to hire professionals to deal with it.
To condition your concrete before applying concrete fillers, then you can start by cleaning the area around the crack. This is an important first step, however, you can still simply use a garden hose if you’re not dealing with larger cracks, and a pressure washer if it is a large crack. If you’re dealing with a concrete driveway crack, then cleaning the entire driveway or just the area around it would be a wise idea.
Although it may seem tedious, while cleaning the concrete surface, it is recommended to prevent any dirt and dust to enter the cracks as much as possible. You can blow out all the material possible from the crack even with just the smallest stream possible with a garden hose or pressure washer. There may also be some dirt and loose material that has completely attached itself to the broken concrete driveway, possibly making it hard to remove, in that case, a hammer, screwdriver, or another similar tool can help with removing it.
Remember that vegetation is very harmful to concrete cracks. It is vital that you completely remove all vegetation there is on the crack before proceeding. If there is any stubborn vegetation growth, you can proceed to carefully burn them with a weed burner or handheld propane torch. You may also correct the form of some concrete sticking out chiseling them.
In most cases, there is no need to clean any deeper than about ½ inches. Even though in most cases, concrete is only about 3 to 4 inch deep, there is no need to apply patching filler to that depth. Many products will, in fact, advise that depths over ¼ inch be filled to within ¼ inch wide of the surface with sand. If that is to be done, make sure the sand is damp and tamped as firm as possible.
Now, when it comes to these narrow inch cracks, it would be impossible to do any sort of tamping home decor furniture, however, at the same time, these shallow cracks wouldn’t need to be filled with sand. The point of this tamping is basically filling out the space within the filler, providing a good base for it.
Without doing so, the filler would be unstable, ultimately making it more prone to subsiding to the base below over time. After removing the smaller dirt and debris, you can proceed to wash and clean the surface once again, taking care to not wash them towards the crack again.
Applying The Driveway Cracks Fillers And Sealant
Once the concrete has been properly cleansed, you can proceed to fill in the cracks. There are several caulking tube types of filler that can be applied easily by simply squeezing it into the crack making it slightly higher than the surrounding concrete and troweled smooth with the adjacent surface.
Additionally, most cement-based products would usually need to have the materials mixed, however, still keep in mind while filling concrete cracks that these types of materials would usually harden and dry very quickly, so handle them with care. In any case, most filler products should have some sort of manufacturer’s instructions. Do follow it and only refer to other instructions if you’re not sure.
In most cases, it is best to use a small pail and mix only around a quart or so, at least for the first couple of batches. Cement may harden quite quickly, so it is a great idea to immediately wash the pail and tools between batches used in order to prevent the concrete chunks from hardening.
If you’re not sure about the mixing, then it should be mixed a bit thinner than cookie dough, although not quite thin enough to pour very well, but still thin enough to be stuffed and applied into the cracks. You would most likely also need to use a trowel corner or perhaps a small spatula in order to properly apply the material into the cracks and don’t simply spread it and hope for the best.
Asking a professional would make the work perfect, however, if you’re doing it yourself, then be careful while applying. You have to make sure that you take extra care to make the concrete driveway surface completely smooth since the entire driveway can still be re-surfaced at a later date. You should eliminate the areas sticking out, have different heights, or even marks left by trowels.
You can place an amount of filler that will more than fill the crack over about a foot of crack and work it into the crack. Pick up the extra material and return it to the pail and trowel the section smooth before proceeding to the next section of crack. The most well-known sealant to be durable is Epoxy concrete sealant, which proves useful for sealing garage floors and high-traffic retail environments.
Evansville Concrete Contractors To Call
It is true that you can accomplish some minor concrete projects yourself, however, when it comes to larger concrete projects and home improvements, then you should contact professional concrete contractors. Contact us today for a free estimate on your next concrete repairs.