How to Repair Cracked Concrete

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How to Repair Cracked Concrete

A new concrete driveway, basement floor, or set of steps seems perfect, immune to any sort of damage. Left untended, however, any concrete structure can develop cracks that compromise the structure's integrity. Seasonal damage occurs when concrete freezes during the winter and then expands in the summer. Other wear and tear such as a steady stream of vehicles and heavy objects compound the pressure that causes cracks to form. And even concrete surfaces that are not subjected to traffic deteriorate naturally over time.

Homeowners cannot do anything about the state of public property, but they can perform easy methods of restoration on cracked concrete as opposed to more expensive options such as removing the slab and pouring a new setting.

Cleaning Cracked Concrete

Before repairing cracked concrete, homeowners must clean the damaged area. Prepare the work area bychiseling dirt, fragments, and other debris from the crack. Next, use a pressure washer to remove dirt and oil, which can prevent filler bond to cement.

Many types of pressure washers exist, leaving homeowners to determine which would work best for their concrete surface.

Pressure Washer

Pros and Cons

Gas

+ Perfect for industrial applications

+ Portable

+ Adjustable pressure and flow

- Can only be used outdoors

- Expensive and noisy

- Requires fuel

Electric

+ Can be used indoors and outdoors

+ Efficient

- Expensive

- Finite cord length

- Users must take safety precautions to avoid mixing water and electricity

Hot Water

+ Heavy-duty usage

+ Efficient

+ Best used outdoors

- Expensive

- Users must exercise caution when using due to high temperatures

Cold Water

+ Cheapest option

+ Can be used to wash furniture, car interiors, and other sensitive areas

- Less efficient

- Smaller tank

Make sure to wet the surface first to prevent the cleaning fluids from drying too quickly. If they do, homeowners must scrub them off. Pressure washers boast excellent versatility, so homeowners can use them for lots of other tasks after washing their concrete surface.

Cleaning Agents

Depending on the type of pressure washer purchased, homeowners need to add a cleaning agent. Look for a masonry-level fluid that contains powerful degreasing agents. Alternatively, buy cleaning fluid able to get rid of stains and mold.

Repairing Smaller Cracks

Rather than go to the time and effort of mixing cement, use concrete filler, available in a tube, to fill hairline crack. Let the filler cure overnight, then check on it and apply another layer of filler.

At this stage, homeowners may consider the repair complete, but they can give thought to sealing the crack. Sealant absorbs stains, enhancing the durability of the surface. Try a water-based polyurethane, which dries quickly and hold less of a scent than other polyurethanes.

Mixing Concrete

Buy enough cement mix to fill a five-gallon bucket. Standard mix works fine for long or deep cracks. For shallow or short cracks, homeowners can use cement mix or try sand mixtures or concrete resurfacers.

Now mix water into the concrete. Continue adding water until the mixture takes on a doughy consistency. To mix faster, stir the blend with a mixing paddle affixed to a low-RPM drill.

Pour Concrete

Layer the cement over the crack and smooth it out with a flat-edged trowel. Continue smoothing over the fresh concrete to clear away excess mixture and flatten the area as much as possible. Let the concrete dry overnight.

Repairing Concrete Steps

Replacing a crack or chunk of concrete from a set of stairs makes for a trickier repair than working on a flat surface, but not by much. Drill a hole into the break and insert a steel dowel. Clean the cracked edge of the step and then coat the rod and hole with bonding material. Hammer in the rod until half its length pokes out.

Apply latex bonding material over the broken edge and mix a patching compound with water and the bonding agent used to coat the rod. Now place pieces of scrap lumber against the step and screw or nail the boards together at the corner; this gives the step a proper form as the mixture sets. Speaking of the mixture, apply it to the sides and top of the step. Tap and smooth it into place, and let it dry for at least 24 hours.

Repairing Concrete Pool Decks

Concrete pool decks boast greater protection from water than wood, which warps. Unfortunately, water that leaks into cracked cement can freeze and expand, widening cracks further. To repair cracks in a pool deck, apply cement as usual, and then add epoxy sealant, which acts like glue. Apply sealant after the cement dries.

How to Buy Concrete and Tools on eBay

Homeowners should study extensively on the many ways they can repair their concrete surfaces and structures, as missteps during repair can render cracked concrete even less stable. After reading up on repair methods, they can rely on eBay's Top Sellers to provide them with the tools they need. Go to any eBay web page and enter a keyword phrase into the search bar. Try entering specific search terms for the most accurate results, such as "gas pressure washer." Buyers can save money by purchasing used products rather than new ones, and looking for special offers such as local pick-up from sellers, eliminating shipping expenses.

With patience and the right tools, homeowners can repair concrete steps, driveways, and floors.

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