A concrete driveway is a durable surface that generally looks great for many years. Over time, though, cracks may appear, the surface may become pitted, and parts of the concrete may actually break away leaving holes. In the past, keeping a concrete driveway looking good meant digging it up and laying down a new one when such damage occurred. Today, it is possible to patch these damaged areas, resurface it, and seal the driveway so that the entire thing looks as good as new.
Any type of concrete work is easier if there are at least two people to do the work. With concrete repairs, working with more than one person is even more important as the small amounts of concrete cure fast, making it necessary to work as quickly as possible. Plan the repair work for a nice, moderate temperature day when help is available. The concrete surface should be approximately 15 degrees Celsius for optimal results.
The different types of concrete damage require slightly different repair methods, but they all require the same basic concrete tools to get the job done:
* A metal trowel
* A rubber trowel
* A caulking gun
* A hose with spray nozzle
* A long handled squeegee
* A long handled push broom
* A convenient container for mixing the concrete. Either a bucket or a wheelbarrow
* A high-powered drill
* Concrete mixing paddle
Every repair job is different. Some may only require one type of concrete repair product while other driveways have numerous different types of damage, each requiring a different type of product.
* Concrete Resurfacing Mixture
* Concrete Repair Caulk
* Concrete Dressing
* Standard Concrete Mixture
Regardless of the type of damage, the first step in repairing it is to clean the entire driveway surface thoroughly. Use a pressure washer and driveway cleaner to ensure that there is no debris left on the surface that may hamper the repairs or the process of resurfacing the driveway after making the repairs. It is not necessary to allow the concrete to dry after cleaning, as the surface needs to be wet during the repair process. Be sure that all loose pieces and large chunks come off during the cleaning process, leaving only the solid concrete behind.
A single driveway may have several different types of damage: small cracks, larger cracks, and chunks of broken concrete. Each type of damage requires specific repair work.
Small cracks and shallow surface damage requires a very thin mixture of concrete dressing that does not include any gravel. Follow the instructions on the packaging, but generally, it is a 1:4 ratio with 1 part concrete dressing to 4 parts water. Use a metal trowel to force this mixture into the small cracks, making sure that the surface is smooth afterwards. Float the mixture over shallow surface damage the same way, keeping the surface smooth and level. Use a concrete-repair caulk and a caulking gun for cracks that are up to 1 centimetre wide, again, smoothing the surface out after the repairs.
Larger cracks and damaged areas require a concrete mixture. It may be necessary to widen the cracks using a chisel and hammer in order to get an adequate amount of concrete into the space. Use considerable amounts of pressure to press as much concrete into the crack as possible. When the concrete fills the crack, smooth the surface with a rubber trowel. Fill in large, deep surface damage the same way. If chunks of concrete are missing from the edges of the driveway, use scraps of wood to create a frame to hold the concrete in place while it sets.
When all the repairs are complete, no matter how careful the repairers were, it is still be noticeable. Use a concrete resurfacing compound or dressing mixture to apply a thin layer to the entire driveway surface. Make sure that the surface is wet before applying it. Use a long handled squeegee to spread it evenly. Then, use a long-handled push broom to add a non-slip texture to it. Once the entire surface is dry and has set for at least 24 hours, apply a concrete sealer following the instructions on the container. Allow it to dry completely before moving vehicles on it.
By planning for the work in advance and having everything necessary for repairs on hand, it is possible for any handyperson to fix a damaged driveway so that it looks better than new. Make shopping for the necessary concrete tools and supplies easy and less expensive by purchasing them on eBay, where sellers list numerous home improvement tools and supplies. Buy the different mixtures from the same seller who ships them together, saving you even more money. Also, check out the items available on the eBay Deals page to find even better bargains.