How to Select a Concrete Repair Product
Concrete is a common and durable material for driveways, walkways, patios and other outdoor spaces. But, like most other building materials, it shows its age with cracks and holes that require repair to make them look as good as new again.
When it comes to concrete, there are many different types of repair products that can be used for repairing a damaged slab or other surface. Choosing the right repair product for the job is important because it needs to be compatible with the original concrete, not only in strength but also in adhesion, shrinkage and color or appearance.
The first step in selecting a repair product is to determine the severity of the damage. Some cracks may only require a small patch to fix, while larger ones may need to be replaced entirely. If a crack is a large enough area to warrant removing it, a professional contractor should be contacted to do the repairs.
Next, identify the underlying cause of the problem. If it is a natural issue such as settling, or something more serious, such as an insect infestation or a sinkhole, specialized contractors and engineers should be called to perform a thorough evaluation and investigation.
This evaluation should include a review of the available design documents, structural analysis of the structure in its deteriorated state, test data, records of previous repair work, a visual inspection of the structure and an evaluation of corrosion activity.
Once you have determined the causes of the damage, the next step is to select the appropriate concrete repair method and material for restoring the concrete. A standard repair procedure will help you consistently evaluate concrete repairs and determine which defects are major and which are minor, so you can make an informed decision about how to proceed with the project.
In addition to choosing the proper concrete repair material, it is important to prepare the area for the repair. It is a good idea to clean the crack or hole thoroughly before you start repairing it, as dirt can prevent the repair from bonding properly and will interfere with the finished product.
Another step in preparing for concrete repair is to remove any existing sealants that are protecting the cracked or damaged concrete from moisture. Some sealants are reversible, so they can be removed and reapplied if necessary.
After cleaning the area, it is time to apply the repair material. A variety of products are available, ranging from epoxy to latex and more. It is best to read the product’s directions closely to ensure you use the correct type and mix of product.
To fix a 1/8-inch-wide or narrower crack in concrete, apply a slurry of epoxy or latex patching material (view example on Amazon). You can either use a mason’s trowel or putty knife to spread the product and force it into the crack. Then, smooth the product level with the surrounding concrete.
Depending on the type of repair material you choose, it can take several hours or up to one day for the repair to cure. This is because the epoxy or latex has to bond to the existing concrete, which takes time to do. It is also important to keep the surface of the repaired area dry. If there is any standing water, it can cause the patch to crack when it cures.