How to Fix Cracks in Concrete

Concrete is affordable, strong, and can last for several decades. There’s no wonder that concrete is one of the world’s most popular materials for building skyscrapers and laying driveways. Most of our nation’s driveways, roads, and sidewalks are built with concrete – but what happens when you spot a crack in your driveway or sidewalk?

Concrete is tough but can ultimately crack or chip for any numbers of reasons including poor workmanship or environmental enemies. Regardless of why concrete cracks – when it does you need to fix it. Learn how to repair cracks in concrete including why concrete cracks, what can be taken care of by homeowners, and what’s best left to the professionals.

How to Fix Cracks in Concrete

Why Does Concrete Crack?

Concrete is one of the world’s strongest building materials but it’s not invincible. Concrete is susceptible to human factors like poor workmanship or excessive loads, as well as environmental factors like infiltrating ice or tree roots. Add those factors to a natural aging process and you could see small concrete issues within a few years of installation. Any number of those factors along with age can cause concrete to crack.

Can Homeowner Fix Cracks in Concrete?

Yes. A homeowner can fix cracks in their concrete, but it depends on the size of the crack, where it is, and a few other factors. Let’s get an overview of types of cracks and what homeowners can do about them.

Crazing – Crazing is the nickname for harmless microcracks at the surface. Homeowners don’t necessarily repair crazing but provide a new surface. You can use instructions below to resurface crazing concrete.

Cracks Less than ¼” – Most cracks less than 1/4” width can be handled by homeowners with the instructions below.

Cracks Greater than ¼” – Cracks greater than a 1/4” might affect the integrity of the driveway or sidewalk. Large or long cracks should be left to a professional paving company.

When You Don’t Know What You’re Doing – If you’re unsure what you’re doing or feel uncomfortable, have a professional take care of the job, regardless of crack size.

How to Repair Cracks in Concrete

If the job is small enough for you to handle, let’s learn how to fill cracks in concrete.

Shopping List

  • Rubber gloves – wet concrete is caustic!

  • Wire brush

  • Chisel

  • Caulking gun – for small repairs

  • Concrete Patch Mix – For large number of repairs

  • Pressure washer

  • Masonry trowel

  • Concrete washing solution

  • Squeegee (if repairing crazing)

Steps to Repair Crazing

Repairing crazing doesn’t require much effort. Give the area a good spray with a pressure washer, wait for it to dry, then use a squeegee to spread a high-quality concrete resurfacing compound over the affected area. Allow the area to cure before using. Generally, 24 hours.

Steps to Repair Cracks

Repairing small to medium cracks takes more effort than repairing concrete crazing.

Note: Only attempt to repair cracks on days with a low temperature no lower than 50 degrees Fahrenheit.

Preparing Your Concrete for Repair

  1. Use a hammer or chisel to break up any loose debris around the crack
  2. Remove all debris with a wire brush or pressure washer on low setting.
  3. Remove any organic debris such as weeds or dead leaves growing in cracks.
  4. Use a pressure washer and concrete cleaning solution to give your concrete a thorough wash. Start with a low pressure setting to remove debris before following on a high setting to sanitize the area.
  5. Allow the driveway to dry completely.

Using masonry crack filler

If you have a small number of cracks, you can purchase masonry crack filler in a tub or tube.

  1. Carefully caulk the masonry crack filler in problem spots.
  2. Use a trowel to remove excess crack filler
  3. Allow to cure before any foot or vehicle traffic.

Using concrete patching compound

If you have several cracks to repair, it makes more sense to use a concrete patching compound.

  1. Mix the patching compound per instructions.
  2. Use a trowel to feed patching compound into cracks.
  3. Use the trowel to remove excess patching compound.
  4. Allow to cure before any foot or vehicle traffic.

Fixing Cracks for Great Concrete

Cracks are unsightly, can grow, and can lead to tripping hazards so it’s best to repair them as soon as possible. If the cracks are less than a quarter inch, use patching compound or masonry crack filler to make a quick repair but leave any large cracks to the professionals.

Cracks are no fun, but even a novice homeowner should be able to take care of small cracks and crazing by themselves. No matter if you do it yourself or use a professional, with a little time and care you’ll have seamless, beautiful concrete. If you’re unsure about whether you cracked concrete needs profession attention call Colorado Pavement Solutions for a free, no obligation estimate.