Cracks in concrete are a common complaint, unfortunately concrete is guaranteed to do two things; get hard and crack.
I read a statement that made me chuckle, it said that every load of concrete comes with four cracks – where they happen depends on the concrete contractor.
There is a lot of truth in that statement. Without the proper placement and depth of control joints, cracks can happen just about anywhere on the concrete slab. In addition, failure to prepare the surface and pour concrete on compacted gravel along with reinforcement such as rebar or welded wire mesh and the odds of slab fractures and displacement go up dramatically.
When concrete does fracture what should you do? The answer has to do with what you intend on doing with the concrete afterwards. If it is a crack in a sidewalk or driveway the best solution is usually to caulk it with a good quality concrete caulk then attempt to blend in with the color with the addition of sand it that closely matches your concrete whether it be broom finished or exposed aggregate.
If your intent is to do a concrete coating or paint afterwards a more rigid repair is called for. Companies like Roadware or Emecole manufacture rigid polyurethane or epoxy crack repair material that do a relatively good job of at least closing the crack which enables the coating or paint to perform much better.
For caulking if you’re comfortable with a non-sag caulk and the tools needed to apply it we prefer high-tech silicone concrete caulking from Silicone Depot. The beauty of silicone caulk is they do not weather like polyurethanes and have roughly 4 times the flexibility of polyurethanes so they are better suited for exterior applications. Another benefit of silicone is it doesn’t have a tendency to bubble like polyurethane caulks do. A quality caulk should last many years if you can avoid pressuring washing at a close range.
While it is not a fun job caulking cracks and joints will pay many dividends. Will reduce erosion and thus more slab cracking will reduce concrete settling and it will stop weed growth and burrowing insects. All in all a lot of benefit from not a lot of money.
What do you do it yourself or hire a local company it’s money well spent.
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