Even though concrete is one of the most durable hard surfaces in the world, it’s strength doesn’t mean that the surface can’t move, crack, or need repairs from time-to-time. Cracks are the most common issue to develop in concrete, and they are relatively simple to fix with a few basic tools and materials.
Repairing cracks in concrete can restore your concrete floor or driveway’s look and help keep the surface as strong as possible. It is also a more cost-effective solution compared to completely replacing the concrete. Here’s how to easily repair cracked concrete on your own.
Gather Your Supplies
Before you start, you will need to gather a few supplies.
- Cleaner that cuts grease
- Cold chisel
- Caulking gun
- Safety glasses
- Concrete patch or filler
- Damp cloth
- Polyurethane concrete sealer
- Bristle brush or paint roller
Cleaning and Prepping the Space
Before beginning any concrete repairs. It is important to make sure the concrete is as clean as possible. This will help the filler material to bond to the cement better. Take a broom and sweep away any debris, dust or dirt. You will also need to use your cleaner to remove any grease or stains left behind. Thoroughly clean your entire cement area and allow it to dry for several hours before beginning the repair process.
How to Fix Cracks in Concrete
With your supplies in tow, follow these steps to effectively repair your concrete cracks.
- Put on a pair of safety goggles and gloves before starting. This is particularly important when chiseling away at the concrete as chunks of debris and concrete will likely fly into the air. The concrete patch and sealer will need to be applied with gloves.
- Chisel the existing crack with a cold chisel and a hammer. Before you can fill and repair the crack, you need to make sure the space is clean and that any large pieces are gone. You will actually be making the crack bigger and “keying” the existing hole to make it larger. The goal is to make the inside of the crack bigger than the surface of the crack. This allows the new bonding material to adhere to the crack better.
- Use your broom to clean out the crack as much as possible and to gather up any dust and debris from the chiseling process.
- Take your vacuum and clean up all remaining debris until the area looks as clean as possible.
- Use your concrete filler and start applying it into the cracks of the concrete. Some fillers will come premixed in a bottle. In this case, you simply need to cut the top of the nozzle off and start working on the cracks. If you are using a mixed concrete patch, then you will need to mix together your filler according to the directions and use a trowel to put the filler inside the cracks.
- If large holes have developed in the cracks, then you will need to “build” in the missing areas of your concrete with your patch. Use the pointed end of the trowel to fill these areas in with filler, then wipe them smooth. It may take several attempts in order to get enough patch into these areas and to make it smooth and flat.
- Create a flat surface with the trowel and wipe off any excess filler or patch with a damp cloth. Allow the filler to settle for several minutes and come back to check on it. Sometimes, depending on the crack, the fill may not look tight or even. Apply another coat if necessary until the cracks look tight. Use the trowel to smooth out all of the cracks with the trowel until you have a flat base to work with.
- Allow the filling to cure overnight. Depending on the manufacturer, the company may recommend an even longer curing process. You will again need to check it to see if any more patch or filler or needed, as some deep cracks will require several coats.
- Once the cracks look evenly patched, you will need to seal the concrete with a polyurethane sealer. This is because concrete is actually a very absorbent surface. The sealant will protect the concrete from absorbing stains and keep it in a better condition for longer. For cracks that occurred from water damage, the sealant will help prevent water from damaging the same spot again. It will also help ensure that the patch or filler stays in place.
- When applying the sealant, you will need to use a brush when applying the product over any rough surfaces. For smooth concrete surfaces, you should use a paint roller. Most polyurethane sealers will dry within a few hours., so you can put on the second coat a few hours after the first. If the concrete is a high-traffic area, such as a garage, you may need to apply three or four coats over the surface.
Depending on the location of the concrete, if cracks continue to appear in your concrete flooring, especially in rapid succession, there may be a bigger issue, such as a foundation problem to blame. If cracks continue to be a problem, you may want to call in a licensed contractor for more information on the crack issues.