Common Concrete Repairs to Make Before Winter
While it’s important to enjoy the last few months of fall, it’s always a good idea to look ahead and prepare for the winter weather. Concrete may be one of the most resilient building materials but it still requires maintenance and repairs from time to time. Concrete is a porous material that can allow moisture to permeate below the surface causing damage to the appearance and structural integrity of your concrete slabs. Knowing what to look for and identifying problems with your concrete is one of the first steps to getting the necessary repairs you need.
Common Concrete Repairs: Cracks
Cracks in concrete are a common occurrence. Most small cracks can be cleaned, filled, and then sealed to prevent further spread and damage. While shallow or surface level cracks may require little to no maintenance, deeper cracks are an entirely different story. Cracks that are ¼ inch wide or larger could indicate an underlying problem with the entire slab. As moisture seeps through these openings, it freezes and thaws, often lifting the slab to create an uneven walkway. While lifting can be corrected, if larger cracks are left untreated, some damage may be irreversible, requiring the entire slab to be replaced. Preventative maintenance such as sealcoating can help prevent cracks from forming in the first place, while filling and treating larger cracks can keep the problem from getting worse.
Common Concrete Repairs: Crazing
A network of cracks that form along the surface of concrete is referred to as “crazing”. Crazing occurs when the surface level of a freshly poured slab shrinks too rapidly while curing. Using too much water can reduce the surface strength causing cracks to form. Likewise, not using enough water can also cause crazing by allowing moisture to evaporate too quickly. Crazing is very shallow and normally doesn’t affect the structural integrity of the slab. Most repair options such as grouting over the crazing can help reduce the appearance. However, if you’re looking to eliminate crazing your best course of action might be to grind down below the cracks and resurface the slab.
Common Concrete Repairs: Buckling
Buckling is when a concrete slab is pushed up and begins to crack. Buckling can be caused by a variety of reasons including the natural freeze/thaw cycle of moisture under the slab. More often than not, large trees and their roots are the culprit. The only way to repair the issue in these instances is to remove the damaged portion of the slab, and remove any roots responsible. After you’ve removed the root of your problem, having a professional lift and shift the various slabs can help to even out the walkway. If concrete leveling is not an option, a new slab may need to be poured.
Common Concrete Repairs: Spalling
Spalling, also known as scaling, occurs when the top layer of concrete chips, flakes, or peels away, often causing aggregate to appear. This gives an unsightly pitted appearance to sidewalks and driveways. Spalling can be caused by the freeze/ thaw cycle on improperly sealed concrete, or from the use of road salt and other de-icers. Repairing spalling often requires resurfacing the concrete slab which can be costly. To help prevent spalling, apply a quality sealer to your concrete surfaces every 4 to 5 years to prevent moisture from collecting below the surface and form a protective barrier from the road and automotive debris.
Common Concrete Repairs: Discoloration
Our concrete driveways, sidewalks and parking lots are exposed to the elements all day, every day. As time goes on concrete will gradually erode and lose its luster. If that’s the case, concrete can be restained and treated to restore the slab to an almost “like new” appearance. Occasionally concrete can become discolored irregularly. More often than not, it may be attributed to surface staining from another substance such as spilled cleaning products, fluids from a vehicle, or molding foliage. Most surface discoloration can be solved with a little elbow grease and a good power washing. For tougher, set in stains, it may require the use of specialized detergents or cleaning products. It’s recommended to consult a professional to help remove hard stains, as certain cleaning products when used improperly can actually damage or discolor your concrete surfaces further.
Bravo Concrete Services
If you’ve ever had to get estimates to pour new concrete, then you already know how quickly costs can rise. New concrete is an investment that can last a lifetime if properly maintained. Here at Bravo Concrete Maintenance we are committed to helping our clients get the most out of their investment by helping to repair, maintain and protect their concrete surfaces to avoid the exorbitant costs of replacement. For a free, no obligation estimate, call us today at (716) 834-2454.