Concrete Repair, Concrete Chiropractor
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Concrete Repair Alternatives to Replacement

When deciding how to approach concrete repair, there are some important factors to take into consideration. Is the concrete inside in a heated environment or area not subject to cold temperatures? Or is there outdoor concrete slabs in a colder climate subject to frost movement and de-icing agents?

Here are the main causes of concrete failure, how they are addressed, and the odds of long-term durability.

Concrete Repair, Concrete Chiropractor

Crack Repair-

Cracks form in concrete for several reasons.

  • The concrete had improper or insufficient install such as insufficient joint placement or spacing, improper thickness for the application, a lack of reinforcement, or being placed on disturbed soils that are prone to settlement.

  • Slab movement due to frost

  • Vehicles or trucks being driven across 4” slabs that do not support the weight

  • Shrinkage, as concrete shrinks during the curing process

Prior to repairing cracked concrete, it is important to determine the cause of failure and your environment. For example, concrete that has cracked due to a lack of joint placement in a cold weather climate, will continue to move from ground expansion.

The other consideration is repair product choice and visual appearance. Cement is rigid, so repairing a crack with a cement or mortar is prone to continued failure. The best product choice for crack repair is a flexible sealant such as a urethane. Regardless of product choice, concrete crack repair typically does not provide a satisfactory visual appearance.


Soils are disturbed during the initial construction process, often to a depth of several feet around homes and structures. These soils can continue to move for several years.

Concrete leveling or Mudjacking is a process in which settled or sinking concrete can be raised by drilling access holes through the concrete, then injecting a cement grout slurry or foam under the slabs to raise. The concrete patio, pool deck, floor, or sidewalk slab will then float back to it’s original position.

When evaluating concrete slabs to determine if this is a practical solution, it is important to determine when the concrete had been installed as recently placed concrete is likely to have continued movement.

Spalling or Deterioration-

Concrete surface failure can occur for several reasons.

  • A lack of or insufficient air entrainment during the batching process as outdoor concrete is required to include 6-7% air for moisture and frost expansion. This can be difficult to determine once the concrete is cured and in place.

  • Adding water or over watering the concrete during the mixing process and placement. Additional water weakens the concrete mix and can cause failure. This is sometimes referred to as “blessing” the concrete.

  • Water being thrown or sprayed onto the surface during the finishing process. This will dilute and weaken the Portland content on the surface layer.

  • Application of de-icing agents will also lead to surface deterioration. Especially rock salt, which is known to damage concrete. Calcium or magnesium chloride is safer with concrete and works on lower temperatures, making those products a better choice.

While chemically engineered cements and resurfacing products are available, they are better suited for finishing failures than issues that are throughout the concrete mix such as air entrainment or overwatering issues. Also, concrete damage resulting from de-icing agents will continue once concrete has been affected.

After a proper or professional concrete assessment, the next important step is to follow the concrete repair product manufacturer’s installation instructions, as improper installation is a main cause of premature product failure. A decision to repair or replace concrete is often driven by concrete life expectancy, budget, and safety factors to reduce trip hazards and liability.