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.
Cracks form in concrete for several reasons.
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.
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.