The primary purpose of fixing concrete cracks is to help keep moisture from working its way into the cracks. A secondary benefit of fixing concrete cracks is improving the appearance of your driveway. Considering that many homes have front-facing driveways, it is a good way to help improve your home's curb appeal. Before you begin the repair, scope out the general area and try to get a feel for what caused the crack. Concrete cracks can be caused by growing tree roots, impact damage, weight overloading, etc. The most common cause of concrete cracks is standing water, which, over time, works its way into the concrete and expands and contracts according to the temperature.
Before you begin fixing the actual crack, think long and hard about how you can eliminate the cause of the problem. Preventing further damage is vital to the overall success of your repair job. The methods used to fix concrete cracks depend on the size of the actual crack.
- Regardless of size, the first step should include cleaning the crack to create clean surfaces that are ready to bond with the repair materials.
- Begin by breaking off any loose pieces of concrete with a screwdriver or chisel (be cautious you don't needlessly enlarge the crack).
- Once you've cleaned the crack's edges, use a firm wired brush to remove any remaining debris.
- Next, remove as much loose debris from within the crack as possible. This is best done with an air compressor but if you don't have one available, you can use a shop vac or even canned air, which is commonly used to clean computer keyboards. The idea here is to clean out all of the dust and debris from within the crack.
Now that the crack has been prepared for repair, follow the steps below according to the size of the crack. Follow the specific directions that are printed on the packaging of whatever product you end up using to make your repair.
Fixing Small, Hairline Concrete Cracks
- Textured caulk, concrete sealer or pourable grout designed for repairing concrete are good ways to fix small concrete cracks.
- If you're using concrete sealer or pourable grout, begin by lightly wetting the crack -- a spray bottle filled with water will work well (textured caulk is best applied to a dry crack).
- With all products, completely fill the crack and use a pointing trowel to push the grout or sealer into the crack.
- If you're using textured caulk, provide some overfill to account for shrinkage as the caulk dries.
- If you're wearing thick rubber gloves, you can use your thumb to ensure that you're completely filling the crack.
- In all cases, refer to specific product manufacturer guidelines for application instructions.