How To Patch Cracked Concrete: A Homeowner's Tutorial

Cracks in a concrete driveway or parking lot are a common and highly annoying visual nuisance. Worse still, such cracks have a tendency to grow worse and worse when left to their own devices. Fortunately, repairing such cracks isn't as difficult as many people assume. If you have a concrete surface in need of repairs, read on. This article will walk you through the process of patching cracked concrete.

Step 1: Prepping the crack

The strength of a concrete patch is directly related to how well the crack in question was prepared. Dirt, debris, and vegetation will all keep the crack from bonding as tightly as it should. Begin by removing any larger chunks of debris. Then attend to any oil stains using a mixture of liquid dish soap and water. Allow the concrete to dry thoroughly before proceeding.

Step 2: Keying the crack

Dirt and debris aren't the only things that will negatively impact the bonding strength of your patch. The fact is, a crack with jagged uneven walls will have a much harder time accepting the patch. Thus the next step is to smooth out those walls--a process commonly referred to as "keying."

To properly key your crack, you'll want to arm yourself with both a hammer and a chisel. Holding the chisel at an angle, gently tap it with the hammer to knock loose any irregularities in the crack's walls. Ultimately, you'll want to use these tools to reshape the inside of the crack so that it resembles the letter V as closely as possible. Now use either a broom or a vacuum to remove dirt and dust from the inside of the crack.

Step 3: Filling the crack

There are a wealth of different crack fillers on the market today. These vary mainly in their style of application. The easiest style for those new to crack filling is so-called self-leveling filler. This filler comes preloaded in plastic tubing, thus allowing it to be easily applied with a caulk gun.

Apply the filler generously to the entire length of the crack. Because the filler tends to settle as it fills in all of the nooks and crannies in the crack, you will likely need to make a second application a few minutes later. Once the filler is level with the concrete at the top of the crack, allow it to dry thoroughly.

Step 4: Sealing the filler

The main reason why it is important to fill cracks is to prevent the intrusion of water, which is the primary agent of destruction where concrete is concerned. To give your newly filled crack the best chances of withstanding future exposure to water, it is therefore a good idea to finish your project by applying one or more coats of polyurethane sealer to the concrete around the crack. This will prevent water from trickling in around the filler. 

For more information, contact a paving company, like Branche Industries.