Not only are cracks in a concrete patio unsightly, but they can also invite weed growth, collect debris, and become trip hazards. Shifting soil and freeze-thaw events cause small cracks to become wider and longer. In some cases, one side of the crack rises higher than the other side—a condition called lippage that can lead to trips and falls. When cracks get out of control, you may have to demolish your patio and start from scratch.
Repairing cracks in a concrete patio is a quick and easy process that can be done with simple materials and methods. This fix will effectively block weeds, cure the debris problem, and prevent further damage to the patio for years to come.
The Basics of Repairing a Concrete Patio
It is impossible to mend cracks in concrete with more concrete because it contains large aggregate rocks. If the cracks are only 1/2-inch wide and 1/4-inch deep, you should use a polymer-based filler that can be injected into the crack with a caulking gun. Then, smooth it over with a putty knife. These types of elastomeric fillers let the concrete shift slightly while still keeping its structure stable over time.
The repair patch will always be visible to some people, but you can make it less noticeable by choosing a filler that is close to the color of your patio. If you want to completely hide the crack repair, consider resurfacing the entire concrete patio or painting it after the repair. Just make sure that you choose a paintable crack filler if this is your goal.
When to Call a Professional
Cracks that measure 1/2 an inch or smaller can often be mended without professional help. Wider cracks or those that have missing concrete chunks require the expertise of a mason or other concrete repair specialist.
Concrete Patio Crack Repair and Maintenance Tips
Patios are made of materials that can’t withstand winter’s harsh conditions if they’re not taken care of. If your patio is already damaged or in need of repair, these tips will help make sure that it doesn’t get worse over the winter season.
- When sealing cracks, ensure that they remain sealed during freeze-thaw events as these can cause the cracks to widen.
- Letting the snow and ice melt naturally is often the best option for concrete, as de-icers can potentially harm it. Unless you’re expecting to walk on the patio soon and safety is a concern, in which case you should clear it.
- Metal-edged snow shovels can damage concrete. To avoid this, sweep the surface with a push broom or purchase a model without metal components that will come into contact with your concrete.
- When concrete begins to peel and flake off in thin horizontal pieces, it’s called spalling. Spalling should be patched immediately since, much like peeling paint, it tends to introduce moisture and cause more spalling.
- The best way to repair large, shallow areas is to use a concrete resurfacer that can be poured on and spread out with a squeegee, trowel, or broom.
- Never leave your patio unprotected again by taking measures to keep it covered throughout the year. Not only does this minimize damage to concrete, but you’ll also enjoy using your living space more when bad weather hits.
- To avoid any damage, do not construct or position your firepit in direct contact with the concrete patio. If it is at ground level, don’t place on the patio itself. And if elevated, make sure there’s enough height difference to prevent thermal damage from occurring to the concrete below.
When you contact ESPJ Construction, you’ll get a free estimate of our specialty concrete and masonry services and help you find the best landscaping options for your home. Fill out our easy-to-use form here and check out our site to see all of the options available to you.