Whether you have a concrete patio in your yard or paving at the front of your home or in your business, it is important to ensure that you look after it. Despite being a low maintenance material, concrete is susceptible to damage, so the experts at Parking Lot Pros tell us that concrete maintenance is particularly important. But what is it, and can damaged concrete paving be repaired?
What Causes Damage to Concrete?
Concrete is an extremely hard-wearing substance, but it is not indestructible. Over time, you might notice hairline cracks or even large holes in the surface of the concrete. The damage to concrete can caused by everything from heavy use to small ground movements underneath.
If the paving is not seal coated, liquids such as water can penetrate the surface. In cold weather, this water freezes and then thaws, causing the concrete to expand and contract. This leads to hairline cracks. If this cycle continues, these small cracks will become larger to the point where pieces of the concrete can become loose.
Some people will use salts and other chemical substances to prevent ice from forming on their concrete paving, but these chemicals can be too harsh for concrete (especially if it has not been coated). Prolonged exposure to chemicals such as salts, acids, alkalis, and sulfates will have a detrimental effect on the concrete.
Sometimes, concrete can become damaged because of the corrosion of the reinforcement steel that was used during construction. If steel embedded in the concrete begins to erode it will expand and then cause tension in the concrete, which can cause cracking.
Unfortunately, concrete damage often occurs because of reasons beyond our control. For example, seismic activity can cause concrete paving to rupture, as can extremely high temperatures or fire, for example.
Can Concrete be Repaired?
It is always best to take care of concrete paving to ensure that major damage does not occur. Proper maintenance of concrete paving can prolong its life by decades. It is important that it is checked frequently for cracks, curling, and blisters and that any noticeable damage is repaired as soon as possible.
Minor concrete repairs such as hairline cracks can often be taken care of by the owner of a property or business, but for extensive damage it is best to call in the professionals.
It is never a good idea to simply pour more concrete into the cracks and hope that this will solve the issue. This is because concrete does not usually contain a bonding agent and the old concrete will therefore not stick to the new, and vice versa.
Concrete repair must be carried out with a concrete repair mix. If you are considering repairing concrete cracks yourself, you can get such a mix at your local home center. The size of the crack will determine which type of repair mix you buy. Chipped edges and larger cracks can be fixed with a mortar mix, while smaller cracks can be repaired with a latex patching material or an epoxy compound.
It is always necessary to prepare the area first and to get rid of any chipped, loose, or crumbling concrete before you attempt to fill in the cracks.
Concrete is a hard-wearing, low maintenance material regularly used for paving. But it is not indestructible and unless it is looked after it can be prone to cracks, and even potholes. The good news is that concrete, like other paving materials, can be repaired. For extensive repair work, it is best to call in the professionals, but for smaller cracks you can probably do it yourself if you use the correct products and follow the manufacturer’s instructions.