How to Repair Cracks in Concrete

Winter weather and changing temperatures can put a lot of stress on your driveway and other concrete surfaces and cause small cracks to appear. While these cracks tend to be superficial, they do detract from your overall curb appeal and have the potential to turn into bigger problems. Fortunately, fixing cracks in concrete is an easy DIY project that can be completed in just four easy steps:


Step 1: Roughen the Edges of the Crack

The first step to repair concrete cracks is to roughen the edges of the crack as you will eventually be filling the crack with a sealer. The sealer will need something to grab onto to properly set. Roughening the smooth edges of the concrete crack provides a surface for the filler to easily adhere to. Use a wire brush or cold chisel to add texture to smooth surfaces.


Step 2: Clean out Dirt and Debris

Roughening the edges of the crack will create some dust and debris that needs to be removed. This step will also ensure that any dirt or organic matter is thoroughly cleaned from the area. A masonry brush, heavy paintbrush with thick bristles or a shop vacuum can all be used to effectively remove dirt and debris and provide a clean work surface while fixing cracks in concrete.


Step 3: Measure the Depth of the Crack

If the concrete crack doesn’t measure deeper than ½ inch, you can move onto the next step and begin filling the crack. However, for cracks deeper than ½ inch, you will need to take the extra step of filling the crack with sand or a back rod. When adding these materials, fill the crack to within a ¼ inch of the surface to allow room for the filler.


Step 4: Fill the Crack with a Concrete Crack Sealer

Once you have roughened the edges of the crack, cleaned the area and measured the depth of the crack, you are ready to add a concreate sealer. This product is available at your local home center. As you make the repair, be sure to closely the follow the manufacturer’s instructions on the package. You will want to slightly overfill the crack because the sealer will shrink as it dries.


Keep in mind that you also need to take weather conditions into account when deciding when fixing cracks in concrete. Choose a dry day when there isn’t any rain in the immediate forecast and repair concrete cracks when the temperature isn’t too hot or cold. Extreme temperatures and moisture will prevent the sealer from properly setting.


Remember that filling small cracks is a normal part of maintaining your concrete driveway, patio and other outdoor surfaces. Concrete naturally expands and contracts as weather conditions change, which can result in cracks. Your best line of defense is to regularly take the time to fill cracks as they appear. Not only will this improve the overall look of your surfaces, but it will also prevent hairline cracks from turning into bigger problems that require more extensive repairs. Fortunately, in just four easy steps, you can use these DIY concrete repair tips to repair your surfaces and keep them looking like new.



Contributed to Your Home blog by Amy Blitchok

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Published 6.7.18

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