One of the most common questions we are asked is if cracked concrete can be repaired. The industry’s answer is yes, but with disclaimers. Typically, concrete is about 4 inches thick and often is reinforced with steel. If 4 inches of steel-reinforced concrete can crack, there’s a pretty good chance that anything you place on top of it will crack as well. It’s called mirroring when the crack resurfaces as the underlying crack continues to move.
Using epoxy injections to weld the two slabs back together is fairly successful, but you can still see the epoxy repair. Contractors will often cover the repairs using Micro-toppings a polymer, sand and cement application applied in the desired color. Micro-toppings are extremely versatile to include stone and textured finish in an endless array of colors and stains.
There is also Quartz/Epoxy Systems that are far more durable made from the 4th hardest mineral below diamonds. Quartz/Epoxy injections are made with an epoxy base. Combining epoxy injection and Quartz/Epoxy finish makes for a durable surface.
Another popular re-surfacing system is Grind, Stain, and Seal. These are exceptionally beautiful applications that use the characteristics of your existing concrete along with the natural mottling of the stains to make a unique and beautiful work of art. This application does not require a topical application other than the stain and sealer. Most clients like its look even if there are some cracks showing. It looks a little more rustic and in Colorado, that is usually a good thing!
You might be thinking, “hold on, didn’t you say that with Epoxy injection, the cracks could mirror back through the re-surfacing application?” There is always that possibility, but not always. You might also be thinking, “well, then what can I do?” To properly answer that question, we need to review why the crack could potentially come back which requires a little more knowledge about concrete itself.
Beyond the concrete’s PSI (how many sacks of cement is in each yard of concrete) it’s important to know what type of steel was used to mesh or re-bar. It’s also important to know the size of the aggregate that was used to make the concrete. However, the most important deterrent to avoid cracks is the control joints. You might also ask, “what are control joints?”
As a kid, you may remember skipping down the sidewalk and jumping over the cracks to avoid breaking your Mother’s back. These cracks are control joints. In a walkway, they are spaced about every 4 feet. In large concrete areas such as patios and driveways, they have a maximum spacing of 10 feet. If you have a greater than 10′ x 10′ slab or no control joints at all, you will get cracks.
Injecting them with Epoxy will help weld the slabs back together. If you don’t have control joints, these cracks will invariably mirror back into the slab. So once you inject the Epoxy, it’s best to create control joints near the repair or better yet, in the repair. This is accomplished by using a small right angle grinder and a diamond crack chasing blade. It is a “V” shaped blade that creates joints that look like the joints on your driveways and walkways.
Here at Concrete Restoration Systems LLC, we use the disadvantages of concrete slabs to our advantage. Take this residential patio below that was about 30 feet by 30 feet wide and had no control joints. If you look closely, you can see cracks running in every direction. To fix this, we used a right angle grinder and a diamond crack chaser and started with the existing cracks opening them up to create a joint. We then craved a flagstone pattern off those main cracks creating a unique stone pattern.
We then injected the epoxy into the cracks or joints to weld the slabs back together. You could use any of the applications described above, but for this patio, we chose Grind, Stain and Seal application with a smokey beige stain. We then stained all of the joints with a midnight black exterior concrete dye and it made an incredible difference. You can’t even tell where the original cracks were. If there is any future movement, it will be in those control joints and undetectable.
“It’s not just concrete renovation, it is art!”
If you would like us to help you with your project, please click here to schedule a free consultation for creative concrete solutions. If you can Imagine it, we can Create it!
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