Cracks, erosion and stains on concrete surfaces are not only unsightly, but they also compromise the integrity of the concrete and reduce its longevity.
When properly cared for, exterior concrete surfaces, such as driveways and patios, last for 20-40 years, and interior surfaces, such as foundations, floors, and countertops, have an even longer lifespan.
Repairing damage and resealing concrete regularly helps to ensure the durability of the material and to preserve its original appearance for decades to come.
1. How do I fill a large hole in exterior concrete?
Sweep and wash debris and dirt out of the hole before filling it. Then use a sand mix of concrete for small or medium holes or a gravel mix for larger holes.
2. How do I repair cracks in exterior concrete like driveways, patios, and slabs?
For small cracks or minor pitting and spalling, use a crack filler ($10-$30) in the same way you would use grout or spackle indoors.
For larger cracks, apply a concrete resurfacing ($30-$75) product. Use a squeegee or trowel to pack the material into the crack or smooth it over pitted or uneven surfaces. Follow manufacturer instructions to allow proper curing time. Investing in a polyurethane sealer once you repair the surface is a good way to protect the concrete from future damage.
For more information, check out this video from Home Depot demonstrating the use of Sakrete’s Top n’Bond Concrete Patcher ($15-$20).
3. Can cracked or eroded concrete stairs be repaired or should they be replaced?
Patch cracked stairs with a crack filler. If large chunks of concrete are crumbling away, remove the damaged sections and use a quick setting filler that can be molded and shaped along edges and corners.
If multiple stairs are beyond repair, remove them with a sledgehammer or jackhammer, then reframe and repour the broken stairs.
If a slab is uneven, what repairs will be needed? Self-leveling concrete patches or concrete overlays can be added as a topcoat to the existing concrete surface to level out the entire surface. ($50-$150)
4. How can I fix a damaged concrete foundation?
Typically, you need a contractor for foundation repair. If there are visible cracks in your concrete foundation or walls or if you notice uneven floors or separation around doors and windows, the damage is substantial enough to consult with a professional.
According to Dummies.com’s guide to repairing foundation cracks, for hairline cracks or small areas that are crumbling, however, patching and crack filling materials should be used for foundation repair on cracks over 1/8 inch thick and latex or polyurethane caulk on cracks over 1/4 inch.
5. Can stains and discoloration on interior concrete surfaces be repaired?
Helping the concrete to breathe by scrubbing it with hot water and repeating the process may release the stain from the concrete surface.
If the stain remains an acid wash ($10-$60), you may be able to penetrate the surface and release the stain. If neither of these options works, the only remaining choice is to use a stain or colored sealers to either blend the colors in or recolor the entire surface to a new, darker, tint.
6. How can I fix high-traffic wear and tear, such as scuffs and scrapes on the surface of indoor concrete?
When scuffs and scrapes are plentiful or visible enough to necessitate repair, it’s time to reseal the entire surface.
In some cases, you can apply the same brand of sealer that you used in the last treatment onto the clean, dry surface. In other cases, you may need to strip the existing sealant before a new layer can be applied.
7. What should I do about poles or railings set in concrete that have come loose?
Products like this fast drying anchor cement by Sakrete ($10-$30) set within 30 minutes and can be used for both the initial pour and repair work to settings that have come loose.