Concrete Is The Go-To Material…
For Driveways, Sidewalks, & Patios Because Of Its Strength & Durability.
However, Even The Strongest And Most Durable Materials Eventually Need Maintenance And Repair.
There are many ways that concrete structures show signs of wear and tear:
Perhaps the simplest and most common type of concrete repair. All concrete cracks during the curing process, and over its lifespan small cracks may form due to the various forces exerted on the concrete. Small cracks are straightforward to repair. You need some standard basic tools – such as a chisel, hammer, trowel, and bucket for example – combined with the right repair materials that you can find at your local supply store. Be sure to fix small concrete cracks as soon as possible. Eventually, water, salts, and debris will enter those cracks. Water is perhaps the worst culprit. When water freezes in the winter the expanding force created by water expanding into ice crystals is greater than the tensile strength of concrete. Water freezing will turn your small cracks into large ones. Vertical wall cracks can be fixed by using an injectable epoxy. Epoxies allow for complete bonding and sealing of vertical cracks without causing further expanding forces on the concrete. Most repairs can be done with minimal labor if there is easy access to the vertical concrete wall.
Deep cracks are a sign of significant shifting of the concrete. Concrete has little to no tensile strength. Meaning that you can apply large amounts of downward compressive force on concrete without worry. But, when forces cause concrete to be pulled in multiple directions, it crumbles or breaks easily. This is most often caused because there is movement in the sub-grade or there the gravel structure underneath is no longer dispersing the downward compressive forces. If this is the case, you may need to plan for removing and replacing your existing concrete slabs, driveway, or sidewalk. Be sure to ask GCS to help you fix your sub-grade problems first!
Concrete that has settled or sunken can be caused by several issues. The most common of these is that either the clay or gravel beneath the concrete was not compacted properly. This is often seen around the perimeter of homes. When the home building contractor does not compact the backfill layers properly around the foundation or fail to use water and compaction equipment on the gravel under the garage/ gravel pad, then settlement will happen. As the clay or gavel settles (achieving natural compaction) the concrete settles with it. Another possibility is that there is a underground water problem. If the water table becomes too high and saturates the soil or gravel underneath the concrete there is no longer any force dispersion and concrete will “squish” into the soft, wet layers of clay and dirt. If there are no major cracks formed by the settlement of the concrete, then mudjacking may be able to correct the problem for you. By inserting a hydraulic mud in multiple spots of the concrete slab simultaneously, concrete can be raised, and the hydraulic mud solidifies to create a solid support structure for the concrete. Mudjacking can usually be done for about half the cost of completing a full remove and replace of your concrete.
If your concrete surface is becoming discolored or starting to crumble you may want to consider applying a surface overlay. A concrete overlay is comparable to putting on a fresh coat of paint. It is a blend of sand, polymers, additives, and cement that is applied in a thin layer on top of your existing concrete with an adhesive to bind the two layers together. Use an overlay in combination with concrete stamps and coloring to create a desired look of your choice. Combinations of stamps and coloring can mimic the shape and look of wood or vinyl planks, paving stones, or textured rock. As well, a stencil can be used to create unique visual designs with stains and dyes.