Annoyed with tripping over sidewalk cracks or just having to look at the unkempt look of them? Tired of pulling weeds out from between your sidewalk cracks? Just generally annoyed by the cracked concrete in your driveway? Cracking concrete is not only unsightly but can be dangerous while using a bike or even just walking. The cracks can even prevent the use of strollers, skateboards, scooters, and more. The sidewalk is supposed to keep you safe and yet, so often we see our kids come in with scraped knees from tripping, or worse, you or an older family member took a tumble after hitting the sidewalk crack. Knowing why concrete cracks can help you prevent them and when it does crack, learning how to properly repair the concrete can help you avoid future cracks.
The Problem with Cracked Concrete
Beyond just generally being unsightly, cracks in your concrete have the potential to cause serious issues, including but not limited to –
- Danger to pedestrians and Cyclists
If you are not paying close enough attention to your afternoon walk you could be looking at a whole lot more than a bruised ego. For cracks that are severe enough, you could be the owner of a sprang ankle or wrist from a misstep on the cracked sidewalk. Unfortunately for the frailer, this could end up being much more dangerous with broken bones or a nasty bump on the head, and even a concussion.
- Repairs on Your Vehicle
Cracks or potholes in your driveway caused by the erosion of concrete could lead to any number of issues with the car. Not only are you more likely to hear that cringy kiss between your front or back pumper and the ground below, but you could be looking at more severe issues than some scuffed-up paint. You could be dealing with a popped tire or damage to your suspension system. That is big bucks for something as silly as broken concrete.
- A Backyard Hazard
Patios should be a nice addition to your backyard, a place where people can hang out and enjoy the nice weather. But if your concrete patio is starting to crack, not only does your yard look unkempt, but it is a sign of more deterioration to come. With a crumbling patio, you are looking at a safety hazard for anyone who walks on it. No one is safe on an unstable base.
Why is the Concrete Cracking?
There are a lot of reasons your concrete will start to crack, the list goes on and on, but the most common reason for concrete cracking include –
- Soil is a major factor in why concrete cracks. The moisture in the soil can cause the concrete to harden and dry out, as well as expand and contract. Things are no different here in Tyler, TX. The main soil here is backland clay, sandy loam, alluvial soil, and yellow clay. Basically, the soil in Texas shrinks when it is dry and expands when it is wet, which is tough on concrete.
- Temperature is another factor in the cracks of concrete. Higher temperatures, like those in Texas, decrease the durability of concrete, causing cracks. Any air or ground temperatures above ninety-five degrees Fahrenheit create a higher risk of concrete cracking. With temperatures in Tyler ranging higher than ninety-five degrees, you are likely to see thermal cracking in your concrete.
- Air pockets happen when there is too much water in the concrete mix. This causes “air bubbles” underneath the surface of the concrete that compromises the integrity of the concrete. Over time the concrete will crack and continue to crack. Because this compromises the integrity of the concrete, oftentimes when you have these air pockets you must replace the concrete completely.
- Roots under concrete are another major issue to fix because despite sealing the cracks, the roots will keep growing. Roots are in search of moisture, which they can find in the clay soil in Texas. When clay soil is around tree roots, it becomes denser and can shift around, which causes cracks. Also, depending on the weather, roots can shrink during droughts, which we are familiar with in Tyler. When the roots expand again, this can also crack concrete.
Oftentimes cracks in concrete could lead to a lot worse issues, the key is to identify the problem before it grows so you know how to properly fix the problem.
How You Can Repair Concrete –
Putty or Seal
This is the easiest option to repair your concrete in the short term and for cheap. Sealing the crack can be done yourself and can repair the concrete for about a year. Generally, if you have a small crack or chip you would like to seal off, you can make the changes yourself in as easy as 3 steps –
- Clean out the concrete crack so there is no dirt or debris. This could be done using a power washer, garden hose, or wire brush.
- Fill the concrete crack with putty, making sure to be thorough.
- Smooth out the top of the crack to ensure evenness.
Each brand will have different directions, so make sure to follow whatever directions are provided on your putty/seal.
On the opposite side of the spectrum from buying putty is replacing the whole slab. Replacing the concrete or breaking the concrete down and rebuilding from scratch are the best long-term option. Sometimes easy fixes for cracks aren’t the right option long term and replacing is the best option to prevent further issues.
To avoid multiple repairs, replacement is the best option to completely resolve the issue.
Other Concrete Repair Options
You have other options outside of putty or a replacement –
- Concrete overlays are a fresh new layer of concrete over the older cracked layer. This gives the surface a smooth finish, although the cracks remain under the surface.
- Concrete resurfacing is another option that fills in the crack and is able to bond to the concrete to make the surface more visually appealing and safer.
- Concrete grinding is beneficial in the case of uneven concrete surfaces. This repair option is just like it sounds, grinds out the concrete to make a smoother and safer surface.
Although these options can fix the cracks, most of them are just temporary and don’t remove the root issue of the cracks.
Further Issues? Hire a Professional for Your Concrete Repair & Replacement
Fixing concrete cracks yourself is not the easiest, nor the most effective way to repair your concrete. There is a lot to consider when choosing a concrete repair, when you need help, you need a professional like Tyler, TX Concrete. We know concrete and we can help you determine the needed fix for your concrete cracks. Our concrete contractors will come in and make the needed repairs with precision. When you need your concrete updated, you need Tyler, TX Concrete.