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How to repair cracked concrete driveways

All is not lost! Even if your driveway looks like the driveway above, with a significant crack running through the middle of it, it can be fixed!

We know how much you love your driveway and you may have spent your hard-earned money on a concrete resurfacing solution to make it look fantastic, only to discover that it has developed cracks. Don’t worry, we see this all the time, and it’s often worse than it looks. That’s what we are here for, to help you to find a solution.

You may ask, “is it possible to make concrete more flexible – that is, bendable without fracturing?”

Yes, it’s possible! A flexible concrete resurfacing solution makes infrastructure safer, extends its service life, reduces maintenance costs and resource use, and minimizes the reappearance and reoccurrence of cracks. However, no one, including ourselves will warrant against the coating cracking as it may be on a substrate that is moving beyond the tolerances of the flexible concrete coating. Therefore, we do not guarantee that the cracks will not reappear or that new cracks will develop as we all know how many factors can contribute to surface cracking and how hard and brittle concrete is, so even with the theory of minimizing cracks, there is always a risk of developing concrete cracks.

To understand why concrete cracks we first need to understand the science behind concrete. Concrete very rarely fails because it lacks compressive strength, that is, the ability to bear loads that push it together, just like when columns support the weight of a building. Most failures occur because structures do not have enough capacity to carry the tensile load – the ability to deform or stretch without rupturing – even though steel reinforcements often are added to concrete to prevent catastrophic structural failure, there can still be movement that will cause the concrete to crack.

Many serious concerns about the woeful state of concrete can be traced back to concrete’s brittleness. This is why so many companies are still trying to innovate in developing flexible concrete, even though concrete has been around for thousands of years. The effects of cracks in concrete can reduce a structure’s usable life. Cracks also weaken the concrete and make it less resilient against natural forces, such as ground movement, water, tree roots, or man-made forces like driving heavy equipment on it etc.

So, let’s highlight the main reasons concrete cracks:

  • The first reason that concrete cracks are from excess water in the concrete mix
  • The second reason that concrete cracks is from the concrete drying too quickly
  • The third reason concrete cracks are using a lower strength of concrete that what should have been used
  • The fourth reason concrete cracks is a lack of control or expansion joints
  • Another reason concrete cracks is pouring the concrete in the wrong weather conditions

By far, the fourth reason is the most common as many concreters don’t put in sufficient expansion joints or saw cuts and therefore the concrete expands, has nowhere to go, and cracks to relieve the pressure.

This is where Barefoot Concrete comes in as we are specialists in this area of concrete repair and restoration as we want your concrete to look good after we have fixed the problems, and we want to reduce any callbacks or warranty or maintenance callbacks at our own expense! We are more motivated than the property owner as it costs us a lot to come back to a job and repair it if cracks start appearing.

Please note that not all problems can be fixed. Take, for example, the first reason, too much water in the mix, we can’t go back and fix that. We also can’t reverse the problem of the concrete drying or curing too quickly and the associated problems. Neither can we change the strength of the concrete as if a 32Mpa concrete was specified and a 25Mpa concrete mix was poured, you still have a weaker concrete. However, there are a few things we can do!

So how do we fix it? We have developed the technology that produces a solution that minimizes the occurrence or recurrence of concrete cracks.

This is how we do it: Cracks are not always structural problems, most are just cosmetic. Therefore, in these instances we pour a polymerised structural grout into the cracks, this is a really wet grout that will get into every void possible around the cracks and set through the slab. Then we let it sit for a few weeks see how it reacts. As the concrete has already moved and created the cracks it’s unlikely it will move further unless there is another root cause. 

Therefore, after waiting for 4-6 weeks we reassess the situation to see if the grout polymer has created a good bond and there are no reappearances of any cracks. If all looks good we grind off the existing coating and respray a flexible concrete resurfacing coating in the customer’s choice of natural earth tone colours to blend with their natural environment. 

The above method is a system that in most instances works, however, we do not guarantee that the cracks won’t reappear or that new cracks will develop as there are many factors that contribute to concrete cracking. The bottom line is that the concrete should not crack anywhere near like the cracks that originally appeared but a hairline crack may develop. When you do the surface preparation correctly and apply a concrete resurfacing coating it will help to visually hide any cracks.

So, in summary, we have a very good method for solving cracked concrete cost-effectively and in most cases, the client does not have to rip and replace their concrete. We grind and fill the cracks and put in the expansion joints that are necessary.

Contact us today if your concrete is cracked and you want your driveway or other concrete areas to look good again and we will do a free, no-obligation assessment of your property to determine how we can help you to achieve the outcome you desire.