Concrete Repair Products
Concrete is one of the most resistant and durable materials available at your hands. Even so, you will find that, despite placing it under adequate conditions and providing the proper and necessary maintenance, there are some portions that are simply more vulnerable than others to deterioration from weathering and traffic, among other causes. This yields the necessity of using Concrete Repair Products.
In countries like the United States and Canada, winters can be hard on exterior concrete areas due to moisture expansion as well as contraction inside of the concrete (resulting from the freeze-thaw cycle), which causes cracks or peeling.
If your concrete’s problem is not hard winter, it will be age; as it gets older, your garage floor, driveway, and other concrete surfaces lose their original appearance when cracks and flaking of concrete becomes visible.
Here is where Concrete Repair Products comes in handy. The durability and serviceability of most concrete elements can be considerably improved through adequate maintenance and the use of Repair Products such a Concrete Sealers, Concrete Patches and Epoxy Resins.
Let’s look at some common types of Damages in Concrete to learn which Concrete Repair Products are the most suitable to achieve a solution:
Through hydration, Portland cement employed in concrete formulation does experience some shrinking, which usually produces cracks that have a circular pattern and that, fortunately, rarely extend deeply within the concrete. Additionally, variations in ambient temperature can cause what is known as “thermal cracking” in concrete, the result of its repeated expansion and contraction. In such cases, cracks will extend entirely through the concrete element.
Regardless of its size, once a crack develops in concrete, it is going to continue to expand to a point where not only the concrete’s appearance will be terrible, but its resistance and durability could be compromised.
Within Concrete Repair Products offered in the market for this type of damage, you’ll find a product known as a Concrete Patch that is effective for cracks from ½” to 2” wide and up to 2” in depth. Most of them are of cement-based type, like the “ready-mixed” Concrete Patch, a kind of Do-It-Yourself product: all you need to do is add water and start patching!
Where water leaking is of concern and with surfaces exposed to heavy loads (wheeled traffic) and impacts, cracks should be fixed using an Epoxy Concrete Patch, a two-component product with several advantages over cement-based patches including: moisture tolerance, high resistance to loads (3 to 4 times the strength of the concrete), and use of chemicals that will permanently bond to old concrete and can be used in large cracks.
Holes in Concrete
Small holes (bugholes) in concrete can appear as a result of the lack of smooth surface in forms used to form fresh concrete while it hardens. This type of hole can be fixed using Concrete Repair Products that guarantee bonding (epoxy resins) between old concrete and a cement mortar containing water, Portland cement, and sand. Of course, cement mortar could be replaced by a Concrete Patch if you like.
Concrete Repair Products like Latex Cement come in two components: latex cement powder and a liquid latex bonding agent that, once mixed, forms a paste that can be applied over surfaces using a large finishing trowel.
When concrete elements are poured using metallic formworks – which require steel rods to be kept in place while concrete hardens – medium-sized holes will appear across the section of those concrete elements. This type of “damage” should not be repaired using the regular Portland cement based mortar because, when it shrinks as it cures, it doesn’t allow for adequate bonding with the existing concrete, yielding to the creation of pathways for water entry. To fix this, you will need Concrete Repair Products that guarantee filling and bonding at the same time, like Epoxy or Polyurethane injection, which expands inside the hole to fill it completely as the materials harden.
Spalling and Scaling
Spalling, also known as Concrete Scaling, is one of the top complaints of homeowners as it involves the exposure of the gravel inside concrete, making your concrete look deteriorated.
Spalling in concrete is associated with the freezing of water in concrete’s porosities, generating their expansion that, through repeated freezing and thawing cycles, especially in outside concrete surfaces like sidewalks, garage floor and driveways, can break away the top surface of the concrete. Furthermore, use of deicing chemicals worsens deterioration as it allows more water to permeate the concrete, increasing spalling damage upon freezing.
When steel rebar in concrete begins to corrode, it exerts pressure on the concrete, leading to spalling in its surface. In such a case where spalling is beyond ½” or rebar is exposed, you should look for specialized contractors as it may be necessary to replace the concrete.
To select the proper Concrete Repair Products to fix spalling damage, you must first decide where your project falls under the following two circumstances:
- Your concrete is brand new and you wish to prevent spalling. In this case, you´ll need a Concrete Sealer, which will react with the concrete to fill its pores and hairline cracks, sealing it permanently. This type of product forms a waterproof layer on the concrete surface, preventing water and snow from draining into it. Additionally, Concrete Sealer prevents superficial damage from traffic and spills over concrete surface.
You should not confuse Concrete Sealing with Concrete Staining, which is a good substitute for painting concrete to enhance its appearance. Concrete Repair Products like Concrete Stains are not necessarily sealers so, in the case you are looking for a product that performs both the sealing and staining process, make sure to read the manufacturer label before buying.
- Your concrete is already deteriorated by spalling. Here you will need Concrete Repair Products that not only fix the spalling damage, but also provide a protective surface that will better weather future freezing and thawing cycles. Concrete Coatings are used in Resurfacing Concrete in a wide range of colors, designs, and textures, hence becoming one of the preferred Concrete Repair Products among homeowners to give their homes a brand new look. In this group of products you will find Epoxy coatings, Stamped Overlays and Self-leveling Overlays, among others. Also, the aforementioned Concrete Stains are one good option for resurfacing your concrete in case of spalling damage.