How to Properly Repair Your Concrete

Concrete Repair Morgantown WV can increase its lifespan and help protect against deterioration. It can also prevent safety hazards, like tripping and falling.

concrete repair

Traditionally, a cement mortar has been used for repairs. However, it is messy and time consuming. Fortunately, there is now another option: PolyLevel. It’s injected into the damaged area and expands to fill voids and lift concrete.

Cracks are an inevitable part of concrete’s lifespan, but repairing them early can prevent further damage and safety hazards. Proper concrete repair is a combination of identifying the cause, adequate surface preparation and an appropriate material that is capable of filling the crack and adhering to it. There are a number of different crack repair materials available for use, including epoxy, hydraulic cement and polyurethane. Each product has its own unique set of characteristics, so it’s important to understand what you are looking for and the limitations of each before choosing which one is right for your project.

The first step in any concrete repair is to identify the condition of the existing concrete and determine its classification as major or minor. This is often impossible to do without chiseling the crack open and inspecting the reinforcing steel for corrosion. It is also important to remember that, in some cases, a full replacement may be a better option.

Once the crack has been classified, it’s time to do the surface preparation. This involves removing any loose or unsound material from the crack and thoroughly cleaning. This can be done by hand or with a power washer and nozzle attachment. The crack should then be chiseled to create a backward-angled cut, like an inverted “V”. This is important because it allows the repair material to key into the main body of the concrete, creating both a mechanical and chemical bond.

Finally, the surface should be clean and dry before preparing it for the crack filler. A good quality, ready-mixed patching compound can then be troweled into the crack using a putty trowel. The patching compound should be reinforced with a mat or welded wire fabric for additional strength.

When selecting a repair material, it is important to consider its dimensional characteristics and drying shrinkage. It should also be freeze-thaw resistant and able to resist abrasion. It’s also important to consider the strength of the crack, since many repairs fail due to inadequate initial strength. Some repair products are marketed for their high early strengths, but this can be at the expense of long-term performance.

Repairing Leaks

Slab leaks are a common problem that can cause serious water damage to concrete and the structures beneath it. When plumbing lines fail, water oozes out through the concrete slab and erodes the soil around it, weakening it and allowing the slab to shift and crack. If left unchecked, these leaks can eventually penetrate the slab to a point where water is seeping into the house through the basement or foundation walls. The solution is to repair the leak and restore the waterproof integrity of the slab.

The first step in detecting and evaluating leaks is to use a sounding hammer to ping the concrete surface. Deteriorated concrete will emit a dull, hollow sound as opposed to the hard, sharp ring of sound concrete. Nondestructive evaluation tools such as radar, infrared thermography and impact-echo testing can also be useful in determining the extent of the deterioration in the concrete.

Once the source of the leak is determined, a trench can be dug to locate the ruptured line and the leak point. This trench should be backfilled with a quick-setting hydraulic cement product like Kryton’s Krystol Plug(tm) that uses crystalline technology to react upon contact with water and fill in any capillary pores or microcracks in the concrete. This stops the leak and prevents it from reoccurring.

After the leaks are repaired, a concrete sealant should be used to preserve and extend the life of the repair. A variety of products are available for this, including a special polyurethane formula that forms a thick gel on contact with water. A watertight membrane will also stop water infiltration and keep the area dry.

While concrete repairs can be a challenge, long-lasting results can be achieved with the proper materials and techniques. Look for concrete repair products that have been tested and proven to perform well in real world conditions. Choosing the right concrete repair products can save time, money and headaches in the future. Consider product features such as ease of application, strength and chemical resistance, freeze-thaw, abrasion and scaling resistance, and setting times.

Sealing Cracks

When cracks in concrete surface are repaired, it is important that the cracks are sealed properly. Otherwise, the repairs will eventually fail. Generally, cracks can be filled with concrete repair products that are designed to seal them. These products are generally available in tubes and can be applied to the cracks with a trowel.

First, a concrete crack should be cleaned to ensure that any dirt or debris that might prevent the repair materials from bonding to the existing concrete is removed. Using a wire brush, or even a pressure washer in some cases, can be a good way to clean the cracks prior to repairing them.

Depending on the severity of the crack and the specific type of repair material, it is important to allow enough time for the project. This allows for the proper assessment of the work, meticulous execution and any curing or drying processes that may be required.

Before the concrete repair is done, it is a good idea to test the depth of the crack. This is usually done by pinging the concrete with a hammer to determine the extent of the damage. Sound concrete will ring with a hard sound, while delaminated concrete will give a dull or hollow sound. This helps identify the areas that need to be chiseled out to remove deteriorated concrete and make room for the repair materials.

If there is any concern about the depth of the crack, or if the crack extends too far into a wall or other structure, it is a good idea to consider installing an epoxy injection. This is a relatively expensive process and requires a specialized pump and the use of a sleeve. It is best to consult with a professional engineer before undertaking this type of repair.

Once the crack has been chiseled out and cleaned, it is a good idea to apply a concrete bonding agent to the existing concrete prior to the application of the repair material. There are several different types of bonding agents on the market, including a liquid that can be applied directly to the existing concrete and dried in just minutes. Alternatively, there are some dry powders that can be mixed into the concrete or mortar during the repair process.

Sealing Leaks

Concrete surfaces are subject to a great deal of stress from heavy foot and vehicle traffic, as well as exposure to the elements. These forces can lead to cracking and spalling (flaking of the surface). Leaking is another common problem that requires concrete repair. Unresolved leaks can propagate moisture migration throughout the structure and cause structural damage. It is important to address any issues quickly and effectively to minimize further deterioration.

A basic approach to repairing leaks in concrete is to use a liquid bonding agent that penetrates into the existing concrete and bonds to it. The bonding material can be applied by brush or rag or can be sprayed. Once it is dry, the concrete can be backfilled with a quick setting cement mortar that has been designed to be non-shrink or slightly expansive to help it form to the concrete and bond to it.

Whether a concrete repair contractor is using ready-mix concrete from a local concrete plant or site batched with a mobile mixer or using a specialized pre-blended bagged repair mortar, it is important to follow best practices that will enhance the durability of the repaired concrete. These include observing the cleanliness and surface amplitude of the concrete, ensuring that the concrete is properly prepared, utilizing proper curing methods and direct tensile strength testing of the cured concrete repairs.

It is also critical that a qualified concrete repair contractor be selected for any project to ensure that the concrete will be repaired in accordance with the industry standards. This includes having a good safety record and demonstrated experience in the type of concrete repair that is required on the project.

Polyurethane grout injection is a high-pressure injection process that injects a flexible, water-reactive polyurethane resin into holes, cracks or joints in concrete and masonry structures to create a long-lasting seal. This type of injection is ideal for leaking, aggressive or gushing cracks, and voids in concrete. It can be used for both structural and cosmetic concrete repair applications. It is also resistant to most organic solvents and mild acids.