Home maintenance is a necessity since, eventually, everything on and around a house deteriorates. Paint chips, roof shingles dislodge, wood rots. Even something solid like concrete eventually cracks or shifts. This is a common occurrence and we’re constantly being asked to repair old driveways and sidewalks in Royal Oak and elsewhere. Since this is such a common occurrence, we want to inform you of the different problems that you could experience with concrete driveways, sidewalks, and stairs, with an overview of possible solutions.
Small cracks are common and usually stem from everyday wear. The good news is that they’re easy to fix. First you clean them out. We recommend using a wire brush to get a good cleaning and a small brush to gather the debris. After you’ve cleaned the cracks, you use a concrete patching compound or concrete caulk (depending on the size of the crack) to fill it in. For an even, finished look smooth the top over with a putty knife. Deep cracks are different as they are usually a symptom of a bigger problem. If the level of the concrete around the crack is uneven, you have a problem with the soil under the concrete. For this, you might have to tear up the concrete and get the area redone by a professional. If this isn’t the case than you should be able to fix the cracks yourself. You’ll want to chisel underneath the edges to make the crack wider at the base. Then clean the crack out with a wire brush and wash it with water. Once it’s cleaned use a patching compound to fill in the hole.
Sunken or Sagging Concrete
If your concrete is sinking you probably have a problem with the soil underneath. It’s also possible that the concrete was subjected to extreme weight. Slabjacking, or concrete raising, is the best ways to fix this problem. This is where a concrete contractor drills holes in the surface and pumps a mix of materials into the soil below the surface to float the concrete back to its original level. It’s possible to do this on your own, but it’s better to have a professional do it.
Frost heave happens a lot in cold climates. Moisture under the concrete freezes and pushes the concrete up which causes cracks and unevenness. In this case, the slab has to be popped out and replaced. This is another repair that you could make yourself, but we recommend hiring a professional as it’s hard to undo mistakes on concrete.
Chipped Stair Edge
Everyday wear and tear causes stair edges to chip. This can be fixed with a patch. Again you’ll want to clean the area with a wire brush and wash with water. Then put a piece of wood against the side you want to repair. The wood should be as high as the top of the stair to keep the patch in. Use heavy objects to keep the wood in place and tight against the stair. Fill the missing area in with the patch. Leave the wood against the stair until the patch has set. Once the patch has set you can remove the wood. When dealing with any kind of concrete problem, you’ll need to assess whether you can make the repair yourself or whether you should hire a professional. Cracks and chips are fairly easy to fix yourself. There are an abundance of patches that you can find at any hardware store for these problems. When it comes to bigger issues like frost heave and sinking, it’s best to let a professional handle it. We hope that this overview of common concrete problems has been useful.