Avoiding Common Concrete Repair Mistakes

If any mistakes are made while repairing concrete, those repairs will either temporarily mask the underlying problem or make it worse. The best way of avoiding common concrete repair mistakes is by working with a professional concrete contractor that uses industry best practices. Though prized for its durability, concrete must be repaired with precision, as any of the following mistakes may compromise the pavement:

  • Failing to identify the source of the concrete’s damage
  • Failing to properly clean and prepare the concrete’s surface
  • Failing to properly mix or cure the concrete repair material
  • Failing to implement the right repair method
  • Failing to joint the concrete

These are some of the most common repair mistakes, and here is how each of those errors can undermine concrete repairs.

1) Not identifying the cause of the concrete damage

Concrete is the most durable pavement material available to property owners, so if it fails early or severely, there is typically a reason behind it. If a concrete repair fails suddenly, it may be because the repair crew failed to properly diagnose the problem – or didn’t care to.

For example, it is common in Houston for concrete repairs to fail because of the area’s clay soils. Large parts of Houston are built on these soils that tend to swell and shrink with heavy rainfall. While this occurs, any overlaying concrete will be placed under severe tensile stresses, eventually resulting in cracks. One way to prevent this is to stabilize the soil with additives, such as lime. Soil stabilization is a labor-intensive process that only an experienced contractor can manage. If the previous repair crew did not have the necessary skills, they may not have stabilized the soil for a long-term fix.

Water intrusion, insufficient drainage, overloading the concrete and improper installation techniques are other common, but sometimes overlooked causes of concrete damage. Each issue requires a different solution to manage.

2) Not thoroughly cleaning and preparing the surface prior to repair

Before the professionals make any concrete repairs, they invest time in proper surface preparation. At the minimum, this involves thoroughly cleaning the area around the repair site, which often includes power washing. Depending on the repair method, the concrete’s surface may need to be acid etched or otherwise treated for better results. For some types of cracking, more extensive surface preparation will be needed, such as routing the crack to create a clean repair surface.

Surface preparation is necessary because it improves adhesion between the existing concrete and any repair material – like crack sealant. These steps are critical for ensuring a long-term fix.

3) Not mixing or curing the concrete properly

Concrete is available in a variety of mixes, each formulated for a specific purpose, or to withstand aggressive environments. For instance, fiber-reinforced concrete sets with better tensile and crack resistance. High-strength concrete is better at withstanding compressive forces. Low-permeability concrete blocks water intrusion and is therefore a frontline option for corrosive environments.

For the majority of concrete repair projects, a standard mix of Portland Cement Concrete (PCC) will be used. There are several types of PCC, each with their own unique blend of cement, water, and aggregate. If the wrong mix is used during repair, it will not provide the desired final strength.

Curing problems can also affect the repair’s final strength. If the concrete dries too quickly or is mixed with too much water, this can influence curing time and, by extension, the repair’s effectiveness.

4) Not selecting the correct repair method

There are several methods available to concrete repair professionals, including epoxy and grout injection, routing and sealing, stitching, patching, overlaying, and replacing the entire concrete slab. Every concrete repair job calls for its own repair method, as the repair team will have to consider the following:

  • What is the overall condition of the concrete?
  • Is the concrete supporting a structural load or not?
  • What hazards (such as water) is the concrete regularly exposed to?
  • Where is the concrete in its lifecycle? Is it expected to last several more years, or is replacement expected sooner?
  • If cracks are present, are they working (actively spreading) or dormant?
  • Are repairs even possible, or is the concrete damaged beyond the point of repair?

Reputable concrete repair professionals select the right repair methods and materials based on the above considerations. If the concrete must support a structural load, for example, stitching the concrete or injecting epoxy are recommended. However, epoxy injections only work on dormant cracks while stitching can work with actively spreading cracks.

5) Not jointing the concrete properly, or failing to maintain expansion joints

Concrete joints give the pavement its needed flexibility when exposed to thermal stresses. When concrete is repaired, it is very important to clean out or replace the expansion joints. If slab is replaced or new concrete is poured, it needs to be jointed. Further, dirty or deteriorating expansion joints are a common cause of concrete cracking and may be the reason behind concrete failure.

Why More Property Owners Choose Trusted Pavement Crews for Concrete Repairs

Expert pavement contractors are the professionals to call for concrete maintenance or repair services. There are several benefits to bringing in an expert for concrete repair, including:

  • Expert insight and diagnosis – Experienced pavement contractors can perform a thorough inspection of the property’s concrete and determine what factors are involved in any concrete failures. The goal is to avoid unnecessary repairs or repairs that are likely to fail by targeting the root cause behind the problem.

  • Guaranteed high quality work – Expert pavement contractors grow their business by providing quality concrete work, not by cutting corners and making a quick buck. By working with a proven pavement contractor, you’ll have peace of mind that the job will be done to specification.

  • Rapid repair time – Reputable concrete contractors have their project management down and can reliably dedicate the equipment and manpower needed for each job. Delays and downtime are expensive, and reputable concrete repair professionals know how to minimize either.

In short, property owners turn to professional crews because they can rely on an expert concrete contractor to do the job on time and with expert precision.

A Reputable Pavement Contractor Knows How to Avoid Common Concrete Repair Mistakes

Concrete can last for decades if it is properly maintained and repaired when it sustains or shows signs of damage. If the concrete is not repaired using best practices and with attention to detail, it may cause the pavement to fail well before it should.

It is difficult for most property owners to assess their concrete’s condition and determine what type of repair it needs when damage does occur. If your concrete’s condition is a cause for concern, a reputable pavement company can inspect it, identify the cause of any concrete issues and recommend the right repair method to resolve them.