Concrete can add beauty and durability to many residential and commercial projects. It works great on driveways, patios, parking lots, walkways, roads, and so much more, and it creates a timeless look. While concrete offers many benefits, it’s not always perfect. Improper processes and maintenance, as well as certain weather conditions, can cause a few common concrete problems that can affect the aesthetics or durability. Thankfully, though, most of these common concrete problems also have solutions.
Cracking is one of the most common issues regarding concrete. If your concrete is cracking outside of the control joints—joints intentionally placed in concrete to control cracking—don't be alarmed. As concrete is curing, it naturally shrinks, and this shrinkage may cause cracking outside of those intentionally placed joints. The concrete is still structurally sound and is still considered a quality material.
One way to repair concrete cracking is to patch the concrete using concrete filler/caulk or use a penetrating concrete sealer to prohibit any water penetration, which will minimize freeze-thaw damage.
Scaling or Spalling
Scaling or spalling occurs when parts of the concrete surface start to flake or chip away. This is usually the result of water seepage, freeze-thaw, poor concrete finishing, or a weak surface due to lack of curing. Typically, this will start in one area of the concrete, but if left untreated, it can expand to other areas.
To repair scaling, you can use a trowel-grade light coat to fill in the scaled area. Also, always be sure to seal your concrete according to the contractor’s recommendations, as this can greatly help to reduce spalling.
Discoloration can occur for a variety of reasons, such as weather conditions, material exposure, and even curing time. Although discoloration may not look aesthetically pleasing, there are a variety of ways to repair this issue.
One method would be to use a concrete cleaner. These products are meant to give your concrete a better look and can be all you need to get your concrete looking normal. If concrete cleaners do not provide the result you were hoping for, you can always consider a concrete stain. Concrete stains come in a variety of colors, and you will receive an even look throughout your concrete if you opt for this method.
Crazing refers to a network of fine cracks that do not extend below the surface. Crazing is more of a cosmetic issue than a structural issue, which means that even if you have crazing, your concrete is still sound. Crazing usually occurs as a result of early surface drying or poor concrete finishing. If you notice crazing in your concrete, contact the concrete contractor who was responsible for the installation.
Don’t let these common problems wreak havoc on your concrete’s look or durability. If you’re facing one of these issues and would prefer the help of a professional, contact a concrete contractor for assistance. Ozinga regularly works with a variety of concrete contractors throughout the Midwest, and we’ll be happy to refer one to you.