Cracks in concrete surfaces can either be tolerable or dangerous. For example, dormant gaps or cracks occurring on surfaces with less interaction seem bearable since they are not critical portions of the structure.
However, if the crack is on a column, ceiling, or a noticeable portion of the floor, it will need special attention.
Concrete services in Los Angeles use different approaches for repairing cracks. However, it primarily differs on how the repairing mixture is made, prepared, and applied.
With that said, check out the best ways to fix cracks in concrete below.
Methods of Repairing Concrete Cracks
Los Angeles concrete contractors will employ different methods when repairing concrete cracks. While each of them has a distinct part of the procedure, overall, they are similar.
This is particularly true at the start since you have to clean the crack first, create pathways for the mixture, then fill the gap with it forcefully.
With that said, here are the different methods concrete contractors use for repairing cracks.
Epoxy injection is the best method used for cracks that can go as narrow as 0.05 mm. This technique consists of preparing the affected cracks, sealing them from exposed surfaces, and injecting the epoxy forcefully.
Routing & Sealing
This method is used for conditions that require remedial repair. It means that structural restoration is really not necessary. Instead, it aims to enlarge the crack along the affected surface and then, filling it up and sealing it with an appropriate joint sealant.
Compared to the epoxy injection, this method is more straightforward in terms of procedures and the necessary training. If you prefer this, you can utilize it best on horizontal flat services like pavements or floors.
Stitching involves the drilling of holes on all sides of the intended crack. Afterward, grout a metal U-shaped unit with small legs that was a width longer than the crack. This method is said to be useful if tensile strength needs to be re-established.
This method includes sealing the crack, drilling holes wherein each intersects the crack plane at around 90 degrees, filling of crack and holes with epoxy injection, and placing a reinforcing bar to the drilled hole.
Drilling & Plugging Method
Another way to repair a crack is by drilling down along the crack’s length to gout it and form a key. However, this is only applicable when cracks are in straight lines, such as those vertical cracks on the surface of retaining walls.
Gravity Filling Method
Monomers and resins with low viscosity are used to fill in the cracks. Other low viscosity fillings are methacrylates (with high molecular weight) and urethanes.
Wider cracks on thick walls can benefit from the grouting method. This involves the usage of Portland cement grout to fill in the gaps.
For narrow, dormant cracks, dry packing can be enough. It involves ramming the mortar mix into place. The mortar is selected due to its low water-to-cement ratio.
Overlay & Surface Treatments
Fine cracks on pavements and structural slabs can be repaired with either a surface treatment or a bonded overlay. This method is appropriate for damages created due to a single occurrence.
How to Perform Epoxy Injection
To fix cracks using the epoxy injection method, you will need the appropriate tools and materials and follow specific procedures. Check them out below.
Tools and Materials
- Dust mask
- Circular saw
- Wire brush
- Putty knife
- Concrete mix
- Concrete resurfacer
- Latex modifier
Choose a product for concrete repair.
It is not advisable to fix concrete surfaces with concrete also. As a solution, a concrete repair mix is needed. This can be purchased readily on large local hardware.
For your options, you can choose epoxy compounds, mortar mix, and latex patching material. Mortar mixes are suited for repairing large cracks, while other options are for narrower gaps.
Prepare the affected portion for patching.
- The first thing to do is clearing any unstable concrete portions. Next, the crumbles and loose bits must be knocked away using a hammer and a chisel. As you chip those away, make sure the depth of the chipping is about 1 inch only.
- Next, rinse the area by scrubbing using a wire brush. Smaller particles left must be scraped. Since they can be very fine, make sure you have a mat beneath for easy cleanup and wear a dust mask.
- Then, with a circular saw, cut a groove on each side of the crack. The depth must be about half an inch. If the gap is small, you can use a hammer and a chisel.
- Once the groove is made, wash the area thoroughly before you apply the filler.
Apply the purchased repair product.
For Epoxy or Latex
- Either of these options is for narrow cracks with around 1/8-inch crack width. Again, follow the manufacturer’s instructions on how to mix.
- Once done mixing, put an ample amount on a trowel or putty knife.
- Apply the material forcefully into the crack and smoothen the surface with a level. Make sure the gap is densely filled.
- Read the manufacturer’s instructions for the specific curing process.
For Mortar Mix
- For wider cracks, mortar mix is preferable. Mix the following to create a thick paste:
- three parts = masonry sand
- one part = Portland cement
- the right amount of water
- Then, moisten the affected area and then apply the mortar mix using either a trowel or putty knife.
- As you continue applying, make sure to eliminate the air pockets formed by pressing firmly down on the applied surface.
- Next, smoothen the patch to become level with the adjacent concrete. Let the application cure for around 2 hours while covering the area using a plastic sheet.
- Sprinkle enough water on the application every day until the day arrives that the surface hardens up. After sprinkling, cover it with plastic again.
Depending on the width of the crack, the method can be a success or just another work waiting to be redone in the future.
DIY procedures may be standard nowadays, but if you are doubtful of your technical know-how, you can avail yourself of the services of a concrete contractor. If you live in California, there are many Los Angeles concrete contractor services that can help you out.