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Complete Guide to Repairing Cracks in a Concrete Driveway

Erickson AsphaltNovember 25, 2022

While cracks on concrete surfaces aren't pretty, they're very common. Cracks still occur despite concrete being durable and an excellent choice for driveways, patios, walkways, etc. Luckily, repairing cracks isn't too tricky, and you can treat it as a DIY project. 

This guide will explore why structural damage like cracks happens to concrete and how to repair them. Implementing the correct concrete driveway installation can also prevent cracks from occurring. 

Why Does Concrete Crack? 

Concrete is a cost-effective solution for many businesses and homeowners. However, concrete isn't without its flaws, and cracks can happen for various reasons, including the following: 

  • Sinkholes 
  • Intruding tree roots 
  • Frequent freezing followed by thawing 
  • Heavy loads (like heavy cars or trucks)
  • The ground beneath shifting

Most concrete cracks start small and then progressively become bigger. These tiny cracks don't present many problems initially, but it's better to repair them before the situation escalates. 

Another fact to remember is that contractors typically cut joints every eight to ten feet. This process minimizes shrinkage during your concrete's curing stage. 

Cracking around a control joint is very common. However, if cracks grow, you may need tools like a caulking gun or a coat of joint compound. 

Preparations to Take Before Repairing Cracks 

Before jumping in and exploring the different methods for repairing cracks in concrete, let's explore your initial preparations. 

For starters, it's better to wait until the weather is dry and your concrete's temperature sits around 50 degrees Fahrenheit. Next, you'll want all the necessary safety tools, including: 

  • Rubber gloves 
  • Long pants and long sleeves
  • Safety glasses
  • A first-aid kit

Resurfacing Your Concrete's Crazing 

Crazing refers to when your concrete driveway ends up drying out too fast. Crazing appears as tiny surface-level cracks, typically shortly after you pour concrete. 

While these thin layers usually don't indicate structural damage, they present cosmetic issues. For example, a driveway with crazing can lower your home's curb appeal. 

You'll first need to determine if your driveway is still in good shape. Then, applying a concrete resurfacing product can repair it if it's primarily smooth.

The resurfacing product uses a thin layer spread over your concrete cracks. The entire process takes three main steps: 

  1. Prep your driveway: Start by sweeping away materials like leaves, dirt, debris, and loose material. Clean the driveway using a pressure washer in the appropriate setting. 
  2. Apply the resurfacer: Read the instructions on the product's label, then use a long-handled squeegee to apply the product. Work on one area at a time before making your way to the other regions. 
  3. Give the resurfacer time to dry: You can find the time it takes to dry and cure on the product's label. Inspect the area afterward to see if you need to apply any more. However, only use a new resurfacer once your concrete is thoroughly dry. 

Concrete Repairs for Cracks Under 1/4-inch Wide

Your first step in repairing cracks under 1/4-inch wide is to look for a flexible formula that'll mold into your driveway when it fills the crack. Otherwise, you risk buying an ineffective formula that'll pull away when your driveway freezes and thaws out. 

Many concrete fillers, sometimes called masonry fillers, can easily handle cracks up to 1/4-inches wide. Once you have your flexible concrete filler, implement the following steps: 

  • Use a masonry chisel or hammer to break the remaining old concrete material. Do this before applying your new concrete filler to fill the crack. 
  • Remove any broken pieces or debris from your concrete cracks using a chisel or slotted screwdriver. During this step, also get rid of any old caulking. 
  • Remove grass or weeds growing in the concrete cracks. 
  • Use a shop vacuum, broom, or leaf blower to remove debris on your surrounding concrete. 
  • Before you seal the crack, use a pressure washer to eliminate dirt, mold, stains, grime, etc. You can also fill your pressure washer with an outdoor concrete cleaning formula for better results. Start with lower pressure and finish with a high-pressure nozzle. 
  • After the concrete completely dries, you can apply your concrete filler. 

Tips to Make the Process Easier 

Whether fixing your concrete's crazing or applying a filler, these tips can make the process easier:

  • If you need to fill multiple cracks, use kneepads for extra comfort.
  • Self-leveling concrete fillers will settle into a crack evenly. However, if your filler doesn't self-level, follow up with a putty knife to spread the filler evenly. 
  • Don't be alarmed if your concrete doesn't dry and cure after a few hours. Some compounds can take days or weeks to complete this process. Your area's humidity and temperature also affect this timeline. 
  • Explore fast-setting or rapid crack fillers if you don't want to wait too long for your concrete to dry. 
  • You can use colored or textured-concrete products to blend in smoothly with your concrete. 

What Should You Do with Jagged, Deep Cracks? 

It's possible to fill cracks that are 1/4-inches wide or less using tools you buy from the store. However, dealing with a deep crack is another story and generally requires a professional. 

Even if you do manage to fill these deep cracks, the fix may only last temporarily. When you have significant and jagged cracks, this problem generally indicates severe structural damage. These types of cracks are most common in older driveways. 

Trying to repair these cracks yourself can waste time and money. Additionally, you could end up making the problem worse, resulting in needing further repairs. 

A professional team can inspect your driveway and recommend the best solution. Their solutions might include concrete lifting or replacing your driveway altogether. 

Repair Your Concrete Driveway Today with Erickson Asphalt

Concrete driveways are cost-effective and durable solutions. However, sometimes cracking can happen, presenting safety hazards while reducing your property's curb appeal. 

Expertly fixing your concrete driveway requires a call to Erickson Asphalt. Our experienced and qualified contractors have been repairing cracks and asphalt driveways for many years. 

Call Erickson Asphalt today at (763) 389-5267 to start the process!