One unfortunate fact about concrete surfaces is that they crack. Over time, concrete is going to crack as the earth beneath it moves and shifts. In fact, concrete can even crack as it dries and cures. In reality, there is very little you can do to prevent concrete from cracking. Even a thick concrete slab is no match for mother nature. As the soil shifts beneath concrete, it can put stress on it and create small pressure cracks. Most cracks are merely cosmetic. However, if a crack gets gets too big, it can be problematic and it will need to be professionally repaired. This article looks at different types of concrete cracks, and should help you decide whether you can fix them yourself, or whether you need to call in a professional.
How Big is the Crack?
The most important thing is the width and depth of your crack. If your crack is less than a 1/2" wide, you can probably fix it yourself. That being said, if your crack is just really small, and less than 1/8" wide, there's no point trying to patch or fill it. Simply put, a crack this small is just too narrow for any sort of crack filler to effectively fill. However, if your crack is more than 1/2" wide, it might need to be professionally repaired. You at least want to have a professional look at the crack to make sure there is no serious structural damage.
When it comes to foundations on homes, cracks this big are obviously more severe and something to worry about. However, cracks that are 1/2 inch wide on a sidewalk might not be as important to immediately repair. This is particularly true if the crack does not go through the entire concrete slab. If you can't see all the way through the concrete down to the soil beneath it, then you might not want to try to fix it yourself. Crack filler works great if you are just filling a cavity. However, it isn't going to necessarily work well if you're trying to bond two separated pieces of concrete.
How DIY Repair Works
DIY crack repair is very simple and can be done with premixed crack filler which can be purchased at pretty much every home improvement store. The only other thing you need is a putty knife. The process is very simple. You basically clean the crack out as well as possible. Then, apply the crack filler directly into it. You want the crack filler to fill in the entire crack., But you don't want it to get all over the top of the concrete. That is, keep the crack filler within the crack, don't spread it on to the top of the concrete.
Use the putty knife to scrape the filled crack flat and create an even, seamless surface.
Contact a commercial concrete repair service if you need professional assistance.