Concrete surfaces around your home are designed to last a long time with proper care and maintenance. However, Mother Nature can cause damage to concrete in the long term from heavy rainfalls, pooling water, hot and cold temperatures, wind, and even the occasional and rare snowfall.
Signs of Weather-Damaged Concrete
It is beneficial to learn how to identify the signs of weather-damaged concrete to prevent it from worsening. Some of the more common signs to inspect your concrete surfaces for includes:
#1. Chipped, cracked, and crumbling concrete steps
The stairs’ edges, sides, and corners can chip or crumble away from long-term weather exposure. The steps can also crack in different areas from repeated use.
#2. Concrete spalling, flaking, and pitting
Concrete spalling is where parts of the concrete surface flakes away or pits and looks like surface erosion. This can occur from prolonged exposure to dripping water, snow, and chemical cleaning and de-icing products.
#3. Missing concrete expansion joint sealant
The expansion joints are used when pouring large sections of concrete. Your patio may also have expansion joints. In between the joints, sealant is used to prevent water from getting underneath the concrete slabs. If you notice an opening or what looks like a crack in between the joints, the sealant is missing.
#4. Cracks forming in your driveway or patio
Large and small cracks can develop for different reasons. One of the most common ones is when water has gotten underneath the concrete slab and causes the soil to shift and move. As a result, in areas without the soil present, the concrete will sink and crack.
#5. Concrete stains
Concrete stains can occur from wet leaves being left on concrete surfaces. As the organic material in the leaves continues to break down, it releases colored dyes that will seep into the concrete and leave stains on the surface. As such, you can end up with leaf-like impressions on the concrete surface.
How to Repair Weather-Damaged Concrete Cost-Effectively
In the past, the solution to weather-damaged concrete was to replace your driveway, patio, or stairs to help restore the curb appeal of your home. Fortunately, in recent years, and thanks to advances in concrete applications and green technologies, you have other cost-effective options that can save you money when you need to repair concrete.
Concrete Driveway Resurfacing
Concrete driveway resurfacing is a repair process where loose concrete and debris are removed by power washing the surface. Stains can also be removed using buffing processes. Once the concrete is prepared, new concrete is applied to the areas that need to be repaired, leveled, and resealed.
Resurfacing can also be used for concrete patios, walkways, and stairs. The process removes small cracks, fixes pitting, chipping, flaking problems, and stains.
Another cost-effective repair is to have the concrete surface resealed. Resealing helps maintain the integrity of concrete and protects it from exposure to the elements and weather. This process is also used when you need concrete joints resealed.
In cases where the base structure of the concrete is not damaged, yet there are surface imperfections that distract from the curb appeal of your home, a concrete overlay is used. A concrete overlay is a thin layer of concrete that can be stamped, colored, or acid-washed for decorative purposes while hiding away unsightly imperfections.
Refinishing concrete is another repair option for weather-damaged concrete. This repair process involves scraping off a thin layer of concrete from on top of the driveway and then pouring a new layer on top of the existing driveway.
Alternatively, once the surface is prepared, colored sealants can be used to fill in small cracks, holes, and porous areas in the concrete. The sealant is then smoothed out. Once it dries, the surface looks as good as new.
What if There Are Large Cracks or Deep Cracks?
Large cracks could possibly be repaired as long as the cracks do not go all the way through to the entire concrete slab. However, in cases where the large cracks have caused the concrete slab to bend or sink, replacement may be a better option.
Deep cracks often go through the concrete slab and reduce the overall structural integrity of the slap. However, suppose the deep cracks are located on corners or along the outer areas. In that case, it is possible to repair the concrete by only removing the affected, damaged section of the concrete.
It is essential to remember that concrete will eventually wear out naturally and need to be replaced. The lifespan of concrete is anywhere from 25 years to 50 years. So, if your existing driveway, patio, or stairs are in their twenties or older, it may be time to replace the concrete instead.
To find out whether concrete repair is possible for your weather-damaged concrete driveway, patio, or stairs, please feel free to contact Cross Construction Services at 713-254-1703 today!