Damaged concrete is not only an unsightly hassle, but it can also create unsafe or hazardous conditions for children, neighbors, pets, and friends and family. Knowing when and how to repair or replace existing structures will help you make an informed and economical decision for your next concrete home maintenance project.
s in many parts of the country, Arkansas weather can wreak havoc on your concrete and masonry structures. From patios and driveways, to sidewalks and walkways, concrete in Arkansas is sensitive to thermal changes due to sun/shade balance and general climate conditions. Long term exposure to fluctuating temperature and sun exposure levels can create cracks in concrete, or further damage existing gaps or imperfections.
How resilient is Arkansas concrete? As it turns out, better than alternative substrates. This naturally derived substance makes an attractive and durable choice for a variety of landscaping and infrastructure applications. However, some of the same qualities that make concrete desirable, namely its strength and rigidity, can also undermine its integrity over time. While proper maintenance is key to longevity, it is also important to recognize the point at which home fixes have been exhausted, and when you may need to hire a professional to repair or replace broken concrete in Arkansas. Let us explain the “hows,” “whys,” and “whens” when it comes to all things concrete.
What Causes Concrete Damage?
During winter months, water from rain and snow seeps into the built-in seams and naturally porous surfaces of your concrete, expanding as it freezes. While concrete is manufactured to have a certain level of tolerance to cold weather changes, over time the stress and pressure can cause the concrete to fracture and crack. Small gaps quickly become larger over subsequent winter seasons, as the area where water can collect increases.
During warmer summer months, the same type of process can happen, but in reverse. Both lack of moisture and rapidly shifting surface temperatures can put stress on your concrete sidewalks and walkways. This causes those areas to become susceptible to impact or stresses such as the weight from a vehicle.
Finally, erosion can occur due to natural factors such as rain, traffic, and underlying ground movement. In areas such as basements, garages, or other large concrete coverings, major cracks can be an indication of structural shifting or settling. This is why cracks are often seen in the floors of well-used garages, or in the foundations of older homes.
Should I Repair or Replace My Damaged Concrete?
The first step in rectifying damage to your concrete structures is performing an inspection from an experienced installation and maintenance professional. While some handymen or well-rounded general contractors may have previous experience in masonry or concrete, it is best to utilize a company that specializes in the type of work you need performed and has a proven track record.
Companies that pour, finish, and repair concrete as their primary business are best suited to assist with your needs. A company that has years of experience can make the best economical and informed recommendation. While minor damages like small cracks may be cause for filling or patching, wider areas of damage, or those with crumbling, underlying structures, may have to be replaced entirely.
When Should I Repair My Concrete?
Concrete repair is usually ideal for smaller gaps (under ¼ inch) or minor damage to slab edges, assuming the underlying earth is stable. Cracks and chips such as these are not only unsightly, they can be a trip hazard, as well. However, they can typically be rectified using concrete caulk or a liquid filler.
The process of repairing small gaps involves cleaning the area of any loose debris and applying the appropriate patch solution. Larger gaps and cracks, such as those that cause structural damage, can also be candidates for repair, rather than replacement. The process of fixing a structural gap of over ¼ inch in width is a tad more involved; an experienced concrete repair technician will clean out the damaged area and use a chisel or other appropriate tool to create a “V” area between damaged pieces. This will allow the new concrete or concrete epoxy injection to create a strong bond and fill the damaged area. When large sections of an existing slab or wider gaps are repaired, the technician will often first insert metal rods to help support the patch or replace corresponding structures in the original work that have deteriorated.
When Should I Replace My Concrete?
While it is often more economically efficient to repair concrete in Arkansas, there are times when full replacement is required to ensure a lasting repair. In these cases, large pieces of the underlying structure may have deteriorated past the point of viability. The underlying ground or surface may be eroded due to weathering over time or improper installation. Neglecting regular maintenance of your concrete often leads to greater damage which is not suitable for patching. Three of the most common scenarios where full concrete replacement is recommended include frost heave, sunken concrete, or deep or widespread cracks due to settlement.
When concrete replacement is needed, the first order of business is demolishing all damaged and structurally deficient material. Many home or business owners often take this initial task on themselves, only to realize the high labor and disposition costs involved in the endeavor. Companies dedicated to repairing and replacing broken concrete in Arkansas will have the proper heavy equipment and the recycling services needed to dispose of waste products for all sizes of jobs. Not only does the process dispose of the existing waste, but it also diverts waste from landfills, and allows natural resources to be conserved and reused.
Which Approach is Right for Me?
The first step in deciding whether concrete repair or replacement is right for you is an initial consultation with a qualified professional. These trained and experienced experts are often able to identify erosion, instability, or other conditions not available to the causal property owner, and can help develop a customized solution for your property. In addition, they will use their knowledge to present a range of options based on your preferences and budget, including…
- Preference for patched or mismatched concrete versus full replacement
- Length of durability over time of given repair
- Total replacement cost versus repair cost
- Local ordinances involving sidewalks and thoroughfares
If you are interested in repairing or replacing broken concrete in Arkansas, consider giving Razorback Concrete a call for an initial quote or consultation. We have been serving Arkansas’ concrete needs since 1965. And, with 18 plants in 16 locations, we are never too far away to assist our clients. Reach out today and discover the difference a true concrete professional can make with your next repair or replacement project.