Joint Fillers, Surface Cracks, and Concrete Repair Products: The Basics
Concrete patching and crack filling applications use cementitious materials to repair cosmetic surface flaws, defects, or hairline cracks in concrete substrates. Some of these repair materials, like polymers, have undergone various modifications to improve particular bonding properties. Other options, however, are designed with specialty cement-based materials for fast-setting purposes.
Why is concrete repair so important?
Overall, concrete surfaces are naturally susceptible to cracking. If a concrete foundation is not properly maintained, it can lead to the corrosion of your surfaces.
This will eventually lead to even more complications, so it is critical to properly maintain and repair your concrete substrates. However, if a fracture occurs anywhere else on the surface of a walkway, driveway, or patio, the surrounding concrete may begin to crumble as well if adequate concrete repair is not performed.
As a result, specially designed joint fillers and concrete repair products aid in the repair of significant cracks or other structural issues in existing concrete slabs.
What are joints?
Expansion joints, construction joints, and control joints all contribute to the structural stability of concrete slabs in residential, commercial, and industrial buildings. Installing joint fillers correctly can help preserve the overall function and appearance of a concrete slab as well as resinous flooring applications.
You can validate the most important building elements for maximum performance by carefully selecting concrete floor joint products. Finally, this enables them to deliver on their promise of exceptional lifetime value.
Concrete Joint Fillers
A concrete joint filler’s purpose is to prevent the premature failure of an uneven concrete structure and/or substrate. Concrete joint fillers are used to fill the gap between two sections of a cracked concrete surface in order to level it properly. These innovative materials are designed to create beneficial chemical interactions between the host material (concrete) and the filler and act as a “stand-in” solution for cracked concrete surfaces.
Polyurea and Epoxy Concrete Joint Fillers
Semi-rigid, epoxy-based concrete joint filler products offer numerous advantages. These epoxies have the required hardness, but they are also flexible enough to prevent concrete slab delamination by welding the slabs together. Semi-rigid epoxy joint fillers produce smooth, flowable, and easy-to-use solutions when poured manually with a bulk gun or pumped using a dual-component pump due to their extended pot life.
Polyurea, like epoxy-based solutions, is easy to manufacture, pours in a flowable consistency, and is versatile enough to prevent slab welding. Furthermore, because polyurea has a higher elongation, it is more resistant to tearing caused by slab shrinkage and movement. They are also frequently available in one-to-one, easy-to-use configurations, such as cartridges for manual application or dual component pumps.
Concrete Patching and Repair
The best concrete patch for cracked concrete can smooth and even out a deteriorating, dangerous surface. However, before purchasing concrete patch products, there are a few things to consider, such as the following:
When purchasing a concrete patch, you can choose between a premixed or “ready-mix” compound (the label varies depending on the manufacturer) and a dry mix. These labels indicate whether the DIYer should add water before using the product.
When it comes to premixed products, it’s always about convenience. They come in compound tubs or squeeze tubes. The benefit is that they are ready to use as soon as the cover is removed. Users, on the other hand, are unable to change the thickness or consistency.
The polar opposite of premixed products is dry mix. These powders must be mixed with water, which takes longer and can be messy. These mixtures, on the other hand, allow the user to fine-tune the thickness by adding additional water or powder as needed.
Suitability and Durability
Some of the finest concrete patch compounds are ideal for minor cracks and thinner layers, while others are ideal for larger areas or chunks. It also matters whether the crack or fissure is in the ground or in a wall. Notably, regardless of the repair, most patches dry harder than concrete.
For small cracks, an easy-to-apply, premixed product in a tube should suffice. Some DIYers, on the other hand, prefer a bag of dry mix that they can fine-tune to the desired thickness for large chunks, such as in walls because they must adhere to a vertical surface without leaking.
Because most concrete patching materials are waterproof, they can be used both inside and outside. However, you should double-check any temperature or weather recommendations in the manufacturer’s specifications. Some instructions state that the compound should not be applied over certain temperatures or in damp conditions. To be certain, always read the product’s instructions.
Ease of Application and Cure Time
The majority of concrete patches are easy to apply. DIYers can usually simply spread them onto the desired surface and level them. However, if there is an expansion joint, the concrete must be shaped to obstruct the joint to aid water runoff and ensure that any potential cracking occurs within the joint rather than on the patch.
Furthermore, the cure time for concrete patches varies greatly. Small cracks can harden in minutes, but thicker patches can take an hour or more to harden.