Fixing Those Driveway and Sidewalk Cracks After A Brutal Winter

March 25, 2014

The winter has been particularly harsh for a considerable part of the country. Between ‘polar vortexes‘ that have brought with them freezing temperatures, snow storms, and freezing rain, people and their homes have taken a significant beating. One of the easiest places to see the wear and tear that the weather has had is on the custom home driveways and sidewalks, where the continual process of freezing and thawing can cause cracks and gaps. These cracks are not only unsightly, they can also continue to degrade if not corrected. Fortunately, these types of home repairs are not excessively difficult or labor intensive and can be handled by most homeowners.

Tools to gather

For hairline cracks that are less than a 1/4″ wide, all that is needed is a caulking gun, some kind of crack filler (such as Portland cement or Latex cement), a trowel putty knife, a hose, and a stiff broom.

For larger cracks, in addition to the tools listed above, a cold chisel, hammer, concrete adhesive, an old paintbrush, and metal trowel are also necessary.

When working on either project, eye protection, work gloves, and knee protection would also be recommended.

Repairing the crack

No matter what size the crack is, the first step is to use the hose and stiff broom to sweep away any dust or debris from the crack. Use the hose to also make sure that the old concrete is moist before applying the filler. There should not be any sitting water, just moist concrete. With a small crack, then simply take the crack filler, which typically comes in a tube similar to caulk and calls for a caulking gun, and inject it into the crack until it is slightly overflowing, then smooth out the surface.

For a larger crack, it will be necessary to first widen the base of the crack, as this helps the new concrete to adhere to the old concrete. This will be done with the chisel and hammer. Once it is widened, make sure the crack is completely cleaned and moist. Use an old toothbrush to apply the concrete adhesive inside the crack. Once the adhesive has become tacky, apply the filler and make sure it is firmly packed into the crack, then smooth the top.

Repairing cracks around the custom home can be a chore come spring, but it does not have to be too arduous. Following these simple steps should have the house looking as good as new in no time.