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How to Select Concrete Repair Materials

Concrete damage needs to be repaired as soon as possible to prevent mold and mildew growth and serious structural problems. Generally, cracks less than 1/4″ can be filled using conventional patch materials.

Concrete Repair

Larger cracks require a professional’s expertise to repair effectively and quickly. It’s important to consider the cause of the crack before attempting any repairs. Visit https://concretecontractorcoloradosprings.com/ for professional help.

Almost anyone who has made repairs to concrete knows that it is important to clean and prepare the surface properly before starting. This ensures that the new concrete adheres properly to the existing concrete and does not crack, separate, or crumble. It also helps to identify any underlying issues that should be addressed before proceeding with the repair. This is especially true for load-bearing structures such as concrete slabs, decks, and beams.

A good bond between the repair material and the existing concrete depends primarily on the mechanical contact between the two surfaces. However, the chemical bond among the repair materials also plays a major role. Many failures in concrete repairs occur when poor surface preparation is cited as the reason for the repair failure. This is often due to the misconception that using a bonding agent will compensate for improper substrate surface preparation. In fact, bonding agents can actually work against the adhesion of the repair material to the substrate if the manufacturer’s instructions are not followed.

In structural applications, concrete surface preparation usually begins by saw-cutting the area of defective concrete and removing the damaged material. In many cases, certified shoring must be used to support the structure during this process. The remaining sound concrete should then be broken back into a strong and dense condition. It is important to make sure that all delaminated concrete, spalls, and loose aggregate are removed from the structure.

After the removal of the deteriorated concrete, it is recommended that the steel reinforcement be cleaned to remove any chloride contamination. This will help to avoid future corrosion problems and is important for the long-term integrity of the repair.

The concrete surface should then be roughened by brooming or blasting and cleaned with potable water prior to the application of the repair material. This step is particularly important for sprayed repair products, as the sprayed material relies on good adhesion to the host concrete substrate.

After the surface is roughed and cleaned, a primer or bond-enhancing additive may be used to help the repair material adhere to the existing concrete. This is not always necessary in all cases, as shotcrete and sprayed repair materials generally exhibit excellent bonding to the substrate without the use of bonding agents. However, it is always recommended that the manufacturer’s recommendations be followed as closely as possible.


There are several factors that need to be considered when selecting a concrete repair material. Some repair materials are formulated with polymers, which help them adhere better and have higher strength. Others are simply cement mortar or concrete with no additional additives. Typically, the choice is driven by the intent of the repair: do you want a material that will easily fill cracks and cover them, or do you need something more structural that can reinforce existing concrete? It is also important to consider the conditions of the repair site. Do you need a fast-setting repair that can be placed and left for a short period of time, or do you need a material that will take longer to set but has the advantage of being able to withstand water or other weather-related problems?

There is no single best repair material. It depends on the condition of the existing concrete, the type and severity of the cracks, and the size of the area to be repaired. In addition, the choice of material will usually depend on other criteria such as workability, availability, cost, and durability.

The most common repair materials are cement mortar, polymer concrete, and quick-setting non-shrink mortar. Some repair materials are packaged in easy-to-handle bags and can be used by the do-it-yourselfer for small repairs. Others require more extensive training and are typically used by professional contractors.

A few factors that need to be taken into consideration when evaluating repair materials include modulus of elasticity, low shrinkage, surface hardening, bond strength, freeze-thaw resistance, and chemical compatibility. For structural repairs, a material with a similar modulus of elasticity to the existing concrete may be required to prevent debonding due to drying shrinkage.

One of the most effective ways to repair dormant cracks is by drying them. This method involves hand-placing a low-water-content mortar into the crack and then tamping or ramming it to ensure intimate contact with the existing concrete. Dry packing is not a good option for active cracks because it can cause the crack to expand and reopen.


Concrete repair materials are available in many forms: unmodified Portland cement, latex-modified Portland cement mortar or concrete, quick-setting nonshrink mortar, polymer concrete, and others. Selection is based on the repair location, construction speed, and other factors. Repairs made under traffic or in areas exposed to extreme climatic conditions may require rapid setting. Other repairs, such as patching a small crack, may be best with a mix designed for adhesion without the need to adhere to existing concrete.

A number of key property requirements must be considered when selecting a repair material, including physical properties such as dry shrinkage and modulus of elasticity and chemical resistance. Other considerations include freeze-thaw durability and permeability. In addition to these property requirements, the selection process must take into account environmental concerns such as odor, toxicology, and combustibility.

When the repair mix is mixed, it must be thoroughly blended with the surrounding pavement to produce a homogeneous mixture. This will help to minimize the formation of drying shrinkage cracks that can debond the repair material and adversely affect both short-term strength and long-term durability.

Once the patch is sufficiently consolidated, it is usually brushed with water or slurry to serve as a bonding agent. It is then troweled to achieve the desired surface texture; this can be done with a wood float, a magnesium or steel trowel, or a hand tamper. The finishing technique is also important; it is important to achieve a smooth finish that matches the texture of the surrounding concrete.

The edges of the patch must be tamped or sprayed with a slurry to prevent erosion, especially when water is added to the mixture. For large repair areas, the engineer may recommend the use of saw cuts along the patch edges to prevent the development of thin patches at these extremities. This is sometimes referred to as “feathering the edges of the patch.”

Proper curing of concrete repairs is critical to avoid moisture loss and drying shrinkage cracking that can debond the repair. The curing process should be similar to that for new concrete, requiring a wet cure to achieve proper strength and durability.


Concrete repair is often required to correct structural failures due to concrete damage or environmental factors. The causes of the damage should be determined in order to implement an efficient repair system. These systems need to meet the design requirements for the damaged area in terms of strength, durability, costs, and carbon footprint.

The first step in any concrete repair is cleaning the damaged area. This is usually done by using a brush, hose, or power washer. Then the area needs to be thoroughly dried before applying any new concrete or patching mix. This will prevent water vapors from rehydrating the concrete and leading to additional damage.

Next, the contractor will need to prepare the surface for the application of the concrete repair. This is accomplished by removing any unsound concrete and contaminants from the damaged area. Then, a bond coat is applied to the existing concrete in order to create a strong foundation for the new concrete. The bond coat is typically made from a mix of Portland cement and sand. It is also common to add polymer modifiers to the concrete repair mix in order to improve adhesion.

The concrete repair mix is then placed in the affected area. It is important that the concrete repair mix be matched to the existing concrete in order to ensure an integral bond. This will prevent dissimilarities between the repair material and the surrounding concrete that could lead to corrosion, flexural stresses, or thermal cracking.

Some concrete repair materials are designed to be pumped or shotcreted for easy application. They are typically formulated with specific slump, flow, and hang/stick properties that can be tailored to a particular installation procedure. Other repair materials are designed to have a rapid set time in order to return the concrete to service more quickly. This is often the case for highway and bridge deck repairs or concrete repairs under heavy vehicular loads.

After the concrete repair is placed, it is important that it is properly cured in order to gain the proper strength and durability. The curing conditions should be carefully planned in order to prevent moisture loss, drying shrinkage, cracking, and curling. Some repair materials may require extensive water curing, while others may need to be kept out of the weather altogether.