Troubleshooting Common Problems With Concrete Surfaces

If your home's driveway, walkways, patio, or other concrete surfaces are showing signs of cracking, discoloration, chips, and the like, you don't want to just cover over these problems and assume the surface will be fine. When concrete chips or otherwise breaks, it's good to figure out why this is happening and then address that problem before pouring new concrete, or the new concrete will eventually chip and crack just as easily. Note a few common problems with concrete surfaces so you can know what to do to address the underlying problem.

Cracks along a corner of a walkway or driveway

If there is a long crack in the corner of a walkway or driveway, this often means that the surface under the concrete has gotten soft and has shifted. In turn, a corner of the driveway or walkway then settles and cracks, as corners are usually the weakest points of any surface. Filling in that crack or replacing that broken area won't keep this from happening again; you may need to add lime or clay to the soil to make it stronger, redirect water runoff away from the concrete, or even underpin the concrete surface to help hold it up.

Spalling or "cancer"

If a concrete surface gets spalling or pitting along the surface, this is often called concrete "cancer" and it can spread if not corrected. This is often caused by concrete absorbing water so that it becomes soft and the surface then crumbles or cracks in this way. Again, you may need to redirect water runoff from the concrete, or it may be that the concrete was mixed with too much water. If you poured your own concrete, it may be good to leave it to a professional to add this new layer, so he or she can ensure the mixture is appropriate for your everyday weather conditions and humidity, moisture in the ground, and the like.

Aggregate comes loose

An aggregate is a mixture of materials added to the top layer of concrete, to give it texture and even colour and style. This aggregate should stay secure over the years, but if you notice that your driveway or walkway has large pits and missing stones or gravel, this may also mean that the mixture was too watery to hold that aggregate in place. The concrete may also be holding too much moisture on the surface and this will also cause that aggregate to loosen. Have a professional repair this or pour new concrete so you know your aggregate will last.