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Patching Cracked Concrete: A Beginner's Guide

Concrete, despite being one of the most durable building materials available today, has one serious Achilles heel: cracks. And not only are concrete cracks unsightly, but they also have a way of getting worse and worse as time goes on. If you have a concrete surface that has recently developed a crack, read on. This article will teach you how to patch up your crack in a way that will last for years to come.

Begin by cleaning out the crack.

Concrete cracks have a tendency to accumulate all manner of detritus, especially those that have been around for a long time. Thus the first step is to remove any debris or vegetation present in the crack. Once you've got larger items out, mix up a batch of soapy water. If possible, use a soap product that contains degreaser. Then scrub the crack as best you can. Cleaning away any grease or oil in this way will help to promote a stronger bond.

Use a hammer and chisel to key out the crack.

To ensure proper bonding of your patching substance, you're going to need to do more than simply clean the crack. You're going to want to "key" it as well. This is simply a way of saying that you will want to make the inner walls of the crack as smooth as possible. The flatter the surface, the more firmly the patching compound will be able to adhere.

Hold your chisel at an angle and gently tap it with your hammer to remove any outjutting or irregular shaped pieces of concrete. Try to shape the crack so that it forms a crude version of the letter V. Once you've keyed it to the proper shape, remove any loose chunks of concrete and brush the leftover dust out with a broom.

Fill the crack with self-leveling patching compound.

 Self-leveling patching compound is a great choice of crack filler for those new to repairing cracked concrete. Like caulk, it comes in a plastic tube that makes application a breeze using a caulk gun. All you have to do is slowly squirt the filler into the crack, moving gradually along its length. Depending on how much the patching compound settles, it may be necessary to make a second pass after several minutes have gone by.

Apply polyurethane sealer to the crack.

Sealing the filler against water is just as important as filling the crack. Otherwise, should water work its way past the edges of the filler and penetrate down into the concrete, you may soon find the crack growing worse. Painting the filler with two or more coats of polyurethane will help to promote a water tight finish. 

If you decide you'd rather not repair your concrete yourself, hire a company like ACPLM to do it for you.