Can Crumbling Concrete Be Repaired?
On our blog, we frequently discuss concrete repairs. It’s easy to tell you the solutions to sunken concrete or cracked concrete, whether it’s flooring, walkways, or even walls. But what if your concrete is in worse shape than that and has been for some time? What if your concrete has begun to crumble? Most homeowners hesitate to go for a full concrete replacement if they can instead repair, and for good reason. But at what point can your concrete no longer be saved? In today’s blog, let’s break down whether or not crumbling concrete can be repaired and at what point you’ll need a full concrete replacement.
What Causes Crumbling Concrete?
Concrete is a sturdy material by nature, so it’s not an easy thing for it to begin to deteriorate. Nevertheless, most things become worn down over time. A few factors can contribute to the deterioration and crumbling of concrete, including:
While concrete is quite strong, it is still porous. When it rains, concrete takes in water just like most surfaces. In freezing temperatures, the water inside the concrete can freeze, straining the material and causing expansion and cracks. Not only that, but the concrete contracts again when water melts, which can further deteriorate it. Concrete can also crumble if too much water is used in the slurry that forms the concrete, as this will weaken the bonding agent.
In Texas, we rarely have to worry about freezing temperatures or salt. However, there are exceptions. When it snows in Texas, it’s especially important to protect roads and walkways — which means de-icing salt can be employed. But rock salt is made of sodium chloride, which has a negative chemical reaction to concrete. Sodium chloride can break down the concrete, causing it to crumble.
Pyrites and Other Minerals
Concrete is made in part of gravel, and gravel contains a number of mineral deposits that can, over time, weaken the structure of the concrete. Pyrite is the biggest offender, but silica and mica are also problematic. Of course, everything in moderation. These mineral deposits can be important to the structure of the concrete, but too much can lead to crumbling.
How To Prevent Crumbling Concrete
The best way to fix crumbling concrete is to avoid it in the first place. You may not be able to do so forever, but you can take steps to lengthen the life of your concrete. First, be careful to get the slurry just right before the concrete is poured. An expert professional will ensure that the concrete is not too wet, and that the presence of potentially harmful minerals is kept low. A well-made concrete poured with care will hold up better for longer than shoddy concrete.
Another way to protect your concrete from crumbling is by adding a smooth concrete coating. Our concrete coating covers your concrete surfaces in a smooth polyurea surface that protects the concrete from taking in water or chemical reactions due to rock salt. Epoxy coatings can also be used to protect concrete. We use polyurea because it cures in just one day, meaning you can walk on it within a few hours and drive over it within a day. It can give your concrete a stylish look, too.
You can also be pickier about the rock salt that you use on the occasion that we have winter weather in Amarillo, Texas. Magnesium chloride rock salt is far less likely to harm your concrete, and it’s safer on your lawn, as well. Calcium chloride is another popular choice because less of it is needed than sodium chloride.
Can You Repair Crumbling Concrete?
Unfortunately, sometimes you don’t — or can’t — prevent crumbling concrete. Even if you do everything right, sometimes it’s just a matter of the concrete crumbling due to age. This leads to the main question: can you repair crumbling concrete? The answer is yes…sometimes. If your concrete is too old or the crumbling has gone too deep, you may need to simply replace the entire concrete. However, if it’s a surface level of crumbling, you may still be able to repair it.
First, make sure that the concrete is still structurally sound. This is easiest to tell with concrete steps, for instance. If most of the concrete seems sturdy, but the surface has been flaking or crumbling off, you can probably still repair it. This requires some concrete patching that’s spread over the surface of the concrete to smooth it out and reinforce it. You might also use epoxy concrete crack repair to seal cracks and strengthen the concrete.
If you have a concrete driveway or walkway up to your home or business, you might notice spalling, or flakes of material being broken off from the surface of the concrete. This can be unsightly, but so long as it does not run too deep, it can be repaired by patching up the surface and then covering it in concrete coating to prevent crumbling any further. Essentially, it boils down to how deep your concrete crumbling goes. If it’s less than an inch or so, it’s likely to be repaired. If it goes deep, however, you may need to replace it.
The concrete repair or replacement professional that you call in for the job can make a big difference. There are concrete pros who might try to push you towards a full concrete replacement simply because that will make them the most money. These concrete repair companies don’t have your best interests at heart. A concrete repair professional who cares about you and your home or business will take stock of the issue and give you an honest answer. If it can be repaired, they’ll tell you so, even if it’s a smaller project. That means if they tell you it needs to be replaced, you can trust that it’s the only thing to do.
Childers Brothers, Inc. strives to provide our customers with options so that they can get the best solution for their home or business. Contact us today to get started with a free consultation on the state of your concrete.