Concrete is one of the sturdy building material that is
tough and versatile and so it can be used for a wide range of projects from
stabilizing structures to creating walkways and other constructions. Concrete
offers several advantages over other materials due to its durability and
uniform surface finish. But concrete in any form has a tendency to crack over
time as it’s constantly subjected to the elements.

Chipped, sunken or uneven, these visible damages are not only
eyesores, but they can also become a liability is neglected. Now that the
decision is made to remedy the damage, you have two possible choices: repair or replace.

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But how do you determine when to replace or when to repair
the concrete surface? When deciding whether to repair or replace concrete that
has become damaged or cracked, you must consider whether or not the concrete is
worth fixing: how concrete degrades, as well as how your concrete surface might
deteriorate over time. In some cases, repairing is the most cost effective
while in some cases, total replacement makes more sense. For example, small
cracks and isolated damage is worth fixing rather than taking on the cost of
replacement but there are scenarios where the subgrade is at fault, replacement is always the best option. This
will help you to decide whether you require concrete replacement or repairs.

Exploring What Kinds of Concrete Services Suit Your Needs

Cracking

Over time and faced with different weather elements, cracks
can gradually appear on concrete sidewalks and driveways or when the weight of
large vehicles or an improperly prepared subgrade can lead to cracks. Cracks do
not always lead to the need for replacement but nonetheless have it evaluated
professionally.

Your concrete might sustain a variety of cracks, which may
result from shrinkage, settling, or structural imbalance. Your concrete may
need to have a touch-up, or undergo leveling to correct the issue and prevent
further damage.

Additionally, if your concrete is severely damaged, it is
more advantageous to replace it. Sometimes the weight of large vehicles or an improperly
prepared subgrade can lead to deep cracks. If those cracks spread all the way
through concrete and are widespread across its surface, it will need to be
completely replaced. Leaving the cracks will allow moisture to enter the
concrete and create even greater damage as it freezes and thaws, thus expanding
and contracting. Similarly, if your concrete is crumbling or heavily scaled, it
is wiser to replace it than even attempt repair.

Sunken concrete

When the subgrade (the compacted level of soil underneath
the concrete) is not properly prepared, such as when loose dirt is used, and
the land begins to settle, you might notice unevenness in the slab. The
settlement will cause the concrete to sink along the cracks or the seams.
Sunken concrete sidewalks will continue to sink over time as each season the
sunken concrete sidewalks will collect more and more moisture, adding weight.
The moisture stays put as a result of soil erosion occurring beneath and between
concrete slabs. Because this problem starts with the subgrade, it requires a
full replacement.

Uneven concrete
surface

If you suddenly notice that your concrete, whether a
horizontal driveway or a vertical wall, seems uneven and not as smooth as it was
originally, this may be a serious issue that requires immediate attention.
Uneven concrete may be attributed to weathering or shoddy foundation work, and
it will continue to break and crumble if ignored, possibly leading to injury

Uneven concrete sidewalks create a particularly difficult
situation as they pose immediate issues and safety hazards. They also create an
eyesore, doing great damage to visual appeal of your property.

Frost heave

In cold climate, the moisture in the ground is frozen solid
which thrusts the concrete upward. This phenomenon is known as frost heaving. Again,
because this damage occurs due to the subgrade, it requires removal and
replacement of the concrete with a new subgrade.

Spalling:

When concrete becomes pitted, flaked, or chipped, this is
referred to as spalling. While this might be only a cosmetic aberration, it can
also indicate structural damage. You should talk to a trusted commercial
concrete contractor to decide whether repair or replacement is advisable.
Similarly, if your concrete is crumbling or heavily scaled, it is wiser to
replace it than even attempt repair.

Water Pooling on
Concrete Driveways and Patios

When water collects and pools on your concrete structures
following rain, this may be a sign that your concrete is not allowing for
natural drainage. This is generally the first sign that will lead to worse wear
on your concrete if it is not addressed quickly. While your concrete structures
should have been finished with a waterproof coat upon installation, this is something
that can wear away due to weathering over time, so you may need to have areas
repaired, replaced and finally waterproofed again.

Has an Overall Aged
Appearance

Even the most sound and sturdy structures are destined to
age. With concrete, this isn’t typically difficult to decipher. It may have a
combination of the signs listed above – there are cracks, its uneven (and may
have potholes), and water is pooling. There usually is also an overall dowdy
look about it, so to speak. The coloring is darkened and shabby, and may have
rust streaks. When this is the appearance of your concrete, it is definitely
time to call the experts, to make sure your concrete undergoes a professional
evaluation.

 

Calculating the cost
of concrete repair or replacement

While many factors can impact the cost, and only a qualified
provider can give a true estimate, the cost for a newly installed standard
concrete driveway will run between $6 and $9 a square foot.  So for a 
14 x 50 foot driveway, you will spend between $3,500 to  $5600 for a newly installed, plain concrete
driveway. Repair costs will vary significantly depending upon repair technique
used.

Who to call for
concrete repair and replacements

Once you have made the decision about repair or replacement
of the concrete, you are ready to make a call to a concrete provider. Sure, you
may have urges to run out to the local hardware or box store to pick up some
quick fix concrete to conduct these repairs yourself—this is not recommended.
Trusting in and hiring professionals to repair or replace your concrete
sidewalks provides a number of benefits. It is estimated by many within the
industry that you can save as much as 50% in cost when hiring a professional
over carrying out the project yourself.

 Get several quotes to
ensure you are getting a fair price. Also make plans for alternate routes or
parking space because the area may be unusable for a period of time. Both
repairs and replacement usually require subgrade work, and this will make the
concrete usable for the duration of the project.

 

Whether you have been aware that your concrete is damaged
for a while, or you have just started to notice cracks, it is important for you
to take care of it ASAP. 

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