Concrete flooring is quite popular in residential and commercial structures because of its desirable properties such as durability, stiffness, energy efficiency, resistance to dampness, ease of construction, maintenance costs, and fire resistance. However, tough doesn’t equal invincibility. Even if the contractor does his job correctly, it is usually a matter of time before natural activities catch up with your concrete floor.
Cracks and holes on the concrete slab are not welcome for two reasons. Cracks and holes are a doorway through which external elements such as radon, soil, water, termites, carpenter ants, and vermin enter your house. Mold and mildew should be the last thing you’d want close to your furniture. The second reason cracks deny your basement its structural beauty. Cracks don’t help things out when it comes to determining the resale value of your property.
The good news is that you can fix cracks and holes on your flooring through patching. It is quite a simple task, and you can do it yourself if you love trying out new things. The tools and materials are readily available and cheap to top it up. But we highly recommend that you let concrete flooring professionals do their thing to avoid hurting yourself and causing costly damages.
Required Tools and Materials
You will need;
- Eye goggles
- A pair of work gloves
- Dust mask
- Knee pad
- Concrete or mortar chisel
- Wire brush
- Steel trowel
- Liquid concrete bonding adhesive
- Concrete patch compound or repair mortar
- Wooden stirring stick.
1.Wear protective gear.
Working with concrete is not the most pleasant job on earth. Bits and pieces will come your way at rocket speeds and get into your eyes or cut your face. Your knees may also get bruised in the process. Wear goggles over your eyes to keep fragments from getting in. Knee pads will protect your knees from bruising.
Use a comfortable cushion or mat if knee pads are not available. A dust mask is necessary too since the process may raise dust, which is not healthy for your lungs.
2. Remove the loose surface
Start by removing any chunk of concrete that is obviously loose by scrubbing over the surface with the chisel. Knock the crack’s surface with a blunt object such as a screwdriver and use your hands to pick the big chunks of concrete. Repeat this action till the firm material is reached.
3.Chisel down the sides of the crack or hole
This step is similar to the first one, only that it extends much deeper. Use a concrete chisel and a hammer to chisel the sides of the crack or hole. You have to get rid of the edges of the crack that are not stable and dig deeper into the more solid material. Remember, the strength of the new concrete depends on the strength of the foundation concrete.
Make the edges of the whole square since repair mortar won’t stick properly on round edges. Chip away on some good concrete, which may not be as stable as you thought, but don’t go too far.
4. Get rid of chunks of concrete.
Use your hand to pick the bigger debris out of the hole. Big pieces of loose concrete prevent the concrete adhesive from forming a good seal. Sweep the medium and smaller chunks and scoop them into a bin. This action stop paves the way for vacuum use.
5. Use a shop vacuum to clean dust, and small chunks of concrete that your hand couldn’t pick and the broom could not sweep. Pass it over the hole surfaces to ensure that all the pieces of concrete have been picked clean.
Avoid using a typical vacuum cleaner since concrete pieces could cause severe damage. Use a fine brush instead.
5. The final step in the preparation stage is washing the hole or crack with water. Dip a wire brush in water and scrub all the damaged areas. Scrubbing increases the surface area for the adhesive to work. Ensure that you scrub every side and bottom of the hole.
Laying the Mortar
1.Apply bonding adhesive.
Apply bonding adhesive on the surfaces of the hole or crack. Let the adhesive dry properly.
2.Mix concrete mortar materials
Put the concrete patch material in a bucket to make the coarse aggregate. The new patch material should be similar to the old in aggregate and water to cement ratio.
3.Apply the first layer
Scoop the patch compound using a trowel and put it into the hole or crack. This first layer aims to spread the concrete compound as far as possible into the hole or crack. Tamping will push the material down further.
4.Apply the second layer
Trowel repair mortar into the hole or crack until it is the same level as the slab’s surface. Add more until it forms a mound. Run a steel trowel over the surface repeatedly or in a fan pattern to smooth it out and get rid of excess material.
Cover the surface to shield it from excess sunlight. Let it cure for 24 hours before walking on it if it is a residential floor. Do not drive over the new patch for at least a week if you were repairing a garage floor.