All concrete slabs will eventually show some signs of minor or major wear and tear over the years. You may first see small hairline cracks or holes start to develop on the surface, and they may never evolve into anything much larger than this. Many homeowners find that this natural appearance lends a certain authentic beauty to their space, but others see them as a cause for concern.
Some owners will fret that these cracks need to be repaired instantly. Unfortunately, they may spend countless hours and dollars attempting to keep up with the natural process of curing concrete with no real long-lasting effects. Leaving some of these minor cracks and dents can contribute to the overall beauty of the floor without detracting from its structural integrity.
To put your mind at ease, you should be able to identify which concrete floors will need a repair. Knowing the size and scope of a problem helps you to make a more informed decision regarding which floors need immediate professional attention, which ones can be modified at home, and which ones can be left alone entirely.
If you’ve been trying to figure out whether you need a professional to help you maintain your floor, this handy guide should help to answer all of your most pressing questions.
When Do You Need to Make Repairs?
This is the most frequently asked question regarding concrete. From the time it first starts to cure, concrete tends to be prone to minor hairline cracks and surface fractures that can seem scary to uninformed owners. However, contractors rarely worry about these minor surface defects and “blemishes.”
Even the initial stages of polishing concrete can be done on surfaces that are imperfect. Hairline cracks and pinholes are completely acceptable and don’t demonstrate an immediate concern for the integrity of your flooring. You can also leave any cracks that are less than 1/4” wide. If aesthetics are critical, however, this is a perfect time to repair.
Unless you are concerned about the cleanliness of the floor, such as in a hospital or near food preparation sites, these cracks won’t be able to harbor much bacteria or pose major problems for daily use. They can still be easily kept clean using a broom or small vacuum cleaner in a normal home setting.
There is no magic number for the number of concrete cracks that could be acceptable in your flooring. It is subjective based on how many you can visually tolerate, as well as when the structural integrity begins to be compromised by excessive cracking, chipping, or growing cracks.
You should consider making repairs when the cracks become larger than ¼” wide and when large debris will start to become lodged in the affected area. You will also need to correct areas that demonstrate that the substrate is beginning to chip from the surface.
How to Repair Cracks and Holes
As we mentioned earlier, many owners choose to leave the cracks and small pinholes in their concrete floors because it contributes to the beauty of their floor. It is aesthetically pleasing to see the more “aged” appearance of the concrete this way. Even in the most modern facility, these minor imperfections can still be an appealing feature.
However, some homeowners will still choose to repair each and every crack that appears in their concrete. This can be done by filling them in with new concrete and touching up the finish so that it more closely resembles the polish that was done to the rest of the floor. Unfortunately, the color of the new concrete and is likely to stand out from the remainder of the floor, making it look more noticeable than it was before.
It should also be noted that repairing individual cracks can result in issues over time. As the seasons change, concrete will naturally expand and contract based on the moisture levels in the facility and in the mixture itself. Water is a primary ingredient in concrete, after all. You’re bound to see the cracks more noticeably in the winter season when the heat is running, pulling the moisture out of the air.
In the summertime, those cracks are bound to be less noticeable as the concrete subtly swells and the pieces move closer together. When this happens, the filler concrete you placed in the crack may be pushed out, causing an even more unsightly issue with your floor.
The best way to repair concrete cracking is to make every attempt to prevent it in the first place. You will need to make some cut joints in the concrete so that you can minimize the issues caused by seasonal expansion and contraction. Unfortunately, you will still likely see some hairline fractures begin to develop over the years. Try to find a way to embrace these natural changes and consider how it increases the natural beauty of your home and this product.
Common Sense Ways to Fix Cracks
Short of re-polishing the entire floor, it will be very difficult for you to make a completely seamless repair that automatically blends into the surrounding area. You may want to consider less permanent solutions for particularly obvious areas, such as putting down an area rug or a runner in a hallway. Even rearranging the furniture could be a common-sense and cost-effective solution to repairing the cracks in your concrete floor.
Consider what minor modifications you may be able to make in your home to disguise these features if they bother you. When the seasons change and the years pass by, you may eventually decide to have the floors polished again. This can help to smooth out the surfaces and repair these areas simultaneously.
If repair is desired, proper techniques of routing out the cracks or joints is critical, prior to filling with a semi-rigid polyurea.
If your facility is ready to experience an update or the concrete floors need to be refreshed, you can contact TCF West to see what we can do for you. Our experienced team of professionals can offer you some much-needed advice about whether your concrete floors are in need of repair or if they should be left alone.