Repairing Cracks in Concrete Basement Floors
Using Concrete Fillers to Repair Cracks in
Concrete Basement Floors
By: Mark J. Donovan
Over time most concrete basement
floors exhibit small cracks. Fortunately, repairing cracks in concrete
basement floors is a project most do it yourself homeowners can undertake.
With any luck a homeowner can repair a crack in as little as one or two
Even when a foundation contractor
does all the right things prior to pouring the concrete basement floor, such
as installing plenty of gravel, rebar, and reinforcing wire, basement floors
still tend to get minor cracks over time.
|The cracks form due to the home settling and water running
under the basement floor.
Over time, the water washes away sand
and gravel underneath sections of the concrete basement floor. Without the
support of the sand and gravel, the concrete basement floor comes under pressure
and cracks in the area where the sand and gravel washed away.
Repairing a crack in a concrete basement floor may not be necessary if
there is no water seeping out of it.
However, keep in mind water is likely flowing underneath the basement floor and
by leaving the crack in disrepair you are allowing higher moisture levels to
form in the basement. Higher moisture levels can translate into the formation of
mold and mildew.
For hairline cracks, where no signs
of water infiltration are occurring, simply use a tube of concrete filler made
out of epoxy, vinyl or latex, to make the patch.
If the hairline crack exhibits signs
of water infiltration you will need to use hydraulic cement. Hydraulic cement
comes in a dry powder form. You simply add water, to the manufacturer’s
recommendations, mix it up, and apply it to the hairline crack.
In either case, make sure you first
clean the area well. The area should be completely free of dirt and oil or else
the concrete filler will not adhere well to the concrete crack.
For larger cracks, you will first
need to clean the area well of loose concrete pieces. Frequently you will need
to use a hammer and chisel to remove these loose sections of concrete. Hold the
chisel at a 45 degree angle while pounding it with a hammer. Walk the length of
the crack holding the chisel on this angle. This process is called “keying” and
it helps to ensure a better bond with the crack and the patch / concrete filler.
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Again, as with hairline cracks,
after chiseling the crack, clean the area well. All dust and grease should
be removed from the area prior to applying the concrete filler.
Make sure you wear eye protection while chiseling the cracks as loose pieces
can fly up.
Once you have prepared the site
(concrete crack), it is now time to apply the tube of concrete filler.
First, cut the tube at a 45 degree
Next, apply the tube of concrete
filler to the crack. Make sure you do this in a slow and methodical manner so
that the crack is entirely filled as you move along its length.
Filler to Setup
Allow the concrete filler to setup
for a few minutes. Then inspect the crack to see if there are any sags, e.g.
where the concrete filler might have settled. If you see any sagging, apply more
concrete filler to the specific areas.
Once the crack has had a few minutes
to setup, and you no longer observe any sagging, use a trowel to smooth and
feather out the crack line.
Let the area rest overnight and check
the next day to see if it has cured. Again, if there is any more sagging, apply
more filler to the low areas, re-trowel and let rest overnight again.
Apply a Sealant to
the Repaired Crack
Once the concrete filler has set up,
you should apply a polyurethane sealant to the repaired crack to prevent any
possible water vapor infiltration, and to prevent susceptibility to future
staining. Concrete floors have the tendency to stain easily.
The polyurethane sealant can be
applied with either a roller or a brush. For best protection apply 2 to 3 coats
of the sealant.
Once the sealant has dried your
concrete basement floor is as good as new!
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