Deciding Whether to Repair or Replace Concrete

There’s no doubt about it – concrete is a major investment. Whether your concrete surface is a driveway in front of your home, or a large parking lot adjacent to your business, it’s important to care for your concrete investment in the best way possible that still fits into your budget. If your concrete surface is showing some wear, we have some good news: it might be possible to repair the pavement instead of replacing it completely. It all depends on the current condition of the concrete.

Assessing the Damage

The first step in deciding whether to repair or replace concrete is to assess the condition of the pavement. There are several considerations that factor into this, including the age of the pavement, how well it has been maintained, and how badly it has been damaged. While you can certainly make some of these determinations on your own, you’ll need the help of a reputable paving contractor to assess the damage and whether or not it can be repaired.

Generally speaking, there are four types of damage that can impact your paved surface. These include:

  • Cracking – Although concrete is a remarkably strong and durable material, every paved surface will eventually form cracks – it’s inevitable. Tiny “hairline” cracks are considered to be very minor damage. But keep in mind that even small cracks can allow water to seep beneath the surface of the concrete, causing more substantial damage. So while you certainly don’t need to replace your concrete if it has small cracks, it’s still a good idea to have those cracks repaired as soon as possible to avoid further damage.
  • Spalling – This is the term used to describe concrete that is flaking or chipping on the surface. This type of damage usually occurs as a result of the freeze-thaw cycle – when the concrete expands and contracts as a result of weather conditions. But it can also occur as a result of improper mixing at the time the concrete was installed. Although spalling is definitely not attractive, it can usually be repaired by a paving contractor.
  • Settling – If you notice large cracks in your pavement, combined with an uneven surface, it’s likely that the concrete has settled. This occurs when voids form under the surface as a result of poorly compacted soil or a water leak underground that has washed away a portion of the soil. Settling is considered major damage, and whether or not the surface can be repaired depends on how extensive the damage is. It is possible that concrete with substantial settlement will need to be replaced.
  • Lifting – If you’ve ever seen a portion of a sidewalk that has literally lifted because of a tree root, then you already know what lifting does to a paved surface. When concrete lifts at a joint, it not only becomes a hazard; it also allows water to seep below the surface, resulting in even more damage. Concrete that has lifted will eventually need to be replaced.

To find out more about concrete damage and whether it can be repaired or needs to be replaced, contact a reputable paving specialist today!