Pro Tip

5 Key Considerations for Concrete Repairs

When it comes to repairing damaged concrete, no job is too small. Repairing cracks and chips in concrete is an easy job with important benefits. Fixing that crack in the driveway or unsightly chip in the curb not only looks better, it can help prevent larger, more expensive damage from happening. Here are five key considerations when completing small concrete repairs.

1. Identify the type of damage to the concrete

Identifying the exact type of damage is the first step in any repair project. Here are some descriptions of common types of concrete damage. Plastic-shrinkage cracks run to mid-depth in the concrete, are distributed across the surface unevenly and are usually short in length. Most often, they occur while concrete is curing because the surface of the concrete dries too rapidly relative to the concrete below. Hairline cracks are very thin in width but are typically deep cracks. They are caused by the settling of the concrete while it is curing and over time as conditions change. Due to their depth, these cracks can become larger after the concrete has hardened. Small pock marks, or scaling, in a concrete surface exposes the aggregate underneath. Once the damage is identified, you know what product you’ll need for the repair.

2. Collect the tools for the job

It depends on the product, but for most projects a nylon brush to clean the area of dust and debris is a must. You can also use a hammer and chisel to remove loose concrete before repairing. Pressure washing the area makes the preparation more thorough, but allow the area to dry completely before applying any repair materials. Some products come in a squeeze bottle and can be applied without additional tools or a simple putty knife to smooth the surface. For others, you will need a trowel to mold, trim and smooth the material.

3. Choose the right concrete repair product for the job

For cracks in concrete 1/2″ to 1/4″ deep, use Sakrete Concrete Crack Filler. It can be used in interior and exterior applications, including slabs, walkways and driveways, and it protects from water penetration. Bonus: this product can be painted with latex-based paints. For applications 1/4″ to 2″ in thickness, use Sakrete Fast Setting Cement Patcher. It has a high strength of 5,000 psi and sets in about 20 minutes for the rapid repair of cracks in concrete surfaces.

4. Set realistic expectations

Repaired concrete typically doesn’t match the original color of the concrete. The color of concrete is dependent on the elements at the time of mixing and the conditions when it was poured. Concrete fades over time, so getting an exact match in color on a repair project is nearly impossible.

5. Don’t delay simple repair work

Water is your enemy, and every rain shower, freeze and thaw or snowstorm that occurs can further intensify the concrete damage. Procrastination can turn a simple job into a bigger, more expensive project, so proactive concrete maintenance and repair saves time and money in the long run.

Don’t hold off on repairing damaged concrete. Use our Product Locator Tool to find out where you can get Sakrete Concrete Crack Filler or Sakrete Fast Setting Cement Patcher.

Comments (25)

David Bostick says:

Hello…I am need to repair my basement slab. Concrete is about 100 years old and has many cracks and cold joints that leak under heavy rains. I have purchased your Concrete Crack Filler and it seems to work well. I would like to float a skim coat, maybe using your Top’N Bond Concrete patch over filled cracks for a more uniform finish. Instructions on the Concrete crack filler advises not to use a portland based product over the Crack Filler. If I painted and sealed the filled cracks with concrete glue, can I go on top of them with the Top’N Bond mixture? Thanks! Dave

Sakrete says:

David, the issue is that concrete does not like to bond to polyurethane – going to have that same issue with the Concrete Glue product. Best recommendation would be to remove ALL sealants and just fill those cracks directly with Top ‘N Bond.

Liz Vega says:

Hello – My father is driving me nuts with the package of the 10lb Sekrete fast setting cement patcher. He has a bucket that is round, and colored white, green and yellow. The same Sakrete 10lb fast setting cement is now sold In a square container, and is white, red and black. Can you advise if this is still the same exact product that was sold in the white, yellow and green container? I’m telling my father it is..and he insists it is not. Thank you so much 🙂
R/ Liz

Sakrete says:

Same stuff, Liz! Sorry for the headache.

mark wilson says:

do you have concrete bag goods for structural free-standing columns? 10″ x 10″ x98″ tall that will be holding up a cypress trellis? column has 4) #5 rebar with #3 hoops 12″ o.c.

Where to buy and how many bags?

Sakrete says:

Mark, that’d be about 10x 60# bags, and yes, any bagged mix should work for that application. You’re going to have a fair amount of pressure on that column, so you might consider doing it in 2 – 3 lifts!

Elise Monaco says:

What ifthere are several loose chips?

Sakrete says:

Elise, starting with a sound surface is key – anything and everything that’s loose has got to be removed!

Sally A Beverly says:

I have some leaks in my basement in the floor and at some corners. Which of your products do you recommend

Sakrete says:

Sally, if you have a crack in the wall, Leak Stopper Hydraulic Cement is your go-to product. Just remember that this is a PATCH and not a coating like Dry-Lok!

Bellevue Concrete Pros says:

This article provides helpful tips and step-by-step instructions for carrying out the repair, such as properly preparing the surface and ensuring proper curing. Appreciated the clear and concise writing style, which makes the information easy to understand and apply.

Cincinnati says:

I found it to be a useful guide for anyone who wants to repair small concrete surfaces effectively. The post explains the importance of properly preparing the surface before beginning the repair process and provides helpful tips for choosing the right materials.

Frank seigfried says:

I have a thin 1/8″ long crack in my patio. The surface is small stone pieces and brown sand. What product will adhere to the concrete and adhere to the small stone and sand? Thanks.

Dave Jackson says:

Frank, it sounds like you’d be best to use a polyurethane sealant and sprinkle a bit of the sand over top in order to blend it in. Shoot us a photo or give the team a call with more details if you’ve got em!

Colette Gagnon says:

We’ve just resurfaced our cement porch using the Sakrete Flo-Coat.
I see that we must wait 28 days before we paint it, but just wondering if we need some
other preparation before we paint it. Do we need to use some kind of primer?
Is there a special kind of paint to use over Sakrete.
Thank you for your answer.

Sakrete says:

Colette, there is no special paint required for Flo-Coat – it’s concrete just like any other. That said, always a best practice to prime before painting!

Joaquin says:

Okay, I screwed up. I used my pressure washer on my concrete patio while cleaning my BBQ grills. I used a 0 degree tip. I thought I was holding the wand high enough. But when I pulled up the grills. There’s lines that took off the top layer of the concrete. Can this problem be fixed?

Sakrete says:

Yikes – those 0-degree nozzles are dangerous. You could always do a skim coat to restore the surface using something like Top ‘N Bond (for a small area) or Flo-Coat (for a large area).

Walter says:

Once the concrete steps are patched and repaired, how soon can I paint the stairs? I want to paint to increase the street presence.

Sakrete says:

Walter, we’d recommend waiting the full 28-day cure period before applying paint. Check with the paint manufacturer for any additional recommendations.

Doug Lancaster says:

Used Fast Setting Cement Patcher. Made it about the consistency of peanut butter. Once it set it has hairline cracks. How do I repair? Another product or just use second coat with binder?

Sakrete says:

Doug, sounds like a curing issue. The BEST solution would be to remove the patch and re-apply, but this time make sure to mist the repair to keep it moist for at least 12 hours.

You could also apply Cure ‘N Seal as a final step to make this curing process even easier!

Argie Laput says:

Hello Sakrete,

I was searching for some articles about “concrete repairs” today and I came across this page:

I noticed that we can be linked to one another.

Just wanted to give you a heads-up that I created a foundation concrete contractor site with articles on the different topics.

It’s more thorough and up-to-date:

Might be worth a mention on your page.

Either way, keep up the awesome work!


Doug says:

I have used the concrete crack filler on my garage floor. What is the best way to remove excess filler? How long should I wait to remove and paint with Sherwin Williams porch/ concrete paint?

Sakrete says:

Doug, the best way to remove excess filler would be to sand the surface or scraping it off with a blade. We recommend you give it a full cure time of 1 week before doing so.

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