Hot Topics: Stamped Concrete Patio Starting to Crumble

A large crack in a piece of concrete.

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What do you do with crumbling concrete? The forum decides there's not much you can do except replace it.

Original Post: Stamped Concrete Patio Starting to Crumble in Certain Areas

Eaglei22 Member

I had a stamped concrete patio poured back in May. There are areas around the stamped line that look kind of crumbly and dry, like the stamp was lifted but the area wasn't smoothed. Some areas are starting to chip away. I have been having trouble getting a hold of the guy who did it (no surprise). I did finally get a hold of him and he said he would be out today, but never showed.

Below are some pictures, but is there anything I can just do to be done with it? I don't feel like getting involved with a small claims court over this, but if it's going to get worse then I surely will. It almost looks like it needs to be sanded smooth and then more sealer applied.

Pilot Dane Group Moderator

Sanding or grinding and sealing isn't going to help and certainly will make the bad spot more noticeable. Where are you located? Do you ever get freezing temperatures? Those cracks filled with water will deteriorate the area even more if it freezes.

Eaglei22 Member

I am in the Midwest. Haven't had it subjected to ice conditions yet.

Pipsisiwah Member

Welcome to the club. 10 years ago I had someone replace my concrete front porch. A year later, I noticed some lifting. The porch was stamped like yours. A few years later those areas became quite large. I had some folks come out and they just shook their heads. The top layer of concrete is less than 1/16 inch thick. Now the entire porch is snafued.

Eaglei22 Member

Here are some more pictures to give you an idea. It doesn't look horrible or anything let, but it's only four months old and hasn't hit winter yet.

There are a lot of surface cracks. Will these eventually keep getting bigger or is it more cosmetic? There are a lot of small areas just crusting and breaking off. Am I just overreacting? Is there anything that can even be done? To me this looks like it will cause a lot of problems in the future.

Pipsisiwah Member

My comments (and I'm no concrete guy):

1. The chips at the bottom of the last photo are a harbinger of what's to come. The top of your porch is so thin that it looks like a drywall skim coat to me. To prevent chipping away in the middle of the porch, just don't walk on it (kinda hard to do).

2. All of the edges are rather sharp. They should be rounded.

3. I don't think you are overreacting. I also think that the only thing that can be done is the job. Done over, that is.

4. If you redo the job, make sure you get rebar reinforcement. Don't believe all the crap you'll hear about "fibers in the concrete give it strength." You'll pay plenty to have the job done the right way. Rebar likely will not prevent cracking of the slab, but it will prevent large pieces of the slab from separating.

5. Do not put any salt or other stuff on it to melt the ice.

6. Do NOT put any salt or other stuff on it to melt the ice.

7. DO NOT PUT ANY SALT OR OTHER STUFF...(you get the idea).

Manlo Sandoval Member

I used to get this around some of the deeper impression (grout lines) on my stamped concrete jobs sometimes when I used a powder release (accent color). I think it has to do with the powder on top causing surface cracking when the stamp is impressed. We have started to use liquid antiquing instead the next day (so we basically stamp the colored concrete, and put the color in later).

I will say that this is very common, and hopefully he gives you some type of warranty to make sure it lasts through the winter cycles. There really isn't any way to fix it, but I have never had one crumble on me.

Pipsisiwah Member

Thanks for your reply. The guy who did the job is long gone. I'll have to replace the entire porch ($4,000) or wait until the rest of the "cream" breaks away and think of it as a custom pebble surface job. At the present wait, that will be in a very few short years...

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