Concrete is one of the most popular materials used to make porches because it is sturdy, and although concrete is naturally very solid it can develop cracks, holes, and broken edges. Concrete can become damaged because of poor installation combined with temperature changes and moisture, and these problems are not always initially apparent to homeowners.
A concrete porch is costly, and instead of hiring a professional to replace or repair a damaged porch, consider the following methods of repair. Repairing broken edges, holes, and cracks in concrete is easier than most people realize, and it is possible to repair the damage and make a porch look almost as good as new.
Repairing Narrow Cracks
Cracks in a concrete porch less than three-eights of an inch wide can be easily repaired. You will need a tube of vinyl concrete patching material, a wet rag, a soft bristle brush, and a wire brush. A shop vacuum is also helpful for completely removing dirt, dust, and loose debris. In addition, the concrete must be completely dry before repairing, and a leaf blower can be a helpful drying tool if the porch is slightly damp.
Once the crack has been cleaned and is dry, brush away any loose pieces with a wire brush, and use a softer brush or a vacuum to clean away smaller particles of concrete, dirt, and debris. If the crack is deeper than the width it will have to be filled in using layers of vinyl patching. Apply the concrete patching material according to product label instructions, and allow the layers adequate time to dry in between applications. Wipe the top smooth with a wet rag, and allow it to dry completely before allowing access to the porch.
Patching a Hole
Holes sometimes develop in a concrete porch because of a crack that widened or because the material was improperly mixed or cured. Holes on the surface of a concrete porch are relatively easy to patch, but it generally takes more than a single tube of patching material to complete this type of repair. To patch a hole or a recessed area on a concrete porch you will need a container of ready-mixed concrete patching material, or you can save money by using a dry mix. If necessary you will also require mixing supplies as well as a wire brush, a soft bristle brush, a trowel, a straightedge for smoothing the finished area, a shop vacuum, and epoxy sealant.
When the area is completely dry, begin by brushing away any loose concrete or debris from the hole in the porch with a wire brush, and use a soft-bristle brush or a vacuum to further clean and prepare the area. Next, fill the gap with patching material of your choice, and carefully smooth the top with a trowel or a straightedge. Restrict access to the porch for at least 24 hours. After the patch is completely cured, seal it with epoxy sealant according to product label instructions and it will last indefinitely.
Repairing Small Broken Edges
The edges of porch landings and stair steps sometimes break off for no apparent reason, and in many cases, the missing pieces are found on the ground. When the pieces can be located they are very easy to reattach if they have not completely crumbled. With careful preparation and placement, the repair to the porch will be unapparent.
Begin by cleaning the area of the porch requiring repair with a wire brush. This will remove any loose pieces. Next, brush the area with a soft bristle brush, and vacuum or blow away any remaining dirt or debris. Leaving behind dirt or debris will prevent the epoxy from bonding. Lastly, apply epoxy formulated for bonding cement to the broken surface as well as the loose piece. Press it into place, and allow the cement to bond for a few minutes before releasing it. Stack bricks or blocks next to the area of the repair and on top to hold it in place until it dries completely. Follow product label instructions for best results, and restrict access to the porch until the repair dries.
Repairing Large Broken Edges
Discovering a large broken edge on a concrete porch is a nightmare, but it is reasonably easy to repair using a steel dowel rod and the same supplies used to repair smaller broken edges. The broken pieces are not required since newly mixed cement will be used to repair the porch.
To repair a large broken edge on a cement porch you will need a steel dowel rod several inches in length, a masonry drill bit, an electric drill, a wire brush, and a strong shop vacuum. You will also need a container of concrete patch or dry mix, latex bonding agent, a heavy mallet, wood and hardware for creating a simple frame, concrete mixing supplies, a trowel, and cement blocks or bricks.
Begin by cleaning out the area of the patch using a wire brush. This will help dislodge any loose concrete. Next, use a masonry drill bit to create a hole of appropriate size in the center of the damaged area. The hole will hold the steel rod that will be used to add strength and support to the repair. The steel rod should be long enough to go into the damaged cement a few inches and stick out just beneath the surface of the repair. Cut the rod accordingly if necessary. After the hole has been drilled, vacuum out any loose particles.
The next step is to thoroughly coat the rod with the latex bonding agent and pound it into the hole using a mallet. After the rod is in place, mix dry cement according to product label instructions and create a thick mixture, or use a ready-made mix, and stir in latex bonding agent for added strength and durability. Apply bonding agent to the broken area, and create a simple but sturdy frame around the porch edge. Fill in the form with the concrete mixture, and smooth it with a trowel.
Before the concrete dries, use a stippling brush or a similar item to create texture to match the older concrete. If rain is a possibility, cover the repair with heavy plastic to protect it from moisture. Keep the forms in place for approximately a week or until the concrete is completely cured. If properly mixed and completed with care, the porch repair should blend in well and last for years to come.
You're all set for your next get together. All it took was a little elbow grease to repair your concrete porch.
Article by Jessica Ackerman of Wall Decor and Home Accents – the place to go for unique metal wall art and wrought iron wall decor.