Concrete has a tendency to absorb heat during the day and release it at night. Depending on the extent of the fluctuations, your concrete can go through quite a bit of expansion and contraction throughout this process. During high heat and stress, which is certainly prevalent in Utah right now, concrete surfaces can develop thermal cracking. Although thermal cracking is typical on newer concrete, it’s still something to watch out for at any age.
One way to help prevent thermal cracking is by making sure to pour concrete in optimal temperatures, which is around 50 to 60 degrees. Naturally, this isn’t always possible in our state, but a professional company like Lift Right Concrete knows everything to be aware of to ensure the job is done right. Check out one of our previous blogs for more information on and considerations for pouring concrete during extremely hot temperatures.
You can also use temperature sensors if you are concerned about specific portions of your concrete slab. If you notice a section is significantly hotter than other areas of the concrete, it may be a good idea to mist the area occasionally during the heat of the day or provide some sort of shade to the area, if possible. Don’t worry, this is typically a temporary necessity with newer concrete while it’s exceptionally hot and dry and not something you have to maintain year after year.
Thermal cracking doesn’t just look bad, it can also be detrimental to the structure of your home, patio, or driveway. For small cracks, you can chisel out the crack, remove any loose material, and fill it with a think layer of bonding adhesive. Then smooth and level the surface with a trowel. For wider cracks, you’ll need to add sand into the crack first then add a concrete fortifier and feather until it’s all smooth and even. If you try to repair patches and you’re not happy with the outcome, you can then apply a quality overlay or a resurfacing option for a fresh look that is smooth and uniform.
If cracking is extensive, it is sometimes necessary to replace the concrete. Sometimes cracking can occur because of poor subgrade or settling issues, which creates sunken concrete. This is hazardous and creates the potential for trip and falls. Sunken concrete needs to be repaired correctly and quickly. As with many home projects, sometimes it’s best to leave certain items to the professionals. Concrete should last many, many years when prepped, poured, and finished correctly. Ensure you’re not cutting corners on these projects, especially when it comes to repairing major issues.
Lift Right Concrete has repaired hundreds of homes throughout the Wasatch Front, from small issues to major slab sinking and cracks. If you’re concerned about the longevity of your concrete, reach out to us today for an assessment. In many cases, we can save you from having to rip up your current concrete and start completely over.