Concrete Caulking of Cracks and Joints

Caulking is one of the best ways to prolong the life of your concrete and prevent further damage.

Whether it's sealing up existing cracks in your concrete or preventing future ones from forming, concrete caulking is an important part of maintaining your concrete that will help make sure it stays functioning the way it should and looking good for the long haul. 

What is concrete caulking?

Concrete caulking is the act of applying a flexible polymer caulk to cracks or breaks in concrete in order to prevent further cracking or other sources of damage.

Concrete caulking can also be done as a preventive measure when done on expansion joints, before cracks in the slab appear.

It’s also often done alongside concrete cleaning and sealing in order to get the most protective benefit out of each.

Caulking Concrete Cracks and Expansion Joints

Stopping water from flowing under your concrete is probably the most important thing you can do to keep your driveway from sinking and becoming out of level. Caulking the joints and cracks is the best way to stop this from happening.

Concrete Driveway Crack Repair Before

Even expansion joints in your concrete driveway should be caulked. They can be the biggest culprit of water under your slabs.

Concrete Driveway Crack Repair After

Notice how the caulking is slightly lower than the concrete slab around it. This protects the caulk from wear and tear of people walking and driving over it.

Why is concrete caulking important?

Concrete caulking is important because it helps prevent damage from the following naturally-occurring factors:

Water Erosion

Caulking concrete prevents water from flowing under the slab and eroding the base that the concrete is sitting on. 

If water has access to the sub-material underneath the slab, it will likely wash it away over time, leaving the slab unlevel and in need of concrete leveling. This erosion can also cause voids to open under the slab, creating weak points which increase the risk of further cracking.

Freeze-Thaw Cycles

Concrete caulking also prevents water from entering the slab itself via expansion joints and cracks. If water finds its way into the slab, it can cause compounding damage during freeze-thaw cycles.

When water is absorbed into the pores of concrete and freezes, it expands and causes the pores to pop. Over time, this causes surface damage and cracking, and the cracks continually expand and worsen if they are not sealed off with concrete caulking.

Weeds & Plants

Sealing up cracks in concrete can also prevent weeds and plants from growing up through the slab. Not only does this help to keep your concrete surfaces looking good, but it also prevents the plant roots from growing into the concrete’s pores and deteriorating it from within.

Concrete Crack Caulking

Not only are weeds and grass ugly, they can cause damage to the concrete as their roots dig into the pores of the concrete and cause it to deteriorate.

Concrete Crack Repair & Caulking - Before

High-powered pressure washing is a great way to remove weeds and grass from cracks before caulking.

Concrete Crack Repair & Caulking - After

Once the crack is clean and dry, a high-quality caulk is used to seal the crack against future plant growth.

How do you do concrete caulking?

First, the area is prepped and cracks are cleared of old caulk or debris. If the crack is larger than a ½ inch wide and 1 inch deep, then a backer rod is installed.

Then, the caulk is applied to the crack, slightly lower than the top of the concrete slab to minimize wear and tear from vehicle tires or foot traffic.

Once the caulk is applied, it is smoothed out and blended into the concrete texture with dry sand, then left to set. This time can vary depending on the product being used, but it is important to keep anyone from walking or driving over it until it is fully set.

Take a look at our DIY guide to driveway crack repair if you want to have a go at repairing your own concrete cracks.

Who is a good fit for concrete caulking?

Concrete caulking is a great fit for people who…

  • Want to preserve their concrete for as long as possible
  • Have existing breaks they do not want to worsen
  • Want to prevent their concrete from settling due to water erosion
  • Live in areas with multiple freeze-thaw cycles during winter

At the end of the day, concrete caulking is a way to preserve your concrete and help it stay looking its best for as long as possible. If this is something that sounds interesting to you, you may be a good fit for both concrete caulking and concrete cleaning and sealing.

Learn More

Want to know more about concrete caulking? Check out some of our Learning Center topics below:

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