Concrete Patio Repair: 5 Ways to Improve Your Concrete Patio
Your patio is an escape to the outdoors. Whether it’s with a relaxing evening alone enjoying the nice weather, or a full-blown backyard barbeque with all of your neighbors, a patio extends your living space and lets you connect more with nature.
Many homeowners have backyard patios, but a lot of them become unusable over time due to a lack of maintenance or naturally-occurring damage, like settling or cracking, for example.
If this is the case for your patio, there are many things you can do to repair and improve it, beyond just cleaning up the landscaping and popping in some comfortable patio furniture.
At A-1 Concrete Leveling, we’ve been helping our customers repair and maintain their concrete patios for over thirty years, and in this time we’ve seen what can be the most effective for turning a tired patio into a place where you’re excited to relax and enjoy the company of family and friends.
This article will dive into each of those repair and maintenance options so that you can take back your concrete patio.
1. Level Any Uneven Concrete Slabs
One of the most common problems that face homeowners has to do with uneven, sunken, or lifted concrete slabs. Patios are no exception to this rule. Here at A-1 Concrete Leveling, we see and repair thousands of settling patios every year.
When the concrete that makes up your patio starts to settle or become out of level, it can create trip hazards, prevent patio furniture from sitting flat, or cause water to flow toward your home’s foundation.
To remedy this, you can have the settled areas of your patio lifted back into an even position with professional concrete leveling services. The concrete leveling process is a quick, convenient, and cost-effective way to restore sunken concrete anywhere around your home, including concrete patios.
2. Caulk Cracks
One surefire way to brighten up your patio is to fill in any of the cracks or breaks in the concrete. Beyond the unsightly weeds that often pop up through patio cracks, large gaps or breaks can create tripping hazards or prevent patio furniture from resting properly on the ground.
Removing any weeds, cleaning out dirt and debris, and making sure the cracks are filled with a close color-matching caulk can not only make your patio look and feel more inviting but will also help protect the concrete against future water damage and settling.
Caulking the gap where your concrete patio meets the side of your home can also help protect both your home’s foundation and your patio from water.
You can choose to caulk the cracks in your concrete patio yourself or hire a professional to do it for you. Just remember that if you plan to lift and level any settled parts of your patio, you’ll need to have that done before doing any caulking so that it doesn’t get damaged when the slabs are lifted.
3. Clean and Seal the Surface
If it’s been a while since you’ve cleaned off your patio, chances are the surface could use a pressure wash. Cleaning the surface with a high-powered pressure washer can remove built-up dirt, mold, and other stains.
Once your patio is clean, you can then protect it with a concrete sealer. Here at A-1, we recommend using a high-quality penetrating sealer that bonds with the concrete to create a hydrophobic water barrier.
This protects anything from penetrating into the concrete and causing damage to the patio, like mold, dirt, and water that causes the concrete to expand and break down during freeze-thaw cycles.
Depending on the look you’re going for, however, you might want to consider a different type of sealer. Penetrating sealers do not change the surface’s appearance or texture, but topical sealers, on the other hand, come in a variety of finishes and colors.
Cleaning and sealing your patio can be done as a DIY project, but sealing can be a little tricky to get right if you’ve never done it before. If you would rather try the DIY approach rather than hire professionals, be sure to watch and read many tutorials before getting started.
4. Remove Tree Roots That Are Lifting the Patio
Tree roots growing under and lifting up the patio is a common problem that many homeowners face. If the tree was planted too close to the concrete and the roots weren’t contained with a root barrier system, the roots can grow under the concrete and lift the slab up over time.
Unfortunately, if you’re faced with this problem, the only real solution is to cut back and remove the roots that are causing the concrete to lift. If you would like to keep the tree in place, make sure to install a root barrier so that they do not grow under the patio again.
The sooner you notice the problem and treat it, the better. As the roots have more time to grow and lift the concrete slab, the more damage can be done to your patio and the harder it will be to remove the roots.
5. Clean and Caulk Concrete Joints
Over time, concrete will almost certainly crack as a result of natural processes, like freeze-thaw cycles and the soil moving below it. Because of this, special joints are installed in strategic locations around large areas of concrete, like patios, to control where the concrete will crack or allow the concrete slabs to move freely and prevent cracking.
These joints serve a very important purpose in your concrete patio, but as time goes on, they can accumulate dust, dirt, and other debris. In fact, as cracks form within the joints, they make a great home for weeds and plants.
Cleaning out these joints, removing the weeds, and applying color-matched concrete caulk to seal them up can improve the look of your patio considerably. This, when paired with the crack repair and concrete cleaning/sealing mentioned earlier, can take your patio to the next level.
What Not to Do When Repairing Your Concrete Patio
There are a lot of ways to improve the look and functionality of your concrete patio, but there are some things that are better to avoid.
Although you will find many pages around the internet that recommend resurfacing your patio or patching missing chunks with special compounds, we generally recommend against doing this.
Adding cement-like compounds on top of already-cured concrete doesn’t work well because the new compound cannot bond properly to what’s already there.
While it may work temporarily, as your existing concrete and the new compound undergo freeze-thaw cycles and expansion and contraction with moisture and weather, they will end up crumbling away from each other over time.
Your Next Steps: Repairing Your Concrete Patio
You now know 5 ways that you can improve your patio and take back the relaxing, inviting space that you know it can be. With a little work, you’ll have an even, clean, and protected patio.
While many of the repair options listed here can be done yourself with a little elbow grease and know-how, you may want to consider hiring a professional to take care of it all for you.
Here at A-1 Concrete Leveling, we take pride in knowing that our customers’ homes are improved and enhanced with our concrete leveling, caulking, and cleaning and sealing services.
If you’d like to see what A-1’s services can do for your home or patio, click the link below to request a free onsite consultation and cost estimate!
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Andrew Gray and Keystone Foundation Repair do a fantastic for all structural problems. They are fast, easy to communicate with, and extremely thorough and fair.