Nothing lasts forever, and the same is true of your concrete floor or slab. Concrete may be a very durable material, but even concrete is prone to cracks and leaking. The most common problems occur where the floor meets the joint of the wall.
Moisture finds a way to seep through and can cause damage you may not notice for some time. Some of these leaks are easier to spot after a heavy rainstorm or snow melt. Most of these cracks can be fixed up, and although it is not an easy job, you can do your cement floor repair yourself.
Avoid the Quick Fix
When dealing with cement floor repair, avoid the quick fix, as this will only result in you having to do the job twice. Not only that, you might end up making more of a mess when you repair the crack or leak a second time, taking away from the overall clean look of cement flooring.
Caulking, while good for so many other home repairs, will not work for cement floor repair. Concrete is a porous material, and while you may temporarily stop the leak or fill the crack, there is still the area surrounding the damage where moisture will eventually seep in again and destroy the seal you have created.
One type of temporary fix is hydraulic cement. Hydraulic cement is a type of cement that sets and hardens when the cement compound chemically reacts to water. The problem with hydraulic cement is that it will not bond well with concrete. Concrete, even after it has set, still retains the ability to expand and shrink, depending on the temperature and climate.
Hydraulic cement, on the other hand, sets and becomes stiff. With the concrete constantly moving around this rigid line of hydraulic cement, it is only a matter of time before the two separate and you end up with leaks, cracks, and yet another cement floor repair to do.
Getting Down To Business
Treat the area with a type of deep-penetrating sealant that will fill in cracks and help to strengthen the floor from future cracks. At this stage, the cracks you have in your floor will work to your advantage for your cement floor repair.
The cracks will allow the deep sealer to seep further into the concrete. A good deep sealer will also work to close up hairline cracks you might not be aware of and, unlike hydraulic cement, the sealant will expand or contract with the concrete.
There is also something called â€œself-leveling polyurethaneâ€, which requires some elbow grease. Before you apply the polyurethane, route out the crack with a hand-held grinder to a depth of ½ inch deep.
Next, fill the crack with the self-leveling polyurethane. As the material sinks into the crack, it will levels itself out, just like the name promises. Several applications may be required before the crack is completely filled and your cement floor repair is complete.
High Traffic Areas
Areas that require more surface strength might have to be dealt with differently. For cement floor repair of high traffic areas, use epoxy to fill the cracks. Epoxy is stronger than concrete, but it is flexible enough to move as the concrete moves. Be careful to choose the right epoxy for your cement floor, as some epoxies will not have the flexibility your concrete floor needs.