When to Repair or Replace Concrete

As one of the most resilient and durable materials available, concrete has a lengthy lifespan of 50 years or more.  However, even concrete has its limits under certain conditions.  Inclement weather, freezing and thawing cycles of the earth, and normal wear and tear can all contribute to the cracking or disrepair of a concrete surface.

But, how do you know if concrete should be repaired or replaced?  The list below will help you determine the best option for your situation.

When to Repair Concrete

Cracked Concrete: Minor concrete cracks are a common type of issue when concrete is first cured and can form as the ground shifts and settles.  To prevent water from seeping in and creating a more significant problem when the ground freezes, you should ensure that cracks get repaired as soon as possible. 

Blistering Concrete: Blistering occurs when concrete gets poured and the surface dries too quickly, causing air and water to become trapped before they can rise to the surface.  The concrete can become less stable and more susceptible to further damage during the winter months.

Discolouration: Too much calcium chloride, low-quality materials, incorrect or inconsistent mixing, and environmental conditions can contribute to concrete discolouration.  Concrete is typically light grey, while discoloured concrete can range from beige to brown.

Broken or Crumbling Concrete: As concrete weakens, breaking and crumbling can occur, especially on driveways where vehicles and inclement weather get thrown into the mix.  If the remainder of the concrete is still in good condition, then repairing broken areas should extend the life of the concrete.

When to Replace Concrete

Large Potholes: Potholes are a well-known and common annoyance.  While city crews may be able to fill a pothole, a pothole on a driveway or in a backyard is another story.  Large potholes can further weaken the concrete, creating instability and additional damage. 

Large Cracks: When cracks have become too deep and significant to repair with a sealant, it’s advisable to replace the concrete before more issues arise.

Uneven or Sinking Concrete: Uneven or sinking concrete can be caused by a poorly levelled subgrade, frost damage, or underground water that shifts the foundation.  Concrete that has dropped more than 8 inches should get replaced.