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How to Repair Cracks in Your Concrete Driveway in Adelaide

March 11, 2024

Thinking about how to repair cracks in your concrete driveway in your home in Adelaide? Those annoying cracks always seem to come out when we least expect it. Yeah, and our crazy weather swings and that intense sunshine can really do a number on concrete, leaving you with a bit of an eyesore and maybe even a tripping hazard right outside your door.

You’ve probably seen a bunch of quick fixes online but we’re going to dive a bit deeper here. We want to share some insider tips and not-so-common tricks that’ll give you a more solid fix, something that’ll last way beyond just a season.

So, let’s get into it and sort out those cracks, making your driveway look as good as new and ready to take on whatever Adelaide’s weather throws at it next!

Why Adelaide Driveways Crack

Alright, let’s break this down into something a bit more digestible.

First up, the weather. Adelaide’s got this crazy dance going on with super hot summers hitting around 29°C and then dipping to mild winters, averaging about 9°C. It’s like concrete’s worst nightmare because it expands with the heat and shrinks when it cools down, leading to those pesky cracks. And then there’s the impact of climate change on Australia’s infrastructures as a whole which speeds up any damage your driveway may have sustained.

Then, there’s the ground your home’s sitting on. Adelaide’s got a whole mix of soils, from clay that swells up after rain to sandy stuff that drains quickly. This means the ground under your driveway is moving around more than a kid on a sugar rush, stressing out your concrete.

And trees – they’re great for shade and look nice, but their roots can be a real headache for your driveway. They grow underneath and push up, causing cracks.

Understanding Crack Types

Now, onto the cracks themselves.

You’ve got the skinny ones, hairline cracks, which are thin and might not seem like a big deal but can turn into a problem if ignored. Then there are the big guys, structural cracks, wider than 3mm, that scream for immediate attention before they mess with your home’s foundation.

And spalling cracks, it’s where chunks of concrete start falling off, and you start seeing the steel bars inside – definitely not a good look or safe.

Long cracks on a white concrete driveway before repairing with concrete driveway techniques

The How-To

Disclaimer: This guide is for hairline cracks. Anything bigger, and you might want to call in the pros.

First Things First

  • Safety Gear:

    Don’t skimp on this. Gloves, safety glasses, and a dust mask are your best friends here.

  • Check the Crack:

    Whip out your ruler and see how big we’re talking. If it’s less than 3mm, you’re in the clear for a DIY job. Anything bigger, and it’s time to hit up a pro.

Your Shopping List

Essential Tools and Equipment

  • Wire Brush:

    For cleaning and removing loose debris from the crack.

  • Scraper:

    To remove any remaining dirt or vegetation from the crack.

  • Trowel or Putty Knife:

    For smoothing and levelling the crack filler.

  • Caulking Gun (optional):

    For applying the crack filler if it comes in a cartridge.

  • Dustpan and Broom:

    For cleaning up debris after preparation.

Materials

  • High-Quality Concrete Crack Filler:

    Choose one suitable for Adelaide’s climate and crack width (consult product information).

  • Concrete Sealant:

    Select a sealant specifically designed for Adelaide’s climate and concrete surfaces.

  • Backer Rod (Optional):

    This foam rope provides support for deeper cracks before applying the filler.

  • Rubbing Alcohol (Optional):

    Can be used to clean the crack surface for better adhesion (ensure the chosen filler is compatible).

Additional Considerations

  • Shop Rag:

    Useful for wiping away spills or excess material.

  • Mixing Bucket and Mixing Stick (if needed):

    If the crack filler requires mixing.

  • Drop Cloths:

    Protect surrounding areas from spills or splatters.

  • Eye protection:

    Consider safety goggles if using a hammer or chisel for deeper crack cleaning.

Now, Repair Time!

1. Prepare the Crack

Grab a wire brush and scraper to clear out any loose bits, dirt, or stray plants. If the crack is very thin, you might want to gently widen it with a hammer and chisel for a better filler grip – just make sure to protect your eyes. 

After that, a quick wipe with rubbing alcohol (if it’s compatible with your filler) will get rid of any lingering dust or residue, but let it dry completely before moving on.

Optional: For cracks that are a bit on the deep side (over 5mm), consider pressing a backer rod into the gap. This helps support the filler and makes sure it stays put.

2. Filling the Crack

When it’s time to fill the crack, mix up your crack filler according to the instructions. If it comes in a cartridge, pop it into your caulking gun. 

Fill the crack generously, making sure the filler gets all the way down, but be careful not to overdo it. A trowel or putty knife is perfect for smoothing the surface and scraping away any extra filler.

Optional: If you’re aiming for a super smooth finish, you might want to check the filler with a level to make sure it’s even with the rest of your driveway.

3. Clean Up and Cure

Any spills or messes can be quickly cleaned up with a shop rag. Give the filler a good 24 to 48 hours to cure and harden properly.

4. Crack Sealing

The final step is sealing the crack with a concrete sealant that’s up for dealing with Adelaide’s weather. Apply it with a brush or another applicator, covering the filled crack and a bit of the surrounding area for good measure. Let the sealant dry fully, which usually takes about a day.

Once everything’s dry, clean up your tools and materials, and take a step back to admire your handiwork. Your driveway is now back in business, crack-free and looking great!

Medium-sized suburban home with a well-maintained concrete driveway thanks to routine concrete driveway repairs

A Few Extra Hints

Pick a day when Adelaide’s weather is just right – not scorching hot and not freezing cold. A bit of moisture can go a long way, so consider dampening the crack slightly before filling it for better adhesion. 

Not keen on smoothing out the filler? A self-levelling filler could be exactly what you need for an effortless fix. 

And if you’re dealing with a particularly deep crack, don’t forget to tuck a foam rope, known as a backer rod, into it before you fill. This gives the filler the support it needs.

And here’s a pro tip: Stay vigilant and keep an eye on your driveway. Dealing with cracks early on can save you from much bigger problems later. It might also be a good idea to have a professional check things out every now and then, just to ensure everything’s in top shape.

Final Thoughts

Your driveway in Adelaide needs the best care it can get. If you can pay attention to any early signs of cracking, then you’re already ahead of the game. All you need is to follow the guide we provided and you’re set to keep your precious Adelaide driveway staying its best. And if the cracks grow more than you can handle, Driveway Doctor is always here to help you out.

 


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