As a homeowner, damage to concrete surfaces or concrete foundations can be especially distressing. Many people believe that damage to concrete is disastrous and can lead to wildly expensive repairs reaching into the thousands of dollars. Fortunately, many options exist to repair concrete with cracks or other issues are not always catastrophically expensive to correct. Two common methods of concrete repair are epoxy injection and crack sealing. Both methods are useful under different circumstances, and they each offer a potentially cost-effective option to remediate your concrete.
Epoxy Injection Explained
Epoxy injection is a method of filling a concrete crack to restore structural integrity. As the name implies, an epoxy material is injected into a break, filling it and creating a structural bond. Epoxy injection should always be performed by a professional as this technique requires a significant amount of skill and experience to complete correctly. During the process, the outer layer of the crack is sealed so that epoxy can be injected under the surface to fill the gap. This repair technique provides a permanent fix, although its application may be limited in continually moist environments or in situations where the underlying issue has not been addressed.
Unsurprisingly, sealing a crack involves applying a sealant over the surface of the broken concrete. In general, two conventional methods are available: basic sealing and rout-and-seal. In both cases, the damage should be non-structural. Basic sealing applies in cases where no movement of the concrete is likely. In these cases, a sealant is applied directly over the crack, restoring the appearance of the concrete and preventing moisture from infiltrating below the surface. For rout-and-seal repairs, a groove is first cut into the concrete to accommodate some movement between the two surfaces.
Which Method is Right For You?
When a contractor evaluates your damaged concrete, they will be attempting to answer several questions. These include:
- Is the damage structural?
- Is there likely to be any movement?
- Can the underlying cause of the crack be determined?
- Is there any ongoing moisture problem?
Since sealing is only intended to restore the appearance of concrete and prevent moisture infiltration, any structural damage must be repaired using other methods. If the damage is non-structural, then your contractor will evaluate the concrete and the underlying cause of the damage to determine the best sealing method to provide a lasting fix.
For structural damage, epoxy injection is usually the better choice. Since epoxy generally cannot be used on wet surfaces, however, any on-going moisture issues must first be addressed. Locating the underlying cause of the problem is even more critical with structural repairs, and it is vital to solve these problems to prevent cracks from re-forming.