Concrete is one of the strongest and most durable building materials. If it’s cured in the proper manner it can resist cracks for a really long time. However, if it’s not installed properly cracks can begin appearing after some time. The most common mistakes made during the installation of concrete is mixing excess water, which considerably reduces its strength. It also results in shrinkage, which in turn can lead to cracks.
Concrete also expands and contracts like any other material due to hot and cold weather, respectively. The ground under the concrete surface does the same. This can result in cracks appearing on the surface as well. It also needs to be mentioned that concrete has a weight limit. So, if heavy objects fall on concrete surfaces, it can cause a crack to form.
Unlike certain other popular building materials such as wood and metal, cracks in concrete can be repaired and restored to "just-like-new" condition. When wood starts rotting, nothing can be done. It needs to be replaced. Similarly, when metal begins corroding, it needs to be replaced. This is where concrete is different from most other building materials.
There are a variety of products available that fill up and repair cracks in concrete. The best concrete crack filler to meet your specific requirements depends on a number of factors.
This liquid cement or concrete crack filler is ideal for narrow cracks on the deck, in the basement, etc. The ergonomically designed filler easily reaches into narrow cracks and saturates the space created by the crack. You don’t have to bother about proportioning or mixing, as this liquid cement crack filler is ready to use.
PC Concrete is a well-known name in this industry. This epoxy adhesive paste for concrete crack repair is one of the best concrete crack fillers available in the market. It lends considerable strength and durability to the concrete and doesn’t break off with regular wear and tear.
The Bluestar concrete crack filler is really easy to apply. It's perfect for those who prefer the do-it-yourself (DIY) route. You do not require any special tools to apply it. The bottle cap is in the shape of a nozzle that can precisely apply the filler into the crack. The filler can be used on all types of concrete surfaces, including steps, basement, garage floors, patio, and driveway.
The Dalton Latex-ite PLI-STIX is ideal for filling and repairing wider cracks in concrete (or asphalt) surfaces. Liquid and gel-based concrete crack fillers are sometimes not good enough for wide cracks. In such scenarios, the PLI-STIX can do the job. It does involve some preparation time and needs to be applied carefully, but does an excellent job of filling up and repairing cracks.
The Rust-Oleum Concrete Patch and Repair lends an elegant and smooth finish to the concrete surface. Just because a crack has formed in a concrete surface, it doesn't have to look ugly. Since it's quite easy to mix and apply, anyone can use it to repair cracks on concrete surfaces in their property. You do not need to purchase any fancy devices or tools to apply this product, which helps you stay within budget.
As the name suggests, this concrete crack sealer is specifically made to deal with hairline cracks. People often ignore hairline cracks thinking it's not a major issue. But these hairline cracks eventually turn into deeper and wider cracks. Plus, a hairline crack is enough for moisture to seep into the concrete surface and hurt. Hence, hairline cracks should be dealt with immediately and this product can help you do just that.
The Damtite SuperPatch effectively fills and repair cracks in concrete surfaces. It's a high-strength material and sticks to the sides of the crack. It's fairly simple to apply and even a first-time user will not face a problem. Damtite is an over six-decade-old company and is known for producing high-quality products.
This hydraulic cement sets and hardens in under 5 minutes, which makes it ideally suited to tackle concrete cracks that have resulted in leaks. It effectively prevents water leaks, even if the water is flowing out at high pressure. It can be used to repair cracks on floors or walls. DRYLOK Fast Plug is quite easy to use, which means even a novice can apply it himself or herself and save the money you would have paid to hire a handyman.
Red Devil is a well-known family-owned business and has been around for nearly 150 years. This pre-mixed concrete patch does a great job of fixing concrete cracks. It can be used to repair holes in concrete surfaces as well. It blends in with the concrete color and doesn't leave an ugly mark either.
The Sashco Slab sealant is one of the best concrete crack repair sealants you can buy. It delivers high-quality concrete adhesion and keeps cracks sealed. It doesn't allow moisture to seep through the crack, which increases the lifespan of the concrete surface. While the Sashco Slab is a bit on the expensive end, it's completely worth it.
Let’s take a look at the factors that will help you pick the best concrete crack filler.
The width of the crack determines which type of concrete crack filler will work best. There are specific products available for hairline cracks and deep, wide cracks. The consistency of the crack filler varies, depending on which type of crack it’s designed to repair. The types of containers the crack fillers are sold in also varies, depending on the width of the crack. For hairline and narrow cracks, the crack filler is available in tubes or bottles with thin nozzles, which makes it easy to apply.
Ideally, you should select a product that dries and cures quickly. However, you should keep in mind that if the product dries too quickly, it could affect the quality of binding. The curing time varies from product to product and depends on its formulation.
Unless you’re experienced in repairing concrete cracks, the ease of use should be an important factor while selecting the best concrete crack filler to meet your requirements. Some crack fillers need a lot of prep, including mixing and heating. If the proportion of the mix is not accurate, it could affect the quality of the repair. Ideally, you want to pick a tube, but if that’s not available you should look for pre-mixed products.
As mentioned earlier, concrete naturally expands and contracts due to hot and cold weather. Once the crack is repaired, the concrete will continue to exhibit the same characteristic. Hence, it’s important to pick a crack filler that’s flexible and mimics the expansion and contraction of concrete. This will ensure that the crack doesn’t open up once again, as the crack filler will continue to cover the entire crack.
Concrete crack sealants are specifically made to fill up and repair thin cracks up to half an inch. The consistency of crack sealants is such that it can be used only on horizontal surfaces such as patios, garage floors, driveways, etc. It’s typically sold in bottles with a pinpoint tip, which makes it easy to apply directly into the crack and doesn’t create a mess. Plus, crack sealants are self-leveling, which means it perfectly fills up the crack and doesn’t need to be smoothened to match the surrounding surface.
Make sure you shake the bottle well before applying the sealant.While applying it to deep cracks, it’s advisable to fill the crack partially with sand and then apply the sealant.
This is similar to regular caulk and is usually applied using a caulk gun. It’s latex based and can be applied in multiple layers, though you need to make sure each layer is dry before applying the next. This is completely different from how regular caulk is applied.
Some concrete repair caulks are available in tubes that can be used to directly apply to the crack from the tube. This is meant for narrow cracks up to half an inch as well. Plus, it’s typically similar in color to concrete. So, it blends into the surface after drying. One of the biggest differences between a crack sealant and repair caulk is that the latter can be used to repair cracks on both vertical and horizontal surfaces.
Quick-setting cement is another type of concrete crack filler. It’s used for cracks that are between half an inch and one inch in with. It needs to be mixed with water to form a paste, which is then applied into the crack using a putty knife. In some cases, the quick-setting cement needs to be mixed with a bonding liquid to slow down the curing process, which ensures that the repair is stronger and lasts longer. It’s also used to rebuild chipped portions of concrete structures such as slabs, stairs, and curbs.
Hydraulic cement is specifically meant for concrete cracks that have resulted in a leak. It has a very quick setting time, which is essential to plug leaking cracks and holes in concrete surfaces. Typically, hydraulic cement is available in powder form, which needs to be mixed with water to form a flexible dough.
This dough is pressed into the crack by hand and within a few minutes, it’s set. Any excess dough can be scraped off with a trowel. It can be used to mend concrete cracks on both vertical and horizontal surfaces.
Concrete crack patches are available both in the pre-mixed form and dry cement powder. The pre-mixed variety consists of cement and a polymer resin bonding agent, while the powder variety needs to be mixed with water or a specific bonding liquid. It adds a significant amount of strength to the crack. Typically, patching compounds are used for shallow cracks. The process of applying it in a crack is similar to applying regular cement. You use a trowel to push it into the crack and smooth it over the top.
Each of these products has its own set of pros and cons. So, there isn’t one answer to the questions, which is the best concrete crack filler for your specific requirements? If you look at these products through the lens of the factors mentioned earlier in this article, you will be able to easily identify the right one.
While the price wasn’t mentioned as one of the factors, it is an important consideration as well. A high-priced product isn’t necessarily the best. However, if a few extra dollars means that the crack is repaired efficiently and lasts a long time, then spend those few extra bucks.