How to Prevent Concrete From Cracking
Concrete is known for its durability and beauty, but it can crack if not handled correctly. To ensure a long-lasting and crack-free concrete surface, proper preparation is key. Here’s how you can prevent concrete cracking:
Understand Why Concrete Cracks
Concrete cracks due to factors like plastic shrinkage, settlement, and drying shrinkage. Plastic shrinkage occurs when the surface dries too quickly, leading to separation and cracks. Settlement cracks happen when the ground beneath shifts, often due to poorly compacted foundations. Drying shrinkage is natural as concrete cures and water evaporates, causing stresses.
Preventing Plastic Shrinkage
To prevent plastic shrinkage, keep the concrete surface damp. Cover it with plastic or burlap, especially on windy, hot days and in direct sunlight. Water the finished concrete lightly and continue for 24 hours to slow down curing, creating a more durable surface.
Address Settlement Issues
Compacting the base properly after installing road base or structural fill is crucial. Poorly compacted foundations can lead to cracks. Avoid excessive water around the installation, which can create voids under the concrete. Also, don’t plant trees too close, as their roots can cause the concrete to heave.
Manage Drying Shrinkage
During the curing phase, concrete naturally shrinks as water evaporates. To guide cracking, use control joints, creating weak spots that help control where cracks occur. Proper preparation of the base and investing time in finishing are essential to achieve a flawless finish.
Supervise the Installation Process
Whether you hire professionals or do it yourself, supervision is vital. Even without expertise, ensure the concrete is level, lines are straight, and forms are correctly sloped. Concrete installation might be an art, but with a basic understanding, you can ensure the job is done right.
Cesar’s Concrete was created after our owner saw the need for a new breed of Concrete Company in the industry – one who operates with strong moral principles and knows the ins and outs of the business; ensuring customers a beautiful, lasting project. We specialize in all types of residential concrete patio in Longmont!