By Tom Scalisi | Updated May 29, 2021 9:44 PM
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Concrete surfaces crack by nature. To underscore their brittle nature, specially designed joints placed in concrete help promote controlled cracking. But when a crack happens elsewhere in the surface of a walkway, driveway or patio, without the proper concrete repair, the surrounding concrete may begin to fall apart, too.
When you’re ready to fix those cracks in the concrete, you need the best concrete patch to handle the job. These compounds contain cement, polymers, and other additives to fill cracks and form strong bonds with concrete surfaces. The patches leave no trace: DIYers can tool them to blend in with the rest of the surface.
The best concrete patch for cracked concrete can take a deteriorated, unsafe surface and make it smooth and even again. But, before you can fix that worn concrete, there are a few points to consider when buying the best concrete patch. The following sections will outline the top considerations to keep in mind when shopping for the best concrete patch.
Unlike concrete mix, which is a blend of portland cement, gravel, and sand, concrete patch contains polymers and additives to make them stickier and more flexible. These patches come in the form of acrylic, vinyl, or an epoxy base. You can also use a straight mixture of concrete, but it might not adhere as well to the damaged surface.
Vinyl and latex are pretty similar. Both products bond well and create a waterproof barrier that keeps water out which prevents more cracking. However, for thinner layers, the flexibility of a latex patch may provide an advantage over an acrylic-based patch.
Epoxies consist of two parts: the resin (in this case, the cement-like mix) and a hardener. They dry quickly and form a durable, waterproof patch.
When you purchase a concrete patch, you’ll have a choice between a premixed compound (or “ready mix,” depending on the manufacturer) and a dry mix. These designations refer to whether the DIYer has to add water before using the product.
Premixed products are all about ease of use. They come in tubs of compound or squeeze tubes. The benefit is they’re ready to go as soon as you take the lid off. But users can’t adjust the thickness.
Dry mix is the opposite. Users have to mix these powders with water, which takes more time and can create a mess. But these mixes allow the user to dial in the perfect thickness, adding more water or more powder to suit their needs.
Some of the best concrete patch compounds work best for smaller cracks and thinner layers, while others better serve large areas or bigger chunks. Whether the crack is on the ground or in a wall makes a difference, too. Regardless of the repair, however, most patches dry harder than concrete.
For smaller cracks, an easy-to-apply, premixed compound in a tube may be all you need. For large chunks, some DIYers prefer a bag of dry mix they can fine-tune to the ideal thickness. Do understand that patch compound for walls is typically thicker than floor patch as it needs to stick to a vertical surface without running.
Most concrete patch compounds work both indoors and out. They’re waterproof, too. But be sure to check the manufacturer’s specifications for any temperature or weather guidelines. Some recommendations say not to apply the compound over or under certain temperatures or in wet weather. Check the product’s instructions to be sure.
Most concrete patches are easy to install. In most cases, DIYers can just trowel them onto the surface and smooth them into the right shape. It is important to remember that if there is an expansion joint involved (the specially designed joints between sections of concrete), the user must shape the concrete in such a way that it doesn’t block the joint. This will help with water runoff and ensure that any future cracking occurs within the joint, not the patch.
Cure times for concrete patches vary quite a bit. Small cracks might set to a firm consistency within a few minutes, while thicker patches might take an hour or two to harden.
While the best concrete patches should be hard, shopping for them doesn’t have to be. The following list includes some of the top products on the market. There’s something for nearly every application. Be sure to keep the above considerations in mind when comparing these products.
A heavy-duty product like Red Devil’s Pre-Mixed Concrete Patch is the way to go to fill large cracks and breaks. The 1-quart tub of patch is ready to go as soon as the lid is off, and it won’t shrink or crack as it dries.
Suitable for repairing concrete, masonry, brick, or block, it works both indoors and outdoors. The patch dries to a light concrete color, and the waterproof bond keeps the repair in place. For larger repairs, 1-gallon tubs are available as well.
Deep depressions in concrete surfaces require a product that will fill the void. Damtite’s Concrete Super Patch is just that product. DIYers can apply this patch formula in layers of up to an inch thick at a time to a total thickness of 3 inches. Then, large cracks and holes in concrete slabs and sidewalks will practically disappear.
This 7-pound pail includes 6 pounds of dry powder and 1 pint of bonding liquid. Users may adjust the mixture to their precise needs. Properly mixed, the compound smoothes over concrete sidewalks, driveways, and all types of masonry walls for a waterproof, shrink-proof fix. Damtite also serves for resurfacing up to 3 square feet of concrete in layers up to ¼-inch thick.
For more minor repairs, chunks, and chips that don’t require a large tub of patch, Quikrete’s Concrete Repair in a 5-ounce tube makes small repairs and patches simple. This premixed acrylic formula includes sand for a texture that matches the surrounding concrete. The color also blends in well with existing concrete.
Quikrete’s quick-drying patch forms a flexible bond, so the crack is unlikely to reappear. The formula also promotes long-term adhesion to create a lasting patch. Simply remove the cap, cut the end of the nozzle to the desired size, squeeze it onto the damaged area, and smooth it.
Patching damaged floors and horizontal concrete surfaces requires a workable mix like Henry’s Pre-Mixed Floor Patch. Specially designed for smoothing and leveling concrete floors, this premixed compound works in basements, commercial settings or on other damaged concrete floors both indoors and out. Since the product doesn’t require any mixing, it’s ready to go right away.
A gallon tub covers 16 to 20 feet of concrete or wood subfloor with a ⅛-inch layer or fills multiple cracks and missing chunks in thicker applications. Allow 2 to 3 hours to set.
Patching a hole in a vertical surface requires a product specifically designed for the job. Rust-Oleum’s Wall Surface Repair concrete patch is a two-part epoxy that users mix to form the patching compound. Once mixed, it stays in place while it dries on indoor or outdoor concrete surfaces in cracks up to ½-inch deep—a necessity for vertical repairs. The resulting durable, waterproof patch will not shrink or crack.
This epoxy-based patch features a gray color for blending with other cementitious surfaces. For other colors, it’s also ready for paint within 8 hours of application for a seamless repair in 1 day. The patch itself dries harder than concrete.
SIKA’s Sikacryl Ready-Mix Concrete Patch keeps things simple. This 1-quart bucket of premixed concrete patch doesn’t require any blending or mixing, so DIYers can get right to work without any dust or messy prep.
The textured formula blends well with other concrete surfaces, either vertical or horizontal, indoors or out. It does take up to 24-hours to cure, but once it does, it forms a tough, durable finish that will not shrink or crack.
Repairing large concrete surfaces with a thin layer of concrete patch might not get any easier than with Damtite’s Bonds-On Vinyl Concrete Patch. The vinyl-based formula forms a concrete patch layer that’s stronger than the actual concrete underneath.
This 12-pound container of dry mix combines with water to the user’s desired thickness to patch floors, walls, driveways, walkways or other concrete surfaces. Damtite’s Bonds-On Vinyl Concrete Patch repairs and resurfaces in layers as thin as 1/16 inch or as thick as 1/2 inch.
Have a few more questions about the best concrete patch? Here are answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about concrete patch. Check for answers to your questions below.
Concrete repairs are permanent, so it’s reasonable to expect 20 to 30 years from a patch job.
For dry mix patch, you have to mix it with water to the desired consistency. Premixed compounds don’t require any preparation.
Concrete patches generally promote adhesion, but there are a few additional steps you can take to make extra sure your patch stays put. Mixing a concrete adhesion promoter solution into the patch helps. Also, you can create a wetter mix and spread it over the repair, allowing it to cure. Once cured, it will promote better adhesion between the existing concrete and a thicker layer of patch.
You can use a standard concrete mix to patch a concrete foundation, but concrete patch is specially designed for those applications.
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