Cracked and damaged concrete patios can take away from your enjoyment of your outdoor seating and entertaining areas. Before taking a jackhammer to the patio and starting over, use the following guide to determine whether your patio can be repaired by a skilled contractor.
Issue #1: Pitting
Pitting typically occurs from either age and weathering that has allowed moisture to get into the concrete, or from the use of salt-based ice melt products. In some cases, it is possible to repair minor pitting by removing the loose concrete material and applying a concrete patch. Keep in mind, the patched area will be visible because it isn't possible to match the aged patina of the old concrete to the new patch. You can disguise the patch by painting the concrete with a concrete-specific paint or stain product.
Issue #2: Level Cracks
Level cracks can occur from blunt force trauma or from expansion of the ground beneath the concrete due to temperature fluctuations. The good news is that the concrete is still level on both sides of the crack, so you can have them cleaned out and filled with concrete patching epoxy. The epoxy products are best because they have some give, so they will expand and contract with the concrete as temperatures fluctuate. Unfortunately, they are not invisible and they may not take paint or stain well. You can resurface over them though. This means you can have a thin veneer of fresh concrete laid over the patched concrete to create a smooth, evenly covered surface.
Issue #3: Uneven Cracks
These occur because the concrete settles unevenly, resulting in a surface higher on one side of the crack compared to the surface on the other side of the crack. Concrete contractors can create a ramp repair, which basically involves creating a ramp of concrete down from the higher side to the lower side of the crack to abolish the tripping hazard. This isn't attractive or generally recommended for a patio, though. Plus, further cracking may occur since uneven cracks are a sign of an improperly installed and compacted base. In this case, it is best to have the old patio torn out and a new base constructed before installing fresh concrete over the top.
Although you can purchase patching compounds at any home improvement store, it's a good idea to consult with a concrete professional like those at Hofmann Concrete Construction LLC if you have pits or cracks. They can help diagnose the underlying issue and make repairs that actually fix the problem instead of simply covering it up.