Practical concrete and asphalt maintenance tips

August 28, 2015

Leave concrete and asphalt installation for the experts, but maintain and repair concrete and asphalt yourself. Here are a few practical tips.

Practical concrete and asphalt maintenance tips

New life for old slabs

  • Excavating an old concrete slab and installing a new one is expensive.
  • A cheaper option is to cover the existing surface with a decorative layer of concrete.
  • Search "concrete resurfacing" to find a professional who can liven up your old slab.

Repairing steps

  • Use a cold chisel and club hammer to break away loose concrete and square up rough edges.
  • Set up some timber formwork to put your patch into.
  • Dampen the area, then brush on a bonding agent.
  • Fill with patching concrete and smooth.
  • Run a stiff broom over the surface of your patch to roughen it before it sets.

Fix the flake

  • For areas of flaking concrete, first break up the surface with some light swings from a club hammer.
  • The weakened areas will sound hollow when tapped.
  • Scrub the exposed surface with a wire brush and rinse with water.
  • Once it's dry, apply a bonding agent and patching concrete, and smooth with a steel or wooden trowel.

Seal the slab

  • A concrete slab with a slightly powdery surface can be fixed with the application of a chemical sealer.
  • First, clean the concrete using a wire brush, scrubbing brush, pressure washer or vacuum cleaner, and possibly a degreaser.
  • Leave the concrete to dry.
  • Next, apply a coat of chemical sealer with a large brush.

Fill when necessary

  • Hairline cracks in concrete can be ignored.
  • These cracks usually follow the lines of the contraction joints between sections.
  • For bigger cracks use a concrete sealant or filler.

Hold back the rust

  • Metal railings and fasteners expand as they rust, causing the concrete surrounding them to chip or flake off.
  • To reduce the problem, periodically seal the joint with a cement-based sealant where metal meets concrete.

Breaking-up made easy

  • Locate gas and water pipes before you start breaking up an old concrete slab.
  • Rent a concrete breaker to make the job easier – one with vibration damping will be less tiring to use and you won't get "vibration white finger."
  • Wear ear and eye protection, work gloves and steel-toed footwear.

Keep these practical tips in mind to help you better repair concrete and asphalt.

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