A chipped and pitted sidewalk or driveway on your property isn't just unattractive; it's also a nuisance. The small holes and loose gravel can pose a tripping hazard, and pieces of broken concrete that get into the lawn can damage lawnmower blades. The following guide can help you both avoid pitting problems as well as repair any that have already occurred.
Common Causes of Pitting
Pitting is often seen in areas where ice removal products that contain salt are used. A chemical reaction occurs that degrades the concrete surface so that more water penetrates. As the water refreezes, the concrete breaks and pits form.
Improper mixing or curing can also lead to pits. If the concrete mix ratios are off, the resulting pavement may be weaker and more prone to crumbling. Poor curing, such as insufficient moisture being present as the concrete sets up, can also lead to a weak top layer that crumbles and pits.
Patching is an option is the damage is only on the surface of the concrete and if appearance isn't an issue. Any patch used will likely be lighter in color and may have a different texture when compared to the existing concrete, so it will be noticeable. Surface-only damage is important because if the damage goes deeper, such as if there are deep cracks, the patch won't last since the entire structure of the paved area is weakened.
The area to be patched must be cleaned first so that there is no loose debris left on the pavement. Then, the patching compound will be spread over the damaged area. Finally, the patch is smoothed and leveled before it dries.
When to Replace
For severe damage or areas where appearance matters, replacement may be necessary. You can replace the entire paved area or just the damaged section, but keep in mind that the concrete colors between the new and old sections may not match. Dying or painting the concrete is one method to camouflage color differences, but you will want to use a product made for exterior concrete use to ensure it doesn't fade or wear off.
Another option is to have the concrete resurfaced. A paving contractor will grind down the top surface of the concrete, which removes the damage and creates a roughened base for better adhesion. Fresh concrete or even asphalt is then applied over this base. The result looks like a new concrete installation but without the effort and expense of full removal and installation.
Contact a residential paving company like New England Paving for more help.