Long Crack in Concrete Porch
LESLIE: We’ve got Mike in Delaware on the line who needs some help with a front porch that’s cracking up. What’s going on?
MIKE: The crack’s about 5 feet long. They’re anywhere from about 1/8-inch wide to 3/8-inch wide at some points. They’re absolutely not straight. They formed probably just a month after the porch was poured. Had the greatest guy do my basement. It’s perfect. It’s still perfect. We’ve been here like 20 years. But the porch cracked instantaneously, so evidently he was sick that day.
TOM: Yeah, it sounds like it cracked from shrinking. I mean it just might have been how the concrete was that day. Who knows? But it’s been like that for 20 years?
MIKE: It’s been like that for, yeah, about that. Pretty close.
TOM: So you just want a way to kind of spruce up the space. Is the porch fully exposed or is it under a roof?
MIKE: Well, it’s under a roof but it’s not closed in.
TOM: So, you can use an epoxy patching compound on those cracks to fill them in. And then you’re going to have to decide how you want to finish the porch beyond that. You could use an epoxy paint. That’s a perfect application for it.
MIKE: I have RESCUE IT!.
TOM: Well, that’s a different type of paint. That’s used for – to fill in old, weathered surfaces that are cracked and worn, wood and concrete. I think it’ll work for that. The one thing about RESCUE that has my – I’m a little concerned about – is it’s not rated for any surface that an automobile can go on. And so, that means it probably doesn’t have the same adhesion that, say, an epoxy paint would. So, just a little concerned about the adhesive qualities of it. But it’s a good product; it’s a good brand.
MIKE: And that was part of my reason for the call. I was wondering – the directions are not fantastic on the can. Should I be etching the cement before I apply it?
TOM: Yeah, I think that you do have to do a really good job prepping it for a product like that. And in fact, even for epoxy paint, there are special solutions that help you do a really good, deep clean on that concrete surface. And then it’s also going to be equally important that you let it dry really, really well. Because you don’t want to put any paints on surfaces that are damp or moist, because it will impact its adhesion.
MIKE: So do I need to actually enclose the porch in plastic for a time?
TOM: No, I don’t think so. Just as long as you have decent weather.
LESLIE: Yeah. But you do need to make sure that the concrete is dry. I know they usually recommend doing a test where you tape a piece of plastic down over a patch of concrete. And I think you leave it for a day – I’m not sure – 12 hours? Something like that. But if you peel it back and there’s any dampness on the underside, from condensation on the underside of the plastic, then it’s a no-go; you’ve got to let it dry out more. If it comes out dry, then you can go for it.
The other thing I know with RESCUE IT! is that you have to make sure that if it’s a ¼-inch crack or less, that you go in with a brush first and sort of dab it into the cracks and the crevices until it’s filled. And anything that’s deeper or bigger, you’re going to want to fill with some sort of patching compound. Because otherwise – like I’m just guessing that it’s some sort of hyper-rubberized paint, so it’s just kind of – stick over and into the crack. And that’s why when they’re saying, “Don’t drive on it,” – because I think it would have too much movement and cause it to stretch out. So anything that’s bigger than a ¼-inch, you’re going to have to fill those before you go ahead and do it.
MIKE: Yeah, that’s been very helpful. Thank you.
TOM: Alright. Well, good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.