Patching a concrete driveway can be a time-consuming process unless you know the right way to do it.
There are lots of different methods to choose from, and the type of patching material you use will depend on your budget and what the current condition is.
While this may feel like a lot of work, it is not the case. You need proper tools and supplies combined with a couple of hours of free time to fulfill the job.
In this blog post, we’ll cover everything you need to know about how to patch concrete driveways, step by step.
Tools & Supplies Needed
- Hard Bristle Plastic Brush
- Power Washer
- Masonry Trowel
- Concrete Patch
- Concrete Mixing Tool
Gather Essentials for Repair
Prepare an area for repair tools by covering it with a tarp or plastic sheeting, as well as anything else you might need during your repair work: buckets for water and mixing patch, mixing tools, leveling utensils, trowel, power washer, etc. You might also want to have a broom and dustpan on hand so that you can effectively clean the surface before applying the patch.
Remove Any Loose Material From the Surface
Before you start the cleaning process, make sure you wear a protective mask to protect your lungs and safety goggles for eye protection.
Use a hard bristle plastic brush to scrub off any loose material from the surface of the driveway and remove all other debris. You can use your hands to get rid of any loose pebble as well.
Make sure to clean the surface thoroughly so that there remains no dust and debris. Leaving dust on the surface will make the bonding weak between the driveway and the patching material.
Power Wash the Concrete Surface
You’ll need to power wash the surface of your concrete driveway. Use a pressure washer and spray from all sides.
People using pressure washers for car cleaning will have an edge over the others as the process may take a bit of time before you start cleaning the surface without messing up the surroundings.
The goal is to remove both loose debris and any stains or mildew that may have accumulated on the concrete over time.
Then, let the driveway dry for a few hours (overnight is best). The surface should be clean of any dirt or debris so that it can bond well with your patching material.
Prepare the Concrete Patching Materials
Mix the concrete patching compound thoroughly according to package instructions. It may be helpful to mix batches as much as you need for a 15 to 20 minutes application period. This will help you to apply the patch without thinking much about starting the curing process before application.
The amount of water used will depend on the type of cement. It’s best to check this on the product label as different manufacturers come up with different compositions that require specific amounts of water. Water should never exceed these amounts as this could result in a weak mixture that cracks too easily.
It can take anywhere from 5 to 10 minutes for the concrete mix at room temperature to properly hydrate before being applied. Check its consistency by stirring it – which will cause any bubbles remaining in the bucket’s surface to rise – until they have disappeared.
Apply the Patching Compound
Apply the patching compound with a masonry trowel to cover the area. Use long, smooth strokes from left to right and front to back. The key is not using too much material; it should be about a centimeter thick when done correctly.
If you’re applying a self-leveling concrete crack sealer or similar product as your final step after the application of this first layer, then don’t apply anymore for now!
You will fill in those areas later on so they are level with one another once dry before proceeding onto that next step. Otherwise, if you’re going directly into the next layer immediately without allowing time to cure, the patch won’t stick for long.
Let the Surface Cure
The surface of the concrete should cure for a minimum amount of time specified on the product label before you can use the driveway normally.
This is typically around 24 hours for human traffic and three days to one week for vehicle traffic but the time varies based on climate and temperature conditions.
While curing, you should keep a close eye on the surface in the first 3 to 4 hours as things can get ruined within moments in that period if anything falls onto the surface or a bird finds the surface interesting.
I hope this article has helped you figure out how to patch concrete and make it a beautiful driveway again.
The key is making sure the surface is clean before application, keeping an eye on the curing process so that patches don’t get ruined by foreign particles or unwanted animals.
If the surface is not so damaged but showing hairline cracks or lost its shine, it may be a good idea to use concrete resurfacing materials instead of using patchers.