8 Tips to Prevent Concrete Cracking

8 Tips to Prevent Concrete Cracking

What are some ways to prevent concrete from cracking?

  1. Reduce water content in the concrete mix.
  2. Use quality materials and mix them properly.
  3. Install control joints in the concrete.
  4. Use proper finishing techniques.
  5. Cure the concrete properly.
  6. Avoid impacts made by heavy loads.
  7. Avoid extreme temperature differences.
  8. Apply high-quality cement sealer yearly.

Concrete is one of the most durable and long-lasting materials you can use for your floor, but there is a very meticulous process behind it. This process, when done correctly, can maximize the lifespan of your concrete floor and minimize cracks.

Cracks in concrete are both a safety hazard and a growing inconvenience. When left to grow, they can cause permanent damage to your floor.

The good news is there are ways to prevent concrete cracks, both during and after installation. Here are our tips to prevent concrete cracking.

Reduce water content in the concrete mix

It doesn’t take a lot of water for concrete to reach its maximum strength. Unfortunately, sometimes workers mix in more water at the job site to make the concrete easier to install. The problem with this, however, is that it greatly reduces the strength of your concrete, much like when you dilute a powder in a liquid.

Concrete shrinks as it hardens due to the evaporation of excess mixing water. If there was too much water in the mix, to begin with, the shrinkage will be much greater than it should, causing forces in the concrete to pull apart.

Use quality materials and mix them properly

Use quality materials and mix them properly

We cannot stress enough the importance of using good-quality concrete if you want your floor to be resistant to cracks. Additionally, the poured concrete needs to be an adequate amount because a too-thin layer is almost sure to crack. 

Concrete with good-quality aggregates, however, can produce lower shrinkage. Avoid concrete with bad aggregates like calcium chloride.

Install control joints in the concrete

Functioning as pre-planted cracks, control joints allow concrete to crack only in the places you want it to. They should be located at regular intervals to adjust for shrinkage. An engineer or concrete expert would know where to place these, so make sure you consult one before placing your control joints.

Use proper finishing techniques

Finishing concrete takes both skill and timing. Use proper techniques and time your finishing operations accurately. Often, flat floating and flat troweling are recommended. Try not to overwork your concrete, especially with vibration. 

You’ll know when overworking has happened because bleed water rises to the surface—if this happens, don’t finish the concrete yet and wait for the bleed water to evaporate.

Cure the concrete properly

Cure the concrete properly

Concrete needs a few days to fully cure. If it dries too fast, there is a high possibility it will crack. The chemical reaction going on wherein the concrete goes from liquid to solid state is called hydration, and as its name suggests, it requires water. 

You need to cure the concrete properly by making sure the necessary water is available and soaking the curing concrete.

Avoid impacts made by heavy loads

Concrete floors can crack under the pressure of too-heavy loads, especially if these loads are dropped or otherwise cause a big impact. So avoid dropping heavy things on your floor, or overbearing it with too much weight.

Avoid extreme temperature differences

Even post-curing, concrete expands and shrinks slightly in extreme temperatures. That’s why areas of the floor exposed to either too-hot or too-cold temperatures often crack. To avoid this, assess the area for extremely hot or extremely cold temperatures. If you can’t do anything about the placement of the floor vis-a-vis heat or cold sources, try covering it up or applying cement sealer.

Apply high-quality cement sealer yearly

Regardless of extreme temperature exposure, you can apply cement sealer once a year or so. Applying an acrylic silicone sealer on your cement floor prevents the cement from being directly exposed to the weather, water, grease and oil, and abrasion. As a bonus, it also brings out concrete’s natural beauty.

Key Takeaway

We’ve shared some tips to prevent concrete cracking, but the truth is, some cracks just can’t be avoided. They could be a result of careless workmanship, but they could also just be because of time and wear.

The good thing is that even when your concrete floors have cracks, it’s not the end of your flooring. We offer concrete repair here at Flooring Solutions, and we’re proud to say that we can get your floor looking just like new with our repairing solutions. For floors, in particular, we offer crack repair, epoxy injection, and sealants.

For more information about flooring solutions, check out the rest of our blog, or contact us today for a quote!