Asked on Jun 04, 2012

How can I salvage a crumbling, cracked 24x24" triangle shaped concrete patio without tearing it out?

Denise H
by Denise H

15" deep, but not solid concrete, was packed full of dirt, rocks, etc as fill. Needs to be budget-friendly, maybe DIY perhaps. Was built by my Dad in the 80's when he owned the home. How do I fix the cracked concrete patio?

how can i salvage a crumbling cracked 24x24 triangle shaped concrete patio without, crumbling step corner
crumbling step corner
how can i salvage a crumbling cracked 24x24 triangle shaped concrete patio without, another section of same step grows weeds out of it
another section of same step, grows weeds out of it
how can i salvage a crumbling cracked 24x24 triangle shaped concrete patio without, outside back door
outside back door
how can i salvage a crumbling cracked 24x24 triangle shaped concrete patio without, long crack from patio door across length of patio
long crack from patio door across length of patio
how can i salvage a crumbling cracked 24x24 triangle shaped concrete patio without, railing has to go as well wrought iron just not my style would like stone planter wall around this instead
railing has to go as well...wrought iron just not my style, would like stone planter wall around this instead.
  18 answers
  • Susan S Susan S on Jun 04, 2012
    EEEEEEWWWWW - Denise, you got BIG PROBLEMS don't you??? All I can offer is sympathy but I know when a few of our pro's see this the cavalry will ride to the rescue!!! ;~)

  • This is a typical 60's style construction type house patio. They constructed the walls out of block filled in the center with gravel and what ever else was laying around then put a few inches of cement on the top. Your going to need to tear it all out. Even if you could coat over this mess, it would not be to long before the new would end up like the old You could consider putting pavers in however. You would still need to demo the cement then using some additional gravel placed on top, compact it and install the stone pavers over the top. For the edges where it has crumbled, you would be better served if you constructed a new wall a few inches away from the old and then back fill and make the patio a bit bigger over all. Ideally it should all be torn out and everything should be started over again. It is a lot of work, but done correctly It would last many years. Hard on cash, remove the patio and install a new wood deck in its place.

    • See 1 previous
    • @Marion Nesbitt The issue with patching is its a short lived repair. The primary reason why this failed is because the base of the porch was poorly constructed in the first place. While a patch may last a few years, sooner then later it will need to be torn out again. I would assume depending upon the owners budget and their plans for the property would have something to do with the type of repair that they will need to do. Thanks also for the kind words.

  • Jeanette S Jeanette S on Jun 05, 2012
    OH! Wow! This is going to be some sort of project. If Woodbridge is correct about the construction (and it appears he just might be), you have no choice but to demolish and start over. It would be less costly and easier to start over. The railing an be saved for a future project. A plain, square wooden deck would be the best choice. There are so many materials now that are almost maintenance free! Use them and you will be glad you did. Do not keep pouring money into this is a waste!

  • Mary T Mary T on Jun 16, 2012
    Break your concrete into flagstone sized pieces, prepare a smooth base using some of the existing, and sand, rent a tamper to tamp it smooth, lay the 'flagstones', grout with sand, pea gravel or soil in the joints. If soil, plant walkables like creeping thyme. DIY project for sure.

  • Carol S Carol S on Jun 26, 2012
    I'm with Mary on this one. What ever you do make certain you get ALL the loose concrete and loose stone out. Hammer, shovel, leaf blower &/or powerwasher, should be used prep the area. By the way vinager will kill the weeds & roots'

  • Wanda sinnema Wanda sinnema on Sep 24, 2013
    I think your dad and mine were brothers,,,, in an era,, when you used what you had, even if they could afford otherwise,..However you redo it it will always remind you of your dad,,

  • Sherrie S Sherrie S on Nov 27, 2013
    @Denise H my biggest concern would be the liability if someone fell at your home because of the cracks. Sad part is: people sue for any/everything.

  • Susan B. Anderson Susan B. Anderson on Mar 20, 2014
    Mary T has got it. You could "patina" it with moss!

  • Felicity Woodruffe Felicity Woodruffe on Apr 26, 2014
    Get a kango break all the surface up then stamp all over it and finally purchase some pretty stone chippings or small slate chips and tip them all over and rake until it looks even all over you could place some containers in situ before tipping on the slate or stones so that you could plant herbs or strawberries etc

  • Sherrie S Sherrie S on Apr 27, 2014
    @Woodbridge Environmental I realize something was done improperly on this post but I wonder why my large deck has no cracks after at least 15 years. One thing I remember is they installed rebar (sp?). I don't remember much about what else they did but I wonder if that rebar helped.

    • @Sherrie S I sorry I took so long to respond. Yes the rebar did help a lot with the cracking. But that is not the whole picture. A lot of cement failures are due to many installation errors. Starting with the base that the patio has been installed upon. If its not properly compacted, over time voids develop under the cement which can lead to failure, especially if the pad is to thin. Cement is difficult to push around with shovels and rakes, with that many contractors tend to thin the mix out with to much water. When that occurs the cement mix separates as its worked into the forms, causing the stone and aggregate to settle while the lighter materials float to the top. You often can tell this when patios, walks and even basement slabs are always tending to be powdery or chalky when you rub your hand on it. IN any case the slab will be more prone to cracking and will form all sorts of tiny spider cracks on the surface when to much water is applied. The rebar, or the wire mesh that is used also plays an important part, But it has to be in the correct location and needs to be the proper type of metal. Ideally the metal needs to be in the center third of the slab for it to do the most good. For rebar and for the wire mesh you will see contractors using plastic mounts that hold the wire up so the cement can flow around. Experienced masons will forgo them and simply plunge the rake into the cement catching the wire pulling it up to the center of the pour. Some again inexperienced masons or home owners will use scrape metal that they find around the house. Angle iron from beds and the like. While this will offer the strength that the rebar provides, often this metal will rust and decay, even in the middle of the cement. Remember cement is porous or not so solid as you would think. Moisture will travel freely through its surface until its sealed or painted. As the steel rusts it expands and again if the cement pour is done incorrectly it will push the cement to a point that it will crack. Lastly the strength of the cement mix also plays an important factor in the crack game. Different mixes which translates to different ratios of cement, sand, aggregate and such can have profound results on how hard the final project or surface will end up being. The bottom line is experience plays the most important roll in whether or not the cement will crack.

  • Ai Jaedee Ai Jaedee on May 07, 2014
    Pour on cement leveller to fill in the cracks & level it all out.Then lay sandstone or other tiles on top to hide all that gray.

  • Sherrie S Sherrie S on May 07, 2014
    Thank you so much for your detailed answer. As I watched them do this I guess the big cement truck that was pouring out the cement had the right mixture. Now I know what the guys were doing with rakes, too. Kinda wondered about that @Woodbridge Environmental

  • Carey Carey on Sep 09, 2016
    Probably the cement mixture originally was not mixed either enough or with the proper amount of water, sand and Gravel. In addition, if the base under the concrete is not thoroughly tamped and solid, the cement will settle and crack with the weather changes. My husband rented a tamper, and after leveling the gravel as much a he could he tamped it so well that I could walk on it with heels and it didn't damage them. I was amazed!!! Our concrete has lasted at this point 26 years and still going strong even with vehicles parking on it.

  • Karen Silman Karen Silman on Oct 27, 2016
    I would take a broom and sweep all the loose concrete and gravel off. I would get some Quickcrete ask for shavings for putting it into your concrete. Make a new wooden frame or form . You can use wire clothes hangers for rebar then pour your mixed Quickcrete over your broken cracks and make a new corner. You can also put color into your wet concrete so it wont be that drab gray. Let it set for several days.

  • Wendy L. Schmidt Wendy L. Schmidt on May 23, 2018
    Wow! I can't afford to do any of this stuff. I'm on a tight budget and most of these answers require quite a bit of cash and some major muscles. Except maybe the moss idea, the rest are assuming people have the technical or design know how and a large budget. Moss, maybe a filler, low decking or wood pieces placed over the existing slab or a really nice outdoor rug would be the most economical as well as reasonable choices.

  • Tuf50136328 Tuf50136328 on Nov 27, 2020

    So much here. The best idea is to replace the concrete patio -- had to say it. Okay, to piecemeal I would do the following. Any areas with large gaps or broken edges have to be removed completely, compacted, reformed and repoured. You can tie into the adjacent solid areas by grinding a few grooves on the good side and drop in pieces of rebar that extend into the cut out area before pouring (good to make a few bends on the open side). Then the entire patio can be resurfaced with an expensive "micro-bond" self-leveling mortar (mixed with a lot of water so it flows with a squeegie). As to the areas of spalling (exposed aggregate), the mortar will fill it in. If these areas are deep, you may need to cut out those areas and patch with concrete before the overlayment. Be sure to eliminate all weak areas or you will be doing it again. Good luck!

    • See 1 previous
    • Tuf50136328 Tuf50136328 on Nov 27, 2020

      Smart decision. Happy holidays.

  • Tuf50136328 Tuf50136328 on Nov 27, 2020

    Smart de

  • Tuf50136328 Tuf50136328 on Nov 27, 2020

    Smart de