What’s A Hairline Crack In Concrete?
A hairline crack is a fragile but deep crack in the concrete. Due to the depth, as the concrete solidifies during curing, these cracks may allow for more severe damage after the concrete has hardened. The width of human hair and hairline cracks in the concrete are very narrow.
Due to plastic shrinkage is the occurrence, hairline cracks are commonly observed in freshly placed concrete. As the name suggests, their fissures are tiny, about 0.003 inches (0.08 mm) wide—and very shallow.
Concrete is hairline cracks in extremely common but often misunderstood. Hairline cracks are challenging to repair. And the possible damage to the hairline is not a sign of poor quality.
The common hairline cracks are in the new construction of foundations in the country. Drying out of the new foundation usually appears within a year and is caused by freezing. And these cracks are typically cosmetic and can be repaired for ~$200 or by professionals for $400-$600.
The best to avoid hairline cracks is to let the concrete cure off slowly. Covering the surface in plastic keeps the concrete moist from pouring water over it. A slow curing process with bits helps prevent cracks and makes for that stronger concrete.
What Causes Hairline Cracks In Concrete?
Shrinkage in concrete is the major cause of hairline cracks. Concrete is wetted and then dried, and as the concrete dries, it becomes hard and strong. This process is called curing. And it takes a total of 28 days to complete. But it is the first day that is most important when preventing hairline cracks.
The main reason behind hairline cracks in concrete is stress relief from drying or heat caused by shrinkage. On it, concrete quickly loses moisture, and small cracks may form. To prevent this, the drying process can be slowed by keeping the surface of the concrete moist.
It can be of two types.
- Cover the concrete with plastic wrap on the first day because it can dry out. They will keep the surface moist and slow down drying.
- Sprinkling water lightly on the surface of the concrete can keep its surface moist.
The appearance of air cracks on the surface of the concrete is due to variations in temperature, relative humidity, and air velocity. Hairline concrete cracks for other reasons. These factors can cause excessive high evaporation in hot and cold weather to dry out too quickly.
The chances of hairline cracks are factors that increase the following:
- The subgrade is formed due to water loss, formwork, or aggregate absorption.
- The causes of bleeding and sedimentation of concrete segregation
- Poor workmanship and negligence
- Alkali-gross reactions
- Portland cement type and ingredients (additives such as fly ash, silica fume, etc.)
- Due to the type and dosage rate of the chemical mixture.
- The construction of works such as screeds and finishing works.
- Hairline cracking can also be caused by exposure to heat.
- Pouring Concrete
- Inadequate Curing Period
How To Prevent Hairline Cracks In Concrete?
There are many methods and techniques to prevent cracks in case of rapid moisture loss due to hot weather and dry winds. The rapid moisture loss due to hot weather, additives, chemicals, dry air, aggregate, and poor workmanship can be dealt with in various ways.
A reliable contractor can install your concrete wall, patio, driveway, or deck. And some other tips to keep your concrete from cracking later.
Here are a few preventions to prevent these cracks:
- The air above the surface can be saturated using a fog nozzle.
- The surfaces have a plastic sheet to cover them. Maintains the final finish operation that evaporates the moisture on the concrete.
- The use of windbreaker barriers and sunshades that reduce wind velocity also helps reduce surface temperatures.
- Moisten the subgrade and formwork by removing excess water before placing the concrete. Their absorption prevents moisture from the concrete.
- If the temperature is not favorable, an evaporation retarder can be used.
- Microfibers have to be used in the concrete mix to increase the tensile strength of plastic concrete.
- Troweling and other finish operations draw moisture into the surface, so overworking should avoid the concrete surface.
- As soon as the finishing is completed, should start the curing process without any delay.
- Be careful when adding paint to concrete. They suck water out of concrete.
- Do not add too much water to the concrete mix; This weakens the concrete, making it more prone to cracking.
How To Repair Hairline Cracks In Concrete?
A hairline crack involves repairing and filling a gap in the concrete’s structure, using a material that adheres well to the concrete, restoring its original appearance, and preventing liquids from preventing it happening. Fissures cannot be completely treated, but their appearance can be minimized.
The steps involved in repairing hairline cracks in the concrete are as follows:
Cleaning the Cracked Surface and Interior:
The first and foremost step in repairing hairline cracks in concrete is inspection and cleaning. The foreign matter covering cleans off the surface before applying the filling material to obtain a proper bond. Once the crack is properly removed, You must clean any dirt or stains from the areas.
Preparation of Sealant to Fill the Hairline Crack:
The most common grout is a mixture of Portland cement and water. A hairline crack repair means sealing it with sealant. Sealants are filler materials that are used to penetrate cracks and seal them. You must add enough water to make a good quality grout mix for hairline cracks.
- Silicone or latex caulking: Both products are great for filling and sealing the cracks below as they appear after sealing the crack.
- Paint: Paints are much thicker than sealers. They fill all the cracks and cover the entire surface completely. Unlike sealers, paints do not require repeated applications.
- Concrete sealers and epoxy: These sealers are used not only for cracks but for the entire surface of the concrete. Makes them less noticeable than a spot of the repairs. But sealers wear off and need to the reapplied as needed.
- Polymer-modified cement grout: There is also another great product for sealing hairline concrete cracks after repair.
Applying Sealant to the Cracks:
Our professionals at Big D Ready Mix Concrete recommend using a pointing trowel or putty knife to apply the grout properly for the best results.
The ground needs to be inside the crack as much as possible. Concrete sealers and epoxy are applied with the squeegee, paint roller, and brush. Concrete paints are roller for large areas and a brush for the smaller spots.
Making the Cracks Moist:
The hairline cracks on an old concrete surface should be moistened with that water for about 7 hours before grout or filling material is applied to the crack.
The concrete will help prevent the area from absorbing the water from the applied grout. Water from the surface is not required to wet or seal the crack or to close the crack. If this happens, your grout will dry before properly sealing the crack.
Concrete Crack Treatment:
The sealant was installed correctly and allowed curing for the sealant to work completely. And the dry time should adjust the season and temperature. The hotter the temperature, the faster the sealant will dry. And the colder the temperature, the longer it will take to dry.
The Final Stage’s Moisture Content Also Affects the Concrete’s Curing:
Sealed cracks should dry for at least two hours and be covered with boards or plastic sheets. And it is necessary To cover the area for about five days. Every day should lift the lid should sprinkle water on the surface. Like concrete, the sealant needs to dry quickly. They cause shrinkage and cracks. Hair fall is a small problem. It’s only controlled and is challenging to eliminate.
Hairline Crack Repair Is Mainly Cosmetic
The sealant and grout sealant is easier to squeeze into the wider cracks. There is little space to fill with anything other than a low-viscosity liquid. Your only option may be to seal the concrete surface instead of just spot-fixing it. The hairline cracks do not affect the structural integrity of the slab. Sealing the crack is the main focus of the repair.
The hairline crack repair in concrete is challenging because it is so small. It is cosmetic and more of a fix than larger cracks. But it should be done even then because small hairline cracks can open up over time, and if ignored, they need to be sealed immediately to prevent future damage; otherwise, it will allow more water to seep.
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Acceptable Concrete Cracks
Concrete is a very common hairline crack but is misunderstood. Most people see cracks in concrete when it is new, and they assume there is a problem. Hairline cracks used to be of no concern and are mostly cosmetic. That doesn’t mean we should ignore it.
The cracks identified as small and fine are considered acceptable as part of minor settlement depending on the purpose and intent of the concrete structure, the environment in which it is placed, and that Design form of life and durability.
How To Hide Hairline Cracks In Concrete?
The most commonly used for grout concrete is portland cement, to which you must add enough water to make that a good quality grout mix. Covering hairline cracks in concrete is the best way to hide them with paint. Painting the concrete off-site eliminates cracks, while other sealers may still be visible. In addition to cement grout, other filler materials or sealants can also fill the cracks.
- Paint is the only way to completely cover and hide hairline concrete cracks.
- Caulk and grout may be visible after the crack is repaired.
- Even if the texture is different, you will match the color perfectly.
- Sealers are great at protecting concrete slabs and repairing cracks but are also transparent; you can still see the cracks in them.
Should You Fix Hairline Cracks In Concrete?
Yes, We should fix hairline cracks in the concrete to prevent them from worsening. The hairline cracks that appear only Indoors or on the patio and sidewalk surfaces are usually safe and filled to prevent water from entering the aqueduct, causing further deterioration.
The first thing is determining the severity of the crack. Hairline cracks that appear only indoors or on patio and sidewalk surfaces are usually safe and filled to prevent water from entering the aqueduct, and if a hairline crack is not sealed, then moisture can get inside.
Over time it can also cause the edges to peel and break. Cracks are also great for accumulating organic matter, especially in shaded, moist areas, which can lead to mold and mildew growth. If you see hairline or any other concrete cracks, they should seal the entire slab. And then, spot-repair the crack and preserve the rest of the slab.