By Gene and Katie Hamilton
A hole or crack in a concrete walkway is unsightly, not to mention a likely place where someone can trip or fall. The longer the damage is ignored, the more the surface will continue to deteriorate, so repairing it sooner rather than later is a good idea. You can hire a handyman to patch the surface but even a fledging do-it-yourselfer can fix the damage thanks to specialty products designed for the job.
A handyman will charge $119 to fix small holes and a good-size crack in concrete, which includes labor and material. But you can buy the materials - pourable crack filler, backer rod and concrete patching material - for $70 and do it yourself and save 41 percent. Before you begin, remove any loose material from the damaged areas and rinse them thoroughly clean with a power washer. Then let them dry. Use a crack filler caulk to fill holes, applying it in a continuous bead. For larger cracks, first use a cold chisel to open them more and give the patching material more surface to bond with. If it's a deeper than 1/2-inch, use backer rods to fill the depression. Then apply a self-leveling concrete patching material according to the manufacturer's directions. Also follow their directions for protecting yourself with safety gear as you make the repair.
It’s always tempting to speed up the process of mixing concrete by adding extra water, but don’t do it because it becomes soupy. To get a consistent mix always add water in stages and work the mix with a hoe until it’s well absorbed.
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The bottom line: compare the price of a contractor’s bid to repair concrete with what it costs to do it yourself and make your decision. You adjust the cost to where you live by adding your ZIP Code.
Lowe's has three calculators for using concrete in holes, pads and walls.
Improvement and Repair Cost Updated 2020