Is Your Patio Cracking?

Have a cracked patio? Our house had a cracked patio and I once thought it was due to poor craftmanship. For many years I thought my only option was either to replace the patio or repair it. They both seemed like expensive options, so it sat there for years. During that time my family and I just tried our best to ignore it.

Admittedly, the cracked patio made me a bit self-conscious. A large imperfect slab of concrete sat near my home and consistently shed bits of pieces of itself. Nieces and nephews stopped by and grabbed pieces of it and flung it into the creek behind the house. They treated it like an old slab of rock that had passed its prime. Their lack of respect for my patio humbled me and made me feel poor.

How were others dealing with a cracked patio? Were my neighbors’ patios also cracked? The truth is, I’ve never closely inspected any of them, but many of their lawns were perfect, so I suspected their patios were as well.

With no options to resolve my issue, I then shifted my focus to understand how. How did my patio crack? Isn’t concrete a durable long-lasting solution? I’ve only been in the home for seven years and the home was built in 1984, so that placed the patio’s age at around twenty-five years. Is this the life of a concrete patio?

After doing some research I discovered that almost all concrete, depending on the size of the slab, cracks. Therefore, a cracked patio, depending on the patios age, may not be indicative of bad craftmanship. The concern then shifts to the width of the crack. 1/8th of an inch or less is ok, anything greater and we have a concern. Essentially, a finger width crack is cause for concern and is likely caused by a shift in the soil which may be triggered by erosion.

Erosion of building materials is common for patios. Over time, each homeowner must repair the patio by fixing the edge that often breaks down from wear and tear. It’s the weakest part of the patio and usually the first to experience damage. When the damage does occur, the concrete and supporting building material begin to shift as they encounter moisture. Soon, sand and crush and run leaves the confines of the patio and creates an uneven base. The uneven base stresses the concrete and over time eventually cracks.

Looking back, I never repaired my patio because I never knew I had to. By the time I noticed the crack in the patio, there was no edge. It may never have existed or perhaps it was destroyed prior to us purchasing the home. After taking a closer look at the patio, I noticed that the edges of the patio were unsupported, and no crush and was found near the edges.

I finally understood how my patio cracked. Armed with knowledge, I feel confident that I’ll be able to take care of a new patio when I decide to replace it.