Cracked Armor: Rescuing Your Home’s Concrete Shield

Concrete walls are the unsung heroes of our homes’ structural integrity, but when cracks start to appear, they can quickly transform from dependable protectors into sources of worry.


These fissures not only compromise your home’s durability but also invite moisture and pests—issues that could escalate if left unchecked. This article offers vital insights on identifying and repairing these cracks, ensuring your concrete shield stays strong.


We’ve seen it all at ECO-Max Construction—from minor surface imperfections to severe foundation breaches. With our extensive experience in masonry services across Toronto and beyond, we understand the importance of timely intervention.


We’re here to share practical advice for homeowners facing parging repairs or any form of concrete damage. Dive into this guide to learn how to confidently restore your home’s robust defenses!

 

A construction worker pouring concrete for a new home foundation.

 

Concrete acts as the backbone of our homes. It provides strength and stability, ensuring our houses stand strong through time and weather.

Durability and structural integrity

Concrete is super strong and lasts a long time. It keeps our homes safe by holding up walls, floors, and foundations. Parging mortar helps too. This mix of lime, water, and cement adds an extra layer of protection.


Cracks in parging appear because concrete shrinks or shifts over time. They let in water which can freeze inside the parging and cause more damage. Even small cracks can lead to big problems if not fixed quickly.

Parging offers several benefits like enhancing your foundation’s look while providing added strength.

Adding fiber materials makes the mix even stronger. For better looks, we can use latex-based colors in the parging mix preparation process.

Common issues faced by homeowners

Concrete cracks are a big concern. They can let water in, causing damage like spalling. This happens when trapped water freezes and breaks the concrete apart. Without parging, this problem gets worse.

Another issue is poor mixing of parging material. If not mixed well, it leads to cracking and adhesion problems. Weather also affects this; hot days with clouds are best to prevent too-fast drying.


Homeowners must watch for signs of wear on their foundation walls. Minor cracks or worn-out parging need quick attention to avoid larger repairs later. Using good techniques and materials helps maintain the durability of our homes’ foundations.

Understanding Concrete Cracks

Concrete cracks can look small, but they might lead to bigger problems. We need to learn about these cracks and what causes them… so we can fix them right away!

Types of cracks

Concrete cracks are common in many homes. They can appear for various reasons and come in different forms.

  1. Hairline Cracks
    These are very thin cracks that look like hair strands. They often appear due to the concrete shrinking as it dries. These cracks usually do not harm the structure but can let water seep through.
  2. Shrinkage Cracks
    They occur when the water in the concrete mix evaporates too quickly. Shrinkage cracks can be deeper than hairline cracks but still typically do not threaten structural integrity.
  3. Settlement Cracks
    These form when parts of the foundation settle unevenly. We might see them in homes built on unstable soil or filled ground. Settlement cracks can widen over time, causing bigger issues if left unchecked.
  4. Thermal Cracks
    Temperature changes cause these cracks. In hot weather, concrete expands and can crack under pressure; in cold weather, it contracts, which also might lead to cracking.
  5. Structural Cracks
    These are more serious and occur due to heavy loads or insufficient support within the structure. Structural cracks often run at an angle and require urgent attention since they compromise safety.
  6. Expansion Cracks
    These result from temperature expansion joints failing or being absent entirely—cracks like these split apart where slabs meet other structures or sections of concrete meet.
  7. Plastic Shrinkage Cracks
    Occur when wet concrete loses moisture rapidly soon after pouring—these surface-level fissures typically don’t penetrate deep into the slab but may show patterns resembling spider webs.
  8. Diagonal Corner Cracks
    Found at corners of walls or foundations primarily caused by shifts in the building’s weight distribution or settling foundation areas—these must be fixed quickly to avoid further spread.

Causes of cracks

Cracks in concrete can happen for many reasons. Let’s look at some common causes that might affect your home.

  1. Improper Mixing: Using the wrong mix of cement and water can weaken the concrete. This leads to cracks forming over time.
  2. Poor Curing: If concrete doesn’t cure properly, it dries too fast and cracks appear. Wetting the wall before applying parging helps with curing.
  3. Temperature Changes: Rapid temperature changes cause the concrete to expand and contract, leading to cracks. Different climates need different application methods to avoid this problem.
  4. Water Damage: Water trapped inside can freeze and cause spalling, damaging the concrete. Parging stops water from getting trapped.
  5. Heavy Loads: Placing heavy objects on weak or unsupported areas puts stress on the concrete, causing it to crack.
  6. Shifting Ground: Soil movement under your home can make the foundation move, which leads to cracking.
  7. Lack of Maintenance: Without regular maintenance, small cracks get bigger over time, leading to major damage.

Identifying the severity of cracks

Cracked concrete can signal bigger problems. Tiny cracks may not seem like a big deal, but larger ones could mean serious issues with the foundation of your house. We should check if the cracks are wide or deep.


If they go through the concrete, it’s crucial to act fast.


Concrete repair needs careful steps. A skilled mason must evaluate the sub-surface before starting any repair process. This helps decide if parging is needed for additional protection of commercial buildings in Calgary and homes alike.


Using proper tools like a masonry trowel ensures that new parging or repairs last longer and keep our home safe from further damage.

DIY inspection tips

Concrete cracks can be troubling, but inspecting them yourself is possible. Let’s go over some DIY inspection tips.

  1. Look for Visible Cracks
    • Walk around your house and look closely at the concrete.
    • Check the foundation, driveway, sidewalks, and even walls.
  2. Measure the Width
    • Use a ruler or tape to measure crack width.
    • Cracks smaller than 1/4 inch are often less serious.
  3. Check for Depth
    • Use a thin object like a toothpick to see how deep the crack goes.
  4. Monitor Crack Growth
    • Mark crack ends with a pencil to track growth over time.
    • Take pictures as references.
  5. Inspect During Different Seasons
    • Cracks may widen in summer and narrow in winter.
    • Seasonal inspection helps understand this pattern.
  6. Observe Water Seepage
    • Look after rains if water seeps into the cracks.
    • Note any damp spots around the cracks.
  7. Chisel Off Loose Parging
    • Remove flaky parging with a chisel.
    • Clean off debris for better evaluation.
  8. Check Bonding Agent Results
    • Apply liquid bonding agent on small sections first.
    • Ensure it adheres well before wider application.
  9. Use Proper Tools
    – Have tools like wide trowel, ruler, and chisel ready.- These help in accurate inspection and repair steps later.

Taking these steps will help us identify severe cracks that might need professional attention or decide on simple DIY fixes ourselves!

Choosing the right repair product

We need to pick the right product for fixing cracks. Parging products come in different types, like cement mix or acrylic. We can add latex-based colors and fibers to make them stronger.

The right choice depends on the size and type of crack.


Acrylic is good for small cracks, as it’s flexible and durable. Cement mix works better for large gaps because it’s strong after it sets. Mixing plaster needs an 80-pound bag of portland cement mixed with 70 pounds of masonry sand.


For perfect results, choose trusted companies like ECO-Max Construction that use quality materials.

Step-by-step repair guide

Choosing the right repair product is essential. Now, let’s move on to our step-by-step repair guide:

  1. Chisel Off Loose Parging: First, use a chisel and hammer to remove any loose parging from the concrete surface.
  2. Clean the Surface: Thoroughly clean the exposed concrete surface to remove dust, debris, and any old material.
  3. Apply a Liquid Bonding Agent: Brush a liquid bonding agent over the cleaned area to help the new mortar adhere properly.
  4. Mix Mortar and Cement: Prepare your mortar mix according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
  5. Apply First Coat of Mortar: Using a trowel, apply the first coat of mortar in an upward and angular motion for better coverage.
  6. Smooth the Finish: As you apply, smooth out each section with a wide trowel to ensure an even finish.
  7. Apply Second Coat if Necessary: If additional thickness is needed or if there are uneven spots, apply a second coat of mortar using the same technique.
  8. Allow Proper Curing Time: Let each layer cure properly according to the recommended time on your product packaging.
  9. Inspect Your Work: After curing, inspect your work for any missed spots or cracks that may need touch-ups.
  10. Final Touches and Clean Up Tools: Once satisfied with your work, clean up your tools immediately to prevent hardening of leftover mortar on them.

When to hire a professional

For large cracks or deep damage, calling a professional is best. If you notice any foundation parging issues or other serious problems, contact us at (587) 229-1645. Our team serves Calgary and surrounding areas with eco-friendly materials from ECO-Max Construction.

Advanced repair techniques (epoxy injections, hydraulic lifting)

Sometimes, concrete cracks need a professional touch. Advanced repair techniques like epoxy injections and hydraulic lifting can help.

  1. Epoxy Injections:
    • Epoxy fills cracks and bonds the concrete.
    • We drill small holes along the crack.
    • Next, we insert nozzles into each hole.
    • We then inject the epoxy into the crack through the nozzles.
    • This process strengthens the structure and keeps water out.
  2. Hydraulic Lifting:
    • Hydraulic lifting raises sunken concrete slabs.
    • A special pump injects a grout mixture under the slab.
    • The pressure lifts the slab back to its original position.
    • This technique works well for driveways, sidewalks, and patios.

Avenue Road Masonry offers these advanced techniques among their repair services. They ensure that your home’s foundation stays strong and durable.

Proper installation techniques and maintenance tips

Proper installation and maintenance tips can make concrete last for years. We need to follow these steps carefully.

  1. Chisel Off Loose Parging: Use a hammer and chisel to remove any loose parging. This ensures a smooth surface for the new layer.
  2. Clean the Surface: Wash off any dirt or debris from the area. A clean surface helps the bonding agent stick better.
  3. Apply Liquid Bonding Agent: Coat the cleaned area with a liquid bonding agent. This step is crucial as it helps the new parging adhere well.
  4. Mix Parging Material: Prepare your mortar and cement mix according to instructions on the package. It should be mixed until you get a smooth and thick consistency.
  5. Use a Wide Trowel: Apply the parging mix using a wide trowel in an upward and angular motion. This helps spread it evenly over the surface.
  6. Work in Cloudy Weather: On hot days, working under cloudy conditions prevents too-fast drying of the parging mix which can cause cracks.
  7. Allow Parging To Cure: Let the newly applied coat cure properly before exposing it to water or extreme weather conditions.
  8. Inspect Regularly: Check your parging regularly for signs of wear or damage, such as cracks in concrete or foundation issues that may need repair.
  9. Seal Against Moisture: Consider sealing your concrete surfaces to protect them from moisture damage, especially in areas prone to freezing temperatures where water inside can freeze and expand causing cracks.
  10. Hire Professionals For Large Repairs: If there are large or complex issues with your concrete, it’s best to hire professionals who can use advanced techniques like epoxy injections or hydraulic lifting for repairs.

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