Three types of material are commonly used to repair a cracked concrete pool surround: hydraulic cement, Portland cement mixed with a bonding agent and epoxy-based compounds. Whether you have a minor surface crack or a deep crack affecting structural integrity, careful preparation and proper curing methods are essential.
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Hydraulic cement is a mixture of Portland cement and various minerals specially formulated not to shrink during the drying process. After mixing, the material dries in three to five minutes. This material will solidify in the presence of water and is ideal for plugging leaking structural cracks in basements as well as repairing concrete pool surrounds. Widen a minor crack to a V with an angle grinder fitted with a diamond cutting wheel. On deeper structural cracks, undercut with either a diamond wheel or a cold chisel so that the sides of the cut slope away from the surface, forming an inverted dovetail-shaped cross section. Remove all loose aggregate with a wire brush. Sweep the loose debris from the area, and use a vacuum cleaner to remove loose dust and grit from the cavity. Mix the powder with clean water to the consistency of stiff putty. Wet the area with a liberal amount of water. Wear latex gloves, and pack the material into the crack by hand if it's a deep cavity; otherwise use a trowel. Fill to just below the surface. Once the crack has been filled, mix up a thinner batch. Wet the surface down, and pour the mix into a small area at a time. Use a float trowel to finish the repair level with the surrounding pool deck.
Portland Cement and Bonding Agent
Mix a powdered bonding agent with Portland cement and silica sand according to the manufacturer's directions before adding water. Add water slowly, and mix thoroughly to the required consistency. Prepare the crack as described, and wet the sides to promote bonding. Trowel the mixture into the cavity, and finish with a float trowel. Paint the surface of the repair with a layer of transparent concrete curing compound. This material forms a surface membrane which allows the concrete to dry out slowly and cure to maximum strength. The membrane can be brushed off with a stiff bristle broom after three or four days.
Epoxy Concrete Repair Compound
Paint the inside of the prepared crack with a thin layer of bonding adhesive. Follow the manufacturer's directions, and mix up a batch of powdered vinyl reinforced epoxy patching compound by adding the required amount of hardener and water to the required consistency. Trowel the mixture into the crack before the bonding adhesive dries. Feather the surface level with the trowel and float smooth. This material dries to the colour of concrete.
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