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Concrete Paths

Repairing Paths, Drives and Steps

Problems occur with paths, drives and steps either because of poor construction or accidental damage. Paths and drives can develop cracks or sunken areas and these can be unsightly or an annoyance when water collects. Trip hazards or damaged steps are dangerous and need prompt repair.

You may need:

  • Sand
  • Cement
  • Trowel
  • Chisel
  • Hammer
  • Wooden board
  • Bricks
  • Safety glasses
  • PVA adhesive
  • Concrete trowel or float
  • Crowbar
  • Wooden spacers
  • Club hammer
  • Bitumen adhesive
  • New asphalt

Repaired areas will usually often look conspicuous and there is little you can do to disguise this, other than a complete replacement.

Tip: If the cause of damage is sunken foundations, excavate the area completely and add a well consolidated 50 mm (2″) layer of hardcore for paths (100 mm (4″) for drives). For a slab path, then add 50 mm (2″) of sharp sand, firmed and levelled, before laying slabs.

Repairing holes in concrete paths and drives

  1. A depression or hole should be repaired by chiselling out the damaged area down to 12 mm – 25 mm (1\2″ – 1″).
  2. Clean out loose material and shape the edges of the hole inwards to give the repair a better grip.
  3. Paint the surface with dilute PVA.

Filling holes in concrete paths and drives

  1. Make a dryish mix of 1:3 sand:cement plus PVA and fill the hole, smoothing the surface.
  2. When mending broken edges, use the same technique but use a wooden board and bricks to support the concrete edge.
  3. Cover with plastic sheeting weighed down with bricks to ensure the area stays moist until the concrete is cured. This can take a few days.
  4. Cracks can be caused by uneven settlement and if severe the whole area may need relaying on a proper foundation.
  5. A single crack which is not increasing can be repaired using the technique described above, but first open up the crack with a chisel, undercutting the edges, to at least 12 mm (1/2″) deep.

Replacing loose or cracked flagstones

  1. Lever up one end of the slab with a crowbar and roll out of the hole on a length of broom handle.
  2. Thoroughly compact and level the surface below, adding extra sand if necessary. If laid on mortar, remove the old lumps and replace with fresh.
  3. Position a good slab back into position, using wooden spacers to ensure even gaps all round.
  4. Tap into place until level. Use a club hammer and piece of wood to cushion the blows.

Repairing asphalt

  1. Holes in asphalt can be repaired by using similar techniques, but excavate a clean hole at least 50 mm (2″) deep and compact the foundation.
  2. Paint the edges with bitumen adhesive and add layers of new asphalt, consolidating each in turn until level with the surface.

Repairing steps

  1. If a corner has broken off, try first to refix the broken piece using a cement/PVA mix.
  2. Broken edges can be dangerous, so chip away an undercut to make a firm repair.
  3. Fill with a 1:3 sand:cement mix plus PVA, having first painted the surface with dilute PVA.
  4. Use wooden boards supported by bricks to mould a clean edge.
  5. Level with a trowel or float and cover with plastic to keep damp.
  6. When cured, remove supports and smoothen any rough edges.
  7. Leave for a week before use.

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