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Should You Repair or Rebuild: A Guide to Concrete Repair and Replacement

Beautiful concrete patio after concrete construction

Cement is a pretty remarkable substance. It doesn’t take much to make it- just some sand, rocks, and water. And yet, when cement sets into the hard stuff that we call concrete, it can be one of Earth’s most robust building materials. 

It’s also not something you want to mess with! If your Pittsburgh PA driveway or sidewalk starts looking like Swiss cheese because of cracks and breaks in the existing concrete surface, then chances are good that you need a repair or replacement job done as soon as possible for safety reasons. But how do you know what kind of work is required?  

We’ve put together this handy guide to help Pittsburgh PA homeowners figure out if they should have repairs or replacements done – and which one might be best for them! 

What is a concrete repair?

Concrete is a solid material, but even it can be damaged. The most common way that concrete gets broken down over time is through exposure to water and freezing temperatures. If the rebar inside of your foundation or sidewalk has rusted out from contact with moisture, then you’re going to need some repairs done for safety reasons – which we’ll talk about in more detail later on. 

Concrete repair basically fills in the cracks and holes in your concrete surface with a fresh, new mixture of cement and sand. This can be a quick and easy fix for minor problems, but it’s not going to last forever – the repairs will only hold up for around five years or so. This goes the same with foundation repair and some concrete surfaces. 

What are the signs for a concrete repair project?

If you’re not sure whether or not the concrete cracks need repairs, then there are a few different options. You can try the following: 

Get in touch with a professional concrete contractor who knows how to evaluate concrete that’s been damaged over time by the water and freezing temperatures. They’ll be able to tell if it’s safe for you to keep using the surface without any problems. 

As we mentioned before, if your concrete has come into contact with water or freezing temperatures and the rebar inside of it is starting to rust out, then you’ll need repairs done for safety purposes. If there are visible cracks in your surface that could pose a tripping hazard – especially when wet – then this is another good sign that you should probably get a concrete repair done. 

The cost of repairing concrete can vary from one project and Pittsburgh concrete contractors to the next. Still, it’s usually a good idea for homeowners to try to negotiate for an all-inclusive price – including everything from materials to labor costs! That way, there aren’t any nasty surprises when you’re walking away from a finished project. 

How do concrete repairs?

Concrete repairs are often done by pouring a fresh cement batch into the surface – either off-site or right on site. If you’re going to be doing your own concrete repairs, it’s always important to get advice and help from professionals who know how to do concrete work! 

The first thing you’ll need to do is figure out whether or not it’s safe to pour cement into the damaged area like your basement, driveways, or sidewalks. If there are any holes in the surface, then you’ll need to make sure that they’re patched first – otherwise, water and other elements will be able to seep through them once again! 

For small cracks and breaks less than a half-inch wide, it’s usually safe to just pour a fresh batch of cement into the damaged surface. For larger problems that require more extensive repairs, you might need to dig out small portions of your concrete and replace them with new material – this can be expensive because it involves getting large equipment on site for the project! It all depends on how bad the damage is and how much work needs to be done. 

What is a concrete replacement?

If you’ve got a big problem with your concrete, then you might need to go the full mile and have a brand-new slab poured. Concrete replacement is expensive but can be worthwhile if done correctly – it’s basically like getting entirely new concrete driveways or sidewalks installed! The concrete specialists will first use jackhammers or other heavy equipment to break up the old concrete, then they’ll haul it away and put in a new foundation. This will give you a unique surface that is guaranteed to last for many years – sometimes even decades! 

Natural-looking patio after concrete installation

What are the signs for concrete replacement?

If your concrete isn’t cracked or broken, then it’s probably still in decent shape. If you see some cracks and want to get the work done ASAP, that’s a good sign! The longer those cracks sit there unattended, the more likely they will spread outwards over time – so if you can afford concrete removal now, do it! 

How to do concrete replacement?

If you decide to go ahead with a concrete replacement job, some things will make it easier, and others can slow the process down.  

The first thing is planning – be sure to get a few quotes before moving forward so you know how much everything will cost (and remember, a little bit of saving now can add up in the long run).  

The second thing is preparing the site – make sure that you clean everything up and remove any debris before starting, so there aren’t any extra costs or problems later. 

The concrete might need to be mixed in a certain way and be just the right time (which means waiting for good weather conditions), but with the proper preparation, you can have a new concrete slab in no time! 

What is the cost of concrete replacement?

When someone asks about the cost of replacing their concrete, it might be hard to give an exact answer. This is because there are several factors involved in determining how much replacement will cost. These include the size of the area to be replaced and whether or not you need extra work done simultaneously. 

Whether it’s a small patio, driveway, walkway, or pool deck that needs replacing, or if you have an entire swimming pool structure to replace, then there are going to be some differences in cost as well. This is because larger Pittsburgh residential and commercial structures will require more concrete, labor, and time to complete the job. 

Other factors can affect the price, such as permits, equipment rental, travel costs, and disposal fees. So, while it’s tough to give an exact estimate without knowing all of the details, we can say that the price for replacing concrete will be higher than having simple repair services. 

But in the long run, it’s usually a better idea to replace concrete instead of trying to patch it up – especially if the damage is terrible. Concrete replacement will give you a new surface that is guaranteed to last for many years (or even decades), whereas repairs might only buy you a little bit of time before the concrete starts to deteriorate again. 

When to repair or replace concrete?

The answer to this question really depends on the individual and their specific situation. However, three main factors will influence your decision when it comes to repairing or replacing concrete:  

  • The severity of the damage 
  • The cost of replacement vs. repairs 
  • How much use the concrete sees 

If the damage is relatively minor, then you might be able to get away with repairs and regular maintenance. This could involve filling in cracks and holes or resurfacing the concrete. However, if the damage is more severe – for example, if large chunks are missing or the surface is wholly disintegrated – then a replacement will probably be a better option. 

However, it’s essential to keep in mind that having repairs done won’t guarantee the concrete will last forever – there is always a chance that it could need another repair job soon after. This is because even with tiny cracks or patches, they may not be strong enough on their own if the damage below isn’t fixed correctly as well. 

So, if you can afford to have the entire area replaced instead of just having repairs done, then it’s usually worth doing – because in this case, there is no question about whether or not there will be any more problems with concrete later on down the road. It won’t matter how much use the new slab gets since it should last for many years without any issues. 

However, if you’re on a tight budget or the concrete doesn’t see a lot of use (for example, if it’s only used for parking and not as a walking surface), then repairs might be the best option. Just keep in mind that this is only a temporary fix, and the concrete will eventually need to be replaced. 

The bottom line is that it’s essential to weigh all of the factors involved before deciding whether or not to have repairs or replacements done. If you’re not sure what to do, then contact professional concrete contractors who can help you make the right decision for your specific situation. 

They’ll be able to inspect your concrete and let you know what the best course of action is. Plus, they can give you an estimate for the cost of repairs or replacement so you’ll have a better idea of what to expect for the property project. 

Beautiful looking brown stamped concrete driveway installed in Pittsburgh, PA


So, what should you do? You can’t go wrong with either repairing or replacing your concrete. The decision is yours, and we won’t judge if you want to opt for a new surface. We’re here to help whichever way you choose!  

Now that we’ve given this whole “should I repair or replace my driveway” thing some thought, let’s take the next step and talk about how much it costs to get rid of old cracked concrete from your home – both in time and dollars.  

Hiring a professional contractor will be expensive, but there are other ways out there as well (hint hint). Give us a call today at Pittsburgh Concrete Company to get a free estimate and for more information on our residential and commercial services! 

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