In this article we answer the question of why do patios crack and offer advice on how you can repair them.
Why do patios crack? Cracked patio stones can lead to a more rustic, characterful appearance, which is not always undesirable, but there are also risks inherent from an uneven surface such as ankle injuries and wobbling furniture.
Typically, patios crack for the following reason.
The most likely cause of a cracked patio can be settling or sinking of the ground. This is often exacerbated as the ground dries out in the warmth.
Settling tends to happen unevenly, causing the surface to become unstable. From there, cracking might occur under the weight of the concrete itself or under any other heavy load such as a person walking across it.
If a cracked patio becomes unsightly or otherwise a problem, don’t worry, all is not lost. There are a number of ways you can repair a cracked patio.
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Resurfacing is one of the more straightforward ways of addressing a cracked patio, but the most obvious drawback is that you’re not really fixing the problem, more concealing it for the short term.
Essentially the settling and cracking will still be there, with voids below the surface. If the gaps are large, the rocking will continue with the cracks reappearing later on.
Mudjacking is a good option where voids have appeared beneath the surface. This involves drilling holes in the surface and pumping in a mortar-based mixture to fill the cavities. Done properly, it will raise the uneven surfaces to the correct height. The mortar mix then dries and hardens, closing the gaps and preventing further movement.
The drawback of this method is the weight of the solidified mortar mix can contribute to the original sinking problem, storing up more instability further down the road.
Mudjacking may also not be suitable for paved patios where stones are less likely to be lifted in a uniform manner.
A modern spin on mudjacking involves the use of polymer packing. This is usually polyurethane, which is pumped through the holes into the problem voids. As it solidifies, it expands and lifts the upper surface back into position.
The advantage of using polymer over mortar is it’s a lightweight material and the cleanup is easier. All that’s left to do is seal the cracks and tidy up. As with mudjacking, it may not be suitable for paved patios, but in these cases, simply replacing individual stones and rebuilding their foundations is a much easier option.
Why do patios crack? Essentially if your patio is well used, it’s likely to suffer some wear and tear. This can be minimised by choosing the correct materials to suit the soil and geology of your area, and getting a skilled professional craftsman to lay it.
Here at Minster Paving, we have thirty years of experience supplying high quality, durable materials for patio and footpath construction to Oxford, Abingdon, Banbury, Bicester, Didcot, Witney and Newbury. Come and visit us, and we’ll give you all the advice and assistance you need to lay a good quality patio.