Preventing Concrete Cracks with Proactive Strategies

What Causes Concrete Cracks and How to Prevent Them

Concrete, a popular construction material, is known for its strength and durability. However, even the sturdiest concrete surface can develop cracks over time. These cracks can be unsightly and can compromise the structural integrity of the concrete.

Damaged concrete surfaces also allow water infiltration and lead to further damages. Understanding the reasons behind concrete cracks and implementing preventative measures is crucial for extending the lifespan and maintaining the functionality of your concrete surfaces.

Moreover, trusting the expertise of a professional sidewalk repair contractor is also essential to get long-lasting repairs. In this article, we will help you understand the common factors that lead to cracks and the preventive measures to take to avoid them.

Factors that Lead to Crack Formation

Several factors contribute to concrete cracking, broadly categorized into internal and external stresses. Let us discuss these internal and external stresses one by one.

Internal Stresses


As concrete cures and loses moisture, it naturally shrinks in volume. This shrinkage can lead to the formation of cracks, particularly if the concrete dries too quickly.

Improper Mix Design

The ratio of water to cement in the concrete mix significantly impacts its properties. A mix with excessive water content leads to a weaker concrete more susceptible to cracking during shrinkage.

Chemical Reactions

Chemical reactions within the concrete can also cause internal stresses and cracking. These reactions are often caused by the use of incompatible materials in the mix or by the presence of sulfates in the soil.

External Stresses


Uneven settling of the foundation soil beneath the concrete can cause the slab to move and crack. It can be caused by poor soil compaction, improper drainage, or the presence of expansive soils.

Temperature Fluctuations

Extreme temperature variations, especially freeze-thaw cycles, can cause concrete to expand and contract. Repeated cycles of this expansion and contraction can put stress on the concrete and lead to cracking.


Concrete is designed to withstand a specific weight load. Exceeding this weight limit, through heavy traffic or improper use, can cause the concrete to crack.

Subgrade Movement

Movement of the underlying soil due to factors like tree root growth or nearby construction can exert pressure on the concrete, leading to cracks.

Proactive Strategies to Prevent the Cracks

Fortunately, several preventative measures can significantly reduce the risk of concrete cracking:

Proper Mix Design: Ensure a proper mix design with the optimal water-to-cement ratio.A lower water content creates a stronger and less crack-prone concrete.

Curing: Proper curing is essential for allowing the concrete to develop its full strength. This involves maintaining moisture levels in the concrete during the initial setting period.

Control Joints: Strategic placement of control joints creates designated "weak spots" in the concrete. These joints allow the concrete to crack in a controlled manner, preventing random cracks from forming across the entire surface.

Subgrade Preparation: Ensure proper compaction of the soil beneath the concrete to create a stable foundation and minimize settling. Additionally, address drainage issues to prevent water from accumulating under the slab.

Reinforcement: For concrete slabs subjected to heavy loads or unstable soil conditions, reinforcement with steel or fiber significantly enhances strength and crack resistance.

Expansion Joints: In areas prone to significant temperature fluctuations, incorporate expansion joints to allow for the concrete's natural expansion and contraction. These joints are typically filled with compressible materials.

Proper Drainage: Maintaining proper drainage around the concrete surface is crucial. Standing water can seep into cracks, worsen existing ones, and contribute to future cracking.

Detecting Early Signs of Concrete Damage

Early detection of concrete cracks and some common signs about sidewalks that need repair and prevents them from becoming more extensive and expensive to fix. Here is what to watch for:

Methods of Fixing Cracks

If you discover cracks in your concrete, worry not. Several repair methods to fix these damages are available and you can use them depending on the severity of the damage.


Cracks can occur due to numerous reasons but you can avoid extensive damages to your concrete structures by early detecting the damages. Understanding the types of cracks, the repair methods and the importance of professional help will allow you to fix the damages to your concrete structures in an efficient way.