How to Repair Your Concrete Driveway That's Flaking

Learn how to repair your flaking concrete driveway with these tips and tricks from an experienced concrete finisher! Find out what causes chipping or flaking and how to prevent it.

How to Repair Your Concrete Driveway That's Flaking

Sometimes the best way to tackle peeling concrete is to grind it lightly and remove any loose material. This will help you get to a good concrete base. If your driveway is flaking, it's likely due to an installation error. Common mistakes include adding too much water to the mix, spraying the concrete surface with water, and not curing the concrete properly after installation.

There are special coatings and resurfacing products designed for this purpose. The top layer of concrete may peel off, leaving an uneven and pitted surface with exposed aggregate below. As a concrete finisher, I was taught that there are two things in life that are true. But in most cases, when it comes to chipping concrete, you won't need to go too deep - just remove the surface itself.

This type of surface failure, known as chipping or flaking, is more common in colder climates where freeze-thaw cycles and thawing chemicals are prevalent. Sandblasting can be used to repair concrete that flakes, but you need to know what you're doing. Unacceptable surface cracking (known as “shrinkage cracking”) and chipping due to poor design, placement and finishing of the mixture should be avoided. There may be a lot of damaged (soft) concrete beneath the surface that you can't see just by looking at it.

Repeated freeze-thaw cycles during winter can cause a lot of stress on the concrete, resulting in splintering, flaking or pitting of the surface. My preference is to lightly polish the surface, but a good pressure washer will also do the job. If you try to coat the concrete without first fixing any deep areas, the facing material will end up lower than the rest of the concrete. When moisture in concrete freezes, air cells provide microscopic chambers for water expansion as it freezes - relieving internal pressure. Take a look at some examples of how to cover your concrete walls for ideas on how to finish your basement.

Additionally, water added during finishing can dilute the amount of Portland cement in the upper layer of concrete. De-icing chemicals can worsen already stressed concrete by allowing more water to migrate into it, increasing the size and depth of husking failures when freezing occurs.