Cracks in new concrete driveway. Options?

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Almost two weeks ago I had 3,100 sq ft of concrete poured for a driveway and apron in front of the garage. I was told to let it cure for 7-10 days before driving on it. We gave it 9 days before pulling one car into the garage.
13 days after pouring, I've noticed I have 3 major cracks in 3 separate sections. The cracks run right through the expansion joints, from one side to the other of the drive and are spaced about 20ft apart. They are about 100ft from the garage and apron sections.
The contractor is coming over this week to check it out and I'm wondering what demands I can make to cure this? He has not been paid yet!
What are my reasonable options to fix this?
Thanks,
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JJ,
Was the contractor supposed to do all of the work involved in this driveway or just pour the concrete? You mention not using the driveway until it cured but not how the curing was done or who was responsible for this. I'd guess based on what little info you provide that the driveway was not properly cured or the ground under the driveway wasn't prepped, or the wrong concrete was used. It needs to be completely redone. I'd suggest that you get the contractor's insurance info and look for another contractor unless you were doing most of the work yourself.
Dave M.
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No, he was hired to do all the prep work and pouring, finishing etc. They excavated down, laid rebar etc. It looked normal to me, not that I'm an expert. I basically live on top of a gravel pit, so no matter how far you go down, it's all gravel/sand base. Now as far as curing, what's to be done except stay off of it. I heard you wet it down every couple of days to help it cure but we had rain on day 2 and day 5 after pouring. He gave me no instructions to do anything.

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JJ wrote:

Are you saying that there is a crack at the bottom of the expansion joint and that is your question? If so, call back the contractor apologize and thank him for doing a good job. Those "expansion joints" are there to provide a place for the concrete to crack, since we all know it is going to do it the joint just provides and nice neat weak spot.

--
Joseph Meehan

Dia duit
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No Joe, I'm saying I have 3 erratic cracks that have appeared in three different sections of the pour. They cut expansion joints down the center of the drive and then also cut them about every 20ft across the driveway. The cracks run across the drive, from one side to the other, and they don't stop at the center expansion joints, they continue across the entire width of the drive. They are not near the horizontal expansion joints and I'm not Irish!

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What size and spacing of rebar did they ues?
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There can be a lot of variation but generally speaking, concrete will crack every 15 feet to 20 Feet if there is not a joint placed to force a crack at the joint. If the concrete had any areas that were more then 15 to 20 feet between joints then there is a risk of a crack between those joints. And that's with good concrete that's cured properly. If the concrete was low strength or didn't get a good cure it could crack at closer spacing. You said it had steel in it but I'm assuming it's just temperature steel, the typical mesh stuff, not real rebar closely spaced as would be used in a true reinforced concrete slab. True reinforced concrete slabs generally will not crack with wide cracks at 15+ spacing but will form very small cracks every 4 to 8 feet. Temperature steel won't stop cracking, it just helps hold the crack closed and might make the spacing a little farther apart.

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I'm not sure what you mean. The crack is at the expansion joint like it is supposed to be? That is what the joints are for. Yes, it will go clear through, top to bottom, side to side, as the concrete expands and contracts. They prevent the rest of the slab from cracking. Am I missing something? Are there other cracks in the pour?
As for demands, why demand anything until he sees it and either explains what the joint is there for, or offers a remedy if I am mistaken in my interpretation.
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Of what I know about concrete is that it dried too fast. Should have been covered from the sun or kept cool with water spray. This is common with concrete 3 inches or thicker.

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JJ wrote:

How thick is it? Were there tree roots before? Any ditches that should have been compacted? Was there a sand base put in first? is there mesh in the pour?
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I'll try this one more time. I know the difference between an expansion joint and a crack. These are 3 distinct cracks running the width of the driveway in each case! They excavated down over 4 inches and as I stated previously the property is sitting on a gravel/sand base. They used the power compacters, laid rebar. I'm going to guess the rebar was half inch diameter and the grid work they attached to it was 4 inch square. No tree roots. No ditches.

and
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about
wondering
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It sounds as if the saw joints were performed too late. Saw joints and jointer tracks are control joints. Tar joints are expansion joints. Cold joints are construction joints.
The best dollars spent are on the preparation of the sub grade. Good compaction, uniform slab thickness, do not allow concrete trucks on compacted grade are all good practices. I pour most concrete without rebar or remesh.
Rebar should not continue through joints. I would limit the distance between saw joints to 12 feet or less. Saw joints should be performed on the same day as the pour as soon as the slab can be cut without raveling.
The slab should be cured. GOOD:Cure with curing compound applied by the contractor immediately after pouring. BETTER: visqueen cover with water trapped on the slab (this often leaves a mottled appearance and /or visqueen printing) BEST: total immersion accomplished by building an appropriate dam around the pour - usually not possible on sloped drives, etc. The water cure should be applied for +/- 7 days. Keep heavy objects (cars, trucks, etc) off the concrete for a minimum of 3 days, preferred 7 days to allow the concrete to make enough initial strength to deal with the loads.
These are all givens about concrete. Here is another: Concrete will crack. The trick is to get it to crack where you want it to, preferably in a neat straight line. Sometimes there is just no simple answer to why concrete cracks where it does. Heat shrinkage, hot rebar, design mix, finishing techniques, wind, hot sun all have profound effects on concrete.
I hope that you and your contractor can arrive at a solution that is equitable to both of you. Remember he has a lot of time and material in this job already. I do not guarantee concrete not to crack, in fact, I make owners aware of the potential before hand. I am also aware that you have money and quality expectations that should be part of the overall resolution.
(top posted for your convenience) ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^ Keep the whole world singing . . . . DanG (remove the sevens) snipped-for-privacy@7cox.net

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It took two days to pour the drive because of rain. The saw joints ( I was mistakenly calling them expansion joints) were cut in on the third day. No way not to have the concrete truck on the compacted area. It's either that or ruin the lawn. Perhaps the saw joints are no more than 12ft apart, plus there is one down the center of the entire driveway. I was guessing on distance, doing this from work. No vehicle traffic for 9 nine days. So he's coming tomorrow and what would be a reasonable expectation on my part. OK, maybe all concrete will eventually crack, but jeez I didn't expect it in two weeks. I was doing this drive over two years and next year there is still another 250 ft of drive to pour so that gives me a little leverage... maybe. How would you try and make me, the customer, happy? Thanks,

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Remember there are two injured parties here. His reputation, good will, referrals and the money for this project. YOU! Try to approach the issue together, not as adversaries. See what ideas he may have.
Possible remedies to discuss:
Minimum, rout and caulk (pavement seal like Vulcem or SL1) the cracks that did occur.
Maximum, remove and replace sections with cracks. Be aware, this method has the potential for stains on the concrete and will require either a pump or wheelbarrow pour. The end result will surely be a different color. The cure may be worse than where you are now.
There are epoxies made for filling the cracks and very expensive overlay products to color the entire top.
(top posted for your convenience) ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^ Keep the whole world singing . . . . DanG (remove the sevens) snipped-for-privacy@7cox.net

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Slabs crack, u can try to contol them, but the simple realiuty is slabs crack in spite of controls and strengths. Hi-test concrete is more prone to cracks! Aside from obvious stuff like the crete being air entrained @5% and plastized to min water content, wet or damp cure for 28 days is most important. u can drive normal cars the next day while cure takes place. This should hsve been damp cured with burlap sacks or a product called 'polytarp' which sprays on surfaces. BTW, most of the concrete slab work i have seen while in the states is of poor finish and quality, even rudimentary skills are not present. In canada it would not even pass inspection. A lot has to do with most concrete laborers in canda being italian or portuguese while blacks and hispanics are used in the untied states.
-- Troweller^nospam^@canada.com
Remove the obvious to reply. Experienced and reliable Concrete Finishing and Synthetic Stucco application in the GTA.

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Asswipe...
> ConcreteFinishing&StuccoGuy the Canadian "Grand Wizard" wrote:

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I guess you can get away with that attitude in Canada towards certain minorities
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snipped-for-privacy@optonline.net wrote:

And Mississippi. I've seen nothing from this Asswipe canuck yet to qualify his advice as being anything but trollish horseshit. I'm done reading anything posted by him.
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Has nothing to do with hispanic, black, italian, portuguese workers... It is more the fact that many people will go with the cheapest quote, instead of going with the licensed contracters, that hire trully skilled and licensed help. Skilled workers cost alot more, but quite often you get what you pay for. Here in Montreal, I've dealt with quite a few Italian contractors, and I've seen my share of good, and bad. The good ones do cost a bit more, however they stand behind thier work and rarely take any money up front... I usually go after them to pay them. They've done brick work, and even some foundation work for me, and 20 years later, the works looks just as good as new. No crumbling, no leaks, etc....
Cracking in Concrete can happen for various reasons, and sometimes, no matter how much of a precaustion you take, it will happen. Nowadays, many of the cement suppliers have alot of options, many will gladly test the concrete from the truck before pouring to test for proper consistency, air entraining, etc... Also offer fiber reenforced concrete for extreme weather cases, and pours for stuff like stairs and large slabs...
The contractors competence is not dictated by the crack in such a large pour. However how he decides to address it with the customer is the big deciding factor.
message

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Met with the contractor today and it is his opinion there was a problem with the load. The sections that cracked, he called them contraction cracks, are all from load #3 of 5 loads so he's trying to get the cement company to pay. We'll see. Now as far as other things I had a chance to measure today and the saw cuts are all 9.5 feet apart. The sections that cracked were poured at noon and cut starting around 8am the next day. So far the only options offered seem to be cut it out and redo with the cement co paying for the cement and he implied him kicking in some of the labor but I didn't push that yet. Option two was I keep any money received from the cement co and ignore the cracks. He claims the cracks will not get significantly larger over time. The 3 sections involved consist of around 320 sq ft. and would require wheelbarrow to pour.

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