Caulking Concrete Cracks

How to make long-lasting caulk joints and keep water out.

Next Project
Time

An hour or less

Complexity

Intermediate

Cost

Less than $20

Introduction

Seal cracks in concrete with durable urethane caulk. It'll keep water out and protect your foundation and walks from further cracking and eroding. You can do it in less than a half hour.

Tools Required

  • Caulk gun
  • Spoon

Materials Required

  • Foam backer rod
  • Mineral spirits
  • Polyurethane caulk

How to caulk wide gaps

Cracks and gaps in concrete are more than just an eyesore. Water can get into the joints, freeze and then expand, making the cracks even larger. Gaps against a house can direct water against the foundation, leading to more problems. Once a year, go around your home and fill these gaps and joints with urethane caulk (or polyurethane caulk) to prevent problems. The expansion joint caulk is available at contractor supply stores, well-stocked home centers and hardware stores. For gaps and joints more than 1/4 in. wide, install foam backer rod to support the caulk. You want the rod to fit tight in the joint, so buy it one size larger than the gap.

A word of advice: Keep the urethane caulk off your bare hands and clothes; it’s the stickiest stuff you’ll ever touch. Wear disposable gloves when you’re tooling the joints. If you get some on your skin, quickly wipe it off with a paint thinner–dampened cloth.

Project step-by-step (3)

Step 1

Install backer rod

caulking concrete cracksFamily Handyman

Use foam backer rod into the gap with your fingers. Set the rod 1/4 in. lower than the surface of the concrete.

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Step 2

Fill and smooth the joint

caulking concrete cracksFamily Handyman

Fill the crack with urethane caulk, similar to what you would use for driveway caulk. It works perfectly as a concrete expansion joint sealant. Snip the opening of the tube at a 30-degree angle, making the opening the same size as your gap. Use a smooth, even motion, filling the crack flush with the surface, beveling it if it's against the house. Smooth the caulk in wide joints with the back of an old spoon. Wipe the spoon clean as needed with a rag and mineral spirits.

Step 3

Caulk narrow cracks

caulking concrete cracksFamily Handyman

Caulk cracks 1/4 in. wide or less without using backer rod. Draw the gun down the crack, smoothing the caulk with the tip as you go.

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