Every do-it-yourselfer is familiar with prepackaged concrete mix and the many uses this product has for everything from small concrete slabs to setting fence posts. But there are also a number of other concrete formulations available by the sack or bucket that make quick and easy work of a wide variety of concrete patching and repair tasks all around your home and yard.

VINYL CONCRETE

Vinyl concrete is specially formulated for patching and resurfacing existing concrete, smoothing out rough areas and repairing mortar joints. It trowels on very smoothly on concrete, stone, brick and other masonry surfaces, and can be used for both horizontal and vertical repairs.

Clean the repair area thoroughly to remove dirt, dust, flaking concrete and other foreign material that will hinder the bond. Leave the area damp, but with no standing water.

In a wheelbarrow, mixing tub or other container, pour out the dry vinyl concrete mix. Add clean water, mix, allow to stand for several minutes and then remix. Vinyl concrete sets up faster than regular concrete, so do not mix up more than you can use in 30 minutes.

Apply the mixed concrete to the patch area using a small trowel. Press the mixture solidly into cracks and against the old concrete surface, and trowel it smooth. Feather it out onto the adjacent areas to avoid any raised edges and to minimize cracking.

With any type of cement or concrete repair, you need to keep the repaired area moist to avoid it setting up too quickly, especially in warmer weather. You can do this by spraying the area with a fine mist of water from a garden hose or spray bottle, then covering the patch with plastic or burlap. Repeat the wetting process a couple of times a day, usually for one to three days.

QUICK-SETTING CEMENT

As the name implies, quick-setting cement compounds are specially designed to set up much faster than standard concrete mixes. This makes it an ideal choice for a number of repair situations, and is an ideal choice for repairing curbs, steps, concrete walls and other similar areas without having to erect forms.

Quick-setting cement compounds are a mixture of cement, sand and other ingredients, and are designed to mix with water. Prepare your work site by cleaning the old concrete and then roughening it up with a stiff wire brush. Rinse the area to remove dust, and leave it damp.

Pour a small amount of dry cement mixture into a bucket, add water at a ratio of approximately one part water to four parts cement, and mix thoroughly. Only mix up a small amount at one time. Using a trowel, press the wet mixture against the area to be repaired. The cement will want to slump a little initially, so continue to work press and smooth it against the repair, then hold it in place with your trowel until it sets up and stays in place on its own. Moisten and cover the repair.

LATEX CEMENT

Latex cement is great for making tough repairs, such as patching or resurfacing existing concrete, repairing concrete steps, leveling uneven surfacing, and even for setting some types of stone or brick. This is a two-part product, consisting of Portland cement mixed with fine sand along with a liquid latex binder, typically packaged together in a bucket, which can double as your mixing pail. No water is used with this type of cement.

After cleaning the area to be repaired, dampen the area with water. Pour the liquid latex into the sand and cement mixture and mix it completely with a trowel or other tool. Allow the mixture to set for a couple of minutes, remix it, and apply it to the patch area. Because there is no gravel or other coarse aggregate in the mix, it is very east to smooth out and feather onto adjacent surfaces. Moisten and cover the repair, and keep it moist for a couple of days.

These and other types of concrete repair and patching compounds can be found at most home centers, hardware stores, lumberyards and other retailers of concrete and masonry supplies. Be sure and follow all of the manufacturer’s specific instructions for mixing, installation, curing and safety precautions.

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