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Pau; Bianchina, Check hairline concrete cracks before sealing   

Q: We had a new driveway poured last spring, probably 100 by 25 feet. It has developed hairline cracks on some of the sections.

Can you give advice on what can be used to seal the cracks that's not too expensive and not too hard to apply, that still will not change color of concrete too much? A couple of sections have a number of cracks. We are worried that when water gets in the cracks and freezes they will get larger. They did use a metal wiring mesh throughout the concrete about 2 inches square and it covered the entire area, so I don't think it will just split apart.

A: Since the cracks are hairline and are in several spots in the concrete, I suggest a concrete sealer for the entire driveway. It’s a liquid that’s easy to apply with a sprayer or a roller, and will seal the entire driveway to help repel water so it doesn’t get into the cracks. You’ll want to reapply the sealer every few years, depending on weather conditions in your area.

There are a number of different types of sealers available, from flat to glossy. Each one has different pros and cons, including how durable they are, how much shine they have, how slippery they are, and so on. I would discuss your particular situation with either a retailer of concrete supplies or an experienced, full-service paint store and get recommendations for the best product for your particular situation (I’d skip the big box stores for this one). You also want to be sure the concrete has cured sufficiently before applying a sealer.

However, before you go shopping, I think it would be best if you talk with the original concrete contractor first. It’s not uncommon for a large driveway to develop some hairline cracks, but it shouldn’t have a lot of them. It’s possible there was a problem with the initial concrete mix, or with the way it was placed and floated.

Before you do anything in the way of a sealer, be sure the contractor takes a look at the situation. If the original contractor is not willing to follow up with you, I’d definitely recommend having a different concrete contractor examine the work to be sure it’s OK.

Q: I had the bathroom remodeled and so all the drains are brand new so I don’t think they are plugged. I have a double vanity and when I run water in one sink the other one gurgles. And sometime the tub gurgles when I flush the toilet but only once in awhile. So all is new so none are plugged.

With the old bathroom I never had the gurgling at all. So I don’t think anything is plugging the vent on the roof either. What else could it be that’s making the sinks gurgle all the time? Mostly the tub drain has stopped gurgling when we flush the toilet.

A: Gurgling in a plumbing system is typically caused by a plugged or partially blocked vent system. With any plumbing system, every time you flush a toilet or run water down a drain, the water that’s leaving the plumbing system is replaced by air. That air enters the system through vents that extend all the way through the roof. If the vent is blocked, air can’t enter the way it should, so the system gurgles until the water is able to break the vacuum and refill.

You also can get gurgling if the drains are partially clogged. The water is slowed down as it tries to drain out past the clog, creating air bubbles that make their way out through the nearest vent, which causes the gurgling noise.

I know you said you don’t think that the drains or vents are clogged, but the fact that you just had the bathrooms remodeled and the noise started right afterward makes me suspicious that some debris got lodged in the system somewhere. I suggest that you have the system professionally snaked and flushed, and see if that doesn’t solve the problem.

Have a home repair or remodeling question for Paul? He can be reached by email at