How to Change Quikrete Backer Rods

Concrete can develop cracks over time due to exposure to weather and heavy weight. A crack must be sealed to prevent it from worsening. A Quikrete backer rod is a non-absorbent foam “rope” that is inserted into concrete either horizontally or vertically to seal cracks. It acts as a filler before the final concrete sealer is applied above it to fill in the crack. When properly inserted, backer rods create a backstop for the sealer. Quikrete manufactures backer rods in 20-foot lengths in either 3/4- or 1-inch diameters. Before you can change a Quikrete backer rod, however, you must extract the rod that is currently in place.

Things You'll Need

  • Waterproof gloves
  • Safety glasses
  • Hammer and chisel
  • Cement sealant remover
  • Putty knife
  • Bristle brush
  • Cloth
  • Quikrete backer rods
  • Utility knife
  • Caulk gun
  • Polyurethane concrete crack sealer
  • Trowel


  1. Extracting Backer Rods

    • 1

      Work in a well-ventilated area. Wear safety glasses and waterproof gloves before working with polyurethane products such as sealant.

    • 2

      Clean the cracked cement area. Break off any loose cement or old cement sealant with a chisel or hammer. Chip off the cracked area so it is a minimum of 1/4 inch wide. Use cement sealant removal, according to manufacturer instructions, if necessary.

    • 3

      Dig with the chisel or a putty knife to extract the current backer rod in place.

    • 4

      Clean off the area with a bristle brush and cloth. Allow the area to dry before proceeding

    Installing Backer Rods

    • 5

      Cut the backer rod to the correct length with a utility knife. Use your hands or a narrow tool to push the rod into the crack. Place the rod so it rests parallel to about halfway down the depth of the crack.

    • 6

      Be careful not to stretch or puncture the rod to completely seal the crack.

    • 7

      Place a polyurethane concrete crack sealer into a caulk gun. Cut off the nozzle tip of the sealer at an angle with the utility knife.

    • 8

      Point the caulk gun along the crack. Force the concrete sealant caulk into the crack filling it up to the backer rod.

    • 9

      Remove any excess sealant and smooth over the area with a trowel. Allow the sealant at least two hours to dry before placing any weight on the concrete.

Tips & Warnings

  • The temperature must be at least 50 degrees Fahrenheit to seal concrete.
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  • Photo Credit Jupiterimages/Brand X Pictures/Getty Images

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