What causes sunken or cracked concrete in Colorado
Cracked concrete is unsightly, but not all cracks are cause for concern.
Concrete is pretty amazing stuff. It can be poured, shaped and made into just about anything you like. But even though it’s incredibly strong, it’s not indestructible. So, when you see cracked concrete or a driveway or patio that has sunken or broken slabs or is pitted, flaked and stained, there are reasons why these things happen.
The good news is with the right materials, equipment, and help from the experienced professionals at Complete Basement Systems, concrete damage can be repaired. Click below to get a free concrete repair estimate in Denver, Colorado Springs, Aurora, Cheyenne and the nearby areas.
What Lies Beneath
- Poorly compacted soil: When your home was built, the movement of soil around the building site results in poor compaction. Even when the replaced soil is compacted well, it’s never as stable as the original soil. Over time, this can cause voids to form and slabs to settle.
- Dry soil: Another cause of soil failure is drought. During dry conditions or even just during periods of warm weather and low precipitation, the soil under your concrete will dry out and shrink, creating voids. The concrete above eventually cracks and sinks into these empty spaces; especially if any weight is placed on it.
- Flooding: When the rains return, the water has an even easier pathway under the slab due to cracks and crevices left over from the dry period. And this wet, soft soil is just too weak to support the concrete above it. In the worst case, the soil erodes and washes away completely, leaving behind large voids that cannot support the weight of the concrete above.
Concrete Lifting Causes
Soil in general can have contributions to concrete failure all around your home. If you’re having issues with your home’s soil, you’re much more likely to also have concrete failure problems that require slab lifting. There are many ways the soil can contribute to concrete failure.
- Problems with Initial Construction
When a construction crew pours concrete initially, they have to compact the soil. By compacting the soil, they’re able to ensure that there’s a stable foundation for the concrete. If the construction crew doesn’t compact the soil enough or makes a mistake in the compacting process, the weight of the concrete and anything on top of it might compress the soil, causing concrete settling.
It’s also important that the initial construction pour doesn’t occur when the soil underneath the concrete is wet. Soil expands when it’s wet, even if it’s not an expansive soil. That means the soil will shrink once it dries out, which can lead to an issue with concrete stability, especially since it’s impossible to determine exactly how the soil will shrink.
- Erosion from Rain
Rain tends to cause all sorts of problems for concrete, especially external concrete. One of the biggest problems that rain can cause for concrete is erosion. When floods move across the soil, there’s a huge chance that they’ll take pieces of the soil with them, even if the soil has proper compacting. That can lead to concrete failure, especially over a long period. Soil erosion is a big problem for most types of soil. However, it can be an especially serious problem for certain soil types. Expansive soils tend to have a hard time with erosion, and how they expand can allow for the soil particles to move away from the rest of the soil more easily. If you live in a rain-prone area, you might want to talk to an expert about fixing this problem.
You might not know why water is so bad for concrete in the first place. What’s the point of managing your concrete and waterproofing it in the first place? Here are a few of the reasons that waterproofing is such an important part of concrete maintenance.
- Concrete Is Porous
First and foremost, it’s important to remember that concrete is porous, especially without waterproofing measures. Although a slab of concrete won’t let water through it, water will still sink into the surface of the concrete if you haven’t used waterproofing measures, which can cause waterlogging problems, especially over time.
Even if you only have small cracks in your concrete, you still need to be careful about allowing water on and around the concrete, especially if it’s during the winter. That’s because tiny amounts of water can get into those small cracks, then freeze. Ice takes up more space than liquid water, which means the freezing process will expand the cracks in your concrete.
- Water Can Stain Concrete
Although it’s not as big of a concern structurally, water staining your concrete is a significant concern to many people who want to maintain their home’s beauty. You don’t want to have water stains on your concrete if you can at all avoid it. The water stains can be difficult to remove if you decide you want to try and improve the external appearance of your concrete.
Waterproofing often helps you avoid stain problems, largely because it puts a barrier between the concrete and the water. With the right type of concrete waterproofing, you can avoid water staining because you’re reducing the possibility that water will remain on the surface of the concrete for a long period.
The concrete that’s around your property can have an impact on your home as a whole as well. If you’re looking for more information about external concrete’s impact on your home, here are a few of the things it can change.
- Generalized Structural Integrity
In general, your external concrete’s integrity has a direct link to the structural integrity of your home. Your home should have the best structural integrity possible, and that means maximizing your structural integrity overall. This can include the concrete structures that are all around your home, like your sidewalk, not just the concrete structures inside your home.
Another thing to pay attention to is the way the dirt around your home’s concrete and structure moves and changes with the concrete movement. Dirt movement can be extreme and can lead to all sorts of stability concerns. It’s one of the reasons that external concrete changes can have such an impact on your home’s stability.
- Street Creep
Street creep holds a huge potential for concern. This happens when your home’s driveway starts to inch forward, pushing up against your home’s foundation. Because the driveway concrete can be just as strong as the home’s general foundation concrete, street creep can cause serious problems for your home’s foundation.
Street creep tends to be a problem that many homes experience. There are many ways street creep can occur and it often has to do with a problem on the part of the street, which you can’t change. However, with the right stabilization, you can ensure that street creep doesn’t have a huge impact on your home’s structural stability.
With all this information, how can you fix the problems you’re experiencing with your concrete? Fixing concrete problems isn’t always easy or obvious, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s difficult. Here are a few things to keep in mind.
- Make Sure You’re Able to Notice Problems
You must notice problems that arise in the concrete around your home. Look for problems like your home’s concrete moving and shifting, uneven floors, strange waterproofing problems, and other elements that may indicate concrete problems throughout your home and around it. This can clue you into the existence of concrete problems early on.
Paying attention to problems early on is one of the best ways to avoid long-term concerns. Concrete problems can become more serious over time. When you take the initiative and fix these problems while they’re still in their infancy, you’re more likely to land on a solution that fixes the problem quickly and easily.
- Talk to an Expert
Once you become aware of the concrete problems your home is facing, you then need to talk to an expert who can help you fix them. There are many different ways that experts can help you with your concrete concerns, including concrete waterproofing, polyurethane foam injections, and many more options. However, only an expert will be able to tell you what you need to manage these problems. Regardless of the problems you’re experiencing in your home, an expert can do an assessment and let you know where these problems are coming from. You can even schedule a free inspection with Complete Basement Systems to get that assessment as quickly as possible.
Pitting, Flaking and Staining
When the top layer flakes away, the concrete surface is left patchy and pitted.
Moisture is concrete’s strongest enemy. It seeps into the pores of untreated concrete, and when temperatures drop, especially during freeze-thaw cycles, that trapped moisture expands as it turns to ice. This expansion destroys the pores and weakens the concrete. This results in concrete slabs that can pit and flake. Concrete’s porous nature also makes it susceptible to staining when left untreated.
As a homeowner, you don’t just have to worry about your own concrete slabs; you should be concerned with the slabs that make up the street that goes past your house.
During colder months, your street’s slabs contract, opening up the joints between them. Those joints then become filled with pebbles and other debris. Then, when the warm weather returns, the slabs expand again – only the joints that were designed to absorb this expansion are now filled with material that won’t compress. This leaves the expansion pressure nowhere to go except up your driveway. This “street creep,” as it is known, exerts incredible pressure on your home and can cause all sorts of problems.
Contact us today for a concrete repair estimate
Whatever the cause of your concrete problem, we have an effective solution. Complete Basement Systems offers concrete repair for settlement, sinking, and cracks. We will assess your property and recommend the best solution for your driveway, patio, or any concrete slab that needs repair. Contact us online for a free estimate in Denver, Colorado Springs, Aurora, Littleton, Cheyenne, Fort Collins, Thornton, Arvada, Westminster, Boulder, and the nearby areas.