Concrete Lifting Problem Signs
When concrete settles, cracks, or becomes uneven, you could end up with pooling water, uneven surfaces, and potentially dangerous tripping hazards. Plus, cracked concrete looks bad and lowers the value of your home. We use the latest technology and techniques to lift and protect your concrete.
The signs of slab settling can get you ahead of the structural issues on your property. To know when it’s time for concrete lifting repairs, it’s smart to watch out for these tell-tale signs.
In Charlotte and Hickory, homeowners are all too familiar with damage to their concrete structures. Whether from constant exposure to the elements or the soil underneath causing problems, concrete isn’t as durable as one might think. Since the material itself is porous, to begin with, the tiny holes throughout lead to water being able to get in and cause cracks and other damage. When the soil underneath the slabs erodes or shifts, this will cause the voids underneath the concrete and lead to settlement and unevenness. Whatever the damage, it’s important to repair it as soon as possible to prevent dangerous tripping hazards, structural, or vehicle damage. Fortunately, at Dry Pro, we offer a proven solution to lift and stabilize your concrete back to normal and that’s why homeowners in Richfield, Midland, Pineville, York County, and the rest of the Greater Charlotte, NC, area trust us as their go-to experts for Concrete Lifting Repairs.
Causes of Concrete Damage
The concrete around your North Carolina home is extremely vulnerable to wear and tear over a long period of time. Here are some common reasons that your concrete could become damaged.
In order to level a site where a foundation will be built, builders sometimes bring in loose soil from another location to fill depressed or hollow areas.
This newly moved “fill” soil is much looser and lighter than the dense, hard-packed virgin soils at the site that haven’t been disturbed.
The fill soil brought in by the builder has to be compacted thoroughly before a foundation is built on top of it. If the soil is not compacted well, it may begin to compress underneath the weight of your new home, creating settlement problems that can damage your foundation.
Foundation soils experience most of their drying and shrinking from two common causes:
Drought: Prolonged dry periods cause the soil to dry out. As we know, when the clay dries out, it shrinks. Soil shrinkage beneath a foundation has the same effect as soil settling: It usually causes a section of the foundation to crack and settle into the void or hollow area where settlement has occurred.
Maturing Trees: The root system of a tree can be up to twice the size of the tree’s canopy. If a tree’s branches extend over your home, there’s a good chance that they extend under your house as well, drawing moisture up from the soil and causing it to shrink.
This is usually caused by plumbing leaks. If the plumbing leak is severe and there is a path for the water to flow through, it can wash soil out from under the slab.
With a void underneath the floor, there’s nothing supporting the concrete slab anymore. In time, it begins to crack and sink downwards.
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Concrete Lifting Solutions
Lifting and repairing cracking, sinking concrete can be a challenge, but the expert team at Dry Pro has the long-lasting solutions you need to keep your property safe.
Lift your cracked concrete driveway with our PolyRenewal™ system.
Eliminate unsightly cracking and uneven tripping hazards in the concrete around your pool deck with our concrete lifting system.
Raise your cracked and sunken concrete sidewalk with our affordable and practical concrete lifting solution.
Restore your sinking and unlevel concrete slab with our long-lasting solution.
Is Concrete Lifting the Right Solution for Me?
We know that cracked or uneven concrete can be dangerous as well as unsightly. Damaged concrete can also lower the value of your home if you go to sell in the future. Any cracks, voids, sinking, or uneven concrete slabs can present a safety hazard for your family and cause damage to your vehicle if parked in the driveway.
When it comes to repairing and restoring your concrete, look no further than our PolyRenewal™ foam injections. This minimally invasive and cost-effective repair solution can adequately lift and stabilize your concrete within the same day as injected. Older, and more invasive methods of concrete repair such as mudjacking and slab jacking don’t solve the problem at hand which is usually the soil it lies upon. Replacement of the concrete also does you no favors as it has the same result as mudjacking. These repairs are not only extremely invasive but also costly and temporary.
PolyRenewal™ is a lightweight, but exceptionally durable and waterproof foam that is injected underneath the slab. It cures in about 15 minutes so that normal traffic can resume on your concrete. PolyRenewal™ can be used to lift and stabilize concrete porch steps, sidewalks, driveways, pool decks, garage floors, and more!
There is a reason why the PolyRenewal™ System is the sole solution available for concrete lifting and repair at Dry Pro Foundation and Crawl Space Specialists: the PolyRenewal™ System is so multi-functional that it can single-handedly address any and all concrete problems that you may have—guaranteed.
What Else Can PolyRenewal Fix?
The PolyRenewal is certainly not limited to concrete steps alone. Due to all its features, the polyurethane foam can be injected anywhere you have concrete! From your driveway, patio, garage, or even beside your pool deck, the PolyRenewal can, and will, work to repair cracks or broken concrete, or restore and level slabs to their original position.
It is not only the exterior too. If you are noticing uneven floors in your home, then our expert contractors can easily inject the foam into interior slabs below, allowing you to walk through your home safely and not have to deal with any unsightly, uneven floors.
How Is PolyRenewal Installed?
Installation of the PolyRenewal foam only requires a hole the size of a penny, so worrying about any invasive or disruptive procedures is a thing of the past. The polyurethane foam of our PolyRenewal™ System is injected through these small holes, where it expands upon application. It only takes about half an hour for this foam to cure and become more rigid, so it works incredibly fast! Installation takes less than a day. In fact, it can even take under a couple of hours.
Once the PolyRenewal™ System foam is injected into the site of interest, our experts will cover up the hole. You are guaranteed to have professional flooring finish every time. You won’t even notice that there was any work done, but you will reap all the benefits!
There is a reason mudjacking is not recommended by the experts at Dry Pro Foundation and Crawl Space Specialists. Although mudjacking has been the traditional method to repair broken concrete and even lift concrete, it is neither sustainable nor a long-lasting solution for any concrete woes.
What is Mudjacking?
Mudjacking is one of the older methods of repairing cracked, broken, or unlevel concrete. Mudjacking uses what is known as a slurry, or a mixture of clay, sand, and cement, to fill into voids under concrete to lift it back up. It is also used to repair any concrete that has formed cracks or even broken in half. For this to happen, however, a contractor must drill a large enough hole into the concrete site for the slurry to be poured into. Mudjacking requires a few days to cure before use.
However, soil compaction and settlement can result from excessive weight. The slurry mixture is quite heavy. While it does level out your concrete, it will weigh on your soil even more, causing more cracks and slabs to become uneven with time.
Why Use the PolyRenewal™ System Instead?
Mudjacking is more temporary than the PolyRenewal™ System due to the weight of the mixture. The slurry used in mudjacking is rather heavy, weighing at about 120 pounds per cubic foot alone. The PolyRenewal™ Injection foam weighs at around four pounds per cubic foot—30 times less than mudjacking slurry!
In contrast to mudjacking, the PolyRenewal™ System addresses the source of the problem: soil shrinkage, compaction, settlement, or washout. The PolyRenewal™ System is waterproof, a feature that is unique to the polyurethane foam of the PolyRenewal™, and, therefore, prevents soil from experiencing an excessive amount of swell-shrink cycles or soil washout. Its lightweight foam also prevents future soil compaction, which is common with mudjacking slurry over time. The PolyRenewal™ foam cures in a shorter period and is significantly less messy than mudjacking.
Concrete cracks can make some areas of your property look dated and poorly taken care of. To avoid this problem, you’ll need to prevent concrete cracks as much as possible, though there are some things that can’t be prevented.
- Things That Can’t Be Prevented
The slabs that crack due to a poor production process are structurally weak and will crack no matter how well you take care of them. You can tell when a weak slab will crack excessively; it starts to pit, which is when the concrete develops small holes in the surface. The pitting only debilitates the structure and makes it easier for the concrete to crack.
The same can be said for any slabs around a pool deck. Due to the way pool decks are constructed, the clay bowl effect causes rapid soil erosion and concrete settling. This can be avoided if the slabs in that area have minimal exposure to water, but because it’s near the pool, this is nearly impossible to achieve.
- Things That Can Be Prevented
Concrete settling can’t be completely prevented because soil will find a way to get displaced one way or another. Still, you can slow down the settling process and prevent concrete cracks by protecting the soil under your slabs. This can be done with proper yard drainage and a positive yard grade. The less water that accumulates around your property, the less structural damage you’ll see.
This might mean extending your downspouts and altering them to point away from any slabs. You also might want to cover your driveway, at least for the winter, so that it gets snowed on as little as possible. If you do notice some signs of settling but the slab hasn’t cracked yet, then avoid putting weight on it until experts are able to repair the slab.
Some homeowners may think that replacing their concrete steps in its entirety will solve the problem. Others may reason out that replacing the concrete steps will also make it look perfectly new, without adding a new foam that may alter the look of it. However, replacement not only does not address the cause of the issue, but also it is dangerous and is not very cost effective. In most cases, repair is better.
The Dangers of Concrete Replacement
Replacing your concrete requires that you demolish the concrete to get to the soil underneath. Homeowners may think that concrete demolition is quite simple, but it is this mindset that makes it even more dangerous to do alone. Demolishing concrete requires the extensive use of many tools that you may not be familiar with, which can be a recipe for disaster and lead to serious injury.
Demolishing concrete also has its risks aside from obvious injury. Someone who is inexperienced can easily damage pipes beneath your home. In the most severe situations, water pipes will burst, causing flooding and contamination of your water supply. Gas pipes can also leak, putting you and everyone around you at risk for inhalation or fires.
The Costs of Concrete Replacement
Replacing concrete can be quite costly in comparison to simple repairs. Although repairs are not exactly cheap, they are much more budget-friendly than replacing entire concrete slabs. The average cost of concrete ranges from $4 to $15 per square foot. This can quickly add up depending on how large your steps are.
Furthermore, it is not just buying concrete that is expensive. There are many tools necessary to replace concrete, and, even if you rent them out, these costs can add up very quickly. Concrete steps also require molds and certain training to get them shaped properly.
Polyurethane foam can lift cracked slabs and level the broken piece with the rest of the concrete. That said, polyurethane is not glue, so it cannot lift slabs that are severely cracked. Past a certain point of damage, you’ll need to replace the slab instead of repairing it, which costs more money.
Besides, with a repair method like PolyRenewal™, you are able to ensure that the erosion process is slowed, and your slab stays even for a very long time. If you get a new slab, however, then the soil erosion process is not addressed, and the new slab has the potential to settle as well. To avoid this, it’s in your best interest to learn how to keep your settling concrete from cracking.
- Exposure to Moisture
The bigger the gap under the slab, the more the concrete settles and the more likely it is to break. Keeping the slab as even as possible and preventing rapid soil loss is the best way to avoid a cracked slab. This might mean making some alterations, such as not using the pool until repairs are done or using driveway covers, at least during the winter to protect from snow.
Moisture is something that not only erodes soil; it also erodes concrete. Water can displace concrete particles over time, which is especially damaging to concrete that is already weak due to a poor curing process or an incorrect recipe. Concrete damage is most severe during the winter when the moisture in the slab expands as it turns into ice. Charlotte, NC has 59 nights a year where the temperature drops to or below freezing. This is nearly two months of micro-tears from freeze-thaw, so you need to limit how much exposure to snow the slab gets if you wish to avoid cracks.
- Weight Bearing
Because concrete has poor tensile strength, it is most likely to crack when it begins settling. If you notice the tell-tale signs of settling in a slab, then you need to hold off on putting any weight on it until repairs are done. Not only does too much weight on a settling slab cause cracking, but also it can accelerate the soil erosion process.
If one of your slabs is settling, then it may not be the only one that has soil problems. Slab settling can happen to multiple slabs at once, and the signs usually appear shortly after the first slab begins to settle. To prevent multiple slabs from settling, there are a few things you need to consider doing.
Soil erosion can never fully be prevented, but it can be slowed down considerably if you limit the soil’s exposure to moisture. This can be done by improving your yard drainage system. It’s important that as little moisture as possible goes near the even slabs, especially if there’s one that is already settling.
Because soil washout is so common in Charlotte thanks to the characteristics of the city’s soil, having a positive yard grade helps immensely. A positive yard grade means that water flows away from the foundation every time it rains. You can always speak to a landscaping expert to examine your yard to see if any re-grading needs to be done.
- Seasonal Care
Every winter, you should try to shovel as much snow from your yard as you can, especially during the early evening. The temperature falls below freezing at night, but even if it snows while you’re asleep, at least the snow will not melt and saturate the water like it does during the day. Early morning and evening are the best times to remove snow to protect your slab.
During the summer, when it rains, some protection might also be good for your concrete, particularly your driveway, which is the easiest to protect. A simple, collapsible driveway cover can block the excessive amount of rain that falls between May and August in Charlotte. It’s not recommended that you cover the slabs year-round because of potential mold growth, so focus on doing so when it rains the most.
Why is Concrete Lifting Needed?
The soil which your concrete structures rest upon is usually the main culprit for the damage it receives. Since concrete is a porous material, it also receives copious amounts of damage from elements such as rain and soil washout. With the heavy rainstorms that Hickory receives in the summer season, there is no surprise why the concrete structures around your home become cracked or uneven. Here are some of the most common ways your home could benefit from concrete lifting.
Prevent Tripping Hazards
Cracking and settling slabs present a dangerous tripping hazard to you, your family, and your friends. For the young and elderly alike, using them can become a full-on obstacle and highly unsafe. Whether it is your sidewalk, concrete porch steps, pool deck, driveway, or garage floor, your concrete should be lifted, and cracks should be filled to remain safe to use.
Increases Property Value and Aesthetics
Cracked and uneven concrete is an eyesore. It also causes a safety risk and can hinder any prior home inspections before selling. Not only is it unsafe and ugly, but it can also lower your home’s value. When you hold an open house, potential buyers may notice and find somewhere else with perfectly smooth and aesthetically pleasing concrete.
Prevents Pooling Water
When concrete sinks or settles, it can lead to pooling water around your foundation, causing more damage. When hydrostatic pressure comes into play, it can damage your basement floors or foundation walls. Soil erosion is also more predominant when water is left to sit in certain areas.
Common Concrete Lifting Tips & Mistakes
Helpful Tips for Concrete Lifting
- Inspect Your Foundation For Damage
For the most part, many foundations are made from concrete, so it’s especially important to consider inspecting them on a regular basis for signs of damage. Whether your basement floors, exterior walls, or garage floors, making sure they are damage-free is key to having a safe home. Common things to look out for include bowing basement walls and cracks in walls, uneven flooring, and tilting chimneys, which can all stem from the damaged concrete.
- Check Frequently Used Concrete Areas
If you have a pool in the backyard of your Hickory home, you may need to look for signs of cracks or settlement. The same goes for the sidewalk out front, as both are constantly exposed to the elements and prone to damage. As your pool deck and sidewalk are frequently used areas, it’s important to make sure they are structurally sound and safe for people to use.
- Let The Experts at Dry Pro Repair Your Concrete
If you are tired of worrying about tripping on your pool deck, or afraid your car is being damaged in your driveway, it may be time to call in the experts at Dry Pro. Since 1999, we’ve been helping homeowners in Grover, Lancaster County, Heath-Springs, Mount-Pleasant, and nearby Greater Charlotte, NC, areas repair and restore their concrete back to safety. During a free inspection, we’ll come out to your home, look for signs of concrete damage, and explain the cause of it. Afterward, we’ll discuss the best solution in the business, PolyRenewal™ polyurethane foam injections. This quick curing solution dries within 15 minutes after it is installed, meaning you can use your once damaged concrete the same day.
Mistakes to Avoid When Dealing with Concrete Damage
- Say No To Mudjacking and Slab Jacking
When it comes to methods of concrete lifting such as slab jacking or mudjacking, it involves an extremely invasive process. By drilling large holes into the concrete around your home and then pumping in a slurry mix, the process eventually lifts the slabs. Not only is it invasive, but it is also time-consuming, messy, expensive, and doesn’t offer same-day results. It also doesn’t address any underlying soil problems.
- Concrete Replacement Doesn’t Work
Like mud jacking, replacement and repouring of the concrete slabs also don’t solve the problem of soil washout or settlement. Your concrete may stay intact for a few years, but erosion will begin immediately if the soil isn’t addressed.
- Don’t DIY Repairs
Due to the weight of concrete and difficulty handling it, we suggest not doing any DIY repairs by yourself. At Dry Pro, we know how tempting it is to want to DIY home repairs due to time constraints and expenses. When it comes to damaged concrete around your home, it’s best to leave it to the professionals. Not only is concrete extremely heavy, but without the proper knowledge and expertise, you could become injured or not solve the problem. If you want to repair and restore your cracked, uneven, or sunken concrete, call the team at Dry Pro for a free inspection.
Find your service area
Charlotte, located in the Southern Piedmont region, is known for its lovely terrain. As wonderful as it is, clay soils can cause major structural issues.
Hickory’s wet weather combined with its clay soils cause structural issues for many homes. Dry Pro can offer solutions to fix even the most severe problems.