What Can Be Done With Settled Concrete?
What Can Be Done With Settled Concrete? Understanding Options
Concrete is a material that is made to last, but that doesn’t mean property owners who have concrete driveways, sidewalks, patios, or other structures will never have anything to worry about. Concrete settling is a well-known issue that can wind up causing significant damage if it is left unchecked.
What is Settling?
Settling can wind up, causing cracks, potholes, and other structural issues that will only worsen over time. Three main problems cause concrete to settle, although the result is mostly the same. They are poor soil compaction, flooding, and tree roots. Property owners, themselves, don’t need to be able to determine the root cause of their concrete settling, though. They need to be able to recognize the symptoms so that they’ll know when they should be calling in a professional contractor for help.
What Are the Symptoms?
Settling causes certain areas of concrete surfaces to sink, creating safety hazards and, in some cases, the potential for foundation damage. If it seems like one part of the surface is lower than the others, it is likely due to settling. Similarly, cracks and potholes often begin to appear as the concrete settles, and these secondary symptoms can cause other issues.
What Can Be Done?
Are you wondering what can be done with settled concrete? Thankfully, all is not lost. There are a few different solutions available to professional concrete contractors hired to remediate this problem.
The First Step
The first step toward having this potentially severe problem repaired is to call a contractor and schedule an inspection. The reasoning here is twofold. For one thing, only a professional contractor will be able to definitively diagnose the underlying problem that is causing the surface to become cracked and uneven. Even if the reason for the settling is apparent, it’s still necessary to schedule an inspection before moving forward. The inspection process is a significant first step toward solving the problem. It will give the contractor a chance to fully evaluate the situation so that he or she can make appropriate suggestions and offer a reasonably accurate price quote to have them fixed.
One of the most common means of lifting settled concrete is known as mud jacking. This process involves drilling small holes through the sunken portions of the concrete and pumping a slurry made of crushed limestone aggregate through the holes to push the surface upwards from below. Mud jacking tends to be less destructive to the surrounding landscape and structures than removing the concrete slab for repairs. Mud jacking is only appropriate when the settling is not due to solely to soil problems. When this is the case, the extra weight can wind up, causing further settlement. If, on the other hand, compaction or tree roots caused the settling, mud jacking might provide an excellent solution.
It is often possible to replace only the slabs that have been actively damaged by compaction. It is typically the preferred solution if substantial damage to the concrete surfaces has already occurred. However, this solution doesn’t necessarily address the underlying issue. If the settling happened due to the weight of the original slab being too heavy for the soil, the problem would only happen again in the future. When removing the slab, contractors will still need to address the underlying issue.
Polyurethane Concrete Raising
Although the process, itself, is similar to that of mud jacking, there are a few advantages of polyurethane concrete raising over its more traditional counterpart. The material used can expand after being pumped through the slab and is much lighter than the limestone slurry described above. Plus, it cures almost immediately.
The Bottom Line
Property owners shouldn’t lose hope over a few settled slabs of concrete. There are plenty of options available for fixing them. No matter which of these solutions they choose, the first step will always be the same, though. It is to call a contractor who can help.