Although concrete is a durable and robust construction material, sinking concrete happens. Concrete can crack, crumble, chip, and sink. However, these are avoidable issues. We’ll go over the most common (but preventable) mistakes during the construction process that causes concrete to settle. Additionally, we’ll discuss how to prevent sinking concrete.
Why Does Sinking Concrete Happen?
Poor construction or water intrusion are the top two reasons that concrete slab sinks or settles over time. Concrete only ranks high in structural integrity when its foundation is solid. In other words, concrete that has a poor base will sink. Concrete needs the proper impaction. Additionally, it’s best not to use the wrong materials, such as soft soils or loose aggregates.
A common place where sinking concrete appears is around your perimeter’s foundation. During the construction process, the area’s excavation is typically a few feet wider to allow space for excavation contractors to install and remove the forms. This space is an over-dig area; if not appropriately backfilled, it will settle over time. As a result, it causes driveways, walkways, and patios to sink.
What to Know About Water Damage
Another cause for sinking concrete is water damage or penetration. Water intrusion below the slab constantly causes it to erode over time or washes away the stone or soil base. Clay-rich soils exacerbate the effects of water intrusion and settling because the clay freezes and expands during cold weather. As a result, the clay shrinks when it heats up, creating voids.
A common place to see this effect is where downspouts discharge water along a slab’s edge. Additionally, you’ll see water intrusion in a poorly graded yard where the water doesn’t flow to an area such as a porous area or storm drain. Instead, it will sit next to the concrete, causing it to sink. Also, a leaky or broken pipe or water sewage can be an issue if it’s below or near concrete.
Sinking Concrete Prevention
If you own existing concrete and don’t want it to sink (or sink any further), there are a few cost-effective solutions:
- Seal all open cracks and joints with silicone caulk or polyurethane. You can fill significant gaps with a backer rod and then caulk on top.
- Ensure that downspouts are discharging at least five feet from the concrete slab.
- Pack any open slab sides tightly with soil to ensure water runoff doesn’t travel below the concrete.
However, the best solution is to hire us. We specialize in construction projects, but also repairs. Concrete and asphalt services shouldn’t be a DIY project. Contact Atlantic Maintenance Group today if you need concrete repair.
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