Concrete Problem Signs
Problems with your concrete can show itself in various ways around your property. If you notice any of the following signs, you may need concrete lifting and repair.
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Concrete is versatile material to let us build almost anything we want, but what happens when it cracks? And how can you spot these issues before they arise?
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Concrete pitting, flaking, and staining can occur anywhere there is concrete. What is it, and what are the warning signs to watch out for?
Do you worry about tripping and falling any time you or your loved ones walk around your property? Uneven concrete is a danger to anyone walking or driving over it. It’s also very common along sidewalks, driveways, patios, and pool decks throughout Greater Cleveland and Northern Ohio. But you don’t have to live with these unsightly nuisances. Your local concrete professionals at Ohio Basement Systems can lift and stabilize your sunken concrete with our innovative PolyRenewal™ polyurethane foam injections. Read on to learn more.
Causes of Concrete Damage
Concrete can sustain damage for many reasons. Here are a few common causes.
Just as temperatures change with the seasons, so does the moisture content in the soil. The soil underneath concrete goes through cycles of wetness and dryness during the year, often becoming overly saturated in the spring and dry during the summer. This ongoing process of swelling and shrinking based on the presence of moisture or lack thereof exerts pressure on the concrete above the soil. This can lead to concrete cracking, sinking, and unevenness.
Prior to the construction of concrete structures like your property’s sidewalk, driveway, exterior steps, patio, or pool deck, the soil that will serve as a supportive foundation needs to be properly compacted or tamped down. Otherwise, loose soil that may have been backfill left over from the construction of your home can easily shift and settle. This will cause the concrete slabs above the soil to settle, as well.
Along with varying moisture content in the soil, the weather brings other issues that impact concrete. Northern Ohio is infamous for its harsh winters with lake effect snow and scorching summertime heat. Especially when the seasons transition from Fall to Winter and Winter to Spring, the ground is constantly freezing and thawing. This cycle can take its toll on concrete slabs and their underlying soil. The soil can settle and heave, resulting in cracking, uneven, and sinking slabs. Water also can become trapped under or within porous concrete, and the stress of freezing and thawing can cause it to crack open. Exterior concrete including your property’s porch, steps, driveway, and sidewalk are most at risk for damage because of its constant exposure to the elements.
Delbert Owens was very professional and corrected issues from the initial install.View review Read David Hawes's review for Ohio Basement Systems
The stars of This review are about Ohio basements Tech Richard Who called ahead showed up on time .Did his job thoroughly .which was Yearly inspection of the work that was done to my crawlspace. He tightened all the jacks and took a Moisture…View review Read Thin Ice's review for Ohio Basement Systems
Chris Shewell was professional, efficient and informative when he came by for an adjustment on our foundation bracing system.View review Read Taylor Saven's review for Ohio Basement Systems
Alex D. did a great job explaining what services I needed to replace the old sump pump and he even let me see the new pump and the extra long pipe that would secure that pump at the bottom of the hole. He showed me the connection he made to make…View review Read Gbpool's review for Ohio Basement Systems
Delbert Owens. Professional, patient. Answered my questions thoroughly. Tested equipment and repositioned my dehumidifier.View review Read Joe Smiraldo's review for Ohio Basement Systems
I had found Chris Shewell through Facebook, he immediately reached out to me and has been nothing but pleasant to speak with. I reached out to schedule an estimate and he made time and came out that same day, he was extremely informative, honest,…View review Read Cam B's review for Ohio Basement Systems
Delbert was very friendly. And knowledgeable he took the time to explain everything to me that he did and was testingView review Read Shelby Mae's review for Ohio Basement Systems
Alex was very knowledgeable & professional.View review Read Craig Richardson's review for Ohio Basement Systems
Delbert Owens was truly professional and knowledgeable. Highly recommend DelbertView review Read Dean Oriani's review for Ohio Basement Systems
Delbert Owens very good person of explainingView review Read Brenda M's review for Ohio Basement Systems
My experience with Ohio Basement Systems has been excellent, and I recommend them to all my clients in need of waterproofing or wall reinforcement. Today, David F. came out for some routine maintenance on my property that had steel beams and…View review Read Emily 11letters's review for Ohio Basement Systems
John and Cody were very knowledgeable, courteous, and professional. Would definitely recommendView review Read Robert Lukasko's review for Ohio Basement Systems
Dell was very knowledgeably and professional was very easy to talk to and work withView review Read Clark Baker's review for Ohio Basement Systems
Alex was outstanding ! He took the time to fully explain all options for warranties/services for the future. Alex explained the entire repair done today, he walked me though what he did. I was truly impressed with his honesty and attention to detail…View review Read Brittni Anelli's review for Ohio Basement Systems
Thank you for being professional and fast! Our basement looks great and we really appreciate the extra time and care to let us know what to expect in the coming weeks and walking us through to talk about the work you all did! Thank you Rashawn…View review Read Katie Hedger's review for Ohio Basement Systems
Quick, clean, and courteous. Thank you Rashawn, Leland, and Ovid for all the hard work y’all put into waterproofing my basement. Couldn’t have asked for a better team of professionals to knock this install out.View review Read Wack Rad's review for Ohio Basement Systems
Rashawn Leland and Ovid from basement systems did a great job on my basement waterproofing job 10 out of 10 thanks.View review Read Ken Bryant's review for Ohio Basement Systems
John and Cody were on time to do my job and they were extremely efficient, professional and pleasant to deal with. They take pride in their work, and I am completely satisfied and pleased with the results. I would recommend them to anyone!View review Read Ann Mcarthur's review for Ohio Basement Systems
John and Cody did an excellent job at my home. They showed everything that was going to be done and then I was taken to inspect the work that was done. They represent Ohio Basement systems well!!View review Read Maxine Hill's review for Ohio Basement Systems
Dell and David were very, very accommodating to our drainage and downspout problems. They attacked the issue with professionalism. Thank you, Janet and Len NelsonView review Read Janet Nelson's review for Ohio Basement Systems
Concrete Lifting Solutions
You may have come across suggestions like mudjacking, slab jacking, repouring, or DIY repairs. While you have these options, they are temporary solutions at best that won’t fully fix the problem. To properly lift, stabilize, and protect your concrete, you also need to address the underlying soil. With PolyRenewal™ polyurethane foam injections from Ohio Basement Systems, your concrete will look as good as new in no time.
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Sinking concrete around a pool is a common problem that creates tripping hazards.
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Concrete slabs sink and settle over time, and allowing them to go unrepaired can cause serious damage to your home.
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If you have a concrete sidewalk that is cracked or uneven, it not only looks bad, but it can lead to a fall or serious injury.
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While surface problems can likely be patched, this won’t fix the underlying settlement problem and more cracks can form in your driveway.
Is Concrete Lifting the Right Solution for Me?
Seeing problems with concrete-like cracks and uneven slabs is probably nothing new to you. Concrete is everywhere, and so are problematic concrete areas. While concrete can sustain damage for many reasons, the most common cause lies beneath the slabs – the soil underneath them. Cleveland’s clay soil and the Akron-Canton area’s mix of sandy, silty, and clay soil can experience the same issues of settling and washing out. This creates a void between the soil and the concrete slab, which the concrete can easily sink into. The region’s frequent rain and significant springtime snowmelt also contribute to problematic soil.
It’s not feasible to replace all the soil on your property, but what can be controlled is how your home’s concrete reacts to environmental factors. Before a seemingly minor discrepancy in the height of your sidewalk, driveway, garage floor, patio, or pool deck slabs gets out of hand, it’s important to fix these slabs in order to protect your property. You can improve your family’s safety and your home’s appearance and value by having PolyRenewal™ polyurethane foam injections professionally installed by Ohio Basement Systems. Our versatile, quick-curing, eco-friendly, waterproof solution ensures your concrete will be on solid ground once more.
Unfortunately, there are no safe do-it-yourself fixes that resolve soil shrinkage, compaction, and settling issues at the source. There are, however, some methods that you can employ to prevent soil problems. Keep in mind they are not perfect and do not compare to the services that professional contractors can provide.
- Repairing Soil
Preventing compacted or settled soil is quite simple. Using compost (such as food items in the process of decomposing) can help provide nutrients, which improves aeration and water drainage among soil particles. With time, beneficial organisms, such as the earthworm, will make their way into this healthy soil, further improving its quality and filtration by keeping soil particles loose and aerated. You can also purchase earthworms yourself at a local garden or hardware store.
You should be sure to cultivate your healthy soil lightly. This means using small-rooted plants rather than large plants, such as trees. These can help water drainage by intaking excess water through their roots. If you go overboard, however, you could risk damage to your foundation when the roots get out of control.
- Concrete Repair
While the above methods can certainly prevent or delay soil problems, they will not be effective solutions if you already have soil shrinkage, compaction, or settling occurring underneath your concrete. It is strongly recommended that you contact professional contractors to help you because they know how to safely and properly remove concrete, repair your soil, and replace the concrete on top.
Working with concrete yourself can put you at risk for injury or unintentional structural damage. This can have even more negative consequences than if you left the problem alone. Most of all, it can be more costly than if you were to have a professional to do it for you.
Shrinking, compacting, and settling soils seems to be an inescapable problem—something that you may have to deal with sooner or later. Luckily, there are things that you can do to prevent these soil and concrete problems, right in the comfort of your home.
- Control Outdoor Watering
The primary reasons soil shrinkage, compaction, and settling happens are related to water. Although you cannot control the amount of rainfall, you can control the amount of watering that you perform. Controlling the amount of watering, whether it be via automatic sprinkler systems or manual hosing, can help to prevent soil shrinkage, compaction, and settling. You may not expect that watering your plants away from your concrete cannot possibly affect the soil underneath your concrete, but water can make its way through the soil quite easily when given the chance.
You want to take great care not to oversaturate the soil so that it does not shrink when the water evaporates from it. It is also good to prevent this oversaturating your soil because it can easily become compressed and settled underneath your concrete. If you have a landscape that needs tending, consider watering during the cooler parts of the day so that evaporation from the soil does not occur suddenly. You may also want to consider exchanging some of your plants for drought-resistant plants that require much less water to survive.
- Controlling Pressure on Concrete
Although water is the main culprit behind soil shrinkage, compaction, and settling, any additional pressure on your soil can hasten these problems. If you have a lot of footwork or heavy objects on areas of concrete you suspect may be experiencing shrinking, compacting, or settling soils, you might want to consider minimizing movement or additional pressure onto your concrete slabs.
Luckily, this is as simple as it sounds. If you have problems with your concrete driveway, try parking your car inside your garage (if you can make space or have one) or even alongside the curb of your house. Heavy decorative items can be moved to other stable locations in your landscape. You may also want to redirect the inhabitants of your home away from overused walkways in your yard, allowing them to take an alternative path.
Though most homeowners don’t dwell on the state of the concrete slabs that are in and around the home, once a problem sign is spotted, it’s easy to panic. Some homeowners might feel the need to go with an overall replacement for their concrete driveway, sidewalk, or floors, but that might not always be helpful.
- Concrete Lifting
Concrete lifting is a relatively easy and safe process, which can be completed within a short period of time. The PolyRenewal system used by Ohio Basement Systems takes 15 minutes to cure, allowing the concrete slab to be used almost immediately. It’s also less invasive, so you don’t have to tear up landscaping or endanger nearby structures just to get your concrete slabs back in working order.
On top of the ease and effectiveness, concrete lifting is also more cost-effective. Replacing full slabs can run you hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars. Meanwhile, concrete lifting may be a fraction of that, even if you choose the more expensive PolyRenewal option. If you pair that to the fast set-up time of concrete lifting, the cost of labor drops by an impressive margin.
- Concrete Replacement
Some homeowners believe a full replacement is the key to getting the job done right, and in some instances, that’s correct. It’s possible that your concrete slabs are damaged or cracked beyond repair. Trying to patch or lift these would only lead to reoccurring issues and an aesthetic nightmare.
A professional will be able to assess the state of your concrete and give you recommendations accordingly. Ohio Basement Systems will even provide you with a free quote so you can understand the cost of replacement up front. Depending on the amount of damage present, you may be able to find additional funding through homeowner’s insurance.
However, the process of fully replacing any concrete slabs is highly invasive. It will take several days to break up the remaining concrete, haul it out, dispose of it, and prepare the area for a new pour. Once that’s established, new concrete will be mixed, poured, and then undergo a curing process. It can take several days for the concrete to fully set up. All in all, replacement takes more labor, equipment, and invasive gear, which may become damaging to your landscape or a risk to surrounding structures. In some cases, it will be necessary, but it will also be a last resort.
Depending on what caused the fissures to develop in your concrete, it may be possible to halt the damage and begin repairing it with concrete lifting. This is a process best done by professionals who have years of experience and the right equipment. A local expert can inspect your home, determine the factors that caused the issue, and then apply one of two solutions:
A rather invasive process, mudjacking requires drilling holes into the concrete that are roughly over an inch in diameter. Once the process is completed, the expert will then inject a concrete slurry that will begin to set up underneath your concrete. In a few days, once it’s hardened, it will provide your concrete with the support it needs to bear heavy loads and stop collapsing under its own weight. Of course, this does not resolve issues in the soil, and that can make it non-viable for some homeowners.
Aside from the defacement of the concrete being fixed, mudjacking is also a lengthy process. The material used to inject at the bottom of the concrete slabs can take up to days to fully cure, leaving homeowners in a tight spot. If the fix is being applied to the driveway or walkway, those areas may be avoided for some time, which isn’t always doable.
- Polyurethane Foam
Ohio Basement Systems uses an innovative PolyRenewal injection to bring life back into sinking concrete slabs. An immediate benefit to this type of injection is the small sites needed to inject the foam, making it a less invasive solution. The polyurethane foam works to stabilize the concrete slabs and lift them up into their original position. As a plus, it’s extremely lightweight, so it’s unlikely to make soil issues worse.
PolyRenewal also comes with waterproof properties, allowing it to withstand many more years of wear and tear. It can repel water rather than absorbing it, unlike concrete, and it cures in as little as 15 minutes. This allows homeowners to use it right away, without the need to put their driveways, sidewalks, or basements out of commission for long stretches of time.
While it is true that not all trees around a property will cause damage to it, all trees possess the potential to cause concrete and foundation damage. There are some that are more damaging than others, however.
Adverse Conditions Make Roots Dangerous
Trees are essentially the apex when it comes to plant life, and they require a lot of space and resources due to their huge size and long lifespan. This is not a problem in rural settings where they can spread without issue. Cities are a different matter, however. If trees do not have enough nutrients or water, they will spread their roots over large distances to find them. If there is more than one tree in close proximity, their roots may start to compete.
If these competing roots come together at a relatively shallow depth, it is very likely that they will begin to push upward and cause damage to any structures above them. Even if this doesn’t happen, it is important to remember that tree roots grow in circumference as they mature. As such, even roots that do not have issues with competing trees may cause damage as they get older.
Watch Out for Suckers
There are certain species of trees that are more dangerous than others to concrete structures because of the way they send up new plants along the lengths of their roots. These plants are referred to as suckers and they can cause many problems. They sprout roots of their own as well as push through even small spaces between concrete slabs. A buildup of these suckers can substantially increase the stress a concrete surface or structure is under.
There are not many trees in Ohio that do this, but the sweetgum tree, which is native to the northern half of the state, is frequently planted around Cleveland. Likewise, cottonwood trees, which are often planted in this area, send out suckers too. This is something you should keep in mind when planting trees around your property.
We understand that most people are on a budget, and home improvement can quickly take a bite out of your allotted funds. That’s why we prioritize free inspections and no-obligation quotes to ensure you completely understand what lies ahead in your repairs. An inspector will always be able to give you a more accurate figure, based on your unique home, but a few things remain consistent:
The cost of concrete lifting is much less when compared to a full replacement. Full replacement costs have to cover not only the removal of the concrete, but the labor, the cleanup, and the material costs for pouring new concrete. Depending on where the slabs are located, and how difficult it is to replace them, this may cost anywhere from a few hundred to a few thousand dollars.
Concrete lifting is about labor and materials, without the removal and as much of the cleanup. This means the expense of concrete lifting is about half the amount of a full replacement. You can also benefit from a warranty on all the work we perform, so if any mistakes or issues arise, you can trust skilled professionals to come and put everything right.
The positive results of concrete lifting have an impressively long lifespan. If there is an excellent drainage system and proper sealing, a concrete lift can go on forever. The materials used within a concrete lift, especially using the PolyRenewal system, are strong and durable. They can hold up a substantial amount of weight, minimizing the potential for any future problem to arise. When exposed to average wear and tear, most don’t require any updates or maintenance for decades at a time.
Of course, there are factors that can shorten how long the repair job holds up. Concrete lifting is not alone in this, as it can happen to a full concrete replacement as well. Factors such as weather, use, soil issues, drainage, and materials can impact how long concrete lifting endures. Once the process is complete, you can always schedule a yearly inspection to have a professional look over your concrete, foundation, and other areas of your home to make sure they last even longer.
Why is Concrete Lifting Needed?
Concrete lifting and stabilization with polyurethane foam injections offers numerous benefits, including avoiding the following:
From very young children to the elderly and anyone with mobility issues, tripping hazards are major concerns when sunken, uneven concrete slabs exist. Plus, anyone could catch their foot on the raised lip of an uneven slab. Problems with uneven slabs also could result in an insurance liability. By creating a smooth, even surface with a professional concrete lifting project, you are making it easier for your loved ones to get around and keeping them safe.
Vehicles that have to contend with uneven driveway or garage floor slabs can end up sustaining significant damage. Continuously driving over bumps created by these problematic slabs can lead to problems with your vehicle’s tires, suspension, and other issues. But even slabs can help reduce the wear and tear on your vehicle and keep maintenance manageable.
Diminished Curb Appeal & Home Value
Especially when it comes to the value and sale of your house, looks matter. If you have cracking concrete around your home that is also uneven, it can affect the appearance of your entire property and its resale value. Many buyers are looking for aesthetically pleasing turnkey homes with little to no repairs needed, and an unsightly area of concrete could be an instant turn-off. Not only will uneven concrete affect the ability to sell the house, but its value as well.
Common Concrete Tips & Mistakes
In our more than 20 years in business, we have heard and seen it all when it comes to home repairs like concrete lifting. Here are some important points to consider when it comes to addressing your sunken concrete, including what to avoid.
Helpful Concrete Repair Tips:
- Check All Concrete for Potential Problems: A problem with concrete in one spot of your property can also be seen in other areas. For example, if you notice your driveway has cracked or sunken slabs, your front sidewalk or back patio also could be damaged. Concrete damage also isn’t limited to just cracking and sinking. Your exterior concrete structures are exposed to the elements and various forces and could show problems in the form of pitting, flaking, and staining.
- Monitor Your Foundation: Concrete problems typically begin with the underlying soil, and this is true for your foundation as well. While they aren’t always directly tied together, problems with your exterior concrete also could point to foundation problems. If you have a cracking, heaving driveway that touches your home’s foundation, for example, you might notice foundation wall cracks and bowing or drywall nail pops.
- Contact Local Experts for Help ASAP: If you notice any of the above issues or other concrete or foundation damage you’re not sure about, it’s important to have it addressed as soon as possible to prevent significant damage and costly repairs. It can be difficult to pinpoint certain issues, but there’s no need to feel overwhelmed. The experienced professionals at Ohio Basement Systems can provide you with a free inspection and repair estimate, as well as a permanent solution and unmatched customer service.
Concrete Repair Mistakes to Avoid:
- Investing in Mudjacking: Traditional methods for repairing cracked and sunken concrete include mudjacking or slab jacking. This involves drilling large holes into the concrete to pump a “slurry” mix of cement and mud underneath the problematic slab. Not only is this invasive and time-consuming, but it is not very effective or long-lasting. The weight of the material and the concrete can lead to further settlement of the concrete and the underlying soil.
- Completely Repouring Concrete: Just as with mudjacking, removing the problematic concrete and repouring the slab can end with the same result. The new slab may be stable for a while, but nothing has been done to address the soil underneath. However, if the concrete has sustained significant damage and cannot be effectively repaired with polyurethane foam injections, repouring concrete may be the only option.
- Installing DIY Solutions: It’s understandable if you want to keep project costs and budgeting in check by completing DIY work around your home. But concrete lifting can be tricky and potentially dangerous without the right tools and experience. That’s why it’s best to leave the heavy lifting to professionals like the concrete lifting experts at Ohio Basement Systems. We have more than 20 years of experience in these kinds of repairs, and we can safely, quickly, and effectively install PolyRenewal™ to lift and stabilize many areas of concrete around your home.
Find your service area
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Akron-Canton Metro Area
Akron-Canton homeowners endure snowfall and melt cycles several times throughout the year. It’s not only a headache—it can cause water damage and structural problems.
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