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uneven, sinking sidewalk slabs

Causes of Concrete Issues

Although known as a strong and durable building material, concrete can become damaged from a variety of things. Learn the common reasons for concrete damage and how Ohio Basement Systems can repair it.

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In the Greater Cleveland and Northern Ohio areas, damp soil is common, leading to a variety of issues within concrete. This is due to the area’s vast amounts of silty loam and clay soils that many homes are built upon. While some concrete woes may be aesthetic, others can be indicators of bigger issues at play. If you’ve noticed these problems around your home, you may need concrete lifting solutions. Here are some of the most common reasons concrete fails.  

How Does Concrete Become Damaged? 

For centuries, modern-day concrete and its predecessors have been used to construct everything from skyscrapers to highways, as well as homes and sidewalks. This building material is widely used due to its strength and durability in tandem with it being virtually waterproof. Although this is slightly true, it isn’t totally accurate as concrete is able to be damaged by a variety of things.  

  • Excess Moisture 

As the seasons change, so does the soil underground. This causes it to move through cycles of wet and dry as the climate progresses through the year. Although this is a normal occurrence, it can lead to a multitude of problems for any concrete that’s resting above it. Since Cleveland’s soil is heavy with clay, it easily soaks up water and expands after heavy rain or snowmelt. In the summertime, this same soil is prone to drying up and shrinking.  

This ongoing process of swelling and shrinking leads to an excess of pressure on the concrete above. When this happens, your concrete can sink and settle, leading to it cracking and becoming uneven in places.  

  • Loose Backfill Soil  
loose soil

When your home’s foundation is first built, the contractors dig a hole in the earth where they plan to lay it. The soil that they pull up and then later fill back in around your foundation is known as backfill soil. Since virgin soil is usually compacted when underground, once it’s dug up and then poured back in it becomes loose and unstable.  

This loose backfill soil can cause issues such as shifts and settlement in your foundation, as well as other severe structural damage within your concrete structures.  

  • Freeze and Thaw Cycles 

Homeowners in Northern Ohio are no stranger to the freezing temperatures and vast amounts of snow once winter begins. Even though the snowcapped roofs and driveways can make for a pretty picture, the repeated freezes and thaws come springtime can cause serious damage to your concrete. These cycles cause the most damage to your driveway, porch, patio, and steps. They’re all at high risk due to their constant exposure to the elements and lack of protection. 

The temperature change combined with the soil type can create cracks, sinking, unevenness, and in worst cases, complete breaking of the concrete slabs.  

How Can I Lift Concrete? 

If your home is dealing with any of the above, leading to damage in your concrete, our team at Ohio Basement Systems offers solutions for concrete lifting. Here are some of the ways to restore your concrete back to full functionality.  

  • Mudjacking  

Also known as “slab jacking,” mudjacking is an old-fashioned method of concrete repair that is extremely invasive and often not effective. The process is done by drilling soda can-sized holes across your concrete slabs and then pumping in cement slurry and waiting for it to cure. This usually doesn’t work as the slurry only fills the center of the gaps while leaving the edges exposed.  

The concrete mixture also has a longer cure time making it inconvenient when needing to use your concrete daily. Although this method was the most common option for a while, it’s been replaced by more innovative solutions on the market.  

  • Concrete Replacement  

In worse cases, if your concrete slabs have broken off completely or the cracks are too wide to fill, you may have to replace it entirely. Unfortunately, this is the most expensive and labor-intensive solution as it requires all the damaged concrete to be ripped up and repoured.  

Before your concrete gets this damaged, it’s important to have an expert out to see if any other solutions are available. This also isn’t the best choice because it generally won’t solve the root of the problem which is the soil underneath. If our experts at Ohio Basement Systems believe that replacing your concrete is the only way to fix it, they’ll let you know. However, there are more cost-efficient and labor-efficient options available to lift sunken concrete and seal the cracks. 

concrete lifting installation
  • Polyurethane Foam Injections 

If you’re looking for a solution that not only is cost-effective, but less invasive, look no further than our PolyRenewal™ foam injections made with polyurethane. These injections aren’t harmful to the environment either as the chemicals don’t seep into the soil. They also have a quick cure time of about 15 minutes so that you and your family can return to safely using your concrete.  

The simple process is done by drilling penny-sized holes where the concrete is experiencing problems and injecting the polyurethane mixture into it. Our experts are sure of this solution for repairing sunken and cracked concrete, but we will always advise you on the best choice during your inspection.  

Let the Experts at Ohio Basement Systems Repair Your Sunken or Cracked Concrete 

If the stairs leading up to your home are sinking, you can’t pull into your driveway without going over gaps, or your concrete pool deck is cracking, it’s time to call the experts! Our team has the experience and knowledge it takes to repair and restore your concrete structures so that your family can safely use them once more. 

With our proven PolyRenewal™ foam injections, we can lift and seal your sunken or cracked concrete in the same day! By setting up a free inspection, one of our experts will come out to your home and walk you through the process of repairing your concrete. They’ll also leave you with a written estimate so that you can feel confident moving forward. Don’t let your concrete trip you up, call the professionals at OBS today! 

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