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Washout Soil

The soil beneath your concrete slab can become loose, causing your foundation to sink. Work with professionals to restore your slab to its original position.

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Concrete has a reputation for its durability. That doesn’t mean, however, that your concrete is invulnerable. Some circumstances may cause your concrete to crumble, sink, or otherwise give way. You need to be ready to address these situations if you want to prevent the whole of your home from taking on damage. 

Concrete, for example, can destabilize when the soil beneath your home starts to wash away. If your home’s fallen victim to the clay bowl effect or if you live in an unstable area, then this is more likely than you might think. The sooner you can stabilize your soil, the sooner you can force your concrete slab back into its original position. 

The professionals serving Cleveland, OH are here to help you do just that. Professionals can come out to your property, assess the state of your concrete slab, and provide you with a free quote detailing what services you may need to get your home back into working order. 

Signs of Weak Soil Beneath Your Concrete 

While Ohio is known for its clay soil, there’s no guarantee that your home’s been built on top of a stable patch of land. Weather can destabilize even the sturdiest of soils, as can a variety of other forces. The good news is that this damage tends to give itself away. While it’s always best to call on a professional if you think your home’s at risk of damage, there are still signs of soil loss that you can watch for on your own. Some of the most common include but are not limited to: 

Visible Signs of Erosion 

Erosion around man-made properties happens a little faster than it might otherwise. The good news is that it’s easier for someone, expert or not, to spot. One day, for example, you may look at your garage and find that there are soil stains up an inch from where they used to be. In these cases, you’re likely dealing with significant soil loss, and you’ll need to act quickly. 

You’ll also want to keep a wary eye out for gaps between your home and your landscaping. Soil that’s washing away from your concrete slab will leave hollows in its wake. These gaps can be especially dangerous if you live in a rainy area, as they can gather water very quickly. 

Finally, make sure to get in touch with a professional if you notice streams of dirt making their way away from your home. Active mudslides tend to indicate that not only is there water beneath your slab but that it may be doing significant damage to the structural integrity of your foundational supports. You’ll need to have this damage stemmed and repaired quickly if you want to prevent it from impacting the overall integrity of the rest of your home. 

Cracks in Your Concrete 

Your concrete can start to crack for a variety of reasons. Hydrostatic pressure can cause it to change size on a molecular level and fall under stress; animals, too, can destabilize it to the point where it starts to sink unevenly. When you’re coping with soil loss, you’re going to face sinkage. 

The good news is that you should be able to spot the applicable cracks in your basement or crawl space. Superficial cracks on the surface of your home’s concrete structures don’t always seem like an immediate concern. If you’re able to get a professional out to tend to them before they grow, though, you can prevent the kind of damage that might otherwise let moisture into your home. 

If these cracks start to widen, deepen, or travel, then you may have a larger problem on your hands. Superficial repours won’t help you eliminate the structural damage your slab’s taken on. Instead, you’ll need to communicate with the professionals in your area to determine whether or not you need to repour your entire slab. Alternatively, you can discuss the merits of piers if it appears that the damage you’re contending with is that severe. 

Standing or Pooling Water 

Nothing gives away moisture-related concrete damage like standing water. Water tends to rush towards the gaps that shifting concrete leaves in its wake, meaning that those gaps will overflow sooner rather than later. As a result, you can keep an eye out for extensive perimeter puddles if you want to determine whether or not your concrete is taking on moisture damage. 

That said, you may still need to work with area professionals to determine whether it’s the moisture that’s caused problems for your property or your soil. Certain soils take on more water than others, meaning that they can end up oversaturated long after hydrostatic pressure’s started to negatively impact the integrity of your home. If you see puddles around the perimeter of your home, you should get in touch with an area professional to schedule an inspection as soon as you can. 

The Causes Behind Soil Loss 

You can start losing soil beneath your concrete slab for many reasons. Some of the most common forces at work against your soil’s structural integrity include: 

Expanding Soil 

There are several different soils at work in Ohio. Most silt and sand-based soils tend to let moisture pass right through them, which trouble your concrete slab but are beneficial for their overall composition. However, clay absorbs more water than it lets pass through. These soils can expand exponentially, to the point where they start to put a significant amount of pressure on your home. Concrete that’s dealing with an extensive amount of soil pressure will crack and subsequently sink. 

These clay soils are unfortunately more prone to erosion than other types. It’s difficult to clear these soils away from your home, but you can slowly integrate loose soil types if you want to change the overall composition of your lawn.  

Infestations 

No one likes to deal with unwanted house guests. When those guests are animals and insects, however, they can have a significant impact on the structural integrity of your concrete slab. 

Animals, specifically, can cause hollows to open up beneath your home. Some of the most common critters digging beneath concrete slabs include rabbits, groundhogs, and even chipmunks. Even if they abandon those burrows, water can more easily carry your soil away, destabilizing your concrete slab. 

Insects have less of an impact on the concrete beneath your home, but that doesn’t mean that they can’t cause problems for you. Carpenter ants and termites can weaken any unprotected wooden supports you have working alongside your foundation. As soon as these protective measures give out, your concrete slab can start to crack and sink. 

Tree Roots 

No tree root is going to actively try and destroy the structural integrity of your home. That doesn’t mean they can’t be dangerous. Tree roots searching for nutrients cause hollows to appear beneath your concrete slab. Your slab can subsequently start to sink into those hollows as water rushes beneath your home and the soil disappears. 

Concrete that sinks unevenly falls under a significant amount of stress. As a result, you can start to see cracks appear in other parts of your home. The longer you leave this damage unattended, the more likely it is that your concrete will start to fall apart beneath your home. No matter what, you’re going to need professionals to excavate the whole of your foundation to start repairing the damage that tree roots have left behind. 

Compensating for Soil Damage Beneath Your Foundation

When it comes to addressing a sinking or loose concrete slab, you’ll first need to address your missing soil. Professionals either use mudjacking or use polyurethane foam injections to fix your home—both similar solutions, executed with different materials. The mudjacking process, for example, sees professionals install a concrete slurry beneath your slipping concrete slab.  

Comparatively, polyurethane foam injections rely on polyurethane foam to both stabilize your lawn and force your slab back into its proper position. Both of these materials will make it more difficult for your soil to destabilize in the future.  

Washout Soil

FAQs

The soil around your property is always changing. There are times, though, when those changes can destabilize your home and cause a significant amount of damage. If professionals are going to repair your damaged concrete slab and stabilize your soil, they’re going to need to determine why it is that your soil’s started to wash away. Some of the most common forces behind soil loss on private property include: 

Moisture and Your Soil 

Moisture and hydrostatic pressure have the most obvious influence on the stability of your concrete slab. Heavy rain and snowmelt, for example, both drive loose soil away from the perimeter of your home while also exposing your concrete slab to unwanted hydrostatic pressure. Before long, your slab may start to crack, causing parts of your home to sink and suffer as a result. 

The good news is that moisture and soil damage give themselves away when they work in tandem. Look out for rivers of soil drifting away from your home. You can follow these conditions back to the primary damage sites within your foundation or slab. 

Other Forces at Work in Your Yard 

Moisture isn’t the only force that can destabilize your soil. Tree roots and burrowing critters create hollows beneath your home and your concrete can sink as a result. You’ll need to work with professional landscapers and exterminators if you want to keep these forces from costing you a pretty penny down the line. 

That said, the composition of your soil may also damage your concrete slab. Certain soils in Ohio absorb more moisture than others, causing significant shifting whenever it rains. If these soils push up against your concrete slab, you may find yourself dealing with a one-two punch of hydrostatic pressure and soil creep. 

If you’re concerned about the cost of professional concrete slab and soil repairs, then you may be tempted to shore up your slab on your own. Unfortunately, these kinds of DIY home repair projects have more downsides than they do upsides. Not only can they cost far more than you initially anticipated, but any mistakes you make can often come back to bite you. 

Budgeting for DIY Home Repair 

Stabilizing the soil beneath your concrete slab involves more than just replacing what’s already washed away. If you want to get started, you’re going to need to physically solidify the soil around your home. For a professional, this is a relatively straightforward process – you inject the soil with a concrete slurry or polyurethane foams

For DIY-ers, however, these materials can be hard to come by. You’re going to have to spend a good amount of money if you want to get both the materials and the tools you need on hand to stabilize the soil around your home. Because most DIY-ers are interested in non-professional projects because they’re looking to save money, these costs can be a deal-breaker. 

Mistakes and Their Impact on Your Concrete Slab 

There’s also a chance that you may make a mistake while trying to stabilize the soil around your concrete slab. While mistakes are part of the learning curve, mistakes during home repair can have long-lasting consequences. For starters, you may walk away from your project assuming you’ve stabilized your soil when in reality you’ve caused your concrete slab to fall further out of alignment. 

The problem with walking away from these problems is that the damage can settle in all the faster. By the time you think to react, your concrete slab may have cracked into a dozen pieces or otherwise started allowing unwanted moisture into your home. Professionals, comparatively, will make sure that your soil gets stabilized and that your concrete slab is exactly where it needs to be. There’s no leaving until they’re certain that your home’s as stable as possible. 

When you first move onto a new piece of land, you’ll want to do what you can to stabilize the soil beneath and around your home. While professionals can do the bulk of the hard work for you – and should – there are a few other experts you can work with if you want to protect your home. 

Assess the Stability of Your Landscaping 

Landscapers in your area may be able to make more sense of your trees and grade than others. If you’re moving onto a new piece of land, then, you can work with them to ensure that your concrete slab is as stable as possible. 

Professional landscapers can do what contractors in your area may not be able to when it comes to the environment’s impact on your concrete slab. While landscapers can’t install waterproofing measures around your home, they can help you relocate trees whose roots might otherwise destabilize your soil. Similarly, they can regrade your lawn, ensuring that moisture rushes away from the perimeter of your home. You can take all of these steps long before your concrete slab starts to show signs of instability. This means that you can get ahead of the worst of the slippage that might otherwise negatively impact your home’s value. 

Work with Area Professionals to Protect Your Home 

The professionals in your area are among the best people equipped to make sure that your soil stays exactly where it needs to. You can work with area professionals to inject your soil with polyurethane foam or concrete slurry even before your concrete slab starts to show signs of wear. 

Above all else, though, area professionals can regularly inspect the conditions in your basement, crawl space, and foundation. Because professionals will know what signs of damage to watch for, they can help you act when something starts to go wrong in your home. They can also help you maintain any home waterproofing measures you install, ensuring that you limit your repair expenses later down the line. 

Strengthen Your Soil and Protect Your Home 

Do you need help stabilizing the soil beneath your concrete slab? Let the professionals in your area do the hard work for you. You can reach out and connect with Ohio concrete specialists before or while your concrete is taking on damage.  

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OBA Map 2021

SERVING CLEVELAND, YOUNGSTOWN & NORTHERN OHIO

OHIO BASEMENT SYSTEMS

7950 Bavaria Rd.
Twinsburg, OH 44087
(330) 235-1229