Concrete Porch Repair: The Basics
If your concrete porch is having problems, it makes sense that you would be looking into fixing it. Concrete porches can cause issues for many people, and understanding the basics of concrete porch repair will help make sure you know how to address them.
Some people may not understand concrete porch repair. Although it’s usually not a DIY repair, that doesn’t mean you should completely avoid knowing anything about how to repair a concrete porch.
Information about concrete porch repair will serve you well as a homeowner. If you’re interested in understanding more about concrete porch repair, keep reading to gain a comprehensive idea of the process.
Types of Concrete Porch Damage
Not all concrete porch damage is equal. There are many different reasons you may need to repair a concrete porch. These different types of damage may need different types of repair, so keep your eye out for the different damage types.
Which one of these seems most like the problems you’re having with your concrete porch?
Cracks are a common problem for many types of concrete. Although you can often avoid cracks in concrete by maintaining the concrete properly, you may start to see either hairline or deep cracks in your concrete porch after some time.
These cracks can just happen as the concrete sets right after an initial pouring. However, these are usually hairline cracks, less than 1/16” wide, and typically only happen within the first year after pouring.
If you’re starting to see wide cracks or the cracks are appearing after more than a year’s time, that could mean you’re dealing with structural problems underneath. It’s important to talk to an expert to determine your decisions going forward.
- Sagging and Sinking
Have you noticed that porch furniture seems like it’s started sliding around the floor? Do you feel like you step down too far when you walk onto the porch? If so, you might be having issues with home sagging and sinking.
This typically happens when the soil under your home starts to sink. The soil can sink if there has been a lot of rainfall, the soil wasn’t prepared properly, or you’re dealing with the wrong type of soil. You may notice that the area underneath starts to erode, causing sinking porch concrete.
It’s important to know how to fix a sagging concrete porch, but it’s even more important to know how to identify it. Even if you’ve only started to see very slight tilting, you may want to contact an expert for more information.
- Uneven Warping
Another form of sinking you might notice is warping. Rather than having the floor sink in the middle, this means one side is sinking further than the other side, or that it’s “twisting” in the middle to form an uneven surface.
This may also happen when you have more than one slab of concrete for your porch. If the different slabs settle differently, there may be unsightly ridges between the two different slabs, making them uneven.
Because of how stiff concrete is, it’s unlikely to form a twist in the middle and not crack. You may find that the soil underneath is settling unevenly and causing these kinds of cracks. If you want to maintain your concrete porch, you need to discuss sinking with an expert before it starts to cause cracks.
The Causes of Concrete Porch Damage
Sure, these types of concrete porch damage can be concerning, but why do they exist? Many people don’t understand what causes these problems. After all, if concrete really is so strong, shouldn’t you be able to just leave it alone?
Even though concrete is a very strong material, you still need to support it. These are some problems that may inhibit that.
- Soil Settling
Your home naturally settles over time and a small amount of settling is normal. Even if the initial construction team ensured that the soil was prepared properly, nothing can truly prepare the soil for years upon years of pressure.
However, the problem can arise when the home is too heavy for the ground it’s on or when water starts to wash away the soil around your home. In these situations, it’s common for the home to sink too much, which can cause severe structural problems.
In these situations, you usually won’t just experience settling on your porch. You’ll also see it in your basement or crawl space and the inside of your home. Anytime you start to see excessive settling, you should tackle it as soon as possible.
- Improper Construction
Improper construction can take many forms. It may mean the home’s designer didn’t take soil load-bearing weight into account, or the construction crew didn’t prepare the soil properly before pouring the concrete porch.
Regardless of where the construction went wrong, you’ll probably start to see the same problems you would see with soil settling. Improper construction tends to result in these problems more often, which means you may start seeing it early in the newer homes as well.
- Excess Water
Another common reason for serious concrete porch problems is excess water. That may be flooding on the outside, flooding under your home, plumbing leaks in and around your home, or rainwater flooding onto your porch from your downspouts.
The first thing you need to do with excess water is to remove whatever’s causing the water to flood around your porch. You can’t fix your porch if it’s constantly underwater or surrounded by water. That’s true regardless of the problems the water is causing.
When it comes to excess water, it’s a good idea to talk to a professional. A JES expert can not only help you understand where the water is coming from but also help you develop a plan to tackle that problem.
How to Repair a Concrete Porch
Once you know what’s wrong with your porch, the next problem is fixing it. How do you fix a sagging concrete porch? There are a few options you can use if you want to prop your concrete porch back up after sinking or sagging.
Concrete porch repair typically takes one of three methods. These are the most popular ways of fixing a concrete porch.
- Pressure Grouting
This method has been used for a very long time. It’s also sometimes called “slabjacking” or “mudjacking.” In this method, a repair expert drills large holes through the concrete. Then that expert pumps a strong slurry, usually of mud and concrete, into the holes and leaves it to dry.
The main reason pressure grouting is popular is that it’s been used for a very long time. However, it’s not very effective. The mud and concrete slurry often settle in a “cone” shape, not actually pushing up at the edges of the concrete porch. Plus, it’s extremely invasive and takes a long time to cure.
For all these reasons, JES doesn’t recommend using pressure grouting to help with sinking or sunken concrete. It’s more common for there to be a better option that doesn’t have these downsides.
- Concrete Replacement
If your concrete porch is too far gone to be lifted back up, your only option may be to replace the concrete. This might be your only option if your concrete porch has serious cracks, including cracks that reach mostly or entirely through the concrete slab.
Concrete replacement is difficult, time-consuming and expensive. It may require your family to enter through a different door for some time as the concrete sets, and it’s a significantly invasive process.
That’s why concrete replacement should only be a consideration once you know you can’t lift the concrete slab that makes up your concrete porch. If you’re able to lift the concrete in any way, you should try that first before you replace it entirely.
- Polyurethane Foam Injection
One of the reasons pressure grouting is no longer as common as it used to be is because of polyurethane foam injection. This is what JES uses to help fix sinking or fully sunken concrete slabs, including those inside and outside your home.
With polyurethane foam injection, an expert will drill holes around the size of a penny in the concrete slab. Then they can pump polyurethane foam into the holes, which expands substantially to cover all areas underneath the slab, including the area on the edges.
In an effort to provide top-quality solutions to all homeowners, JES uses PolyRenewal, a polyurethane foam injection, to raise concrete porches and other concrete slabs. When you talk to a JES expert, you can learn about whether your home can utilize this polyurethane foam injection.
Why Is Polyurethane Foam Injection the JES Choice for Fixing a Concrete Porch?
The efficacy of polyurethane foam injection is backed by the United States Department of Transportation, which has been using it for concrete repair on roads and in other situations for more than 30 years. However, if that’s not enough to convince you of its benefits, you can look at those benefits for yourself.
These are the main reasons JES uses polyurethane foam injection for concrete leveling.
One of the biggest downsides of pressure grouting is that it’s very heavy. The slurry mixture can weigh about 120 pounds per cubic foot. That means it’s very difficult for individuals to pump the slurry into the area in the first place.
Compare that to polyurethane foam injection, which can weigh around 4-6 pounds per square foot. This is largely because polyurethane foam expands 25-35 times its original size, which makes it a lightweight and effective option.
- Low Cost
One reason that both pressure grouting and concrete replacement aren’t the best options is that they’re both very expensive. Due to the amount of work and time required for them, they may not be affordable for many people. That can cause some to simply not pursue fixing their cracked floors.
Contrast that with polyurethane foam injection, which is very affordable. That’s one of the reasons the Department of Transportation uses polyurethane foam injection. It can take a beating, but it’s much less expensive than re-pouring concrete.
Even though concrete is a strong material, that doesn’t mean it’s necessarily waterproof. Plus, the soil underneath the concrete isn’t waterproof; that’s one of the reasons your concrete may be sinking. When you pump in new concrete, you’re risking the same water-based concerns that you already have.
Instead, consider polyurethane foam injection, which is fully waterproof. One of the benefits of polyurethane foam injection is that you don’t have to worry about washout, which means it’s truly a fix that can keep your sunken concrete propped up for a long time.
- Quick Cure Time
A major downfall of both concrete replacement and pressure grouting is the cure time. You may need to stay off a brand-new concrete patio or a patio with pressure grouting for multiple days, with some requiring up to two weeks.
This is not so with polyurethane foam injection. Polyurethane foam makes it quick and easy for you to get on with your life. It can cure to its final state in only 15 minutes.
Get Fully Thought-Out Concrete Porch Repair from the Experts At JES
When it comes to concrete porch problems, it’s not enough to just assume everything is fine. Your concrete porch could be telling you important things about the rest of your home and foundation, and ignoring that fact simply isn’t going to help.
If you’re having issues with your concrete porch, no matter what those issues are, talk to a JES expert to learn more. You can request a free inspection and start on your journey toward a healthier and safer home.