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How to Approach Driveway Leveling

Does your driveway have chips and cracks? Have you noticed your driveway starting to bend in the middle? Does your driveway no longer match up with itself? If you’ve started to see these signs, then it’s likely you’re dealing with a sinking driveway.

When you start to see these problems, you need to tackle them in the best way possible. It’s important that you handle driveway sinking issues because otherwise, they’re just going to get worse.

Driveway Leveling in Virginia, Maryland, DC

Whether you have questions about your driveway sinking or you actually need driveway repair for the front of your home, here’s an answer to whatever’s going on. Read on to learn more about the most important driveway leveling questions and answers.

 

Why is My Driveway Sinking?

The first question you might have is why the driveway’s sinking in the first place. There are many reasons you may be experiencing sinking in your driveway. These problems typically need to be addressed in different ways.

If you’re experiencing driveway sinking, it’s likely that one of these reasons is the culprit.

  • Structural Problems 

Are you also having structural problems in the rest of your home? If so, you may just live in an area more likely to experience structural problems.

Unfortunately, structural problems like abnormal soil can lead to concrete sinking on a general basis, not just if the concrete was poured improperly. You may have concrete sinking happen with your driveway regardless of how well the ground was prepared beforehand.

This can be a serious problem if you want to have a driveway that doesn’t constantly sink. It’s important to get a professional who can tell you more about your structural problems and how to fix them.

  • Improper Pouring 

This can happen if the construction crew that poured the concrete didn’t do it properly. There are many ways a company can pour concrete improperly, from mixing the concrete badly to not packing down the soil tightly enough.

Improper pouring may need complete re-pouring. However, this depends on the concrete slab; even if the concrete isn’t as solid as other types of concrete, you may be able to handle it if you’re able to come up with a thoughtful way to maximize your existing concrete.

With soil poured improperly, you need to make sure you’re addressing it properly. There’s no need to compile mistakes. That’s why a professional expert can be one of your best resources during this process.

  • Poor Design 

What if your driveway suffers from poor design? This can be a significant problem because it may mean your driveway rests improperly. That poor design can also impact parts of the driveway you weren’t aware of.

The easiest way to fix poor design is simply to re-pour the driveway. However, this may not always be feasible. If the driveway rests on abnormal soil, stretches out too far, or has other design flaws, you may still be able to save it with a knowledgeable expert at the ready.

There are many ways to fix the poor design. Some of them may need you to re-pour the concrete, while some of them may provide options for effective concrete leveling. It’s important that you consult an expert to guide you through this process. 

  • Natural Settling 

Natural settling is something that will happen with all driveways. When it comes to natural settling, it’s important to remember that your settling shouldn’t be super expansive or super dramatic. However, it may still be noticeable.

Concrete leveling and other similar options work well for natural settling. That’s because there’s nothing wrong with the concrete. It’s just sinking as expected. However, this natural settling can be a problem anyway.

If you’re dealing with natural settling problems, be aware that this is potentially the best settling problem you could have. Consider your options with an expert backing you up and letting you know the best options.

Options for a Sinking Driveway

What can you actually do to fix a sinking driveway? In fact, there are many ways to do it. These fixes range from completely ineffective to surprisingly effective. It’s best to use only the best options, so you don’t have to try and fix your sinking driveway again in a short period of time.

These are the most commonly used driveway repair options, along with a bit of information regarding their efficacy.

  • DIY Caulk Repair 

Some people, not knowing that cracks typically form due to an underlying problem, treat sidewalk cracks as nothing but a cosmetic problem. These individuals then want to use a DIY fix to treat that cosmetic problem.

Of course, it’s not a cosmetic problem. This is a structural problem that can have serious repercussions down the line if you don’t actually tackle the issue. Caulking the cracks doesn’t fix the real problems hiding under the surface. It just camouflages them.

If you’re a homeowner who’s starting to see cracks in the driveway, don’t assume you can fix it by plastering over the cracks. Talk to a JES expert who can help you fix whatever problems you’re truly facing.

  • Concrete Replacement 

In some situations, replacing the concrete is the only option. This is especially true if your concrete already has very significant cracks in it. You may not be able to lift the concrete by any other means, making replacement your only option.

This should be a last-ditch solution. Although it’s certainly effective, it’s also expensive and difficult. You’ll likely have to stay off the area for a pretty substantial amount of time, and in some situations, there’s no telling whether the new concrete will also suffer from similar problems.

Ideally, you want to try all other solutions before you opt for this one. If you’re worried that replacement may be your only option, get in touch with a JES expert, who can perform a free inspection and let you know your options.

  • Pressure Grouting 

This method, also called “mudjacking” or “slabjacking,” is one of the most popular methods of concrete leveling out there. What is concrete leveling? It’s a way to raise sunken concrete back to its original level.

Because it’s so popular, many people utilize pressure grouting when the concrete slab has no cracks and can rise back up to its original level. However, pressure grouting can be invasive and difficult to go through, and it’s actually not the only method of concrete leveling out there.

You may have some home repair companies suggest pressure grouting because it’s basically the only thing they know. If you’re looking for a better option, consider talking to a JES expert first to see your alternatives. 

  • Polyurethane Foam Injection 

This is another method of concrete leveling. With a polyurethane foam injection like PolyRenewal, you can raise the concrete back to its original level, but without running into most of the drawbacks of pressure grouting.

In recent years, polyurethane foam injection has become a preferred method of concrete leveling for many people who deal with driveway sinking and driveway repair. It’s faster, simpler, and often more effective than pressure grouting.

This is what JES uses because it’s an effective tool for concrete leveling. If you think your driveway could utilize concrete leveling to its advantage, talk to a JES expert to learn more about what you can do with polyurethane foam injection.

The Benefits of Polyurethane Foam Injection for Driveway Repair

Why does JES use polyurethane foam injection over other methods of driveway repair? This option has plenty of benefits over other types of repair, including pressure grouting and full slab replacement. If your concrete is still mostly intact, polyurethane foam injection can restore height to your concrete.

These are just a few of the benefits of polyurethane foam injection you might notice.

  • Waterproof 

When you get polyurethane foam injections to raise the level of your concrete, you can be assured that the finished product is waterproof. That also means it can’t be washed out by water running under your driveway.

Another benefit of this waterproofing is the fact that it’s not affected by freeze and thaw cycles. You don’t have to worry about the way the ground freezes and thaws, which can make it in some ways easier to take care of than the concrete above it.

  • Environmentally Friendly

Environmental friendliness is becoming more and more of a concern for homeowners across the country. If you have a front lawn or garden, you may even need to keep environmental friendliness in mind to make sure your replacement doesn’t kill off your plants.

Polyurethane foam doesn’t react with the soil, making it an effective option if you need to inject the foam in an area where it may impact your yard. It also doesn’t release harmful chemicals into the air around it.

  • Lightweight

Typical fill materials used in pressure grouting can weigh around 120 pounds per cubic foot, which is incredibly heavy. That can make it impossible to remove without heavy equipment, often making it an unattractive option for people who may want to invest in yard changes in the future.

On the other hand, polyurethane foam, which expands significantly after installation, weighs around four to six pounds per cubic foot. That’s about 3.3% of the weight of typical pressure grouting materials. It’s a useful benefit for homes that regularly undergo changes.

  • Less Invasive

Pressure grouting is nothing if not invasive. It typically uses a messy mixture of concrete and mud, often requires the installer to drill soda can-sized holes in the top of the concrete slab, and may need heavy equipment to install it. That can be a frustrating process to go through.

On the other hand, polyurethane foam doesn’t require any of that invasiveness. The holes for polyurethane foam are typically much smaller, and an installer doesn’t need all the heavy equipment you would otherwise need for a pressure grouting fix.

  • Precise and Accurate 

With pressure grouting, the amount of lift you achieve can sometimes feel like it’s a bit left up to chance. That’s especially true because pressure grouting requires that you let the fill material sit as it hardens. If it settles during the hardening process, you may still have the same problem you started with.

Polyurethane foam, however, is easier to control. The foam reaction time gives your JES expert the ability to perfectly lift the concrete slab in the way you need it. That allows for effective concrete leveling across the board. 

  • Fast-Acting 

This is one of the biggest benefits of polyurethane foam injection over pressure grouting. Pressure grouting often takes days or weeks to fully set, during which you can’t drive on it and you may not even be able to walk on it. That means you don’t really know what you can do on it, and your whole family has to avoid the area.

Compare that to polyurethane foam injection, which reaches its final strength in as little as 15 minutes. That means you can get back to your everyday experiences sooner rather than later, making it easier to level your concrete without having to really interrupt your routine.

Talk to a JES Expert to Learn More About Your Concrete Leveling Options

There are many options when it comes to concrete leveling. Whether you choose polyurethane foam injection, complete replacement, or something different, you deserve all the options available to you. It’s also important that you have access to a professional who can answer all your questions and determine the best choice for your unique situation.

Concrete leveling is an important part of home repair, and you shouldn’t just ignore it. It’s easy to dismiss concrete sinking as just an eyesore, but it’s more than that. It’s evidence of a structural problem underneath your driveway, and you should fix it as soon as you can.

Your home requires individualized support from a professional who understands you and your family. That’s the kind of support you’ll receive at JES. If you’re currently experiencing concrete sinking, schedule your free inspection today to learn more about your various options.

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 If you’re not sure of the source of your foundation problem, give us a call at 757-301-4820, and schedule a free inspection. We’ll find out the cause of the problem and help you find the perfect solution.