We’ve all seen it—jagged cracks on the sidewalk or across a driveway. These small cracks are just one sign of concrete damage besides unevenness and sinking. No matter what kind of damage your concrete is experiencing, it can all be traced back to similar causes that we’ll identify for you. Keep in mind, it always pays to understand what causes concrete damage so you can recognize them before they get out of control.
Common Causes of Concrete Damage
The main culprit when it comes to concrete damage is weak soil. Simply put, the physical condition of your soil is ultimately going to affect the physical condition of your concrete. Anything that weakens the soil is going to cause the heavy concrete to sink right into it. Soil can become damaged in three ways which we’ll outline in this section.
Soil washout refers to the erosion of topsoil through precipitation and other forms of moisture such as sprinklers or gutters and drainpipes. Soil washout occurs when moisture rapidly displaces soil particles. In Virginia, Maryland, or North Carolina, hills and slopes are quite common and contribute to moisture runoff.
As moisture travels down a slope that your house is located on, it will move the soil in your yard. After repeated instances of runoff, the soil will not only erode, but it may also become muddy and soft. Concrete will sink because of the erosion and lack of strength that the wet soil is experiencing.
Dry Soil & Drought
On the other hand, soil that becomes too dry can also negatively impact your concrete. This is because when soil dries out, it shrinks in volume and may become cracked and brittle. Virginia in particular has a lot of clay soil throughout the state. Clay soil absorbs water extremely well, but it will crack when it dries out.
Since the soil shrinks, a gap opens between the original position of the soil and where your concrete rests. Gravity does what it does best, and the concrete sinks into the gap. Not to mention, brittle soil can’t support the weight of concrete. Droughts have happened in this area of the United States, but aren’t very common in North Carolina, Virginia, or Maryland. Though, homeowners should still be aware of this issue on the off chance that a long string of dry days comes to their area.
Poorly Compacted Soil
Another issue that can afflict soil is poor compaction. This refers to soil that is not packed together tightly enough to offer adequate support for heavy structures. Most often, this issue arises during the construction of a new building.
Contractors sometimes bring in soil, also known as fill soil, from a separate location. During this process, contractors may not pack the soil together enough as they fill in the land to build on. Poor compaction means there will be small pockets of air within the soil.
While these may be tiny sections of air, they can cause the soil to shift under the weight of concrete. This causes a domino effect where the soil shifts and then the concrete shifts – once again experiencing unevenness, sinking, and cracking.
JES Experts Can Help Prevent Concrete Damage!
Is your concrete sinking into the surrounding ground? Are your concrete slabs uneven? Does your driveway, sidewalk, or garage floor have any unsightly cracks? If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, concrete lifting might be the right solution for you.
At JES Foundation Repair, we can repair your concrete problems by fixing cracks and lifting uneven slabs. Tackling cracks and sunken concrete can be a daunting task, that is why it’s important to hire concrete lifting professionals. Contact us today for the professional solution!
At JES, we utilize skilled technicians, innovative repair systems, and warranty-backed solutions to your concrete problems whether you’re in Roanoke, Richmond-Petersburg, or Hampton Roads, VA .