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What To Do if You See Your Concrete Sinking

Settling concrete walkway.

Concrete is one of those things we don’t really think about. It’s just there in your driveway, sidewalk, patio, or pool deck, doing its job, day in and day out. It’s heavy and solid. It’s flat and level. Until… it’s not. Then, suddenly, your concrete becomes an eyesore that reduces your home’s curb appeal. Even worse, uneven concrete slabs can present tripping hazards to your family, friends, or anyone visiting or just passing by — hazards you, as the homeowner, may be legally responsible for.

Why Is the Concrete Around Your Home No Longer Level?

In almost every case, concrete settlement is caused by issues with the soil underneath it, so let’s look at those:

  • Unstable fill soil. Land developers and builders moved soil around to prepare your home’s site for construction, creating an additional top layer of fill soil. Your concrete slabs were then poured over these areas. Unfortunately, even if it was compacted well with special equipment, that fill soil is not as stable as the native soils below. So, when fill soils consolidate and settle, voids inevitably form under the concrete slab. Eventually, the slab cracks and falls into these voids.

  • Drought. During dry periods, or even just times of warm weather and low precipitation, the soil under your concrete slabs can dry out and shrink. This leaves voids for the concrete to crack and sink into — especially when any weight is placed on it, like an automobile or a load-bearing wall.

  • Excess moisture. When heavy rains or snows occur, that water finds its way under your concrete slabs via cracks and crevices. The soil underneath your slab then becomes saturated and soft — or washes away completely — leaving voids for the heavy concrete above to fall into.

How to Deal with Sinking Concrete

Here’s the good news: The sunken concrete around your home can be lifted, leveled, and protected against future problems. Even better, in most cases, it can be fixed permanently.

But before we get into that, we should address two not-so-permanent “fixes” for sunken concrete. The first is a complete concrete replacement.

Pouring new concrete might seem appealing. After all, you’ll end up with brand-new slabs, and new is better, right? Well, in this case, no. First, pouring new concrete requires breaking up and tearing out the old concrete. That means a lot of disruption for you and your neighbors. Not only is this a noisy, messy process, but it can take a week or more for concrete to cure, which means your driveway, sidewalk, patio, or pool deck will be unusable for that time.

When new concrete cures, it’s usually a different color than any older concrete around it. So, unless you remove and repour your entire driveway, etc., you’ll end up with a patchwork quilt of mismatched slabs.

Then there’s the environmental impact. In addition to the old concrete heading to your local landfill, there’s the issue of Portland cement, the “glue” that holds concrete together. The cement industry is one of the world’s worst carbon emitters. In fact, if it were a country, the Portland cement industry would be the world’s third largest CO2 emitter, behind the US and China. So, the less brand-new concrete we use, the better it is for our environment.

Finally, there’s the problem of the soil we mentioned earlier. Pouring new concrete on your old soil won’t address the issues that caused the old concrete to sink in the first place, so in a few years, you’ll be right back where you started.

Now, let’s look at mudjacking. This involves injecting a slurry of mud and rocks beneath your concrete slabs to shore them up. As the name suggests, it is an extremely messy process. Plus, it leaves a series of soda-can-sized holes in your concrete through which the slurry is injected, leaving your concrete with an odd polka-dot appearance.

But the negatives don’t end there; like pouring new concrete, mudjacking doesn’t address the soil issues beneath your slabs. And since the slurry consists of mud and rock, it’s extremely heavy, exerting even more weight on your unstable soil.

PolyLevel®: The Ideal Concrete Solution

Now we come to the best of all worlds: PolyLevel foam. PolyLevel is an expanding polyurethane foam that starts off as a liquid injected beneath your concrete, where it quickly runs to find cracks and voids in the soil. Almost immediately, it begins to expand as much as 29 times its original volume. This expansion lifts the heavy concrete slabs above it back to their initial level. Not only that, but PolyLevel’s expansion also exerts a downward pressure, compacting the soil beneath it and stabilizing it in the process. This means that when your home’s concrete is lifted and leveled with PolyLevel, it is permanently stabilized.

Because it’s a foam, PolyLevel is incredibly light, so any weight it adds to the soil is negligible. As it quickly cures into a rigid, incompressible mass, it fills the voids beneath your concrete, providing stabilization. Once cured, it’s environmentally friendly because it doesn’t react chemically with the surrounding environment and won’t break down over time. It also provides no nutritional value, so it won’t be damaged by insects or other animals.

Lastly, PolyLevel cures incredibly quickly, so you can actually start using your driveway, patio, sidewalk, or pool deck as soon as the installation crew leaves.

As you can see, PolyLevel foam injection is the one solution for sunken, broken concrete that offers a permanent fix that’s minimally disruptive and environmentally friendly.

The only catch is, PolyLevel is only available from select contractors across North America and must be installed by an experienced crew. The good news is, LRE Foundation Repair is one of those select dealers!

With 35 years of industry expertise in Florida, LRE is well-prepared to help you with your concrete repair needs in Orlando, Miami, and the surrounding areas. So, if you’re ready to repair your concrete for good, schedule your free estimate today.

 

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Our Locations:

LRE Foundation Repair
1115 South Main Street
Suite 101
Brooksville, FL 34601
1-352-325-4686


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2150 34th Way N
Largo, FL 33771
1-727-337-7878


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277 Power Ct
Sanford, FL 32771
1-321-204-7872


LRE Foundation Repair
702 NW 9th Ave
Fort Lauderdale, FL 33311
1-954-280-2627
LRE Foundation Repair serves Florida, including [major cities1]