Repairing Cracked, Crumbling Concrete
If concrete does one thing, it’s crack. However, it’s not natural for concrete to crack in a way that creates a cosmetic or safety concern. While hairline cracks are typically not a structural threat, larger cracks can signal an underlying problem such as heaving or settlement. At AquaGuard, we help homeowners discover concrete repair solutions that restore the strength and beauty of the structure by attacking the problem at its source. By finding a concrete repair method that accomplishes more than just a cosmetic fix, you’ll enjoy long-lasting results that prevent future damage and maintain your home’s curb appeal.
Why is Concrete Repair Important?
You’ve invested in a home with breathtaking architecture, attractive paint colors, and beautiful landscaping—why let a cracked driveway or crumbling stairs detract from that? Having well-maintained concrete slabs surrounding your home can help create a positive first impression on those who pass by or appraise your home for resale.
In fact, sunken concrete slabs can hinder your ability to sell and reduce the value of your home. If left unrepaired, cracked and crumbling concrete can decrease your home’s value by as much as 10%!
More than just an eye-sore, uneven concrete can create a safety hazard for those who use the area. As children (and maybe even adults), we’ve probably all experienced the tragedy of running or riding our scooters too quickly over damaged sidewalks, resulting in bruised knees and burning palms. Cracked driveways, walkways, and pool decks can create tripping hazards that could result in serious injuries—especially for young children and seniors. Not only that - uneven surfaces can be difficult for those with physical disabilities to navigate with wheelchairs or walkers.
Beyond the obvious cosmetic and safety reasons, you might also consider repairing your cracked concrete to prevent more expensive repairs and replacement in the future. Cracked and crumbling concrete will only get worse over time and is more susceptible to damage from excessive moisture, chemicals, mold growth, and freeze-thaw cycles.
Do I Need My Concrete Professionally Repaired?
If you’re concerned about the appeal, safety, or future maintenance of your concrete slabs, you should contact a concrete repair professional to help assess the damage and determine the best method of repair. At AquaGuard, we offer free inspections, during which your design specialist will tell you exactly what’s causing your issue, tell you what’s required to fix it right the first time, and provide a dependable warranty. If your issue does not need repair, they’ll tell you that, too!
What Causes Concrete to Crack?
During inspection, your concrete repair specialist can help you understand the reason for your concrete’s deterioration. Typically, the culprit is one or a few of six causes:
Plastic shrinkage is the most common reason for cracks appearing in concrete soon after it cures. Before hardening, concrete is full of water. Concrete that is still full of water is known to be in its “plastic state.” In the plastic state, concrete takes up more space due to the higher volume of water. As this water evaporates, the concrete dries and shrinks, causing stress that results in cracks which extend through the entirety of the slab.
Shrinkage cracks are often barely visible and are typically not a cause for concern. However, they can become more serious if concrete is mixed too wet. When this happens, the slab will shrink more than it would if the appropriate amount of water was used. When the excess water evaporates, solid particles are farther apart from each other, making the concrete weaker and prone to developing larger shrinkage cracks.
Heat makes things expand, and concrete slabs are no different. When concrete expands due to hot weather and is forced against a rigid or simultaneously expanding object, the pressure can cause the concrete to crack. Expansion joints—small areas of separation filled with flexible material—are typically used to prevent this from happening.
Heaving occurs when something underneath your concrete slab pushes it upwards. This skyward pressure is often the result of frost heave, expansive soils, and tree roots.
In Georgia, our homes are built on Georgia red clay—an expansive soil. As the name suggests, expansive soils expand when it rains and shrink during periods of drought. Excessive rain from long, steady showers that last for days and heavy spot showers that pop-up almost every day each summer can cause the soil supporting your concrete to oversaturate and washout. Similarly, during extended periods of drought, that same soil can dry out and crumble.
Washed or dried out soil will eventually erode, leaving void pockets. Void-laden soil cannot support the heavy concrete slabs that rest on top of it. The lack of adequate support will cause those slabs to crack and settle down into the voids, often resulting in a one to three-inch drop of the concrete slab.
Though concrete is an incredibly strong material, placing too much weight on top of your concrete slab can cause the concrete to crack, especially when it’s supported by compressible soil. Driving on walkways and parking large recreational vehicles or dumpsters on driveways are a few examples of when this type of concrete crack might occur.
Luckily, this final type of concrete crack is typically only a cosmetic concern because it only occurs surface level. When the top layer of concrete loses moisture too quickly during the curing process, tiny web-like cracks (crazing cracks) can develop on the concrete’s surface. This type of crack can also occur when concrete is stamped to create a stone or brick look. If the top layer of concrete becomes crusty, the stamping process can cause the concrete around the edges of the “stones” to chip away.
Concrete Repair Methods
Unfortunately, many concrete repair solutions used today only provide temporary relief. When repairing concrete, it’s important to consider the underlying cause of damage—without finding a way to mend this problem, the solution won’t last. With that in mind, the following are the options professional concrete repair contractors will often supply:
- Epoxy Injection: Seals and reduces the appearance of the crack, but does not correct its cause, meaning more cracks are likely to continue to form.
- Resurfacing: Unlike normal concrete, concrete resurfacer contains a special agent that can bond to other concrete surfaces. This method can make cracked concrete look better, but it’s expensive and will soon crack itself if the underlying issue isn’t addressed.
- Replacing: For some concrete surfaces that are beyond repair, concrete replacement may be the only option. However, this is an expensive repair method that is often avoided by being proactive and awareness of other repair options.
- Grinding: Concrete grinding is a popular concrete repair method for uneven surfaces. However, like all of the options we have discussed so far, grinding does not tackle the cause of the problem. Because of this, concrete that has been leveled using the grinding method will likely to heave or settle and become uneven again.
- Mudjacking (also known as slabjacking): Mudjacking is one of the concrete repair solutions that actually attempts to fix the root cause. This method uses a concrete slurry to fill in the voids in the soil under the concrete. However, this isn’t a permanent solution, as the heavy concrete slurry can actually cause weak soil to compress further, causing the concrete slab to sink, settle, and crack once again.
- Injection foam leveling: Injection foam leveling is the only permanent solution for concrete repair and leveling, directly addressing the problem at its cause. At AquaGuard, we use PolyLevel® injection foam for concrete repair and leveling projects.
What Sets AquaGuard Apart
At AquaGuard Concrete Leveling, we install PolyLevel®–the most efficient, cost-effective, and innovative concrete leveling technique on the market. We do more than just repair the appearance of cracked or uneven surfaces—we provide peace of mind through offering a permanent solution that solves the problem at its source. Our certified System Design Specialists will provide a free evaluation to ensure determine whether the condition of your concrete. From there, we can help you find the best opportunity for lift, ensuring the stability and future protection of both your concrete slabs and home.
What Kind of Concrete Repair Do We Offer?
- Pool Deck
- Garage Box
- Basement Floor
Common Concrete Repair Q & A
Can I DIY my concrete repair project?
There are many products on the market that you can use to repair concrete without the help of a professional. However, none of these are permanent solutions, as they do not address the core issue: the soil. Calling in a professional concrete repair contractor not only guarantees you have the work done correctly, but it can also save you time and money. Ensuring the job is done right the first time can save you from continually having to repair your sinking concrete.
Call AquaGuard for Concrete Repair in Northern Georgia
For a free Concrete Leveling inspection, contact us today! We’ve been servicing customers for more than 20 years, and no job is too big or too small for us to handle. Our service area extends throughout Georgia including Marietta, Atlanta, Decatur, Alpharetta & many of the surrounding areas.