Some might be surprised to see the difference driveway leveling can have on a home’s curb appeal. Repairing cracked and sinking concrete can save you from future concrete replacement costs, restore the safety of your property, and give your home a facelift.
Why Do Driveways Sink?
Multiple factors can contribute to sinking driveways, but the primary cause actually occurs beneath the concrete slab itself. The soil under your driveway and sidewalk is what supports the slab. When this soil shifts, it can leave voids that make it difficult for the soil to support the heavy concrete that is poured on top of it. Shifting soil can be caused by several things, including the Georgia Red clay many of our homes are built on.
Georgia Red Clay and Expansive Soils
In this region, the soil surrounding and supporting concrete slabs is called Georgia Red Clay. Georgia Red clay is an expansive soil, meaning it can expand and shrink due to weather and temperature changes. As we know in Georgia, those weather changes occur frequently throughout the year. When red clay receives excess rain or a deep freeze melts, it can oversaturate and wash away. During periods of extended drought or dry, cold conditions, it can harden and crumble. Whether due to washout and dry out, eroded soil leaves voids that cause your driveways or sidewalks to crack and sink into weak spots.
Unfortunately, another primary cause of shifting and settling soil occurs during construction. Before concrete is poured, strong, dense soil is disrupted and cleared away and replaced with loose backfill soil. Because looser soil is not as strong as compacted soil, it can cause your driveway to settle over time. Both settlement due to erosion and loose soil can cause concrete to sink as much as one to three inches, though more substantial shifts do occur.
How do I Prevent Concrete Driveways and Walkways from Damage?
Though it’s important to stabilize the soil and the concrete slab itself, there are still a few things you can do to maintain the health of your concrete flatwork, whether it be your driveway, walkway, patio, or pool deck. Our concrete sealant can prevent your slab’s worst enemies–including moisture, chemicals, and seasonal changes–from causing cracks and settlement.
Protect Your Concrete With SealantPro™
By blocking your concrete’s pores from absorbing harmful materials, SealantPro™ will prevent damage from chemicals and corrosion. Concrete sealant won’t just keep your driveway and walkways looking clean–it will better protect them from soil erosion. Before sealing your concrete, water can leak through the slab’s exposed expansion joints. After applying SealantPro™, water won’t penetrate through to the soil and cause washouts as easily.
Benefits of SealantPro™:
- Non-yellowing application repels moisture, salt, and harmful chemicals.
- Protects concrete from the problems warm weather causes, such as mold and algae.
- Keeps concrete smooth.
- Extends your concrete’s lifespan and prevents costly repairs.
- Permanent bond creates lasting protection.
How to Repair Cracks in Concrete Driveway
If you’ve already noticed significant cracks and uneven concrete in your driveway, it’s time to consider your concrete repair options.
A common, but fairly out-of-date solution to repairing a cracked, sunken driveway is mudjacking (also known as slabjacking). Mudjacking is a relatively inexpensive technique used to address certain settlement issues within your concrete. This process involves drilling Coke can-sized holes through the concrete and injecting a heavy concrete slurry to gradually fill the voids beneath the slab. The slurry is very heavy––typically 100-140lbs per cubic foot.
Mudjacking can also be very messy and typically takes at least a week to fully cure, meaning your driveway is essentially unusable during that time. Additionally, mudjacking is a relatively short-term procedure. Because the method doesn’t address the true cause—the soil—it cannot guarantee stabilization and may require maintenance every few years.
Partial Concrete Replacement
Another “concrete leveling” process that is fairly ineffective is partial concrete replacement. As its name implies, this technique involves ripping out and replacing the damaged sections of a settled driveway. Partial replacement is expensive, heavy, takes approximately two weeks to cure, and will always be discolored from the original concrete slab. Additionally, concrete replacement has the same problem as Mudjacking: it does not address the soil and can thus sink again over time.
Driveway Leveling: The PolyLevel® Way
Why take the risk of the ineffectiveness of Mudjacking or partial concrete replacement? At AquaGuard, we install PolyLevel®, a cost-effective, structural-grade, high-density polyurethane injection foam to permanently stabilize and accurately lift your concrete. The foam can be installed in minutes, is minimally-invasive (only requires dime-sized holes to be drilled every three feet apart), is lightweight (4lbs per cubic foot) and waterproof (won’t wash out over time). Furthermore, PolyLevel® is engineer-designed and tested, provides permanent stabilization, serves as the best opportunity to lift slabs back to position, and cures in as little as 30 minutes, meaning you can drive on your newly-repaired slab within half an hour! Simply put, it’s a game-changer.
How Does PolyLevel® Repair Concrete Driveways and Sidewalks?
Polylevel was created with the same purpose as traditional concrete-leveling methods: to raise concrete. However, PolyLevel repairs the problem at the source–the soil–whereas Mudjacking simply fixes the issue cosmetically, and concrete is an expensive and often ineffective procedure. Rather than adding extra weight to the soil supporting your already-heavy concrete, as Mudjacking does, PolyLevel® injects a structural-grade, expanding, two-part polymer foam under the concrete. This foam fills the gaps and voids caused by sinking and shifting soil, helping to strengthen, stabilize and potentially level your concrete driveway back to position. The procedure is long-lasting, lightweight yet incredibly strong, and durable to ensure your concrete repair truly stabilizes your cracked or settling concrete for years to come.
What are the Benefits of PolyLevel® for Driveway Leveling?
- As the preferred driveway and walkway repair method, PolyLevel® has many benefits, including:
- Polylevel® is unmoving and waterproof, which means that, unlike soil, it won’t wash out or shift beneath the concrete with heavy rains or dry weather.
- As flexible foam, when PolyLevel® is injected beneath your driveway, it can fold to fit perfectly into gaps and voids, providing an accurate lift.
- The foam used in the PolyLevel® process is incredibly lightweight, meaning that it won’t add pressure to the soil beneath, causing it to sink and the problems to repeat themselves. It can actually help compact and fill voids in the soil beneath your concrete, ensuring it’s stability and strength.
- The process is less invasive than Mudjacking, as only small holes are drilled into the concrete to inject the foam. This creates a more attractive finish and allows for a quicker cleanup and cure time.
Get Your Free Inspection for Driveway Leveling!
Think you need concrete leveling services to repair your cracked driveway, uneven sidewalk, front stoop and steps, back patio, pool deck, garage box or basement floor? Call Aquaguard Concrete Leveling to schedule an inspection! Our concrete repair contractors will provide a free evaluation to help you take steps towards restoring your property’s value and putting your home back on solid ground.
Concrete Driveway Leveling Contractors in Atlanta, Rome, Athens, and Marietta
If you’re looking for concrete driveway or sidewalk repair contractors in Georgia, call Aquaguard Concrete Leveling today! We’d be happy to help solve any problem you’re experiencing, from cracked to uneven concrete. Curious to see examples of how our processes have effectively restored our customer’s concrete? Check out our concrete leveling examples!