One of the most common questions we get from homeowners and business owners is, “Why did my concrete sink?” Most concrete sank due to poor or no compaction of the soil base, or occasionally, poor drainage or soil erosion. With that said, there are actually several reasons why concrete sinks. When it does sink, regardless of the cause, your best bet is to call a company that specializes in concrete to repair it.
Soil changes can make concrete sink
Outside concrete sits on top of soil. Over time, that soil may shift, compact, settle or shrink dues to various factors. Part of this change in soil can be due to the kind of soil the concrete sits on top of. Different types of soil have different load capacities. If that load capacity is exceeded, the concrete will likely sink. Complete settlement of your concrete can sometimes take 5-7 years or more under certain circumstances.
Unsupported areas of concrete
Another reason concrete may sink is if there are areas of the concrete that are no longer supported by soil underneath, typically due to water. Water is the basic culprit in the vast majority of expansive soil problems. Sometimes this is due to improper drainage; other times it’s simply a matter of unusual amounts of water getting to the soil underneath the concrete. When this happens, the soils shifts, and there becomes unsupported areas of concrete. Over time, this allows the concrete to sink or crack.
There are several animals, such as rodents, that will actually burrow beneath concrete slabs. or next to foundations. Once a significant amount of soil is displaced, these rodents will claim residence in these voids or holes under your concrete and make them their home. Also, as referenced above, once there is no soil underneath concrete to support it, the concrete will likely sink over time. Or they create enough of a gap for water to get in, which causes even more soil displacement over time.
Of course, there are times that concrete sinking is due to poor craftsmanship; sometimes that includes not taking into consideration the type of soil, compaction of soil, or the potential exposure to water. Other times, the job may simply have been rushed, and therefore corners were cut. Typically, by the time concrete starts to sink, the person who poured the concrete, or your home builder is long gone. These sunken or settled concrete failures become a huge problem that delays your home sales or home purchases when they turn up during a home inspection.
Regardless of why concrete sinks, there are services that can resolve the problem without replacing the entire concrete area of concern. Depending on the area and the extent of how much the concrete sank, and also how badly your concrete may be cracked, a method called concrete raising may be able to solve the problem. There are a number of cost effective solutions for concrete problems depending on the condition of the concrete area. In many situations, you can avoid replacing the concrete altogether, and instead have it repaired for a fraction of the cost. If you have a situation where your concrete is sinking, contact a company who has expertise in concrete lifting, concrete repair, concrete leveling, concrete raising and concrete grinding. They’ll be able to assess the situation, and propose a cost effective solution to address the problem.