The Dangers of “Letting it go” When You Find Damaged Concrete in Your Home
Concrete is used in many areas of the home, from the crawlspace to sidewalks and patios. Many homeowners find that over time, concretes begins to experience cracking due to settling. However, there are also problems that can occur that can lead to damage of concrete that should be addressed. Many homeowners let go of issues that seem like simple cracks but later discover a major problem with their home. To be safe, it is best to have the issue evaluated by a professional in the concrete industry who has the know how and experience to determine what might be going on with your home.
Patching is a Short-Term Fix
Depending on your concrete problem, patching is only going to provide a short-term fix. While you fill the cracks in to remove the appearance of cracking, the problem still exists. This can be due to settlement, frost heave or sunken concrete issues. The problem must be evaluated and a solution determined by a professional to repair the concrete in the correct manner.
Deep Widespread Cracks
If you see that your concrete has deep and widespread cracks, it is most likely due to the weight of a large truck having driven in the area or erosion of sub grade or possibly improper prepping of the sub grade. Either way, you will need to get advice from a soils engineer to see if there is an issue with your sub grade. If so, the area will need to be repaired so the concrete can be properly used. If this is a driveway or walkway, you want the concrete to be smooth so no tripping or accidents can occur.
The repair for this type of issue would be to remove the concrete and the sub grade. The sub grade would need to be replaced with a compactable material and then the sub grade compacted once laid. Concrete would then be poured smoothly and dried.
Another issue, common with walkways, is sunken concrete. When the sub grade is not prepared in the right manner, the concrete can shift after it has dried and been in place for some time. It is possible that loose dirt was used during the installation process and the dirt will settle due to water that was exposed to the underneath of the concrete. The sinking will then occur and need to be repaired. The same process is completed with this issue as with deep cracks.
If you live in a colder climate, you may have an issue with frost heave, if you have concrete in your home. Frost heave is when moisture in the ground freezes and the concrete is pushed upwards. You will need to remove the concrete and sub grade and start over, ensuring the right materials are used for the climate and soil type so this issue does not happen again.
Overall, it is best to take care of any issue within your concrete when you notice it. Have a professional take a look at your issue to ensure the right repair process is completed.