Your typical residential property features concrete in at least some form. Whether it is a sidewalk, slab or set of steps, concrete is one of the most commonly used construction materials in the modern era. We are all familiar with it because we all walk on it every day.
Unfortunately, concrete is not without its problems. Two of the most common problems in residential settings are spalling and sinking. Both can make concrete quite unsightly. In addition, sinking can threaten the structural integrity of concrete.
This post talks about spalling and sinking by describing what causes the two problems and how to fix them. The information in this post comes courtesy of Salt Lake City’s Concrete Raising Company.
‘Spalling’ is a term that can apply to multiple surfaces. When applied to concrete, it describes a condition in which a portion of the exposed surface of the concrete begins to flake away. Small pieces of the concrete crack, chip, and eventually loosen to the point where rain and wind can sweep them away.
Spalled concrete is easy to spot because its top surface is pocked and uneven. If spalling is significant enough, you might even see some of the underlying aggregate exposed. You end up with a surface that looks less like concrete and more like cobblestone.
What Causes It
In almost every case, spalling is the result of concrete that wasn’t installed properly. Either the mixture wasn’t right, it was poured incorrectly, or it wasn’t allowed to fully cure after pouring. Spalling is the result of poor craftsmanship. It is no more complicated than that.
How You Fix It
There is no need to replace spalled concrete. It can be repaired by applying a thin coat of finishing concrete over the top. This is a good solution for a slab with only minor spalling. If the spalling is more significant, a concrete overlay is the right way to go. You apply a thin coat of concrete paint first, then follow up with the overlay while the paint is still wet.
Sinking concrete doesn’t require any explanation. You know what it is. As for what causes it, the direct culprit is a void underneath the concrete left by eroding soil. The void itself can be caused by any number of things.
Sometimes it is a matter of the underlying soil not being properly compacted prior to the concrete originally being poured. Other times there is a groundwater issue. Either there’s not enough groundwater to support the soil or there is so much water that soil is being washed away. At any rate, concrete sinks because the soil is not supporting its weight.
How to Fix It
As with spalled concrete, there is no need to completely remove and replace sinking concrete. Instead, concrete slab repair is a faster, cheaper, and more efficient way to go. What does the repair involve? Actually lifting the concrete back into place.
Companies like Salt Lake City’s Concrete Raising Company inject a new aggregate mix into the void underneath the sinking concrete. That material cures just like concrete. You are essentially filling the void with artificial rock that hardens and supports the weight of the sinking slab or steps. A skilled repair technician can perfectly level sinking concrete with this process in a matter of minutes.
Whether you live in Salt Lake City or elsewhere, the Concrete Raising Company encourages you to repair your spalled or sinking concrete rather than replacing it. Repairs are amazingly effective and long-lasting. Best of all, they are not nearly as expensive as full replacement.