The many causes of concrete settlement

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It’s unsightly, it’s dangerous, it’s a potential liability but it’s easy to fix.

Concrete settlement is a very common problem affecting not only residential neighborhoods but municipalities commercial enterprises and industrial facilities. What causes concrete to settle?

1. Failure to prepare the site. If soil was disturbed during construction was it re-compacted? Was there a 4-6″ layer of compacted gravel placed under the slab? These two primary issues are the cause of much of the settling commonly found in new construction.

2. The next most common cause of concrete settlement is excess water. Dealing with water runoff is generally not on a builders mind at the start of construction, it should be. Trying to figure out where you were going to put downspouts, sprinklers and  water features after sidewalks porches and driveways have been poured is poor planning and asking for concrete settlement. Having a place for your run off to drain such as french drains well away from structures or into municipal water supplies if allowed in your jurisdiction will help your concrete remain stable.

3. Another cause of concrete settlement is the breakdown of organic material in your soil. As roots, debris and other organic material breaks down is creates void space that contributes to settlement. Water migrating through the soils takes with it small amounts of soil and sand and these also contribute to the gradual settling of soil.

4. Finally ground water migration can play a role in settlement in some instances particularly if you have a high water table. We did a municipal job where groundwater migration had created a six-inch avoid behind a municipal pool. While there is little you can do about a high water table you can fill voids as quickly as possible so the supporting soils are capable of carrying the load above.

In addition to the above, the type of soil that is predominate in your area plays a role in its ability to support structures. Whether it be sand, clay or silt each has advantages and disadvantages depending on its use. Some soils don’t drain well others are prone to wash out, still others will actually expand as much as 10% with water!

If someone failed in the planning phase and you are dealing with concrete settlement give the concrete raising of leveling professionals a call today.

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Settled concrete repair in Spokane by Slabjack Geotechnical

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With all the hills, valleys, annual rainfall, relatively high water table and the forest, Spokane is fairly prone to concrete settlement.

When homes are constructed on hills or slopes a fairly deep excavation for the foundation of the home is necessary, as a result fill dirt is used on the uphill side of the home or structure. This fill, if not properly compacted is prone to settling particularly with the addition of rainwater, snowmelt or simply sprinklers.

A high water table can also create problems. A high water table gradually moves small particles of soil whether it be clay or sand and this slow migration of materials through the water table results in the slow settling of supporting soil.

An organic layer of material that has not been removed in the construction process can also contribute to settling layers of soil. Whether it be pine-needles and leaves or wood and garbage as organic material breaks down it shrinks and settlement of supporting soils happens.

After construction there is little that can be done below the surface that is cost-effective for all but the most expensive of structures above. For settled home foundations piering is the most common repair but can run in the tens and even hundreds of thousands of dollars. For concrete slab’s and slab on grade construction such as pole barns and carports polyurethane slab jacking is recognized as the most technologically advanced and the most long-lasting repair.

In Spokane and surrounding areas including North Idaho Slabjack Geotechnical is the premier concrete raising and leveling contractor. Founded in 2011 we have raised thousands of slabs from simple sidewalks and patios to municipal pool decks to concrete stadiums to school district pump houses and handicap ramps to fruit warehouses and repair shops.

Call today for an on-site, no pressure, no cost estimate.

1-855-752-2522

www.SlabjackGeotechnical.com

Superior technology, Superior polymers, Superior results.

Slabjack Geotechnical – Quality concrete raising, leveling and more in Washington & Idaho

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Slabjack Geotechnical is an accredited member of the Better Business Bureau with an A+ rating and we are members of Building North Central Washington HBA group dedicated to integrity in the construction industry. We are fully licensed bonded and insured. We are members of the MRSC roster and as such have done work for municipalities, school districts and City and county housing Association’s.

Founded in 2011, Slabjack Geotechnical is the largest concrete raising leveling contractor in Eastern Washington and northern Idaho.

Each year we raised and level thousands of residential concrete slabs from simple sidewalks and driveways to basement floors, shop floors, patios, pool decks and more.

Commercial work consisting of apartment building sidewalks, fruit storage and other warehouses, shop floors business trip remediation, grain bin and silo leveling and more.

Municipal work consisting of stabilizing concrete stadiums, raising and leveling school district pump houses,  handicap ramps, leveling concrete bridge approaches and forming polyurethane trench breaks without entering the trench.

Slabjack Geotechnical is your one stop shop for concrete raising a leveling, void filling and concrete crack filling. Call today for an on-site evaluation of your property.

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Can a concrete sidewalk or slab, curl?

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Indeed it can and often does. But first let’s define what concrete slab curl is. Concrete slab curl is the bowing of concrete as it cures unevenly.

When concrete is poured on soil the tendency is for the bottom of the slab to stay wet and the top to quickly dry this uneven drying results in the slab curling up on the edges and along joints. This results in a slight dish in the center of the slab.

On a sloped driveway or sidewalk this slight bowing is generally not a problem however in garage floors where you want to have sufficient slope to drain water out of the garage this can create problems as water drains towards the opening but can’t overcome the curl and as a result water pools instead of draining out the door.

In warehouses or storage buildings that use forklifts to move products it can be especially problematic. The constant beating that the drivers and the materials receive can result in damage fruit and employee fatigue. In severe cases concrete slab curl results in slab fracturing and expensive repairs are then necessary.

1-855-752-2522 can stabilize slab curl through the use of specially formulated polymers injected into the void space under the slab curl. Additional grinding can then be done on the raised section of concrete along the joint to complete the repair.

If you’re dealing with slab curl call the concrete raising and leveling professionals today for an on-site consultation to see what can be done about your slab curled concrete.

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How to fix erosion under concrete slabs

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Erosion of soil is a very common problem. Whether it be ground water movement, drainage, rodents or sprinklers, when soil is carried away settling concrete is sure to follow. So what should you do if you notice erosion around or under your concrete slabs?

Many people will attempt to fill these voids with dirt, sand or gravel and while something is better than nothing none of these solutions are able to generate any upward pressure on the concrete so not much support is possible. Even worse is when homeowners pour concrete in those areas of erosion. Concrete is a very heavy material, in addition to being unable to generate any upward pressure on the slab the added burden on the soil often speeds settling.

1-855-752-2522 uses an expanding polymer foam injected under the concrete that fills voids and if necessary raises you’re settled concrete back to the proper grade. Available in several densities geo-polymer injection becomes a very economical and fast process with most jobs done in an hour or two.

Call today for no cost estimate to have your soil erosion and void fill problems dealt with quickly and efficiently.

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Concrete crack and deep concrete crack repair by Slabjack Geotechnical

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Concrete crack repair and concrete crack filling are jobs that are often done by DIY’ers but to be done properly and to last several years certain steps need to be taken.

Choosing the proper material is important, whether you choose to use a polyurethane caulk which may adhere better or silicone caulk that is able to stretch further, preparing the concrete to receive the caulk is the most important step for a lasting repair.

If you have grass and weeds growing in your concrete cracks and joints you will want to remove the growth and any dirt that will interfere with the bond between the concrete and the caulk. This may mean pulling the weeds, pressure washing the dirt and debris out of the crack and then waiting sufficient time for it to completely dry. Even in cracks that appear to be clean either vacuuming or blowing out is a step that should be taken to remove dust and debris that will interfere with the concrete bond.

If the crack is deeper than a half an inch you will need to fill the crack with foam rope. Foam rope does two things first it allows the caulk to bind to both sides but not the bottom this aids in the ability of the repair to flex. Secondly the addition of foam rope greatly reduces the amount of material needed for the repair. Most big box home-improvement stores and small mom-and-pop hardware stores will carry one or two sizes of foam rope. Professional caulkers will carry three or four different sizes and have access to many sizes all the way up to three and even four inches in diameter.

The next choice you have to make after the type of caulk is whether you want self-leveling or non-sag caulk. Self-leveling flows into the crack and as the name suggests levels itself out eliminating the need to tool the repair. In contrast non-SAG is placed in the crack and then forced into the crack with caulking spatulas and then tooled to an attractive profile. Most professional Caulker’s prefer non-SAG material, while more difficult to use initially the material itself is more durable, less messy and more consistent.

Generally for concrete crack filling a standard gray, aluminum gray, or sandstone color will closely match concrete whether it be brand-new, a few years old or very old. There are however an entire pallet of colors available for color matching stained or colored concrete.

If you have concrete cracks that you need filled to preserve the look and keep your concrete from settling give the concrete raising and leveling professionals a call today, we fill thousands of linear feet of concrete cracks each year.

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Polylevel in Spokane WA.

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Slabjack Geotechnical is the most experienced concrete raising contractor in central and eastern Washington and northern Idaho using Geo-polymer or polyurethane foam.

Generally called slab jacking but occasionally pressure grouting, mud jacking, and polylevel. Polylevel is a trademarked name similar to Kleenex being a trademark name for facial tissue. Slabjack Geotechnical is a certified Polylevel installer.

When the time comes to raise your sunken or settled concrete give the concrete raising and leveling professionals a call at,

1-855-752-2522

www.SlabjackGeotechnical.com

Superior technology, Superior polymers, Superior results.

Cracked concrete repair by Slabjack Geotechnical

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Repairing cracks in concrete is a question we often get, here’s what you need to know;

Once concrete has cracked it will act as a control joint, in other words it will continue to move, it can be stabilized to a degree but virtually any rigid topping placed over it such as more concrete or tile will crack exactly over the original crack line.

There are several things to consider with cracked concrete, first, is it a heated space? If so movement of the concrete will be greatly reduced due to heating and cooling (expansion and contraction) as a result floor coverings such as hardwood, laminate, linoleum and other semi rigid surfaces will generally be safe to install, you may even get away with some tile but ask your flooring expert which would be “safer” and less resistant to stress cracking.

If it is an exterior slab such as a driveway or sidewalk your best remedy is filling the crack with caulk, these are available in different formulations such as polyurethane, acrylic and silicone each with its own advantages and disadvantages. While we are on the topic, filling control joints is also recommended especially once the joint has broken. Keeping water, weed growth and ant colonies away from cracks and joints is key to keeping concrete stable.  Water moving through cracks, root growth and pests all create issues that caulking will help prevent.

In addition to raising and leveling settled concrete we repair and fill thousands of feet of cracked concrete so if you choose to hire someone to deal with your cracked concrete give us a call and we will take care of you.

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Help! My concrete is sinking.

 

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HHHHHHEEEEEEEELLLLLLLLPPPPPPP! 

A frequent statement we hear when folks with sinking and settling concrete here we can help them.

Concrete settles because of poor soil conditions. Poor compaction, rotting organic material in the soil, erosion and saturation. 1-855-752-2522 has the products and the expertise to correct your settling concrete.

The vast majority of settling concrete can be corrected with our polyurethane injection Slabjacking and then addressing external problems such as erosion and soil saturation. Directing water well away from concrete by moving down-spouts, adjusting sprinklers to avoid standing water and caulking joints and cracks in concrete Will resolve the vast majority of settling concrete. So sure of this method are we, that we offer a full two-year warranty on our services. (See website www.SlabjackGeotechnical.com for restrictions) and five years if we caulk the joints!

Dealing with poor compaction and a breakdown of organic material create the same problem, settling concrete, but are at either ends of the time-line with regard to settling concrete. Poor compaction results in near immediate settling of the concrete and generally affects new construction, this settling can go on for as long as 10 years. The breakdown of organic material can happen over a period of years and even decades and is generally the result of buried material such as stumps, grasses, and construction debris. Even debris such as large chunks of concrete that have been buried can create huge sinkholes due to the voids often found around this debris that eventually is filled in with soils above it which were expected to support slabs on the surface.

Correcting settling that results from poor compaction and a breakdown of organic material often takes a two-pronged approach. First, stabilizing deeper layers of soil requires the use of soil conditioning agents injected into the ground which solidify the loose or organic material. Second, polyurethane Slabjacking to bring the concrete back to original grade is then utilized. The combination of soil stabilization and polyurethane slab jacking is the quickest and best long-term solution to correcting concrete settlement. Other methods such as mudjacking do not deal with the underlying problem of the soil nor does concrete replacement.

If you are dealing with sinking concrete call for a no obligation consultation today.

I

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Why do thing cost so darn much?

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I was reading an article about the high cost of things the other day, as a business owner I think i have something to add. No matter how you feel about minimum wage laws, taxes, regulations and technology these and more play a role, sometimes a huge role in the final cost of goods and services.

As a restaurant owner for more than two decades and now as a general contractor the cost of labor was and continues to be one of the larger costs of doing business and without exception these are passed directly to the consumer. If you want a sixteen year old dish-washer to make $15 an hour that’s fine as long as you understand YOU are paying for it, not the owner or the shareholder.

In the restaurant business especially, labor is a huge expense in fact it is the highest cost in many restaurants even more than the food. As a result any increase is a big deal so the question as a country is this; do you want more or less employment? it really is that simple, higher wages result in fewer jobs because it pushes marginal businesses out of business. eventually you are left with fewer but larger restaurants open. Chain restaurants are able to outlast smaller independents so the long term trend will be more chains and restaurants that can take advantage of self ordering kiosks and automated food production stations such as fast food restaurants  to minimize labor cost increases.

In the construction industry you find more prefab construction than ever, from pre-made trusses to engineered wood floors there is a push for speed to lower the labor portion of construction. In my Slabjacking business polyurethane is quickly replacing mudjacking due in part to the faster pace in which jobs can be completed. Where mudjacking is a slow laborious production, polymer injection is a fast and relatively sanitary process. Two jobs a day verses four so while the material costs are much higher the labor costs are half as much.

As the national debates continues it is important to realize like most things there isn’t a cut and dry argument on either side, higher wages/lower employment, more regulation/higher cost, higher taxes/greater costs and/or higher evasion rates.

When it comes to a concrete repair business like mine it is especially important to control labor costs. Replacing concrete is expensive not because concrete is expensive, it’s cheap, it’s the three guys or more it takes to place and finish the concrete that causes that small hundred square feet of concrete to cost twelve hundred dollars. We can repair it for much less in large part due to the much lower labor cost associated with raising verses replacing concrete.

As a business owner I see the advantages of less regulation, less taxation. I work across state lines and some states are much more business friendly than others, does that keep me out of more difficult states? Yes, or at least much more cautious entering those markets. Business is risky enough without our elected officials ignorantly working against job creation. Having thirty different taxing districts, thirty business licenses, issues with licensing trucks, trailers and compliance with trucking regulations is not helpful to business creation and that’s before one employee is hired. Add to that all the issues and costs relating to employing workers with the added state and federal oversight and you start to understand why some employers choose to skirt the law or use temp agencies to staff their operation. It’s a complex issue worthy of a robust debate rather than the partisan fight it has become.

Just my brief thoughts.

Jerald Sargent

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www.SlabjackGeotechnical.com

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