What causes concrete settlement?

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Sinking concrete, settling concrete and slumping concrete. All terms used to try and explain what is happening when concrete is settling in soil.

Because concrete is so heavy it is prone to settling if site preparation was ignored. What is quality site preparation?

Compaction, soil barrier, drainage.

Simply put when soil is not compacted adequately it will compact over time and with added moisture.  A failure to compact will always result in settling.

A soil barrier is generally compacted gravel. Some soil types, primarily clay, will expand and then contract as it up-takes and releases water, by using a 4 to 6 inch layer of compacted gravel between the soil and the slab expansion and contraction will not be as prevalent or do as much damage to the concrete. In addition if your area is prone to clay soils using a concrete sealer will greatly reduce the propensity for clay soil’s to expand and contract.

Drainage also plays a critical role in keeping your concrete slabs stable. When homes don’t have gutters or have miss placed downspouts that concentration of water along foundations can cause porches and walks to settle. A mis-placed downspout near a sidewalk will always result in a sidewalk settling so correcting these problems is a key to eliminating settling.

If you are dealing with settling concrete you likely have one or more of the above problems. Give the concrete raising and leveling professionals a call today and we will get you taken care of.

1-855-752-2522

www.SlabjackGeotechnical.com

Superior technology, superior polymers, Superior results.

 

 

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.

1-855-752-2522

www.SlabjackGeotechnical.com

Superior technology, Superior polymers, Superior results.

 

What caused my sinking and settling concrete?

 

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Why does concrete settle even on well compacted soil?

In nearly every case water is the primary cause. No matter how well soil is compacted when it is saturated with water it loses some of its ability to support heavy concrete slabs. As a rock settles in mud, concrete will settle in mud too.

Resolving water runoff during the construction phase or before settling occurs is key to avoiding future settling.

Gutters and downspouts directed away from foundations and concrete slabs. Avoid sprinklers near slabs, avoid planting bushes and other plants that require large amounts of water, often the best way to determine whether you have enough water is to reduce watering until plants and grasses start to suffer, then increase slightly. Drip lines can be a great solution to over-watering bushes and annuals.

When you see standing water, moss and mud you will eventually have settling.

If you have settled concrete call today,

1-855-752-2522

www.SlabjackGeotechnical.com

Superior technology, Superior polymers, Superior Results.

 

Slabjack Geotechnical – Total Concrete Protection program.

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Over the past five years 1-855-752-2522 has lifted thousands of concrete slabs and some of those are for repeat customers who have decided to have us take care of other problems after the initial job. As we have considered these jobs we have decided to add a service that we feel will be a great value to our customers.

We call it our “Total Concrete Protection” program and it consists of two additional services;

1. Additional injections at critical points under your unsettled concrete to shore up areas prone to settling and cracking such as corners, control joints and junctions with other slabs. Once stabilized these slabs are much less prone to settle and crack. Most of these injections are made in the control joint and are filled with the sealer mentioned below so they are completely concealed.

2. A custom crack and joint sealer professionally installed to eliminate water penetration, a known cause of settling.

When a client chooses the “Total Concrete Protection” program we offer an upgrade from two years to a five-year warranty against settling beyond 1/4″ on any concrete slab included with the program.

Interested? Call The concrete raising and leveling professional today, 1-855-752-2522.

1-855-752-2522

www.SlabjackGeotechnical.com

Superior Technology, Superior Polymers, Superior Results!

 

 

Why has my concrete settled?

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Concrete contractors take note,

Concrete is one of the most durable building materials used in modern construction. In residential construction it is used primarily in foundations, driveways and walking surfaces. Concrete placed on virgin soil or compacted soil rarely settles, however concrete placed on fill or if soils are saturated to the point of washing away, concrete can settle rather dramatically.

The three main causes of settling are, poor initial compaction, excess water and the break down of organic material in soils. (Leaves, roots and grasses are common)

If you are beginning to notice settling there are a few things you can do to prevent further settling. Put up gutters and direct water well away from foundations and walks. Remove plantings and sprinklers from areas with walks or porches and caulk the joints and cracks in concrete walks and along foundation and walk junctions. The goal is to push water well away from walks and foundations and reduce as much as possible the saturation of soils under and near your concrete.

If settling has already happened call the concrete raising professionals today,

1-855-752-2522

Superior technology, Superior polymers, Superior results.

 

What if my concrete re-settles?

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Concrete leveling and re-settling

About five percent of the jobs we do need to be re-pumped. Why?

Voids

Water

Soils still settling.

 

Voids – often found along foundations, voids can cause supporting sections to slide into them reducing support. One of the real advantages of geo-polymer Slabjacking is how well it travels filling voids and fissures in the soil.

Water – water is a primary cause of initial settling, if not corrected can result in further settling.

Weak, un-compacted soils – found primarily in new construction and homes less than ten years old where base soils are not at full compaction.

While Slabjacking is generally a permanent repair for settled concrete, like properly poured concrete it needs periodic inspection and maintenance to remain stable. Caulking expansion joints to keep water out from under slabs, maintaining fill beside walks and drives, not overwatering bushes or lawns and insuring run off is directed well away from concrete all play an important role in the ability of concrete to resist settling.

Slabjack Geotechnical is very proud of the work we do, we do not shy away from warranty work nor are we embarrassed if warranty work needs to be done, it is occasionally part of carefully raising concrete. Better to have to come back to be precise than over lift a slab and ask our customers to “live with it”

Warranty work is free unless we are dealing with properties under ten years old where original settling is still occurring or where warranty stipulations were not met. (Caulking, maintaining fill, flooding, etc.) We offer very reasonably priced crack sealing services so your warranty will be in force for the full duration. Even on properties under ten years old we offer very reasonable priced repumps in the unlikely event your concrete resettles.

Experience matters, call the concrete raising and leveling professionals today,

1-855-752-2522

www.SlabjackGeotechnical.com

Superior technology, Superior polymers, Superior results.

 

 

 

Deal with water to avoid settled concrete slabs.

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Poor compaction coupled with excess water causes virtually all the settled concrete we see.

Recently the drastic effect of excess water was demonstrated on a home where compaction was not an issue.

We got a call from a homeowner that their fifty year old home was experiencing some settling on a porch and some attached brickwork. I asked, “the house is fifty years old and the settling just happened?”

She replied yes but they had recently installed gutters and downspouts and she suspected that might be the cause.

Ya think?

A site visit showed that she was correct, the downspouts was dumping runoff right at the point of settling. An estimate was provided and the work was completed using Geo-polymer Slabjacking as well as sub grade concrete and steel bracing for the decorative brickwork.

This is so common.  Here’s how to prevent the problem;

New construction – install gutters and downspouts before concrete is poured, insuring water is directed well away from porches, walks, driveways and foundations. Where municipal codes allow, tie into storm drains, if not, dig French drains or use other methods to avoid saturating soils near concrete slabs.  Other concerns are landscape plantings too near foundations and slabs, tree roots, ponds and sprinkler systems.

Existing homes – design the gutter system with the intent to have water going somewhere other than near concrete slabs and structures. This may necessitate tunneling under walks with a drain pipe directing water well away from the home. If this is impossible a French drain can be dug, rain barrels used  or use the retracting downspout extensions that unroll to direct water away from structures when there is run off.

Take the time before settling occurs to correct deficiencies and you will avoid the problems associated with sinking concrete.

Slabjack warranties generally require the correction of the problem that created the original settling. In the vast majority of cases it means making corrections to your drainage system, eliminating plantings that require substantial water, reducing sprinklers or using drip lines instead.

Slabjack Geotechnical is a great resource when it comes to diagnosing the cause of settling and recommending corrective measures to prevent further settling. Call today,

1-855-752-2522

www.SlabjackGeotechnical.com

Superior technology, Superior polymers, Superior results.

 

 

 

What role do rodents and other critters play in settling concrete?

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Raising settled concrete with Polylevel –

Occasionally we comes across some fairly large critter holes, do critters cause concrete settling? How big of a problem is this?

Animals are mostly opportunistic home builders, they seek out ready-made dens as much as possible then enlarge to fit their needs. Once they find a spot though, they can move a fairly large amount of supporting soil from under a porch or patio.  Once a depression has been made water can often more easily find its way under the concrete which results in further settling.

A concrete roof is ideal for a rodents home, they have a solid and secure roof with warm soil and they are mostly safe from humans.

If you notice paths leading under your concrete act to reduce problems. Fill with soil, or gravel, don’t put a hose in there, it just makes the hole larger. If you are ok with the concept use rodent traps or poison to eliminate the problem otherwise your job is to fill holes and block entrances. Rodents attract predators like snakes, who will also take up residence under your concrete once they’ve had dinner.

So in answer to the question, no, rodents are not a cause of initial concrete settling but can contribute to the problem.

The best solution for not only raising your concrete but for filling the voids used by rodents and other critters is Geo-polymer injection, it fills voids and unlike pressure grouting with mud can’t really be burrowed in, it’s too hard.

If you notice voids with or without setting concrete give us a call, we can help.

1-866-762-2522

www.SlabjackGeotechnical.com

Superior technology, Superior polymers, Superior results.

 

 

 

 

Voids now, settling concrete later

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An obvious void under an entry, most voids are unseen
An obvious void under an entry, most voids are unseen.

 

This picture demonstrates how voids against foundations form. In most cases the concrete would also settle but with this example the entry was “pinned” with rebar to the foundation.  Over time the rebar will rust and weaken, eventually failing causing the slab to drop.

As you can see by the slope behind the entry, water was being channeled toward the home, this slope caused all the runoff and snow melt to compact and wash away soil resulting in the settling seen above.

Most slabs and porches against a foundation have voids which will eventually cause settling. Geo-polymer injection fills these voids and raises your concrete back to level but in order to have a lasting repair additional corrections need to be made, things like;

Correcting slope by re-grading, installing gutters and directing down-spouts well away from foundations, addressing sprinkler systems and plantings too near foundations and insuring ponds and other water features are not overfilled creating flooding. (Something I’m all too familiar with at my home)

Caulking joints and cracks in concrete plays an important role in reducing concrete settling and can be done when we raise your concrete for an additional fee.

In the above example we quickly filled this void by blocking one side of the void and filling the cavity from the other.

If you see voids or have settling call today, we can help.

1-855-753-2522

www.SlabjackGeotechnical.com

Superior technology, Superior polymers, Superior results.

 

Don’t want settled concrete? Then deal with drainage.

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A big part of eliminating settled concrete is to plan your drainage system. Addressing runoff will pay dividends for years to come not only in reduced settling but in keeping basement dry and foundation stable.

Some communities do not allow gutters to be directed into storm drains or into the municipal sewer system and therefore must be handled by French drains and simple sloping of top soils to direct runoff well away from structures.

Time spent planning where water will go and the amount anticipated is something your builder should do, if not have a conversation about getting water well away from any concrete walks, drives, porches, etc.

Time and planning spent here can save a significant amount of money and headache down the road.

If that didn’t happen and you are dealing with settled concrete give us a call, we can help.

1-855-752-2522

www.SlabjackGeotechnical.com

Superior technology, Superior polymers, Superior results.