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CONCRETE REPAIR OPTIONS FOR CRACKS, EROSION, SETTLEMENT WHAT TO DO? BY DARE CONCRETE
For centuries, concrete has been known and used for its properties of strength, durability, and ease of use. And while problems with the use of concrete in residential applications are typically cosmetic hairline cracks, chipping or spalling, rust stains and corrosion, etc. there are a few problems that may develop.
These problems are usually found in the flatwork, such as sidewalks, slabs, driveways, and in the foundation and retaining walls of a homes basement.
The fact is, most major problems with both flatwork and basements can be prevented using proper construction techniques. Thats little consolation to the homeowner, who must deal with the problems after the fact.
|Structural problems with sidewalks and driveways result from the concrete settling or otherwise becoming uneven usually due to an improperly compacted sub-base. Slab erosion and undermining due to extreme weather conditions and improper backfilling; ridging and separation of concrete areas caused by unrepaired cracks, once hairline cracks, they become wider and wider as time passes, causing your concrete areas to separate, collapse and ridge; are also very commonly seen.
|If there is no ridging, and the concrete is in relatively good shape, meaning the concrete is not actually in the phase of separation and just has somewhat settled, a process called slabjacking may be used to raise the sidewalk or driveway to the level it used to be. During this procedure, a pattern of holes typically between 1-1/2 inches and 2 inches are drilled or cored through the sunken slab. A grout mixture is pumped under low pressure (about 10 psi) under the slab using a hose with a nozzle that fits into the holes. Once any cavities or voids are filled, the grout becomes pressurized, hydraulically raising the slab to the desire height. The grout is typically comprised of water, Portland cement, Bentonite or flyash and sand. Additives are used to prevent shrinkage. The drilled holes are then patched using a concrete mixture that will bond with the surface. The pictures above shows the concrete slab before when it has settled, and after, jacked up to its original level.
||For concrete ridging and separation, theres little alternative, and the most common solution, although a more expensive one for the homeowner, is the removal or tear-out of the concrete area and its replacement. How can the homeowner avoid such an expensive and aggressive method of concrete removal? Preventive Maintenance.
When the concrete starts to crack, the homeowner must address the problem to avoid an expensive tear-out, and before a lawsuit arrives. If a renter trips on your ridged concrete and falls, youve got a big hospital bill and disability paychecks hanging over your homeowners insurance. The picture above shows how simply a crack repair can be done. Although cosmetically it is not very pleasing to the eye, crack repair will prevent a overload of problems in the future, such as separation and unevenness of your concrete surface (a tripping hazard), erosion (caused by water penetrating in the cracked area and compacting the sub grade causing settlement of your concrete), etc.
For either slabjacking, where the cored holes were patched, or for crack repair, where you can see the filling in the cracked areas, a decorative option is available and affordable to the homeowner. You can simply urethane color seal driveways or sidewalks, or apply overlay systems that would make your concrete look like new. Any resurfacing can be applied, and repair work becomes cost effective to the homeowner as long as the problem with your concrete is addressed in a timely manner. Concrete repair not only saves you money in the long run, but also greatly extends the life of your concrete areas, without jeopardizing its structure and properties.
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