Concrete is one of the most commonly used building materials. However, for a homeowner, it’s more than that. It’s a part of the home that very much determines its aesthetic. That’s why it’s important to make sure that you address the changes in the way your concrete looks. The most common problems homeowners tend to notice are discoloration, flaking, crumbling, and pitting. These will inevitably happen over time.
Concrete Pitting Problem Signs
Pitting is tiny craters that are rough in appearance and can be noticed on the concrete structure. Sometimes they are local and sometimes they spread all over the concrete slab. The cluster of craters can vary in size and depth. The edges of these craters start jagged, but can smooth over time if you’re walking over them often (as is the case with driveways or floors).
If these craters are small, it means the pitting has just started. As the concrete becomes weaker, more of the craters will appear. Sometimes they’ll even form a single large crater. How far the craters are apart and how deep they are, depends on a variety of things. It depends on how old the concrete is, and what kind of mixture was used to create it. It also depends on how often the concrete is exposed to water and ice. Pitting will usually start five years after the construction.
One way to test if the concrete is pitting is to lightly tap it with a hammer. If the hammer easily forms a crater, it means that the concrete is weak. The hammer should bounce off the concrete.
Concrete Flaking Problem Signs
Flaking is visually very similar to pitting. With flaking, there are fewer craters on the surface. Flaking means that the surface of the concrete is peeling, rather than breaking apart and that’s where the name comes from.
The difference between the two is in the cause that’s responsible. Flaking is caused by the exposure to water and the effect of freezing and thawing the water that’s affected it.
Water is erosive and it causes the particles of the concrete to be displaced. This happens when the concrete expands during the winter and contracts during warm weather months. After years of damage, the effects start to become visible.
Flaking (as well as pitting) can be caused by human tampering as well. This is what will happen when something heavy is dropped on the concrete and damage it. For most homeowners, it happens when they’re shoveling snow and hit the concrete with the shovel.
Since it’s caused by exposure to water and snow, flaking is more commonly noticed in outdoor concrete slabs. This includes patios, walkways, driveways, and pool decks.
Concrete Staining Problem Signs
Over time the color of concrete will change as well as its strength. Outdoor concrete is subjected to the elements but that doesn’t mean that’s the only cause of staining. Sometimes it happens due to internal reasons as well.
Problems with staining are easier to find and deal with than those that are related to flaking or pitting. . Staining is a much faster process. The concrete should be gray and if it’s not you’ll easily notice the change in coloring which is how you know you have a staining problem.
Efflorescence is a white and powdery stain that sometimes has a rough texture. It appears to be gritty and mossy and it forms on the surface of the concrete. It’s often confused with mold but it’s just salt formed on top of the concrete.
To fix this, you’ll also have to address the cause of the moisture. Check gutters and downspouts and correct any yard grade issues.
Mold is a microorganism that feeds on organic matter. You’ll notice it because it will form black or green stains. The stains will get larger the longer the mold has been growing on concrete.
How Can I Prevent Concrete Pitting, Flaking & Staining?
Concrete pitting, flaking, and staining are problems that you should look to avoid as a homeowner. They will make your concrete blocks look ugly and uncared for and more than that in the long run they will cause the concrete to become weaker and less structurally sound. Sometimes these problems are due to how the concrete was made and that’s where there’s nothing you can do as a homeowner. In other cases, however, the issues come about due to exposure to water and that’s something you can prevent.
Outdoor concrete is difficult to protect from water damage. There’s very little you can do to protect it from rain and snowfall. It’s useful to have a drainage system in the yard as well and it will remove some of the excess water when there’s heavy rain and thus protect the concrete slabs.
Your yard also needs to be maintained regularly and especially close to the rain season. This means making sure that all the drains and gutters are working and that there’s no clogging. You should also take this time to inspect for cracks and fix any that you can find. This will increase the lifespan of your concrete slabs in the long run.
Concrete Pitting, Staining and Flaking
Problems with pitting, flaking and slabbing are serious and they are often about more than just aesthetic, but they can’t cause the concrete slab to settle. The two problems aren’t related since settling is caused by the issues with the soil. They can speed it up, however.
How It Accelerates Settling
As the slab becomes weaker, it cracks, and the water is able to get through it. The water will in turn saturate the soil and make the whole concrete slab less stable in the process.
In the Michigan area the soil can be loose and fine-grained. This means that it will wash out when it comes into contact with water. A weak concrete slab will make the process faster since it allows the water to get to the soil due to how porous it is. The concrete is also more likely to break when the soil sinks.
What You Can Do About It
There are ways to repair a settling slab. Our team offers a PolyRenewal Injection as a quick solution. It’s a method for lifting concrete. That’s done by drilling small holes into the concrete and injecting foam into it. The foam will then expand and lift the concrete in the process. It’s often done on patios, decks, and around pools.
Polyurethane foam can’t be penetrated by water meaning that it prevents the problem from appearing again once the soil gets saturated again. That’s what makes it such a good solution for pool decks. It also won’t be affected by the freezing and thawing effect making it a good long-term solution for the issue.
The first step towards fixing a pitting concrete is to identify that you have a problem in the first place. This can sometimes be easily done if the concrete is noticeably damaged. The best way to go is to inspect the home every once in a while and to pay attention to changes.
What Does Pitting Concrete Look Like?
Small holes or pits will appear on the surface of the concrete. That’s how the condition gets its name and that is the most noticeable symptom to look for. These holes can be found scattered around the concrete slab or they can be clustered together.
These pits can also be smooth in appearance, especially so if the pitting concrete is a part of your floor and you’re walking all over them on a regular basis. The pits will get bigger over time.
It’s also useful to be aware of the conditions causing the pitting in the first place. Once you know that the conditions for pitting are met on your property, you’ll be more aware of potential signs. The most common cause is humidity.
It’s especially important to be aware of the freeze and thaw cycles in your area. It’s during these cycles that most home deal with an excess amount of water and that can cause pitting after a while.
Get in Touch with Us
If you notice that your concrete is pitting, flaking, or staining, you’ll need to take a closer look at what’s causing it. Sometimes it can be caused by issues with structural integrity and you’ll need to address that. Our team is dealing with these sorts of problems in your area and beyond. Don’t hesitate to call and schedule a free inspection and we will recommend the next step.
We have repaired thousands of concrete problems across Michigan. The inspection is free and we’ll come up with a written quote for you within a day. The quote doesn’t oblige you to use our services.
We use the best tools and have an award-winning process when it comes to basement waterproofing. Our crew of skilled engineers is there to answer any and all questions you may have about fixing and maintaining concrete.