A homeowner should be aware of the state of their property and that also includes smaller and less noticeable problems. One of such concrete slab issues that the homeowners often overlook and shouldn’t are the cracks that appear over the property. That often happens with homes across Southeastern Michigan, like in Novi, and if homeowners would address sooner the repairs may be less expensive and complicated.
Sidewalks, driveways, and patios are made of concrete slabs and this is where you’ll most likely find unsightly cracks. These are often indicative of serious structural issues below the surface of the slab.
This isn’t to say that every cracked surface means you’re having trouble with your foundation, but here at Foundation Systems of Michigan we believe that it’s better to be safe than sorry and that you should ask an expert opinion as to the root cause of these issues when you first notice them. That way you can avoid a more serious repair and save in the long run.
Problems Signs to Be Aware Of
When it comes to structural problems you should be aware that some of them are surface-level and easy to repair. The homeowner should learn how to recognize these and they can be fixed as a DIY project or not at all depending on where the cracks are. At the same time, the homeowner should know when to call the experts if the issue is with the soil itself and can get worse over time.
These problems are very common in the Michigan area and the likelihood is that your home is experiencing them as well.
- Spalling and Flaking
Spalling and flaking are cosmetic issues same as pitting and staining. That doesn’t mean that you should ignore them. Flaking is a process in which the thin slices of concrete flake off the concrete. Spalling is a more complex issue and it happens when large chunks of concrete fall off the slab. Without repair, it does weaken the concrete.
- Perimeter Saturation
Perimeter saturation refers to the water that’s saturating the area around the concrete slab. Water pooling around the slab is the best indicator that this is happening. If you notice this in your yard, you should contact the experts since it’s never a minor issue. It’s a sign of serious damage that could seriously affect the whole property.
- Spreading Cracks
Not all cracks are cause for concern. Sometimes the cracks occur naturally because that’s what happens when the concrete relaxes after it is cured. You’ll recognize those kinds of cracks because they are small and they don’t grow over time. These are known as hairline cracks. When you notice that the cracks are actively growing and getting worse over time, you should act and call in the experts at FSM to address them.
- Gaps Under Slab Edges
Another obvious sign that the concrete is sinking is the gap that you can feel between it and the surface. That means that the soil has eroded below it and that there’s a void where the soil should be. It’s best not to fix the void itself, but to call the professionals to determine what to do next. Chances are that the problem will get worse when we’re at this stage.
- Bald Spots in Your Lawn
Erosion is mostly caused by wind and it happens most often in areas that are of bare earth. Soil washout on the other hand happens from below and that’s how it affects your yard. A good indicator that this is happening is the bald spot or patch of earth in your yard. This is usually noticeable by yellow grass, as well as crates and dips as sinkholes rot.
When you notice these signs on your property, you should act right away. You should look for a concrete lifting specialist such as the ones working with Foundation Systems of Michigan. We will provide a helping and guiding hand.
What Cracked Concrete Around Your Home Can Mean
Cracked concrete slabs can sometimes be a sign of an issue with the concrete itself and in other cases, it can be caused by the pressure put on the concrete or by the lack of support for the concrete slab. It’s not always easy for a homeowner to decide how to treat the cracks and that’s why it may be best to use the experts to help you with it.
Concrete slabs tend to crack due to problems with the soil below. The slab is supported by the soil on which it stands. Once the soil erodes and loses its structural properties, the slab will start to sink. Since this happens unevenly, the shifting weight causes the slab to crack at pressure points.
Problem soils are more common than you may think. It happens with clay-based soils. The soil will swell and shrink as the water gets into it and in the process, it erodes below the slab. This leads to the slab being unsupported and cracks and damage may appear.
Areas like Michigan that have harsh weather are often struck by this problem since these changes in the weather will lead to soil contracting and expanding.
Sometimes cracked concrete is a sign that there’s a flaw in the concrete itself. This is a less common reason but it happens. Concrete is a mix of sand, cement, and water. When the ratio of these materials isn’t right the concrete won’t turn up as it should have. The problem will present itself in the form of cracks.
When the cracks are caused by defective concrete, it’s more of a cosmetic issue. However, the cracking and fragmentation will continue and especially so as you put pressure on the concrete. There’s very little you can do to fix this problem unless you simply replace all of the concrete that’s faulty.
Why You Should Fix Cracking Concrete
There are good reasons to address and fix the cracking concrete problem as soon as you’re able to. First of all, it’s unattractive and it makes your home lose some of its market value. There are more important reasons as well. Here are a few things that happen due to the cracked concrete that will make you call the experts to help you assess the damage right away.
Cracked and sunken concrete may seem like they are nothing to worry about, but a potential buyer may not think so. They make the home appear older than it is and less taken care of. That can make the buyer believe that the property needs a lot of repairs and that it’s not a good investment to make. A small issue such as cracks in the concrete, therefore, leads to your home losing value on the market.
Cracked, uneven, and damaged concrete surfaces are a tripping hazard. They are therefore a risk to the health and well-being of those who live in the home. It’s especially true if there are kids or elderly in the home since they are more prone to accidents. It’s best to fix the concrete as soon as you notice the cracks and the problem and thus prevent the accidents that may occur.
Concrete Lifting and Repair in Your Area
If you’ve seen cracks in your driveway, sidewalk, or stairs you should address it right away. For the most part, that means contacting the experts and having them assess your property and the problem with the concrete that it faces.
We have the experience needed to assess the damage and what has caused it. We also have tools needed to lift the concrete and to address the bad foundations that keep cracking and sinking.
A lot of the time homeowners wait too long and don’t fix the issues with their concrete cracks right away. That’s sometimes because it seems it’s a minor problem and sometimes because the repairs seem to be too expensive or too tiresome. It’s a mistake to wait too long since that will only make the problem worse and the solution more expensive.
Waiting Is A Bad Idea
The mistake in waiting to start the repairs is in the fact that it isn’t a guarantee that things won’t become worse. It could get worse, and the concrete won’t be salvageable at all. If that happens, there’s no way to fix it but to replace it altogether. This is a much more expansive solution and one that’s more intrusive and more of a burden on your home life, once it’s underway.
The Benefits of Acting Quickly
There are numerous benefits, however, in not waiting too long, but acting quickly as soon as you notice that the cracks are something to worry about. The most obvious advantage is in the fact that the repair will be faster and less expensive. Acting quickly also means that you don’t have to go into difficult repairs such as replacing the whole concrete.
On top of that, the problems with the structure of your home can also cause the foundation itself to be damaged. If you do not act quickly this can happen and you’ll end up having to repair the foundation itself rather than just the concrete on top of it. It’s much more expensive and difficult and you would do best to avoid it by acting right away.
There are cases in which the only way to go is to replace the damaged concrete. But that’s a rare occasion. If there are other options such as lifting and repairing the concrete, you should consider that instead of replacing it.
Replacing Concrete May Be Expensive
Replacing the concrete altogether is one of the most expensive repairs you can do. This sort of repair will disturb your home life and cause a mess in your home and yard for at least a while. It’s also important to note that simply replacing the concrete won’t fix the underlying issue that has caused the slab to crack in the first place.
When you compare the costs of replacing the concrete with that of fixing it, you’ll see why no one wants to do it unless they absolutely have to. Contact the professionals and let them provide you with a range of other options. Don’t hesitate to try them out before replacing the concrete.
The Underlying Issues Need to be Addressed
It’s important to note that the cracks and chips in the concrete are just a symptom and it’s not enough to fix them unless you fix the cause of the problem. That’s also the case when you remove and replace the whole concrete slab. That underlying issue is often about the soil and climate surrounding your home.
When the cause of the cracked concrete problems is found in the soil you’ll need to put in place measures that will help you fix the underlying issue first. Sometimes that means that you’ll have unplanned expenses to cover as well, but that’s the price of having a long-term solution. An expert will help you plan for those expenses and take you through the repair process step by step.
In the majority of cases, there’s not much that a homeowner can do to fix concrete cracks, sinking slabs, and uneven concrete surfaces.
Why Concrete Lifting is a Specialist Job
When working with professionals, rest assured the tools and products needed to lift the concrete were selected by licensed professionals after years of experience on the job. Even smaller and cosmetic changes will require a specialist to use the proper process, tools, and techniques. It’s not an easy task or something homeowners would want to worry about.
Most concrete-related issues faced by homeowners in Michigan are a product of the local weather conditions and local professionals operate with this in mind. Michigan gets 38 inches of rainfall at the most. Southern parts of the state are the wettest and the northeast is the driest. June is usually the month with the most rainfall. These weather conditions are caused by proximity to the Great Lakes and they are enough to cause the soil to erode. That in turn causes concrete slabs to sink, shift, and crack.
Save Yourself Time and Money
A lot of the time the homeowners want to fix their own properties in order to save money. This is reasonable and it often works since repairs are expensive. However, this isn’t one of those cases. The damage that the amateur can cause can often be more expensive than the repair done by the experts. Trying to fix the sinking foundation yourself will actually cost you more than calling a professional right away.
The same goes for the time spent. A lot of time and effort is needed to diagnose the problem in the first place. Doing so means that you can’t start the repairs until you’ve figured out what’s caused the damage. It’s a waste of time therefore and you would have been better off letting the free inspection find the source of the problem and provide you with ideas on how to solve it. This shouldn’t be an issue of pride but of efficiency and choosing what’s best for your home.
Call Us and Get a Free Inspection
Give us a call and we will schedule a free inspection appointment. They don’t oblige you to buy anything or to use our services. However, the appointment can be a starting point for you to fix your concrete and property in general since our crew can recommend the next step and the further steps to protect your foundation as well.
In Livonia, our team uses an innovative solution to fix cracked concrete slabs permanently. Polyethylene foam is injected into small holes made in the concrete. As the foam hardens and cures, it will lift the concrete and level it. The best feature of this approach is that the foam actually repairs problems with the soil below the concrete and therefore eliminates the cause of the problem. Polyethylene is also an eco-friendly material and one that won’t damage your yard in any way. The repairs are quick and it’s easy to use the material in closed and difficult-to-reach parts of the yard.