How many times have you accidentally tripped on your driveway while in a hurry because you didn’t see that crack in the concrete? Did you recently notice water pooling because your concrete floor has become uneven, despite the fact only a couple of years have passed since you installed it? With time all floors naturally tend to settle on their base, but when the soil beneath the concrete slabs cannot support their weight any longer, the slabs move, tilt or crack and the previously uniform surface of your floor, patio, sidewalk or driveway becomes uneven. In order to avoid this from happening, it is important to understand what the most common reasons are that cause concrete slabs to sink and shift.
The soil underneath got washed out
Plumbing leaks, erosions, heavy rains, floods and similar situations introduce large quantities of water that find their way underneath your concrete. Over time, water washes out the soil supporting the concrete that sits on top of it, causing the slabs to gradually sink. Water is the main reason for most soil problems causing the soils to shift, creating voids and gaps that cave under pressure.
The soil was not compacted well
The construction of patios, sidewalks, driveways and concrete floors includes spreading out soil to achieve a uniform and level base for the installment of concrete. It is always important to hire trustworthy and professional contractors who will pay attention to the type of soil used and its compaction because if the soil is not compact, it will not support the whole surface of the concrete equally.
The moisture content of the soil changed over time
Depending on the type of soil underneath the concrete, it will hold onto or release moisture causing the soil to shift. For example, soils containing clay tend to retain water, which causes the soil to expand and take up more space, moving the concrete that sits on top of it. The opposite can also happen, with droughts that extract the moisture out of the soil, causing it to shrink and take up less space. Both occurrences change the base, making it unable to withstand the pressure of weight coming from the top.
If you have large trees growing around your property, there is a possibility they have spread their roots underneath your concrete patio, sidewalk or driveway. Even if you do not see them, the roots have an effect on the soil because they extract the moisture out of it in order to get the nutrients they need. This, in turn, causes the soil to shrink. Another natural occurrence you can encounter includes small animals burrowing underneath your concrete and displacing the soil, making the foundation unstable.
If you are based in the state of Colorado, and you want to learn more about the most effective solutions and techniques of concrete repair, contact us at Eco Level, schedule a free consultation and we will answer all your questions!