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The Alabama Guide to Concrete Repair

uneven concrete slabs

Are you searching for information about concrete repair in Alabama? Whether you have a cracked, uneven driveway or a sidewalk full of trip hazards, we’re here to help.

In this guide, we will go over what causes concrete slabs to become uneven and crack, discuss how to fix an uneven slab with a reliable concrete leveling method in just a few hours, and offer some maintenance tips that will help keep your concrete surfaces in good condition for years. 

What Causes Concrete to Crack and Become Uneven?

Concrete slabs such as sidewalks and driveways can become uneven and crack for various reasons, including the following:

  • Expansive Soil: Expansive soil contains a lot of clay, which causes it to expand when it absorbs moisture and shrink when it dries out. This causes movement in the ground under the slab and can eventually cause a slab to become uneven, crack, or both.
  • Erosion-prone Soil: Erosion-prone soil can also be a problem for concrete slabs. Over time, groundwater can wash away soil from underneath the slab, causing it to sink, tilt, or even crack. 
  • Improper Site Preparation: The soil must be cleared of any organic matter and tamped down before pouring a slab. If this isn’t done, voids can form under the slab as the organic matter decays or the soil compresses. If the slab sinks into the voids, it will become uneven.
  • Poor Drainage: Poor drainage around a slab can be a real problem. When water gathers around the concrete, it can cause the soil to swell if it’s expansive, or even wash away entirely if it’s erosion-prone.  
  • Invasive Tree Roots: We’ve all seen examples of tree roots pushing up on concrete and causing cracks and unevenness. 
  • Seismic Events: Anything that causes ground movement under the slab can cause unevenness and cracking. 

Other Problems With Concrete: Pitting, Flaking, and Staining

concrete pitting and flaking

Concrete can also pit, flake, and stain. Pitting happens when the concrete’s surface deteriorates due to exposure to chemicals or water. This can create little holes and craters, making the surface look rough and uneven. 

Flaking is similar to pitting but happens when the top layer breaks off in small pieces, leaving behind a rough and uneven surface. This can be caused by exposure to the elements (such as UV radiation), or from heavy traffic or weight on the surface. 

Staining is another issue that can occur with concrete. Over time, concrete can absorb oils and other liquids, leaving behind unsightly stains that can be tough to remove. This can be especially problematic for outdoor or high-traffic surfaces that are exposed to all sorts of substances. 

Regular maintenance like sealing and cleaning can go a long way in preventing these types of issues.

Common Concrete Problem Areas

Sidewalks


Due to their constant exposure to foot traffic and weather conditions, sidewalks tend to experience wear and tear faster than other concrete surfaces. Problems such as cracking, chipping, and stains are pretty common on sidewalks.

uneven concrete driveway

Driveways


Since they bear the weight of vehicles, driveways are more prone to structural damage than other concrete surfaces. This includes things like cracks and sinking.

Patios


Patios are similar to sidewalks in that they are often exposed to the elements year-round and experience a lot of foot traffic. Because of this, patios can suffer from issues like staining, cracking, and fading.

cracking and uneven concrete pool deck

Pool Decks

Pool decks are exposed to a lot of water, which can be a recipe for disaster if not properly maintained. They also come into contact with harsh chemicals like chlorine, which can cause discoloration and cracking.

Lift and Level Uneven Concrete Slabs with PolyRenewal™

crew installing polyurethane foam in a driveway

PolyRenewal™ is an innovative way to lift and level uneven concrete slabs in just a few hours using lightweight and waterproof polyurethane foam. Here’s how it works:  

Step 1: Drill Small Holes

The first step of installing PolyRenewal™ is to drill small, penny-sized holes into the affected area. These holes are then used as access points for the polyurethane foam that will be injected beneath the slab. The foam is delivered through the holes via a hose attached to a specialized pump.

Step 2: Inject the Foam Under the Slab

Once the foam has been injected under the slab, it quickly expands to fill the voids beneath the slab. As it expands, it raises the slab.  

Step 3: Patch and Smooth the Holes

After the repair is complete, the holes are patched with a compound that closely matches the color of the slab. Almost 30 minutes after the PolyRenewal™ repair is complete, the slab is ready for use again. 

How to Protect and Maintain Your Concrete Surfaces

When it comes to concrete surfaces, there are a few things you should know to keep them in tip-top shape. 

  • Good Drainage is Essential: First and foremost, good drainage is crucial. Soggy soil around the slab can cause a lot of problems, so ensuring that groundwater has a clear path to drain away from your concrete slabs is key. This means keeping gutters clean, making sure the slope of your yard allows rainwater to flow away from your concrete, and using downspout extensions if necessary.
  • Waterproof Your Concrete: While concrete is pretty durable on its own, it’s not invincible. Sealing your concrete surfaces with a waterproof coating can help prevent damage from water, oil, and other substances that can stain and weaken the surface.
  • Regular Cleaning: Over time, dust, dirt, and other debris can accumulate on your concrete surfaces, making them look dingy and contributing to their deterioration. A gentle cleaning every few months with a mild detergent and scrub brush can do wonders for keeping your concrete looking great.
  • Repairs, When Necessary: When something goes wrong with your concrete, it’s important to address it quickly. Cracks or chips can allow water to seep in and cause further damage, so repairing them promptly can help prevent more extensive repairs down the line.

Contact AFS for Lasting Concrete Repair

AFS inspector at a home

Overall, just a little bit of care and attention can go a long way in keeping your concrete surfaces looking and performing their best.

If you’re concerned about damaged concrete on your Alabama property, contact AFS Foundation & Waterproofing Specialists today to schedule a free inspection and receive a repair estimate. We provide high-quality concrete repair solutions in Kentucky, Tennessee, Alabama, Georgia, and Florida. 

Ted Dryce

Ted Dryce

Content Writer

Ted is an SEO Content Writer who has been with Groundworks since 2021. He’s covered home repair topics ranging from crawl space encapsulation to regional soil conditions. When he’s not working, Ted is performing improv comedy and working on his own creative projects.

Disclaimer: “Concrete leveling” means the process by which cracked, uneven concrete is stabilized, and in many cases lifted, by means of PolyRenewal™ polyurethane foam. AFS does not guarantee that PolyRenewal™ can make your concrete perfectly level.    

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