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The Tennessee Guide to Concrete Repair

Are you tired of looking at damaged concrete on your Tennessee property? Poor drainage, expansive soil, and invasive tree roots can damage your concrete sidewalks, driveways, and patios. Damaged concrete surfaces aren’t just ugly, they can also be a trip hazard and an unpleasant lawsuit waiting to happen. Therefore, any uneven, cracked slabs should be repaired right away. In this article, we’ll review the causes of cracked, uneven slabs, how they can often be repaired in just a few hours, and offer tips on how to keep your concrete surfaces in good condition. 

Understanding Concrete Damage

Concrete is known for being durable and versatile, as it is used in everything from driveways to pool decks. But even with its reliability, concrete is still prone to wear and tear. Understanding what causes these issues is essential to safeguarding your property against the forces of time and nature.

The Root Causes of Concrete Damage

Concrete problems often find their origins in the very soil upon which homes are built. Soil erosion, poor compaction during construction, and unpredictable weather can degrade concrete structures. As the soil bed upon which slabs are poured weakens, they lose support from underneath, compromising their integrity. The frequent rainfall in Tennessee can make these issues worse, leading to soil washout beneath concrete surfaces.

Impact of Damaged Concrete

Cracked and uneven concrete is not just a cosmetic concern; it poses tangible risks and inconveniences. Here are some of the risks associated with concrete damage:

  • Tripping Hazards: Uneven surfaces present a clear danger. When driveways, sidewalks, and pool decks become uneven or cracked, residents and visitors alike face the risk of tripping. To keep everyone safe, you should consider how you will repair the concrete.
  • Poor Drainage: Rain can be both abundant and unpredictable, making proper drainage a high priority. Uneven concrete makes water accumulation around the foundation worse, which can lead to soil erosion. When this happens, the structural integrity of the property becomes compromised.
  • Decreased Aesthetics and Property Value: Beyond functionality, the aesthetic appeal of a property is significantly impacted. Potential buyers are often deterred by the visual imperfections, leading to decreased property values and extended market times.
  • Increased Wear on Vehicles: Uneven driveways or parking areas can result in uneven wear on vehicle tires and suspension systems. The long-term implications can mean increased maintenance costs for homeowners.

Taking a proactive approach to any damaged concrete surfaces around your home is absolutely necessary. Not only are you helping ensure the safety of your friends and family, but you are also safeguarding your property.

Traditional Methods for Addressing Concrete Problems

In an attempt to fix cracked and uneven concrete, homeowners have often turned to several conventional methods. While these methods have been employed for decades, it’s crucial to understand their limitations and potential shortcomings.

Mudjacking

One of the go-to approaches for repairing damaged concrete is mudjacking, a method which involves the injection of a slurry mixture beneath the concrete. While this technique can elevate sunken slabs, it falls short in providing the lasting solution of supporting the concrete–particularly in areas with clay-rich soils that are prone to shifting. 

Replacement

Replacing the slab might seem like the right solution, but it comes with a considerable financial investment and inconvenience. Not only is it time-consuming, but the process can also disrupt the surrounding landscape and strain the homeowner’s budget.

Drawbacks and Limitations of These Methods

These traditional repair methods, while addressing immediate concerns, often fail to provide a long-term remedy. Because these solutions focus only on lifting the concrete, they do not address the problems with the soil beneath. For this reason, homeowners are likely to reencounter the same problems in the future.

Unfortunately, these traditional methods do not always align with homeowners’ needs to seek efficient, cost-effective, and sustainable solutions for their concrete issues. However, at AFS, we provide a better alternative for concrete repair–one that is less invasive and won’t break the bank!

PolyRenewal™: the Solution for Concrete Repair

Damaged concrete can be unappealing to look at and frustrating to deal with–but thankfully, we have a simplified solution to this problem. Our PolyRenewal™ injections provide a lasting remedy for cracked and uneven concrete.

Advantages of PolyRenewal™

PolyRenewal™ offers a range of benefits that set it apart from traditional repair methods. When strategically applied, polyurethane injections provide a lightweight, durable, and environmentally friendly solution. Here are some of the benefits of choosing PolyRenewal™:

  • Durability: PolyRenewal™ excels in durability. Once injected, the expanding polyurethane foam stabilizes the soil and lifts the concrete, creating a strong foundation that resists future settling. This durability ensures a long-lasting solution, sparing homeowners from the frequent and costly repairs of traditional methods.
  • Lightweight Nature: Unlike the heavy materials used in mudjacking, PolyRenewal™ employs lightweight polyurethane foam. This method not only minimizes the stress on the underlying soils, but also mitigates the risk of further soil compaction–a critical factor in regions like Tennessee, where soil composition varies.
  • Budget-Friendly: The cost-effectiveness of PolyRenewal™ extends beyond its durability. The efficient application process reduces labor and material costs, making it a more budget-friendly option than the extensive disruptions and expenses associated with replacement.
  • Environmental Friendliness: PolyRenewal™’s eco-friendly composition and minimal intrusion into the natural surroundings offer a sustainable approach to your repair needs. It is an environmentally friendly, waterproof material that doesn’t emit harmful chemicals into the surrounding soil.
  • Versatility in Applications: This versatile solution can be applied to various concrete lifting needs. Whether addressing interior slabs, concrete pool decks, sidewalks, or driveways, the adaptability of PolyRenewal™ ensures a tailored approach to each unique project.
  • Most Jobs Can Be Completed in Just a Few Hours: PolyRenewal™ is a quick repair and 15 minutes after the job is complete, you can begin using the slab again. 

Concrete Maintenance and DIY Tips

Preserving the structural integrity of your concrete surfaces goes beyond the immediate repairs; it involves diligent maintenance practices, as well. Here are some of the best strategies that can significantly contribute to the longevity of your driveways, pool decks, sidewalks, and concrete flooring.

  • Proper Drainage: Good drainage minimizes the risk of soil erosion and settling, preserving the stability of your concrete structures. Take steps to ensure that your gutters are free of clogs and downspouts are operating efficiently. You don’t want runoff soaking into the ground around sidewalks, driveways, etc.
  • Routine Cleaning: Make sure to regularly clean your concrete surfaces to remove dirt, debris, and potential contaminants. Doing so not only contributes to curb appeal, but also prevents the accumulation of substances that could deteriorate the concrete.
  • Timely Repairs: If you notice any cracks or unevenness in your concrete surfaces, prompt repairs are crucial. Delaying repairs can lead to more extensive damage, increasing both the complexity of the repair process and the associated costs.

In general, meticulous monitoring is essential. Pay attention to any signs of unevenness or cracks and address damage immediately to avoid the risk of injury.

Common Concrete Repair Mistakes

Relying Solely on Mudjacking

As noted above, the heavy cement slurry used in mudjacking can actually make the problem worse because you’re adding something heavy to soil that’s already having trouble supporting the slab.  

DIY Approaches without Professional Assessment

Attempting do-it-yourself repairs without getting a professional assessment can make issues worse. Concrete problems often have underlying causes that may not be apparent, and a thorough evaluation by experts is essential for determining accurate and effective solutions. Before trying to self-diagnose concrete problems, set up a free inspection with AFS. We will help you understand exactly what you are dealing with and recommend the best course of action.

Neglecting to Act

Delaying repairs when concrete issues are detected can lead to more extensive damage. Procrastination allows problems to worsen, increasing the complexity of repairs and the associated costs. Without proper attention to concrete issues, you may also risk hazardous conditions for you and your loved ones.

By steering clear of these common pitfalls, homeowners can ensure that their solutions align with the specific needs of their property.

Keeping Your Concrete Safe and Beautiful

In Tennessee, soil composition and heavy rains pose some unique challenges. For this reason, it is important to choose the right approach to concrete repair. At AFS, we pride ourselves on offering swift, effective solutions in Chattanooga, Nashville, and Knoxville. Trust AFS Foundation & Waterproofing Specialists to provide lasting, efficient, and eco-friendly solutions that you can rely on.

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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