Although its sturdy appearance might make it seem otherwise, concrete is not indestructible. It can crack and crumble over time. Therefore, do not be surprised if you notice that your driveway and sidewalk are not in as good shape as they were when they were new. Heavy foot traffic and the weight of vehicles take their toll on concrete structures on your property.
The best thing you can do for your sidewalk and driveway is to keep your eyes open for any signs of damage. The sooner you notice them, the quicker you will be able to fix the problem. Repairing concrete that has several hairline cracks and fixing a slab that has completely fallen apart is an entirely different ballgame time and money-vise. Once your concrete slab has begun to sink, bulge, and crack, fixing it is not so simple.
By understanding what causes concrete issues and learning about warning signs you can restore your sidewalk and driveway with help from the experts.
Several warning signs will alarm you that your driveway or sidewalk requires professional attention. Some of them are more subtle and will alert you that problems are developing. Others are much more obvious and occur when the issue is well underway.
Before your driveway or sidewalk becomes completely uneven, it will begin to crack. However, just because there are cracks in your concrete doesn’t mean you should panic. Some cracks are dormant and won’t grow over time. The active ones are the reason for concern. These are deep, wide, and should be immediately addressed. They are often a sign of settlement, which is a problem that won’t go away on its own. Concrete settlement happens when water washes away a layer of soil that was supporting the concrete. With voids left in the ground underneath it, your slab has nowhere to go but down. It slowly settles into those gaps, creating cracks as it shifts. Most of the time, a cracked driveway or sidewalk can be repaired. However, if the concrete completely falls apart, a replacement will be your only option.
Potholes or Pitting
While some cracks are not something to be concerned about, that is not the case with potholes. These are always red flags that need immediate intervention. They are not just eyesores. If they appear on your sidewalk, they can cause people to trip and hurt themselves and you might find yourself with a lawsuit on your hands. On the other hand, if they appear in your driveway, they can damage your vehicle and make parking in your garage challenging.
Regardless of whether there are small or large potholes in your concrete, you should call repair professionals as soon as possible. This type of damage evolves rapidly and if it is not addressed in time, your slab will become uneven and require expensive repairs.
Your sidewalk is made from several slabs joined together. If you notice that these slabs are no longer even, your concrete is in trouble. This type of problem usually occurs due to changes in the soil. Without professional help, your concrete slab will slowly deteriorate as it sinks into the ground.
Most homeowners usually do not pay attention to the puddles in their driveway or on their sidewalk after the rain. Although these are a normal occurrence during rainfall, if they are still there after the storm has passed, you need to check the concrete. When it is poured it is positioned in a way that directs water toward the side of the driveway or sidewalk, into the ground. However, if the concrete has started to sink, the water will settle in the middle, forming puddles. These puddles may seem harmless, but they are the first sign that the concrete is about to become uneven.
Causes of Uneven Driveways and Sidewalks
There are multiple reasons why your sidewalk or driveway can become uneven. While you might be able to assume where the problem lies, it is always better and much more reliable to ask a professional for an evaluation. Their skill set and experience will allow them to pinpoint the problem and recommend the best solution for it. Here are some of the most common causes of uneven driveways and sidewalks.
When they are first poured, most driveways and sidewalks are placed directly onto the soil. When this soil begins to shift or expand, it can compromise the stability of the concrete. One of the biggest culprits is expansive soil. They are affected by rainfall as well as droughts. When they become saturated with rainwater, they expand. On the other hand, when they are left without any moisture in their particles, they shrink. This repetitive expand/shrink cycle causes movement in the soil and shifts the concrete. If the slab gets angled badly, it will crack.
The climate in Alabama, Georgia, Tennessee, and Mississippi is such that weather can greatly influence your outside structures. Your driveway and sidewalk are exposed to the elements daily. Wind and rain can cause erosion of the soil beneath the concrete. As a result, gaps can form beneath the slab. When this happens, concrete will begin to sink, tilt or settle. Ensuring proper drainage in your yard and positive grading is the only way you can lower the risk of washout. Unfortunately, even then problems can occur. This is why it is important to pay attention to signs of concrete damage and take action when they appear.
Do you have large trees in your yard? If so, your concrete structures can get damaged by spreading roots. These roots can not only impact your sidewalk and driveway, but they can also destroy your plumbing, cables, and even compromise your foundation.
Depending on the size and the strength of the root, it might be able to exert such pressure on your driveway and sidewalk, that the concrete is forced to tilt, crack and become uneven. Due to damage caused by a tree root, your sidewalk can become a tripping hazard, while your driveway will become a threat to your car.
Driveways and sidewalks are designed for walking, running, driving and parking and these actions shouldn’t affect them in any way. However, if you store heavy garbage containers or park large trucks in your driveway, it will begin to tilt under the pressure. Worst case scenario, it will begin to crack. Your sidewalk is even more sensitive, so if you expose it to heavy containers, it will surely get damaged and become uneven.
Repairing Uneven Driveways or Sidewalks
There are plenty of solutions on the market intended to repair your uneven concrete. They can even be easily found in your local home improvement store. However, these solutions are rarely permanent. Most concrete repair fixes are short-term and can be easily washed away by rain. If you are looking for a solution that will repair your driveway or sidewalk for good, you need to invest in one that will address the cause of the problem.
When concrete becomes uneven or cracks, the problem is usually not in the concrete itself, but in the soil beneath it. Here are several concrete lifting solutions that will address the cause of the problem and lift your slab toward its original position, making it even once again.
Mud jacking is a traditional concrete lifting method. The process involves drilling large holes in the concrete and then inserting a slurry compound beneath the slab. This material is supposed to fill the gaps in the soil and lift the concrete toward its original position.
However, mud jacking has some major flaws. It is an invasive method that can impact the aesthetic appeal of your concrete structure. The holes that need to be drilled are at least one inch wide, so they can even compromise the structural integrity of your driveway.
Mud jacking also is not a permanent solution. The material that is used in the process is not waterproof, so it can become the victim of a washout. When it cures, it becomes too heavy, so it can even pull the concrete deeper into the ground, causing the problems it is supposed to fix.
If you are looking for a permanent solution that can be quickly implemented and won’t disrupt your everyday life, we recommend our SettleStop injection. This polyurethane foam is injected below the concrete, but unlike the mud jacking compound, it can be inserted through much smaller holes that are easier to fill in.
SettleStop is the best alternative to replacing the entire concrete. It is easy to install, it can permanently lift your slab and make it even stronger than it was, and you will be able to use your repaired driveway or sidewalk the very same day.
Polyurethane is strong, yet lightweight, so it won’t cause your concrete to sink under pressure. It is also an eco-friendly option that won’t harm your soil in any way. Our SettleStop polyurethane foam is completely waterproof, so not only will it support your concrete slab, but it will also protect the soil beneath from washout. It is UV resistant and can withstand even extreme weather conditions. Overall, it is a concrete lifting solution that will stand the test of time.
Uneven Driveway and Sidewalk
Inserting chemicals underneath your slab may leave you worried. Can this material impact the health of your soil? Can it harm your health and the health of your loved ones? Luckily, with our SettleStop solution, you won’t have to worry about any harmful ingredients. There are several reasons why we are proud of our concrete lifting solution and its green qualities are front and center.
Polyurethane, the material used in our SettleStop injection, is not toxic in any way. It is present in various things you use every day, from your vehicle and mattress to your upholstered furniture. It is tested, safe, and completely eco-friendly.
Since chemicals present in polyurethane are inert, this material can be safely used for concrete lifting. It won’t affect your soil in any way, and neither will it harm anything that comes into contact with it.
Due to its durability, polyurethane is popular among concrete lifting experts. This is a completely waterproof material that can endure huge amounts of weight and be easily molded. When a driveway or a sidewalk is reinforced with polyurethane, it won’t sink deeper into the ground even if you park a truck in it.
However, polyurethane is a material that should be handled only by professionals. On the other hand, since it is extremely durable, you will have to invest in the repairs only once. With this solution, you will be at ease knowing that your driveway or sidewalk is repaired and protected against further damage.
Due to everyday wear and tear, not to mention various weather conditions, your sidewalk and concrete will get damaged over time. If they are cracked, stained, or uneven, you may believe that it is much easier to remove everything and lay new concrete. However, concrete replacement is not always the best solution. It should be your last option. Let’s take a look at the pros and cons of replacement and repair options.
After complete replacement, your concrete will look amazing. However, this is not a simple procedure. It is time-consuming and expensive. Experts will first need to break down the concrete into small pieces and then take them away. This can be very loud, disturbing, and can completely mess up your landscaping. Only when everything has been cleared up, new concrete can be poured.
How much money you will have to invest in this will greatly depend on the number of slabs that need to be replaced and the size of your driveway and sidewalk. Also, any underlying problems will need to be addressed first or your new concrete will suffer the same fate as your old one. Even if your specialists are very efficient, the entire replacement will last much longer than a concrete repair.
Unless your driveway and sidewalk are completely ruined and cracked, your driveway can be repaired with our concrete lifting solution. This option focuses on the root problem as well, so you won’t have to worry about future cracks and tilting. With it, there is no need to remove the concrete. A few drilled holes are all it takes to insert the material underneath the slab. This makes this option much cheaper from the start.
Polyurethane is a durable material. It will lift your concrete back to its original position, closing the gaps and cracks along the way. Our SettleStop injections will restore your old concrete and make it much stronger than it was. With AFS, your old driveway and sidewalk will look as good as new in just one day. Since polyurethane cures very quickly, you will be able to use these surfaces in just 30 minutes. Also, the entire procedure doesn’t involve any heavy machinery, so it won’t disturb your peace and daily routines in any way.
Get in Touch with Your Local AFS Expert Today
Uneven sidewalks and driveways are not just a minor nuisance. While an uneven sidewalk can present a tripping hazard, an uneven driveway can damage your vehicle and make it almost impossible for you to park in the garage. If you have noticed signs of concrete damage, contact our local AFS specialists as soon as possible and schedule a free inspection. Our trained and friendly experts will provide you with a free inspection and repair quote. They can introduce you to the concrete lifting process and explain to you how our SettleStop solution works. Call us today and take advantage of our flexible financing options.