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What Causes Sinking Concrete?

Thursday, October 1st, 2020 by Margot Cornelius

What Causes Sinking Concrete? - Image 1

When concrete around your home fails, you may notice either sunken slabs or more subtle signs like thin vein-like cracks across the surface. Concrete has proven to be a durable building material, but it is greatly impacted by the surrounding environment. 

Blame it on the soil 

Well, in addition to blaming it on the soil, we can also blame it on the rain. Moisture content impacts stable soil. When soil becomes oversaturated, as is prone in areas with heavy rains, that dirt is softened over time weakening the structural bond between soil particles. Soft, weak soil is not a stable base for concrete to rest on. Since there is no reachable bedrock in Michigan due to the geological makeup of this region, building on competentstable soil is essential. The soil in much of our area is also clay-based. When you add moisture to that clay it expands, causing concrete slabs to lift and heave. That moisture is also impacted by the weather. 

Blame it on the climate 

The onset of winter means a drop in temperature, which will freeze water trapped in your concrete. This causes the water to expand in those hairline cracks. The counter pressure exerted by the concrete on that ice may be enough to cause damage to that slab. During the dryer months that ice thaws leaving a cavity in the concrete. Warmer months and lower precipitation dry out the clay soil underneath your concrete, causing it to shrink and creates a void. This causes concrete to settle into that space, especially if any weight is placed on it (like a car parked in your driveway) 

Blame it on chemicals 

Concrete is porous and, when left untreated, can be damaged and stained by oils, gas or other chemicals penetrating the surface. If you have spent the money to install a concrete driveway, why not protect that investment by treating it? Read more about our complete concrete protection system. 

The bad news is that concrete problems worsen with time. The good news is that we have highly engineered, proven solutions to address these issues so you can enjoy the peace of mind that only comes with a permanent fix. 

Call us for a free inspection. 

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2505 S. Waverly Hwy
Lansing, MI 48911
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