Friday, July 15th, 2016 by Thrasher
Midwest soils expand when they get wet and contract during dry weather.
The impact of the cycles of expansion and contraction can cause concrete to sink and crack. Most of the time, Thrasher Foundation Repair can rescue concrete before it is damaged beyond repair and add many years to the life of driveways, sidewalks, patios, and steps. In most cases, we can accomplish the entire project by leveling the concrete using the PolyLevel system to lift the concrete back into place. In the past, this process was often referred to as mudjacking, but with newer technology, mud has been replaced with expanding foam to improve accuracy, cleanliness, and longevity.
On occasion, some concrete is too far gone to lift and needs to be replaced. That doesn't mean that you only have two choices: replace or lift. There is a third option, both. Sometimes, it is best to lift portions of the existing concrete and replace the sections that are too far gone. When a Thrasher technician inspects a homeowner's concrete, we can help determine if all the concrete needs to be replaced or if we can level some sections while others are replaced. We can help you decide if the concrete can be leveled, needs to be replaced, or some of both.
Taking this approach can create savings and reduce the number of days that you are unable to use your concrete driveway, patio, or sidewalk.
If the joints were sealed on the existing concrete, most of that can often be saved. If not, adding that to your project will help prevent the concrete from moving, cracking, and sinking again. Both the old and new concrete can have a surface sealant applied to protect it from staining and pitting. Pitting is often caused by the same freeze-thaw cycle that causes the concrete to move in the first place.
Concrete experts have often joked, "There are only two things that can be guaranteed with concrete- it will get hard, and it will crack." Because new concrete will inevitably crack, it doesn't make sense to replace concrete unless it can't be repaired. If your concrete is cracking, give us a call. Our field consultants can let you know if lifting and leveling your concrete will work or if a replacement is needed.
Below are "before" and "after" photos of the front stoop and driveway of a home in Overland Park, KS. Because portions of the concrete were damaged beyond repair, we replaced the porch stoop and a section of the driveway adjacent to the garage with new concrete. The lower areas of the driveway, while cracked, were reparable and were lifted and leveled by Thrasher. The cracks were then routed out and sealed with a silicone-based joint sealant called NexusPro. NexusPro prevents water from going through the joints. This helps keep the soil from expanding and contracting as much so that the concrete is less likely to crack more in the future. It also prevents water from eroding the ground out from under the concrete so that it stays stable. Routed and sealed cracks also look better than open cracks.