Should I Level or Replace My Concrete Driveway?

Many homeowners overlook cracked or visibly damaged concrete as nothing more than an eyesore. However, aside from being visually displeasing, the damage or settling can be a trip hazard, not to mention a sign of poor soil conditions beneath. This leaves you with two options. Should you level the concrete or replace it entirely?

Concrete Leveling

Concrete settles due to low soil compaction, which leads to voids within the soil. This arises because of changing weather, which can shift rather abruptly in the Dallas Fort-Worth area. It may also arise from the soil not being properly filled and compacted during the concrete slab’s initial installation.

Concrete leveling is a procedure that fills the void in the soil. This raises the concrete back to its original position and stabilizes it from future settlement or uneven sloping.

To level a concrete driveway, a technician drills a small hole into the concrete slab and pressure-injects a cement slurry or other mixture into the soil. Once the solution cures, it creates a firm and stable surface that prevents future sinking or sloping. The entire process takes no more than a day.

Concrete Replacement

Concrete replacement is the other option. With this method, the entire section of the slab is removed and replaced. While certainly a feasible option, this is often the far more expensive solution due to the additional time, labor, and materials involved. It’s also more invasive as the entire replacement section needs to be cordoned off and exhumed.

Concrete Leveling vs Replacement

There are certainly some instances when replacement is the necessary option. This may be the case if a crack extends from one section of the slab to the other or there is extensive spalling. Another scenario is if there is significant damage due to excessive tree root intrusion.

However, the majority of concrete repairs can be completed via leveling. Plus, concrete leveling leaves a smaller carbon footprint since it requires less machinery and material disposal.

Find the Best Method for Concrete Restoration

Typically, raising a concrete driveway is often the go-to solution because it is simpler and more affordable. Contact Align Foundation Repair for a free evaluation and estimate. Upon an initial inspection, our knowledgeable technician can help you determine the appropriate course of action.

What Causes Concrete Driveways to Sink?

Over the years, the concrete in your driveway may begin to crack, settle, or slope unevenly. It is without a doubt a major eyesore, not to mention a trip hazard. What causes a sinking concrete driveway and is there anything a homeowner can do to remedy the situation? In nearly every case, the cause has to do with the soil directly beneath.

Soil Washout

The Dallas Fort Worth area is no stranger to occasional torrential rainfall. During rain or when water pools over the concrete, some of it may make its way into the soil. It’s also possible that a leaky plumbing pipe can lead to water intrusion. The water washes away and erodes the soil that supports the concrete’s weight. As the soil diminishes over time from repeated cycles of water intrusion, it begins to loosen. In turn, the concrete slab settles or slopes as its support structure loses its integrity.

Poor Soil Compaction

The soil quality during the concrete’s initial installation matters a great deal. The installer typically fills the soil to ensure proper compaction before pouring in the cement. However, the installer may fail to properly fill the soil. New concrete poured over soil that’s loose to begin with will result in concrete settlement in just a few short years.

Burrowing Pests

The Dallas-Fort Worth region is home to various native wildlife. Many are considered pests; one way they cause damage to property is by burrowing holes around residential zones. The tunnels they create may lead directly to the soil beneath the driveway. This displaces the soil, leaving less to support the concrete. The tunnels may also create just enough of an opening for water to seep in.

Weather Changes

The shifting dry and wet cycles affect soil conditions. The Dallas region is known for heavily clay-based soil. When clay gets wet, it holds the water and expands. When the water dries out, it shrinks. The constant contraction and expansion cause the slab to shift around. The subtle movement is enough to cause cracks to form over time.

Leave Concrete Repairs to Us

As we have pointed out, problems with underlying soil are the most likely causes of a sinking concrete driveway. Merely restoring the concrete slab and sealing cracks is a band-aid solution. For a permanent fix, call Align Foundation Repair. We can examine the source of concrete settlement and implement concrete leveling to restore the soil’s integrity.

How to Fix a Sinking Concrete Driveway

Over the years, a concrete driveway may begin to settle or slope unevenly in one direction. This is often a sign of poor soil compaction. This is actually commonplace in the Dallas Fort-Worth area. Concrete poured over clay-based soil is vulnerable to shifting and eventually settling. What is the best method for fixing a sinking concrete driveway?

The Method

While several repair options are available, the most commonplace solution nowadays is concrete leveling. The procedure also goes by several names, such as mud-jacking and slab-jacking. More or less, the terms all refer to the same method.

With concrete leveling, a mixture is injected into the soil below the concrete to raise the slab back to its position and make it flush with the adjacent concrete. The method is affordable and a fraction of the cost of concrete replacement.

How the Process Works

The process is noninvasive and contrary to belief, does not require any digging or slab removal. Essentially, a technician drills a small hole into the concrete. This small opening is wide enough to insert a tube where a slurry cement mixture is pumped into the soil beneath. The solution usually consists of a mixture of Portland cement and sandy loam.

Concrete settles due to low soil compaction, which creates gaps and air pockets. This leaves the soil prone to air and water absorption, leading to shifting that causes the concrete above to heave. Over the years, this leads to permanent settlement or uneven sloping. Likewise, cracks in the concrete may enable rainwater to seep in, which erodes the soil and reduces compaction.

The injected mixture fills in the gaps in the soil. Once it hardens, it compacts the soil and prevents air and water intrusion that led to the settlement/sloping.
Once the process is complete, the hole is patched and hardly noticeable. The entire process takes less than 24 hours. It goes without saying that this is not a DIY endeavor.

Leave Concrete Repair to Us

Contact Align Foundation Repair for an inspection if a portion of the concrete is sinking. Sinking concrete driveway repair is one of our mainstay operations due to the prevalence of sinking concrete in the region. Thanks to new technology in the industry, concrete restoration – in most instances – no longer requires invasive and expensive procedures like concrete replacement.

How to Fix a Cracked Uneven Concrete Patio

Over time, the concrete that makes up your patio walkway may begin to settle or crack. It may also slope at an angle, creating a dangerous trip hazard as well as an unsightly look. Learn how to fix cracked, uneven concrete patio and restore the surface to its original condition.

What Causes Cracked Concrete?

A cracked. uneven concrete patio can be due to a number of reasons. One main cause is due to the soil beneath. The Dallas Fort Worth area is known for clay-based soil, which is highly expansive. The soil expands and contracts as it absorbs moisture. In turn, this causes the concrete to settle in various sections and often unevenly. This leads to sloping and eventually cracks.

What’s the Solution?

While DIY solutions are available, they require extensive knowledge of concrete repair. You will also have to rent expensive commercial equipment. An uneven concrete patio is better left to a technician to diagnose and repair.

Several options are at your disposal. An inspector will make a recommendation based on the type and degree of damage. Usually, the methods come down to the ones listed below.

Mudjacking

This method is also known as slabjacking. With this procedure, a small hole is drilled into the concrete. The hole serves as an entry point for pumping a mortar-based mixture into the soil beneath. The mixture hardens and fills in the gaps in the soil that caused the sloping and settling. Similar solutions include using a polyurethane mixture for filling in the gaps in the soil.

Concrete Resurfacing

This is an inexpensive and non-invasive process of removing surface-level cracks in the concrete. Many homeowners find this solution to be a quick-fix. In many cases, however, resurfacing only masks the real underlying problem. While it may conceal the cracks, it does not address the settling soil beneath.

Replacing the Concrete

You can completely replace the cracked concrete. Since this is usually the most expensive solution, a technician may only recommend it if the concrete has settled or sloped to a degree that is irreparable by mudjacking or another method.

We Repair Settling Patio Concrete

Settling concrete in the patio walkway is not only an eyesore but also a safety hazard. Call Align Foundation Repair for an inspection. A technician will determine the cause and recommend a solution that ensures long-lasting results.

What to Do with a Sinking Concrete Patio?

Your patio or walkway may have a concrete slab or two that’s sinking or sloping at an uneven angle. What do you do? Do you just leave it as it is? That’s definitely an option, but it’s certainly an eyesore, not to mention a trip hazard. What are your options for a sinking concrete patio?

Mudjacking

The most common solution is mudjacking, also known as concrete raising. This fast and affordable solution can be completed in a single day. With this noninvasive procedure, a hole about one and a half inches in diameter is drilled into the concrete. This serves as an entry point for a slurry mixture. The mixture fills in the gap and air pockets in the soil. It compresses the soil, pushing the concrete back in place and eliminating future occurrences of the concrete resettling to the bottom or sloping. Concrete raising is a common repair method in the Dallas Fort Worth area because soil conditions often warrant such a procedure.

Some of the more recent breakthroughs in mudjacking include injecting a polymer foam that cures in a matter of minutes. It also restores the slab to its full and original weight-bearing capacity.

Slab Replacement

If the crack and/or sinking is extensive, then it may be beyond what mudjacking can restore. In this instance, a technician may recommend a complete slab replacement. The existing slab will need to be broken up and removed to make room for the new one.

Since replacement is more expensive, it is usually the last-resort. A replacement is usually necessary once the slab has incurred cracking and separation into many pieces.

We Restore a Sinking Concrete Patio

We don’t advise just letting a sinking concrete be as it is. It’s a visual distraction and also a safety hazard. Call Align Foundation Repair for sinking concrete patio repair; upon inspection, a technician will suggest a solution designed for long-term concrete stability.

How Do I Keep a Concrete Patio From Sinking and Cracking?

With age, concrete eventually cracks and splits. Is this inevitable, or is there anything homeowners can do on their end to prevent concrete from cracking and sinking? Find out why concrete sinks and what you can do on your end to minimize the odds of damage occurring.

What Causes Concrete to Sink?

Before we talk about prevention, it helps to understand why concrete sinks and slopes in the first place. The cause has to do more with the base the slab was built on rather than the concrete itself. The soil beneath the slab may not have been compacted properly during installation.

Another possibility is that the edges that the slab sits on weren’t properly backfilled or were filled with soft soil and loose aggregates. Over time, this will allow moisture to seep in, leading to soil contraction and expansion.

How to Prevent Concrete from Cracking

The methods below reinforce concrete strength. We recommend professional implementation unless you have a knowledgeable background in slab repair.

One simple method homeowners can do on their end is to make sure their downspouts point at least five feet away from all concrete. Puddling water is bad for concrete. Proper drainage that directs water away is vital, especially during rainy periods.

Prevention methods best left to a professional include sealing gaps between slabs. This is done using a backer rod with silicone caulk or polyurethane as the sealer. If an inspector suspects poor soil compaction, then he may suggest digging out the slab or utilize slab jacking to fill and compact the soil. Tightly compressed soil ensures a stable base, as it eliminates small pockets of air that allows moisture to accumulate. The soil should be compacted at a depth of four to six inches for long-term results.

To summarize, prevention comes down to these three keys: drainage, soil compaction, and sealing. For maximum protection, be sure all three elements are in place. It’s not enough to just implement one or two out of the three and hope for the best.

We Ensure a Solid Concrete Base

Our remediations include slabjacking or mudjacking. We also perform prevention measures. We prevent concrete from sinking by fortifying the base. The Dallas Fort Worth area is known for sandy and loose soil, making prevention all the more necessary. We advise residents to consider prevention to offset a more costly repair or replacement down the road.

How to Fix The Cause of Hairline Cracks in a Concrete Patio

Concrete is ultra-durable, which is why it’s a mainstay in patio walkways. However, it is still vulnerable to damage, which may manifest on the surface in the form of cracks and splits.

Hairline cracks are normal with concrete patios. Find out below how to fix them, and why calling in a professional is always advisable.

What Caused the Crack?

The solution is dependent on the cause of the fracture. With patio concrete, the cause is usually attributed to loose and shifting soil underneath, which causes the concrete to constantly move and eventually settle or slope at an uneven angle. Often, during installation, the concrete is poured on uncompacted soil that is improperly backfilled. Loose soil is especially commonplace in the Dallas Fort Worth area, which is known for clay soil conditions.

Other causes include slab installation without proper expansion joint placement. Drainage issues are another cause. Downspouts may release water directly on the concrete, where it reaches the soil and causes it to expand and contract. When concrete consistently moves, hairline cracks may begin to form, which may expand and cause the slab to completely split apart.

So, what are the repair methods for hairline cracks?

Concrete Raising

Concrete patio raising for hairline cracks is the most viable solution in most instances. Remember, the crack appeared in the first place due to the shifting soil beneath. With concrete raising, filler is pumped into the soil beneath to eliminate gaps and pockets of air. This compacts the soil and prevents future damage. As for existing hairline cracks, they can be resurfaced, restoring the concrete to its original position.

Caulk Sealing

Urethane caulk is a sturdy substance used to patch existing cracks. Even when the caulk dries and hardens, it remains flexible enough to allow the crack to move without causing further damage.

We must point out, though, that this solution only masks the bigger underlying problem; that is, the loose soil beneath. Without concrete raising, caulk sealing is merely a band-aid and a temporary fix. This method should always be a part of a bigger procedure that includes concrete raising.

Epoxy Injection

With this method, the crack is cleaned before epoxy is applied to restore the surface. However, like caulk sealing, this method does not address the soil issue. Even if the surface is repaired, the soil beneath will continue to cause the concrete to shift. More cracks will follow.

We Restore Concrete

Leave it to Align Foundation Repair to repair the cause of hairline cracks in concrete patio. A surface crack is often a sign of a more serious problem and may eventually lead to the concrete settling or sloping. Give us a call if you notice even a seemingly negligible crack forming.

French Drain vs. Swale

French Drain vs Swale: Which Is the Right Option?

Part of properly caring for your home and property entails a proper drainage system. Otherwise, water can collect in specific spots, causing the soil to become oversaturated. This can have serious consequences if the water puddles around the foundation. Drainage systems come in several types. The question of whether to choose a French drain vs swale comes up a lot because these are two of the more common systems employed in residential and commercial properties.

What Is a French Drain?

Contrary to popular belief, the French drain did not originate in France. It was invented by an American man by the name of Henry Flagg French and is a mainstay in modern day drainage systems.

How does it work? Water naturally flows in the direction of least resistance. This usually means flowing downhill even if a slope is minimal. At its most basic level, a French drain is a slightly sloped trench consisting of gravel and a pipe designed to shuttle water away from the foundation. The gravel provides a porous surface for water to seep through, and a pipe installed below provides an outlet for water to travel through and exit at a safe distance from the home. Typically, the water exits into a drainage ditch, a dry well, street, or low-lying area in your property.

What Is a Swale?

A Swale is essentially a ditch concealed with turfgrass or other vegetation. It is very similar to a trench drain, which is also a trench intended for the purpose of collecting surface water over a long expanse of land. The main difference is that a swale is a lot more subtle in appearance and blends with the surrounding landscape.

How French Drains and Swales Compare

The primary difference between the two systems comes down to their primary purpose. Yes, they’re both designed to drain water, but for different reasons. French drains have a more functional purpose, as they are intended to keep water away from the foundation. Swales, on the other hand, are often recommended by landscapers as a general-purpose drain. Swales are sometimes not an option in urban areas because they require large lots to shape properly.

We Install French Drains

A drainage system is vital in a region like the Dallas Fort Worth area, due to its highly porous soil conditions. French drain vs land drain? Leave it to Align Foundation Repair to install a new French drain, or repair an existing one, to keep water from collecting around the foundation.

Benefits of Mudjacking

Mudjacking is a time-tested and cost-effective solution for leveling residential and commercial concrete. While it’s not the only option, it’s often the go-to-choice for returning a settling concrete back to its original position. Learn of the benefits of mudjacking and why the method is still in use since its development in the early 1900s.

What Is Mudjacking?

Mudjacking goes by other names, such as slabjacking and concrete lifting. The names all describe the process of raising a settling concrete slab. Over time, concrete may begin to sink due to soil erosion and settling. With mudjacking, a small hole is drilled into the concrete, and a slurry filler is pumped in to fill in the gaps beneath the concrete. This pushes the concrete up until it’s flush with the ground surface.

Mudjacking is a Cost-Effective and Speedy Solution

Mudjacking costs about 60% less than a concrete replacement. The process is also quick and can be completed in one day, usually within one to two hours. Keep in mind, though, that if the concrete slab has existing damage, such as extensive cracks, then an inspector may suggest a replacement. Mudjacking is only applicable if the settling concrete is still in relatively good condition.

Mudjacking Is Non-Invasive

The process does not require any digging or the use of large and noisy machinery. As mentioned, all it requires is the drilling of a small hole, which is about one and a half inch in diameter. The hole is patched after project completion. The job can be completed without disturbing your household or those of surrounding neighbors.

MudJacking Is an Eco-Friendly Option

The filler pumped below the concrete to lift the slab is some form of natural material, such as a slurry mixture of sand, clay, and Portland cement. This reduces materials needed, hence why the procedure is a cost-effective solution. This also means minimal environmental waste especially since the concrete slab itself is not disposed of and replaced.

Reduces On-Premise Injury

Sloping and uneven concrete increases the probability of injury from a trip and fall. As the property owner, you could be liable for bodily injury occurring on your premise. Mudjacking raises the concrete back in place and eliminates the trip hazard.

Let Us Restore Your Concrete

Settling concrete is common in the Dallas and Fort Worth area due to highly clay soil conditions, which leads to shifting of the concrete above. Call Align Foundation Repair if concrete on your property is settling to the bottom and creating an uneven flooring. The advantages of mudjacking are many and is a common concrete restoration procedure.

What Is Concrete Raising?

Concrete slabs of various kinds may eventually begin to sink. This is especially the case in areas like Garland, Texas, where soil conditions are prone to back-and-forth expansion and contraction. One form of remediation is concrete raising, which is more or less exactly what its name suggests.

Concrete Raising Explained

So, what is concrete raising and how does it work? The process is also known as concrete leveling or slabjacking.

With concrete raising, you are doing just that, raising a concrete foundation that is sinking or sloping. There are two ways in which this can be done: via mudjacking or polyurethane foam concrete raising. Both methods are actually identical, differing only in the material used to raise the concrete.

During the process, holes are drilled into the slab to create an opening in which the technician can pump mud or polyurethane into the space and gaps under the concrete. Once filled, the holes are patched up with fresh concrete, and the process is complete.

Concrete leveling is especially effective for residential areas like patios, driveways, walkways, and the concrete bordering a swimming pool. These areas all consist of a concrete surface that may begin to sink or slope in one direction.

Why Concrete Raising?

The procedure is minimally invasive and works for both residential and commercial applications. This is also a more affordable option over concrete replacement. On average, concrete raising costs about half the price of replacing the entire sinking slab. Unlike replacement, raising concrete does not require demolition of the existing slab, hauling it off, and curing new cement. This translates to far less manual labor and hours on the job site.

The non-invasive procedure also means less disturbance to your property and neighbors. Your home or workplace does not become an excavation site during repairs. For you, it’s business as usual as the crew raises your concrete to its original placement. The process is quick and usually takes no more than a single working day.

We Raise Concrete Slabs

If you begin noticing the signs of sinking concrete, call Align Foundation Repair. We offer concrete raising services throughout the Dallas-Fort Worth area. We will assess the damage and help you determine the best course of action to fix the damage and stay within your budget.