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.