Spring is just around the bend! Now that the weather is getting warmer and the snow is melting, you might notice some settlement issues with the concrete slabs around your home or business. The winter weather in Ontario isn't kind to concrete slabs. The frigid temperatures, heavy snow and constant freezing and thawing, can do some serious damage to concrete slabs. Concrete has long been the most commonly used construction material worldwide. Its strength and durability make it ideal for many residential and commercial projects, but it's not invincible. Concrete slabs sink and settle over time due to environmental factors. But what are the signs of concrete settlement in The Greater Toronto Area? The concrete experts at Sanremo Poly-Foam are here to tell you! If you think you may be experiencing concrete settlement around your home or business and want to know the signs, read on to learn more!
Why Do Concrete Slabs Sink and Settle?
There are many reasons that concrete slabs sink and settle. Many causes are environmental factors, but poor construction practices can be a culprit. Sunken and settled concrete slabs don't just look bad; they can lead to many other issues for your home or business. Sunken and settled concrete can create safety hazards on your property (and you may be liable for any injuries) and can also damage vehicles and your home or business. The first step in preventing injuries and damages is knowing the signs of concrete settlement. The most common causes of concrete settlement in the GTA are:
- Soil Washout Under Concrete Slabs- Water from snow melt, heavy rainfall and plumbing leaks can find its way beneath concrete slabs and cause them to sink and settle. As this water erodes the soil beneath your driveway, walkway, patio, pool deck, garage floor or your home's foundation slab, it washes away the soil supporting the slab's weight. As more soil erodes away over time, the ground will no longer be able to support the weight of the slab, and it will start to sink and settle.
- Poor Soil Compaction- Soil compaction is an essential part of pouring a concrete slab. The soil beneath all concrete slabs needs to be compacted to create a strong and stable base for the slab. When the soil is not properly compacted, the weight of the slab and anything on it will cause the loose soil to compact over time. This creates voids below the slab and leaves it with very little support. As the slab settles into these voids, it cracks and becomes uneven.
- Moisture Changes in the Soil- The freeze-thaw cycle and periods of very wet and very dry weather can contribute to the sinking and settling of concrete slabs. When soil gets wet, it expands and shrinks as it dries out. The effects of the freeze/thaw cycle are similar, but with freezing and thawing. As the soil below the slabs expands and contracts over time, it leaves voids below the slab. These voids leave the slab unsupported, and it will start to sink, settle and crack.
- Poor Drainage- Water is the most common cause of concrete settlement. If there is poor drainage around the concrete slabs on your property, water from melting snow and heavy rainfall can cause the soil below to erode away, leave voids and seep into the slab and create cracks.
What are the Signs of Concrete Settlement?
Knowing why concrete slabs sink and settle is only half the battle. To prevent safety hazards and damage to your property, it is essential to know what to look for so you can fix the problem! There are many signs of concrete settlement, but these are the most common to look out for:
- Gaps Under Concrete Slabs- When the soil underneath your concrete slabs is being eroded away, one of the earliest signs is gaps around the perimeter of the slab. Even the smallest gaps can be a sign of bigger issues under your concrete slab. If left untreated, the gaps will get bigger and lead to sinking and settling concrete slabs.
- Cracks in the Slab- A few hairline cracks in the surface of your concrete slab might not seem like a serious problem, but they can be a sign the slab is sinking and settling. If the cracks start to get larger and spread, it is very likely your concrete is experiencing settlement. Cracks in concrete slabs indicate that the ground below is no longer supporting its weight and putting too much pressure on certain areas.
- Uneven Surfaces- If you notice dips or unevenness in areas of your concrete slabs, it is a good indication that it is sinking and settling. Uneven surfaces and dips are early warning signs of concrete settlement. As the concrete slab sinks and settles more, cracks will begin to appear on the surface.
- Water Pooling- If you notice pools of water forming on the surface of your slab, it is probably sinking and settling. Pooling water on the surface of slabs is related to uneven surfaces. The surface of your concrete slab should be flat. Water pooling on the surface is usually a sign of voids below the slab, causing it to sink and settle.
Sanremo Poly-Foam Can Help You Fix Sunken and Settled Concrete Slabs on Your Property
Sinking and settling concrete slabs are relatively common issues in The Greater Toronto Area. Now that you know the signs and symptoms, you can take care of the problem before you need to replace the slab entirely! At Sanremo Poly-Foam, we use our environmentally friendly polyurethane concrete lifting method to restore sunken and settled concrete slabs to their original height. We have many years of experience in the concrete lifting industry. We have lifted and levelled many residential and commercial concrete slabs throughout the GTA! If you have sunken and settled concrete slabs around your home or business and are looking for an effective and long-lasting repair method, contact the Sanremo team today! We'll have them lifted in no time!