When concrete slabs have settled or sunk into the soil beneath them, one of the first signs you’ll often notice to signal this is the presence of cracks in the concrete. Cracks in concrete are also often significant issues of their own, creating tripping and other hazards to those using the surface.
At Lift-Up Concrete Lifting LLC, we offer a wide range of concrete lifting and leveling services for anytime this issue takes place on your concrete, whether it’s on your driveway, a patio, your garage floor or any other important surface. Cracks can be both a cause of your concrete issues and a symptom, and it’s important to understand where they come from, their severity and what you can do to prevent them in the first place. Here are some general tips.
Crack Type Based on Precursor
First and foremost, where are the cracks in your concrete slab coming from? To understand this, it’s important to look at several of the surrounding or underlying conditions present. Here are some common crack causes and the issues they speak to:
- Settling: Soil plays a big role in the quality of concrete and how it lasts over time. If soil does not have the proper moisture content and conditioning, it can compact and cause the concrete to sink and settle, resulting in cracks that form.
- Moisture and shrinkage: Moisture isn’t only important in the soil itself – it’s also vital within the concrete mixture. Too much or too little can lead to improper mixes, which in turn can combine with hot temperatures or other weather conditions to cause cracking.
- Erosion: One of the related issues here is fluctuating weather, which is very common in a state like Utah. Dry periods followed by wet ones will lead to shrinkage and loosening of soil, which can lead to instability in the subgrade and eroding support for the concrete slab.
- Inclusions: An inclusion refers to a case where one part of the concrete is far more rigid than the rest, leading to uneven tensile stress that can create cracks in random areas.
In many cases, concrete cracks will be confined to the slab itself. While this isn’t a positive, of course, and requires concrete repair from our professionals to limit hazards, sinking risks and moisture infiltration, there are even worse forms of cracking.
These forms refer to when cracks continue all the way through junction points into foundation walls, potentially threatening structures. In these cases, immediate professional restoration services are needed.
Expansion Joints to Prevent Cracking
One building-related element that can significantly reduce your risk of cracks in concrete: Expansion joints, which are used to separate individual concrete slabs from other parts of the structure. They allow for movement independently between slabs, limiting many of the precursors that cause cracking. They are made from a variety of material types.
For more on understanding and preventing cracks in your concrete, or to learn about any of our concrete repair services, speak to the staff at Lift-Up Concrete Lifting LLC today.