Drought — one of the extreme weather conditions affecting many areas of the United States today –– can also impact the stability of your home and surrounding structures, especially if they’re made of concrete.
If your region is experiencing a drought, it’s vital to stay aware of how it’s affecting your home, and not just your landscaping. You should look at your concrete structures on a regular basis, and if you notice any damage, call a professional for repairs before it gets worse. Proper concrete care starts with understanding exactly how a drought can destroy this material.
Concrete is one of the most long-lasting, durable building materials in the world. But its strength is not magical — it’s a result of careful product mixing and expert installation.
The appropriate amount of water must be added to the initial mix, it must cure for a the right amount of time before you use it, and it must be formed on a stable, compact surface. If these conditions are not met, the concrete is not as secure as you may think.
The Effects of Drought
While concrete installation companies may add the appropriate amount of water before pouring concrete during a drought, the water may evaporate faster than expected during the curing process, leaving the material more brittle than it should have been.
Also, installing concrete on a dry, cracked soil platform will only lead to ruin. When rain finally does arrive, the soil will expand and push the structure out of position. The inverse situation can also cause problems.
If the material is poured when soil maintains normal moisture levels, a sudden lack of moisture also can lead to shrinking of the structure’s base, cracking and sinking.
What Does This Mean for Your Concrete?
As you may guess, for a durable structure that withstands the test of time, installing concrete during a drought is not recommended. Of course, you cannot control weather patterns, and if you live in a drought-prone area, your concrete is going to have to endure throughout these extreme conditions.
You can take steps to limit drought’s effects on your concrete. You may have restrictions on water usage during a drought, but if you begin to notice cracking in your driveway or patio, soak the surrounding ground with water if you can.
If your home has a concrete foundation and you notice that the soil is beginning to pull away from the sides, follow the same routine and make sure the ground is moist to limit shifting of the concrete.
When Do You Need Expert, Professional Repair?
In some cases, damage may be too extreme and you will need to call in a professional. Don’t worry — you don’t have to tear up your concrete and start from scratch. Reliable concrete repair contractors use many expert methods that can immediately restore your concrete to its previous even and stable condition.
For example, your contractor may use slabjacking to inject stabilizing grout beneath the surface of a slab, raising it back up to its previous position and sealing the crack so it looks like new. While minor, superficial surface wear is less of a concern, but once cracks widen and your concrete begins to sink, it’s time to contact a professional team for an assessment.
Talk to Lift-Up Concrete about all of your concrete repair needs, especially if a drought has devastated your once smooth, established slab or structure.