What Causes Soil Erosion Under Concrete?

Soil Erosion

Soil erosion is one of the main threats to your concrete slab, whether it’s a foundation, driveway, patio or pool deck.

Soil can erode over time or all at once, leaving you with a cracked, sunken concrete surface that is both unsafe and unsightly. How does soil erosion happen, and why does it damage your concrete?

Inadequately Compacted Fill Soils

When contractors pour a foundation, driveway or any other concrete structure covering a large surface area, they usually bring in truckloads of fill soil in order to make sure the concrete will be poured on an even grade. This fill soil should be compacted firmly in order to form a solid platform to pour the concrete.

Experienced contractors are aware of the importance of solid compaction, but even those who do their best fall short sometimes. It can take years for the underlying soil to completely settle and release all air pockets. Cracks are, in some cases, inevitable, though the damage done to a concrete slab with little focus on compaction is even worse.

Plumbing Leaks

Soil erosion can also be caused by leaks in household plumbing lines. Even just a trickle can wash out the fill and leave air pockets, weakening the slab and leading to cracking and crumbling. This cause of soil erosion can lead to serious concrete damage, simply because it’s so insidious.

Poor Landscaping and Drainage Design

If your home is located in a valley or anyplace where water collects and pools, you should call a landscaping expert to help you divert water away from your concrete slab. When water runs alongside the slab or drains nearby, the constant high moisture content in the soil will eventually lead to erosion.

Also, no matter how your home is positioned, every residence requires a proper drainage system with gutters and downspouts fully connected and leading away from the house. Otherwise, the constant pooling water will take its toll on your foundation and any other nearby concrete surfaces through gradual soil erosion.

Drought and Natural Disasters

In the midst of a severe drought, soil shrinks and the concrete loses its previous support. Vegetation like trees and shrubs begins spreading its roots farther than normal in search of water, causing the concrete above to crack and buckle.

On the other hand, a natural disaster such as a flood or mudslide can lead to drastic soil erosion, completely wiping out supportive soil for a concrete structure.

If your concrete needs repair due to sinking, cracking, buckling, crumbling or any other structural or surface issue, talk to Lift-Up Concrete. We can use restoration methods to fix the slab and prevent further soil erosion issues as well.