As the weather gets warmer and the snow melts, you might notice the concrete slabs around your home or business looking a little rough. The winter weather in Canada is no friend to concrete. And while we may not experience as much snow and frigid temperatures as other provinces, winter still takes its toll on concrete slabs in Metro Vancouver. Concrete is the most commonly used material in construction. It's strong, durable and cost-effective, but like most things, it isn't invincible. Over time, due to environmental factors, concrete slabs sink and settle. But how can you tell? And how do you fix them? The concrete experts at BC Concrete Lifting are here with all the answers you need! If you want to know the signs that your concrete slabs are sinking and settling in Metro Vancouver, read on to learn more!
What Causes Concrete Slabs to Sink and Settle?
Concrete slabs sink and settle over time for many reasons. Sunken and settled concrete slabs aren't just a cosmetic issue; ignoring them can lead to many other serious problems. They can create safety hazards for people using your property (which you may be liable for) and can even cause damage to vehicles, your home and other structures on your property. The most common causes of sunken and settled concrete slabs in Metro Vancouver are:
- Washout Beneath Concrete Slabs- Water from plumbing leaks, erosion, snow melt and heavy rainfall can find its way under concrete slabs on your property. As this water moves through the soil beneath your patio, driveway, pool deck, garage floor or even the foundation slab of your home, it can wash away the soil that supports the slab's weight. As more soil washes away over time, the ground will not be able to support the slab's weight and will cause it to sink and settle.
- Poor Soil Compaction- During the construction of your driveway, patio, sidewalk, or foundation, the soil beneath the slab needs to be compacted to support it. If the soil beneath the slab is not properly compacted, it will sink and settle over time. The loose soil beneath the slab will compact and create voids under the slab. This leaves the slab with very little support, and it will cause the slab to sink, settle and crack.
- Moisture Changes in Soil- Cycles of wet and dry weather, or the freeze-thaw cycle, can have a negative effect on the soil beneath your concrete slabs. When soil gets wet, it absorbs water and expands; as it dries out, it shrinks. The effects of the freeze/thaw cycle are similar, but with freezing and thawing. As the soil expands and shrinks over time, it can leave voids below the slab that leave it unsupported. These voids will leave the slab unsupported and cause it to crack and settle.
- Poor Drainage- Water is the most common cause of sinking and settling concrete slabs. If there is poor drainage around your concrete slabs, water from extreme rainfall and snow melt will saturate the soil and have the same effects as moisture changes in the soil. This will lead to your concrete slabs sinking, settling and cracking over time.
Concrete Settlement Signs to Watch For
So you know why concrete slabs sink and settle, but that's only half the battle. It's important to know the signs to look out for so you can fix the problem before it's too late! There are many signs of concrete settlement, but these are the most common to watch out for:
- Gaps Underneath Concrete Slabs- When the soil beneath your concrete slabs is being washed away, one of the earliest signs is a gap underneath the slab. Even small gaps can signify larger issues beneath your concrete slab. If left untreated, they will get bigger and will lead to sinking and settling.
- Cracks in the Surface of the Slab- A few small cracks in the surface of your concrete slab are not necessarily a serious problem, but they could be a sign of concrete settlement. If the cracks start to get bigger and begin to spread, it is very likely your concrete is sinking and settling. Cracks are a sign that the ground below the slab is having an issue supporting its weight and putting too much pressure on it.
- Uneven Surfaces- If you notice unevenness in certain areas of your concrete slabs, it's a pretty good indication that it is sinking. Uneven surfaces are just the beginning; as the slab sinks and settles further, cracks will begin to appear on the surface.
- Pooling Water- If you notice water pooling on the surface of your concrete slab, it may be cause for concern. Pooling water goes hand in hand with uneven surfaces. Since the surface of your slab should be flat, pooling water is usually a sign of voids beneath the slab that are causing it to sink and settle.
BC Concrete Lifting Can Help You with Your Sunken and Settled Concrete Slabs
Concrete settlement is a relatively common issue in Metro Vancouver, but now that you know what to watch out for, you'll be able to fix the problem before it gets worse! At BC Concrete Lifting, we can lift and level your sunken and settled slabs using our innovative and environmentally friendly polyurethane concrete lifting method. We have years of experience in the concrete lifting industry, and we have raised many concrete slabs with polyurethane foam. If you have sunken slabs on your property and are looking for the most effective repair method, contact our team today! We'll get you lifted in no time!