What Causes Concrete Settlement in Metro Vancouver?

What Causes Concrete Settlement in Metro Vancouver?

Concrete settlement is a relatively common issue in British Columbia. The weather in Metro Vancouver is no friend to the concrete slabs on your property. We see a lot of rain every year, and this can cause concrete to sink and settle. If you are experiencing concrete settlement, you can probably tell. You will see signs like uneven areas or dips, cracks in the surface of slabs, windows and doors sticking, cracks in the walls of your home, and garage walls separating from the floor. If your concrete slabs are sinking and settling, we have the best fix! Polyurethane concrete lifting! Knowing the signs and how to fix the problem is only half the battle. You might be wondering, "what causes concrete settlement in Metro Vancouver?" The concrete experts at BC Concrete Lifting are here to explain some of the most common causes of concrete settlement! Keep reading to learn more!

What is Concrete Settlement?

Concrete settlement is exactly what it sounds like! It is the process of a concrete slab settling into the ground. It is normal for concrete slabs to settle a little bit, but sometimes the settling happens too fast and causes damage to the concrete slab. Concrete settlement occurs for many reasons, but they all lead to the same problems. As concrete slabs settle over time, they become uneven and crack, creating safety hazards on your property. Concrete settlement also has the potential to cause structural damage to buildings (due to sinking foundation slabs) and can lead to an eventual collapse if the issue is not remedied quickly. Now that you know what concrete settlement is, let's get into what causes it. 

Soil With Too Much Moisture

Water is the most common reason your concrete slabs are sinking and settling. Flooding, snow melt, and heavy rain can cause soil below the slab to become too soft or wash away. This leads to voids below the slab that can cause it to sink and settle. The freeze/thaw cycle is another common cause of concrete settlement. Water in the soil freezes and thaws repeatedly in the winter, causing the concrete slab to shift and settle into the weak soil. Washouts also cause concrete to settle. Water flowing too close to the concrete can wash away the subsurface, again leaving voids below the slab that cause it to sink. The best way to avoid these issues is to ensure your downspouts are directing water away from your concrete slabs and that there is adequate drainage around them.

Soil That is Too Dry 

Soil with too little moisture can be just as bad for concrete slabs as soil with too much moisture. Periods of very dry conditions, such as drought, can cause the soil below the slab to shrink. Dry conditions cause the moisture in the soil under the slab to evaporate, causing it to pull away. As the soil under the slab shrinks and pulls away, it will create voids that the slab will settle into. This will cause cracks and unlevel surfaces. Dried-out soil that becomes soaked after heavy rain can also lead to concrete settlement. As the dry soil absorbs moisture, it can cause the ground to shift, again creating voids under the slab. Tree and shrub roots too close to the slab can also dry out the soil by absorbing all the moisture and causing the slab to sink and settle. Unfortunately, there isn't much you can do to prevent soil from becoming too dry; however, we can fix the issue by lifting and levelling the slab.

Poor Soil Compaction 

Soil compaction is an essential part of pouring a concrete slab. Compacting the soil will provide a strong base for the slab. Some soils will compact better than others. Clay soils, low ph soil, soils with high salt content and soils with high water content will not compact as well. Sometimes during the construction of the slab, the soil isn't compacted tightly enough because of the soil itself or the contractor not doing a good enough job. If the soil below the slab is poorly compacted, the weight of the slab will cause it to compress, and the slab will settle over time. This will create voids below the concrete slab that is unable to support its weight. With nothing below the slab to support it, it will start to sink, settle and crack.

How To Fix Sunken and Settled Concrete

While there is no real way to prevent concrete settlement, we can fix the problem and prevent further settlement! Our polyurethane foam concrete levelling method is the best way to raise your concrete slabs back to their original level. Our lifting and levelling process is simple, quick and noninvasive. We drill small holes in the top of the concrete slab and inject polyurethane foam into the voids below. The foam expands in seconds, compressing loose soils, filling voids and lifting the concrete slab. The holes are then filled, and the job is done! In most cases, the lifted area can be used hours after the work is complete. Polyurethane foam offers many benefits for lifting and levelling concrete slabs; you can read our blog about them here

BC Concrete Lifting is Here for all Your Concrete Lifting Needs!

Concrete sinks and settles for many reasons, but not all concrete settlement is caused by the same issues. At BC Concrete Lifting, we specialize in polyurethane concrete levelling. We have years of experience in the concrete levelling industry and have a reputation in the Metro Vancouver Area for providing innovative concrete lifting solutions to homeowners, business owners, municipalities and industrial clients. If you have sinking slabs on your property and need them lifted and levelled, BC Concrete Lifting is here to help! Contact our concrete lifting experts today for a free estimate on your concrete levelling project!