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The Indiana Guide to Concrete Repair

As homeowners, we all know how important it is to keep our homes in tip-top shape. But there’s one thing that many of us overlook: the concrete around our homes—whether that’s a driveway, patio, or the home’s foundation itself. 

Here in Indiana, our climate and environmental conditions—hot, humid summers and cold, snowy winters—can take a toll on concrete, causing issues such as cracking and settlement. That’s why it’s essential to understand these concrete issues and how to address them. So, let’s dive in and learn more about Indiana’s unique concrete challenges and how we can keep our homes safe and secure.

What Causes Concrete Cracks or Unevenness?

Concrete cracking and unevenness is a common problem in Indiana. There are a few different factors that contribute to it:

  • Weather-related issues – Freeze-thaw cycles and extreme temperatures are common causes of concrete cracks. Basically, when the temperature fluctuates a lot, it puts stress on the concrete and causes it to crack.
  • Expansive soil – Expansive soil swells as it soaks up moisture and then shrinks as it dries out. This back-and-forth swelling and shrinking creates movement under the concrete that can eventually cause it to crack.
  • Improper grading – Improper grading can lead to water-saturated soil under the concrete which causes expansive soil to swell and erosion-prone soil to wash away. Over time, this can lead to cracking.
  • Poorly functioning gutters and downspouts – When water from rain or melting snow isn’t directed away from sidewalks, driveways, or your home’s foundation, it can lead to moisture buildup that can cause concrete to crack over time.

Concrete Can Also Pit, Flake, and Stain

It’s not just about cracks, though. Concrete can also suffer from pitting, flaking, and staining. These issues may seem minor at first, but they can have a big impact on the structural integrity of your concrete over time.

Pitting occurs when tiny holes start forming on the concrete’s surface. This is usually caused by exposure to chemicals, water, or salt. 

Flaking happens when pieces of concrete start to chip away. This could be due to weathering, age, or even poor installation. 

Staining is when the concrete starts to discolor, and is often caused by exposure to oil, grease, or other substances.

So why does all of this matter? If left untreated, pitting, flaking, and staining can eventually lead to more severe issues with the concrete, like cracking and weakening of the structure. That’s why it’s so important to identify these problems early on and take steps to repair or prevent them.

The good news is there are a few different methods for repairing and preventing pitting, flaking, and staining. For example, you could apply a protective coating to the surface of the concrete to help avoid damage from water, chemicals, and other substances.  

Common Concrete Problem Areas

Driveways

One of the most common issues with driveways is cracking. A few different types of cracks can appear, from hairline cracks to larger, more serious ones. These cracks can be caused by various things, including freeze-thaw cycles, heavy loads, and even tree roots growing underneath the concrete. Another factor that can contribute to cracked concrete driveways is shrinkage. As concrete dries and cures, it can shrink slightly. This can create small cracks. 

An uneven, cracked driveway can cause your car to bounce around and jostle in ways that it’s not designed to do. This can lead to wear and tear on your suspension, which can be expensive to repair. Additionally, hitting any particularly large cracks or bumps can even cause damage to your tires or wheels, which can be a real pain to fix.

But that’s not all – an uneven driveway can also mess with your alignment. Your car’s alignment is the way all of the wheels work together to keep you moving in a straight line. When your alignment is off, it can cause your tires to wear unevenly.

Sidewalks and Pathways

Like driveways, sidewalks and pathways can also crack. In fact, there are specific patterns of cracking that can indicate certain problems, such as heaving or settling. It’s essential to address sidewalk issues promptly for safety reasons and to prevent further damage. You also don’t want anyone tripping, falling, and then filing a lawsuit

Patios and Pool Decks

Outdoor concrete spaces can pose their own unique challenges, such as exposure to the elements and experiencing heavy foot traffic. Over time, patios and pool decks can wear down, leading to cracks and other problems. Applying a protective sealant is one possible concrete patio repair strategy for keeping a patio or pool deck in good condition. Of course, keeping your concrete in good shape protects your property’s value.

PolyRenewal® Concrete Lifting for Leveling Sinking, Uneven Slabs

Concrete slabs can sink when the soil underneath the concrete shifts or erodes. Fortunately, there are techniques for lifting and stabilizing sunken concrete, such as PolyRenewal® Concrete Lifting. 

PolyRenewal® is a quick but highly effective concrete repair solution used to repair indoor and outdoor concrete slabs, including floors, patios, sidewalks, and driveways. Most concrete lifting jobs using PolyRenewal® can be completed in just a few hours, tops.

Preventative Measures for Concrete Maintenance

If you have concrete slabs like driveways, patios, or sidewalks, it’s essential to take preventative measures to keep them in good shape. One key component is waterproofing the concrete. When concrete is exposed to water, it can deteriorate over time, so hiring a professional to add a sealant to repel water can make a difference.

Another thing to keep in mind is regular cleaning. Dirt and debris can accumulate on the surface of your concrete and wear it down over time, so sweeping or power washing it occasionally can help it look better and last longer.

Lastly, good drainage around the slabs is crucial. If water is not draining away from the slab correctly, it can lead to cracks, unevenness, and other issues.  

If you’ve noticed cracks, heaving, or settling in your concrete surfaces, get the problem fixed right away. Delaying repairs can lead to more significant problems later on, and you’ll end up paying more money to fix them.

If you’re concerned about a cracked or uneven concrete surface, contact Indiana Foundation Service today to schedule a free inspection and receive a repair estimate. 

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