Kent Home Services News

To Repair or Replace: How to Decide Which is Best for Your Concrete

For most people, a home is their largest investment and asset. Home ownership and ongoing maintenance are almost synonymous. This means keeping up with minor repairs, completing improvement projects that add to your property value, and ensuring the property is safe for your family. 

This sunken walkway could be easily raised in less than a day's work.

As a homeowner, have you taken the time to assess your concrete? Areas like the porch, patio, walkways, and garage, inevitably form cracks or sinking that can occur gradually over time. These can appear so slowly over time that many homeowners don’t notice them. Some people consider cracks or dips to be normal and okay for their concrete slabs. Unfortunately, this is not always true!

Let’s go through your options for repairs and replacement. By learning how to assess your concrete needs with repair and replacement options, you will be prepared to handle any concrete project. Best of all, you can do it without breaking the bank!

Assessing Your Concrete Needs

Many people think concrete is permanent and does not require maintenance. Concrete appears to be a solid component to your house. Why then, does it fall apart, crack, or break? Some reasons include:

  • The ground underneath the area cannot support the weight of the concrete, or the concrete is not properly reinforced to hold the weight.
  • The soil under the area expands and contracts with varying moisture. As the soil contracts, it may leave a gap or cause erosion underneath.
  • Soil erosion in general is a big factor with settlement and uneven slabs. This is most common with driveways where runoff erodes the soil and causes parts of the driveway to sink or crack.
  • Rodents and other critters are another factor for concrete issues. Rodents often burrow under slabs of concrete, causing it to sink.

Look closely at all of the concrete on your property. Note the sections that are cracked, sunken, uneven, or unsightly due to stains and discoloration. Are these points of disrepair in heavy traffic areas? What about potential tripping hazards for kids or guests? Don’t forget to check out the flooring in your garage, especially where heavy items may be stored. It’s common to find concrete cracks under heavy items due to the constant weight. The last place to look is on the edges of your driveway and walkways to see if any critters have burrowed under the slabs.

This broken porch step is a big tripping hazard.Next, it’s time to prioritize. Tripping hazards in heavy traffic areas should be a top priority. For example, a broken front porch step would mean every person who enters or leaves your front door deals with this uneven step.

Key Concrete Raising Terms

Looking at your list of concrete needs, how do you decide if it should to be raised or replaced? Understanding the differences can help you decipher if concrete raising or replacement is right for your home. As you research, you’ll find words like ‘slabjacking’, ‘mudjacking’, and polyfoam… What does it all mean? Before discussing concrete options, let’s get the lingo right.

Cement vs Concrete: These two terms are often used interchangeably, but they actually refer to different materials. Cement is an important material used to make concrete. Concrete, on the other hand, is a mixture of materials that strengthens and binds with water and aggregate into concrete.

Concrete raising is a widely used term in the concrete industry. It simply refers to repairing concrete by raising it. At Kent Home Services, we use the term slabjacking synonymously with concrete raising. Slabjacking refers to jacking up (raising) the slab. To accomplish this, our team drills small holes into the slab and then inject a supporting material under the slab.

If your concrete section is sunken less than eight inches, raising is a viable alternative to replacement.

We use two types of materials; a state-of-the-art polyurethane foam or polyfoam, and a cementitious mixture insiders call ‘mud’.

Polyfoam: Our special polyurethane foam material expands to raise and level the concrete for maximum precision. Polyfoam is perfect for almost any job from driveways to sidwalks.

Mud: When repairing concrete slabs that require heavier loads, we use mud to jack up the sunken slab. We call it mudjackingMudjacking is just another term used to refer to raising or leveling concrete.

No matter the lingo used, concrete raising is a cheap and fast solution for slabs that don’t require replacement. Aside from cost, there are other benefits to opting for raising instead of replacement:

  • Concrete raising jobs are completed in less than a day
  • Easily fixes small cracks that are less than eight inches
  • Sealing and joint caulking are cost-effective ways to protect concrete
  • The repaired area may be utilized immediately
  • Restores the level state of your concrete slab
  • Does not disturb your landscaping

When Is Concrete Replacement Your Best Option?

This driveway has too many cracks per slab, and needs to be replaced.Does your project sound too big for concrete raising? Replacing the concrete may be a better option for your project. Either way, our Residential Project Managers are trained to assess an area and decide which option is best. You can help expedite this process by answering a few easy questions to see if replacement is the way to go:

  1. How many cracks are in the slab needing repair or replacement? If there is more than one crack per section, concrete replacement is usually the more cost-effective option. Cracks that are in the joints (where two concrete slabs meet) are okay. In fact, that’s where we prefer the cracks to occur.
  2. For settled concrete, measure how far it has settled. If your concrete section is sunken less than eight inches, raising is a viable alternative to replacement. If the slab has settled more than eight inches, the void is typically too big and raising the slab will not be a long-term solution.
  3. Is your concrete in disrepair because of tree roots? This creates heaved concrete, and requires replacement. We first remove the tree roots to stop the problem from occurring again. Then we proceed with the concrete replacement process.
  4. Structural integrity is another major factor in deciding to replace your concrete. Is your patio sunken on one side or eroding underneath? Are there cracks in the slabs? If so, that slab is no longer stable and able to support additional weight.

READ MORE: The Benefits of New Concrete


Deciding Which Concrete Option is Right for Your Home

Now it’s time to figure out which concrete option is right for you. Are you able to decide immediately which way to go? If not, a trusted professional can help. Call a professional for a free quote. A knowledgable expert will walk you through the process and ask questions to determine which concrete option is right for you. Be sure they explain their assessment, and quote a price for the most cost-effective and long-lasting solution.

We know how much work and dedication it takes to maintain a home. Don’t let a sunken walkway or cracked driveway hinder your home’s potential.

Get your free, no obligation estimate.

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