Common Causes of Damaged Concrete

A cracked and broken concrete sidewalk.

The lifespan for residential concrete is dependent upon factors such as weather conditions, ground support, daily usage and proper methods for mixture and installation. Concrete with extensive cracks, broken segments or spalled concrete should be replaced for the best end result. Simply put, if your concrete has multiple cracks and extensive erosion, you can achieve a better end result and more long-term value by replacing the concrete instead.

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Poor Installation Conditions

The conditions during your concrete installation are very important. Temperature affects the strength and integrity of concrete. If concrete is poured at mild temperatures, it typically takes about 24 hours after placement to gain a compressive strength of 500 psi. However, if your concrete was poured during low temperatures or froze during the first few hours after placement, it may not have had the chance to gain early strength.

The concrete mix is also important to concrete’s long term strength. If your builder or contractor did not choose a mix that is appropriate to the property conditions or Michigan’s extreme weather, the concrete will deteriorate more rapidly. Many times, those who pursue a do-it-yourself approach do not have the right concrete mix. A professional is able to evaluate property, weather and soil conditions to achieve proper installation.

Freeze-Thaw Deterioration

Michigan homeowners know extreme weather takes a toll on their properties and concrete. Freezing conditions bring snow and ice each winter. When water freezes in concrete joints, cracks and gaps, it expands approximately 9%. This exerts pressure on the concrete causing it to rupture and crack. Repeated freeze-thaw cycles and salt from your vehicles are a significant cause of concrete damage such as cracking, scaling and crumbling of driveways, sidewalks and patios.

Soil Erosion and Other Reasons

It is extremely important to have a properly compacted base when pouring new concrete. If the base is not prepared properly, washout of the soil and ground supporting the concrete can cause it to crack and crumble over time. It is also important to direct drainage away from your home and concrete driveways, sidewalks and patios. Excess water deteriorates the base beneath the concrete and makes it more susceptible to cracking and damage.

Do you have minor issues with sunken or uneven concrete? Click here for information on concrete raising.