If you have started to notice unevenness and cracks spreading through your concrete floors and surfaces in your home, it’s time to call in a professional. We understand that seeing this can be concerning, but don’t panic. There are many ways to address and rectify these issues quickly and effectively.
Any kind of damage to concrete flooring or walls in your home points to deeper issues. Acting right away can prevent these issues from progressing to be more severe and expensive.
What Are the Solutions to Sunken or Damaged Concrete Floors?
If you contact a professional to repair your sunken or damaged concrete floor, there are a few things you should expect. First, a professional will want to inspect your home before they make any changes. This inspection will allow them to identify the extent and type of damage at work, diagnose the underlying causes, and create a tailored repair plan.
Broadly speaking, of course, there are a few solutions that are most often used for concrete floor repair.
Foundation piers are used as a part of a wider system of repairs. Piers stabilize your home by transferring the weight of your structure from unstable soil to solid, load-bearing soil or strata far below the frost-line. These will not repair the look of your concrete floor but will prevent the cracks and damage from recurring after your floor resurfaced. There are two kinds of foundation piers: helical and push.
Helical piers work best for light buildings or buildings set on unstable soil. This is because of the way that they “screw” into the ground, biting the soil as they go. This helps them to set in place, but also distributes the weight of the building. Push piers (also known as resistance piers), by contrast, rely on the weight of the structure to set them in place. This makes them more compatible with heavy buildings. Either option can be used to raise your foundation back to its original place.
The SettleStop PolyRenewalTM system is an alternative to mudjacking that offers the same benefits with few drawbacks. PolyRenewalTM is a polyurethane foam that is injected into the void underneath a sunken concrete surface. It then raises it back into place and holds it steady. This system can work inside and outside of your home but is commonly used in the interior of properties.
As a two-part system, SettleStop PolyRenewalTM is also highly customizable. Furthermore, SettleStop PolyRenewalTM foam is lightweight, non-porous, and will solidify to 90% of its rigidity within a few hours (or less). This means you can start using the space normally again soon after installation.
How Can I Fix My Concrete Floors?
Damaged concrete floors are not just unattractive. They can be actively dangerous to your home and health (depending on the secondary issues that they cause). Dampness, mold formation, and a pest infestation, for example, can come with damaged floors.
Call a Professional Quickly When You See Damaged Concrete!
There’s very little that you can do, as a homeowner, to deal with these issues. Whatever you do, do not attempt a DIY fix. If this happens, you will have a higher repair bill than if the professionals stepped in earlier.
Professional help has many benefits. Mainly, they are able to access the right tools and products to provide you with a high-quality, durable result. Of course, in order to call for help at the right time, you need to know what the signs of damage are and how they can be dealt with.
Concrete Lifting Services
Before you can even think about repairing the look of your damaged concrete flooring, it is necessary to lift it back into place and ensure that it is appropriately supported. Concrete lifting services are key in this endeavor. Generally speaking, you have three options for lifting sunken concrete. Firstly, there are slab piers, which are invasive but reliable and work in the same way as foundation piers. Another common solution is mudjacking, which will see a professional pump a concrete slurry into the void under your damaged floor.
The pressure of the slurry will lift the flooring back into place and eventually set it there. This is messy, however, and takes a lot of time to set fully.
Finally, the SettleStop PolyRenewalTM system performs the same function, but is less invasive than slab piers and sets quicker than the slurry used in mudjacking. As a polyurethane foam, SettleStop PolyRenewalTM is a lightweight, water-resistant, and durable option for concrete floor repair.
Why We Don’t Recommend Mudjacking
Mudjacking is a somewhat dated procedure that was most often used on exterior concrete leveling, and was the only real alternative to totally replacing a damaged concrete surface. Mudjacking is generally not the most effective solution to damaged or sinking concrete floors for a number of reasons.
The main drawback is the weight of the filler material which lifts and sets the damaged concrete. Essentially, mudjacking is the process of injecting a high-pressure concrete slurry to raise the slab to its original place.
Sometimes a sunken concrete slab or section of driveway will become damaged due to weak soil. In these cases, mudjacking may not be suitable because the weight of the slurry when it sets will only add to the burden, causing the issue to resurface over time. Furthermore, this slurry can take days to solidify enough to make regular use of the surface. So, as you can see, this is a thoroughly ineffective process.
Of course, it is best to contact a professional in order to determine just which method of concrete lifting or repair is best for your home. PolyRenewalTM foam may sometimes be suggested with total replacement being an absolute last resort.
Concrete Floor Repair
If you have noticed damage to your flooring, there are a few issues that could be at work. The potential causes for the damage will depend on the positioning of (and materials that make up) the floor in question. Understanding what can cause cracks and damage in concrete surfaces and floors in your home can help you to protect your home from severe damage by noticing issues and acting quickly. These are the most common cause of damage to concrete floors:
Expansive soil is soil that is heavily reactive to water. For example, clay-based and peaty soils are incredibly expansive, and can grow and shrink dramatically depending on their moisture content. This can cause a number of issues for your foundation, including foundation heave, settlement, and subsidence. Foundation heave, as you might expect, is an issue that causes the foundation (and thereby the floor) of a property to bulge upward. Settlement, however, can cause certain portions of the foundation and floor to sink, while subsidence is more likely to cause your foundation to sink, usually in an uneven fashion.
Any of these issues can and will cause cracks and damage to concrete floors in your home. Weak, loose, or unstable soil can be susceptible to erosion or washout during extreme weather. Soils that are most likely to be weak or unstable are those that have high levels of sand in them. This is most likely to affect exterior surfaces and stairways first, but over time, it can slowly expose your foundation or cause it to shift. This will have a knock-on effect on concrete surfaces and floors within your home.
Hydrostatic pressure is the combined weight of the soil and the water that it holds. Thanks to the nature of concrete (which has vastly lower tensile than compressive strength), this weight is a common cause of spreading cracks in any property. Hydrostatic pressure is also most likely to affect your walls before it causes damage to your concrete floors. For example, a property struggling with hydrostatic pressure may see bowing walls in its basement before concrete floors begin to crack.
These issues can also cause similar damage in adjacent structures on your property, like garages, as well as your exterior concrete slabs and driveways. In some cases, you may see the warning signs of damage in these smaller, more exposed areas before your home is affected. The most common warning sign or red flag when it comes to potentially high or rising hydrostatic pressure is dampness or pooling water around your properties perimeter.
If you want to take care of your home and make sure that no issues get out of hand, it is important that you learn to recognize these signs of damage and consider how they might impact your concrete floor repairs. Problem signs can be classed as indirect (non-structural signs of damage) and direct (signs of structural damage).
Generally, high humidity and the presence of dampness in a property is a warning sign for many different kinds of damage, including cracks, foundation damage, and even seepage. Look for things like condensation and pooling water as signs of dampness. Dampness indicates some kind of cracking, even if you can’t see it, which means that resurfacing may be needed as a part of your concrete floor repair. Waterproofing, too, could be a beneficial addition to the process.
Mold is also a sign of general dampness and damage to a property. If you find mold in your basement (or anywhere in your home), you should investigate to see where the moisture is coming from. In this endeavor, mold can help you; it will form most readily where the dampness is concentrated. Removing mold will generally be undertaken after the main concrete floor repair process.
Small, hairline cracks (cracks that are smaller than the width of a credit card) are fairly common and benign, but larger cracks that seem to be actively growing are a different matter altogether. Make note of the placement, depth, and speed at which the cracks are spreading. Sunken slabs or sections of concrete flooring are a huge red flag. These signs can be caused by a number of factors and issues, but all you need to worry about is making sure that the area is assessed quickly.
Sinking concrete slabs or flooring sections will most likely be repaired with the use of SettleStop PolyRenewalTM foam as this is an effective and minimally invasive repair method. These are just some of the signs of potential damage to your home and flooring. These signs can show up in tandem or isolation, so be alert. Once you recognize that there may be issues at work that are causing damage to your home, it is important that you contact a professional to begin the assessment and repair process.
We absolutely do not recommend that you try to install the SettleStop PolyRenewalTM system alone for a number of reasons. First and foremost, there is a chance that you will not even be able to find it over-the-counter in your local hardware store. There’s a good reason for that.
Improper Use Can Go Wrong
Because the PolyRenewalTM system uses a two-part polyurethane foam, it is very flexible and easy to tailor to the needs of your home. However, this also means that it can go very badly wrong in the hands of someone who doesn’t know how to use it properly. If you over- or underestimate the proportions of the mix, for example, the foam could over or under-expand. This is a big issue because of the speed at which it sets.
SettleStop PolyRenewalTM starts to set within 30 minutes and can reach 90% rigidity within an hour if the conditions are right. This means you have very little time to correct any miscalculations. Once the foam sets, it will be almost impossible to get rid of without specialist equipment. It is designed to be durable and water-resistant, after all. It is also not a healthy substance to come into contact with, so if you get it on your skin, in your hair, or in your eyes, you could be in for real trouble.
Professionals Give the Best Results
Professional foundation and concrete specialists are the best-placed people to help you deal with this. Not only will they be able to get a hold of SettleStop PolyRenewalTM easily, but they are trained to use it effectively and safely. This means that you will get the best results the first time around, with no mess, stress, or mishaps. This will keep your frustration (and bills) low, but also ensure your home is well taken care of.
Furthermore, professionals will be able to address the underlying causes of the damage. After all, concrete floors rarely start to crack and sink without there being immense forces at work. Since the most typical causes of damage to concrete flooring are foundation problems, it is imperative that you let a professional deal with repairs. Installing SettleStop PolyRenewalTM alone is difficult enough. Foundational repairs, however, can be actively dangerous when undertaken without the right tools, skills, and experience.
Call the Foundation Recovery Systems Today
If you have noticed spreading cracks in your concrete flooring or spotted sunken sections that are causing you concern, it is time to call in the professionals. Here at Foundation Recovery Systems, we have been helping Missouri homeowners address their failing foundations and cracked concrete floors since 1992.
You can book a free inspection online or call us directly. We service the Kansas City, Moberly, St. Louis, and Springfield, MO, areas. These appointments come with no obligation to book repairs. Our CFIs will also provide you with a same-day written quote for all of the recommended repairs. There’s no reason to not get a professional point of view when it comes to your damaged floors.