Your driveway may not seem like a likely hotspot for damage and deterioration, but when you think about it, this is one area of your property that faces daily pressure. From the weight of the vehicles it holds to its exposure to the elements, your driveway puts up with a lot. If you have noticed cracking, sinking, flaking, or spalling on your driveway, it’s time to look into professional intervention. Even cosmetic damage can quickly escalate into something more serious if left alone.
Professional concrete lifting services are not just part of a solution to driveway damage and unevenness. They can also help to prevent more issues in the future when applied thoughtfully.
How Concrete Lifting Can Benefit Your Driveway
While erosion, extreme weather, and poor construction may cause issues, concrete lifting can work wonders for your damaged or sunken driveway. This will not only prevent damage to your car or even accidents and injuries to you or your family but help you to avoid future issues. Getting a professional to do the job is of the utmost importance, however, if you want to get the right results. This may seem excessive, but this is a surface you use daily. You want it to be stable and safe.
Restore Your Concrete’s Appearance
While the cosmetic appearance of your driveway may not be overly important to you, it is still a benefit of concrete lifting. By restoring the concrete of your driveway to the correct position and resurfacing the top, concrete lifting services will also restore your home’s curb appeal.
This will not only make coming home to your property pleasant but could impact the sale value that you are able to get for your home. Buyers want a property that requires as little work as possible, after all, and an attractive yard and driveway are high on many people’s lists.
Avoid Accident and Injury
An unstable, uneven, or sunken driveway is a dangerous driveway that could cause accidents and injury to you and those that you love the most. As such, concrete lifting is an incredibly useful and valuable service. It’s cost-effective as well as efficient in returning your driveway to its best possible state.
The people who are most at risk of injury when faced with an unstable or otherwise damaged driveway are, of course, the elderly, the very young, and anyone with mobility issues. Falling on or tripping over concrete can lead to serious injuries that take a lot of time to heal. Broken bones and fractures, for example, are common when older people fall onto hard surfaces.
Make Your Concrete More Stable
Concrete lifting will not only make the concrete around your home look better but will make it stable and reliable once more. Appropriate concrete lifting services can mitigate the effects of loose or eroding soil, for example, and prevent the recurrence of damage in the future. This will make sure you get the best possible results the first time you address an issue.
Finally, and most importantly, concrete lifting will make your driveway stable and safe for your car once more. While minor pitting and flaking may not cause a huge issue, after all, the sudden formation of large potholes could damage your vehicle and leave you with doubled repair costs.
A professional will be able to provide you with an appropriate solution to your driveway damage, of course, and will take into account all factors. This is why we recommend that you always contact a professional for advice before deciding on a course of action.
Driveway Lifting Solutions: PolyRenewal™
The most common concrete lifting solutions to driveway damage are mudjacking and polyurethane foam injection. Polyurethane foam, by contrast, is more up-to-date and specialist but can be more costly.
The Problem with Mudjacking
Mudjacking involves pumping a concrete slurry into the void between a section of concrete and the earth. The pressure this creates will lift the concrete back into place and stabilize it as the slurry sets. This is a relatively low cost procedure and it is minimally invasive, but it can be messy and really is not effective.
One of the main downsides to this method is the weight of the concrete slurry. If the soil under your driveway is loose or weak already, this extra weight can exacerbate the issue and cause the driveway to sink again later. It also takes a long time to set. Beyond this, however, mudjacking is just a very flawed process which was used in the past because of a lack of better options. These days, there are many concrete repair and lifting processes that are far more effective.
PolyRenewal™: A Better Way to Lift Concrete
The PolyRenewal™ system is the polyurethane foam product that Foundation Recovery Systems favors – in fact, most contractors will recommend this process for cracked, uneven, or damaged driveways. Like mudjacking, this system involves injecting the substance in question into the void between the driveway and the earth. In this case, however, the two-part foam is mixed to create a specific level of expansion and force that will lift the driveway into place.
The two-part nature of this foam means that it can be tailored to suit many different situations. When it expands it does so quickly, providing a stable, consistent, and durable layer of support for whatever surface it is placed under.
Lighter than concrete slurry, PolyRenewal™ will not exacerbate weak or loose soil. It also sets quicker and will allow you to use your driveway again in a relatively short period of time. This makes it slightly less disruptive than some of the other popular concrete lifting and leveling processes on the market right now.
The main drawback is the very specialist nature of the product—you really need to get in a professional to ensure that you get the right results as a small mistake can have huge consequences.
Talk to an expert to make sure you get the right solution for you and remember that it is never advisable to try implementing these measures alone. If you try to do this, you could cause more harm than good.
Installing PolyRenewal Foam
If you have noticed signs of damage like spotting, spalling, flaking, sinking, or cracking in your concrete driveway, exterior patio, or sidewalk, it is very likely that any professional that you contact will suggest that you consider PolyRenewal injection as the best concrete lifting method. If you decide to go down this concrete lifting and repair route, you will find the process is relatively simple and non-disruptive.
While the details of the process may change depending on the nature of the damage to your home and the severity of the cracks and sinking in your driveway. However you can expect to see five main stages:
In order to be truly effective, PolyRenewal must be injected in just the right places. This is why it is often necessary for injection points to be drilled into the damaged or sunken surface that is being repaired.
These holes are generally no larger than a penny in size. Drilling these holes is a quick and minimally disruptive process, which will generally be done in less than an hour (unless the affected area is incredibly extensive).
Insert Injection Ports
By inserting injection ports into the holes that have been drilled, a smoother, more seamless installation can be ensured. These ports funnel the PolyRenewal Foam into the correct place under the concrete without allowing for seepage or escaped foam. The size of the injection port used may also affect the speed of the injection process.
Once the ports have been installed, the technicians will quickly mix the foam properly to ensure that it expands to the right degree with the appropriate force. The process of injection will see your technician fill the void under your concrete driveway or slab before monitoring the expansion. If mixed properly, the foam should lift the concrete slab or surface back into its intended place.
Setting and Sealing
Polyurethane foam begins to cure very quickly, especially when compared to concrete, and will reach around 90% rigidity within an hour, depending on the climatic conditions at the point of installation. Once the foam has been injected and set, the injection points will be sealed and smoothed over.
While not a necessary part of the PolyRenewal installation process, resurfacing damaged concrete driveways, slabs, or sidewalks is a popular step for many people because it restores the appearance of the concrete in question. This provides a flawless finish and adds to the curb appeal of your home!
Of course, this process must be undertaken by someone who knows what they are doing. This is why we recommend that you contact a concrete lifting and repair specialist to assess the damage and determine the right course of action for you!
When choosing a professional service to help you level your driveway, please do not hesitate to ask
questions and shop around. Considering all of your options and getting multiple quotes is the best way to ensure that you are truly happy with the result that you get.
Concrete lifting and leveling are expert services designed to address specific issues. As such, it is important to have a professional view your home and make suggestions before you make a choice. Nonetheless, there are two situations in which you will need concrete lifting.
Active Sinking or Heaving
If your driveway seems to be actively sinking at one side or even in the middle, it is time to contact a professional for concrete lifting services. Sinking can present itself in a number of ways. First and foremost, you could notice that the edges of the driveway are being swamped by soil and water, especially during rainy seasons. Likewise, you may notice a pronounced slope where there was no incline before. This is a serious sign that your driveway is starting to sink.
Another more immediately recognizable issue is one called frost heave. When your driveway is already damaged, the presence of expansive soil can cause it to bulge upward during or after a snap freeze. This can cause a permanent upward bulge or the formation of a crater when the ground recedes again. If you see any of these issues, you should contact a professional to have the situation assessed and rectified.
This can be a relatively minor issue, but you shouldn’t ignore it if it is a warning sign for other structural issues.
Craters and Pronounced Dips
Potholes, craters, pronounced sags, and surface-level damage to your driveway can be an indicator of serious issues in the concrete or even in the soil itself. If you notice large chunks of concrete breaking away, for example, this is called spalling or scaling and can be caused by a poorly laid driveway or the use of substandard concrete.
The sudden appearance of a pothole or crater, however, is more likely a sign of issues in the soil. Either way, this damage should not be ignored. Not only can it snowball into more serious issues when left alone, but it can cause damage to your home, your car, and even your person if you trip or fall because of a crater.
An uneven driveway that is cracked or even sinking can be caused by a number of issues. The most common problems, however, are in the soil or in the concrete itself. Issues like erosion, washout, and soil movement, for example, can lead to damage to even the strongest of concrete surfaces, but those which are already damaged or flawed are, of course, the most vulnerable.
Soil Washout and Erosion
Soil washout and erosion are incredibly damaging and can cause problems for the main structure of your home as well as more exposed areas like your driveway. This issue primarily affects homes that sit on weak or unhealthy soil, however. Sandy and loamy soils, for example, are very light and can be prone to washout and erosion in extreme weather.
As the soil washes or blows away, it gets progressively less healthy and therefore erodes at an accelerated rate. This undermines the structure and stability of your soil by leaving gaps between the underside of the concrete and the soil. Over time, this will cause the surface to crack and sink into the void left behind. As a result, you will be left with an uneven driveway. This can also cause settlement and subsidence in your foundation, however, or even lead to your property’s foundation shifting.
Poorly Mixed Concrete
Concrete is a durable substance that can be tailored to suit any situation. This means that it is versatile, but it can also cause issues when the people mixing the concrete make errors. The presence of certain minerals, for example, can cause staining, while too much or too little water can make it weak and prone to cosmetic damage. Issues like spalling, flaking, pitting, and staining may seem benign, but they can be signs of deeper problems, or even devolve into larger issues with time and exposure to the elements. Of course, if the concrete is defective, the issues will be much worse.
In the most extreme cases, using the wrong aggregate can make concrete weak, crumbly, or even prevent it from curing properly. Likewise, the use of improper laying methods can cause many issues for a property by undermining the strength of the structure as a whole. Hard troweling (the process of troweling the concrete to compact it after it has begun to set) may cause real issues. The same holds true for improper or inadequate curing. Whatever the defect, however, it all ends the same way: with damage and instability. This can manifest as cracking, sinking, or general deterioration.
No, concrete lifting and leveling are specialist jobs that require experience and the right tools (as well as a certain level of skill) to ensure that you get the best possible results. If you try to use these tools alone the process could go wrong and have serious repercussions.
You Need Specialist Products
As with many structural repairs, there are many concrete lifting products that will not be available in your local hardware store. PolyRenewal™ polyurethane foam is an example of these kinds of specialist products which work very well in the right hands (and can go very wrong in the hands of the inexperienced). As well as requiring a lot of experience, this solution requires special tools for installation.
These tools can be expensive to purchase and difficult to use, meaning that a DIY job could be more expensive in the long run.
If you try to install these products without the right tools and experience, you could cause injury to yourself and anyone helping you (you do not want to know what happens when polyurethane foam gets into hair, for example). Beyond this, however, it is actually more expensive for you to seek out specialist tools or products as a non-professional than it would be to simply hire a professional who has the skills and experience already. After all, this is what specialists do and they will usually have all that they need to hand. This guarantees you a better result in a smaller time frame.
Improper Lifting Causes More Harm Than Good
If you do try to do this alone, you run the risk of simply making the issues worse. PolyRenewal™, for example, is a two-part system that allows for customization. This makes it very useful to a professional and very dangerous to an amateur. Why? Because this is a chemical substance that expands and sets quickly once it is deployed. If you mix the foam improperly and it over-expands, it can cause your driveway to buckle upward. It will also set to 90% of its rigidity within an hour. This means that once it is in place, it is hard to get rid of.
If this happens, you will not only have to call a professional to lift your driveway. Worse still, any expert you do call will have to remove the foam and correct any mistakes before they can even think about restoring your driveway. This will increase your costs exponentially. As such, it is better to let a professional in the Kansas City, Moberly, St. Louis, and Springfield areas deal with your driveway lifting from the start. This will give you a better result at a better price and is more likely to prevent the recurrence of the underlying issues later.
Contact Foundation Recovery Systems for Expert Driveway Repair
If you have noticed that your driveway is starting to crack, sink, or crumble, it is time to call in the experts. Here at Foundation Recovery Systems, we know all about concrete driveway lifting. Our expert team will be able to walk you through the underlying causes of the damage, the severity of the damage to your driveway, and how you can prevent these issues from arising again in the future.
If you’re ready to consider concrete driveway lifting and repair, contact us today to schedule a free inspection appointment. These inspections come with a free written estimate of our suggested repairs and absolutely no obligation to book the work through us. There’s really no reason to delay, after all – these issues are best dealt with quickly.