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Concrete Lifting

Does your driveway, sidewalk, walkway, concrete steps or patio have problem areas where sunken concrete has caused uneven surfaces and tripping hazards to form? It’s a very noticeable problem that has a very simple solution.

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Homeowners in Wilmington are familiar with the year-round rain the area experiences and the sandy soil their homes are constructed upon. The combination of the two can lead to sunken and cracked concrete structures around your home. Damage including sinking driveways, voids underneath sidewalks, uneven porch steps, or cracking pool decks can all be dangerous for you and your loved ones. Thankfully, these noticeable problems have a very simple solution to lift and stabilize them back to safety. At Tar Heel Basement Systems, we are proud to offer PolyRenewal™ polyurethane foam injections.  


Causes of Concrete Damage

Concrete is heavy! When the soils underneath a concrete slab are unable to support its weight, the slab will sink.

Different types of soil have different load-bearing capacities. When a soil’s load-bearing capacity is exceeded, the soil will compact and settle.

It’s also possible for the soil beneath a slab to settle and compact of its own accord. Soil that contains large amounts of clay and/or silt will shrink substantially when it gets dry.

As the soil compacts underneath a concrete slab, the unsupported slab will sink as well, usually cracking in one or more spots.

The soil that is underneath your driveway, patio, or concrete steps may not necessarily remain there to provide adequate support for the concrete element. Soil washout can result in empty space beneath your concrete slab, unable to support it. This can lead to cracks and sink over time.

As water moves underneath your concrete slabs, it can wash away the soil that’s supporting the weight of the concrete. As this happens, it creates a void, or empty space, underneath. Over time, with nothing to support it, your concrete slab can begin to sink or cave in.

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Is Concrete Lifting the Right Solution for Me? 

Concrete is a heavy material and so are the vehicles, machinery, and structures that concrete slabs and footings are expected to support. Sometimes, the combined weight of concrete and what it supports causes concrete settlement to occur. The soil beneath the concrete compresses and can cause major problems. 

Commercially, concrete roadways can become dangerous or unusable. This often results in sections of runways and parking lots being closed. In the example of trains, train service can be interrupted because of erosion and settlement beneath the trackbed. This can cause problems at your home as well. Uneven sidewalks, walkways, and steps can cause tripping, and sunken driveway slabs can make parking your car in the garage quite a challenge. 

In whatever case you’re experiencing concrete damage, let the experts at Tar Heel Basement Systems help. We specialize in PolyRenewal™ foam injections that can effectively lift and stabilize your damaged or sunken concrete. PolyRenewal™ is a durable, lightweight, and waterproof foam injection that is injected underneath the slab. It cures in about 15 minutes so that normal traffic can resume on your concrete. It can be used for almost any concrete structure such as concrete porch steps, sidewalks, driveways, pool decks, garage floors, and more! 

FAQs

 We recommend that you allow a professional to undertake sidewalk lifting processes on your behalf for a number of reasons. Sidewalk lifting and repair are complex processes which are best undertaken by those who have experience. The benefits of doing so are many.  

The Risks Associated with DIY 

Undertaking DIY sidewalk lifting comes with certain risks. These mostly concern the materials and equipment that are required to do the task well. PolyRenewal™ polyurethane foam, for example, is a specialized product which is intended to be used by those who have a certain level of training and experience. The two-part foam must be mixed and injected properly in order to get the desired results in a consistent way.  

If the foam is mixed improperly, the proportions are not calculated right, or the injection process is not completed in the correct way two main issues could arise. First, the foam could fail to expand with enough force, or fail to expand far enough, which will not lift the concrete surface in question. Secondly, the foam could over-expand or expand with too much force. This could cause the concrete slab or surface to buckle upwards and cause more damage.  

The Benefits of Professional Help 

One of the main benefits of seeking professional help when you need sidewalk liftingis an assurance of quality. Professionals are trained to use specialist tools and products like PolyRenewal™ foam properly and effectively. As such, they can undertake sidewalk lifting and repair quickly and efficiently, thereby eliminating the risk of damage caused by improper use.  

Furthermore, professionals can offer a service which is cost effective. This is because they have all the tools and products they need to hand. If you were to try to undertake this work alone, you would have to buy or hire the tools to properly lift the damaged sidewalk. This could be costly and will quickly add to your expenses, often causing the overall cost to be comparable to what a professional would charge. Of course, the final benefit of professional work is the convenience. 

Concrete sidewalk lifting and repair is always the preferable option. Replacement is expensive and disruptive. However, there are limits as to what lifting services can do. This is why we always recommend that you act at the first signs of damage.   

Lifting Segmented Sidewalk Slabs is Possible   

Whether or not a shattered sidewalk can be lifted and repaired depends on the extent of the damage. If the slab has been broken into a few large pieces, it may be possible to lift the slab back into place and set it with polyurethane foam injections. This process may take slightly longer than if the slab was fully intact but simply sunken, however, it is possible.   

Once all the pieces of damaged sidewalk have been lifted into place and properly set there, it will be possible to repair the appearance of your sidewalk too. This may require resurfacing, but once the work has been completed, your sidewalk will look as good as new. 

Shattered Sidewalk Slabs Must Be Replaced   

If the damage is incredibly severe, it is likely that the slab or sidewalk section in question will need to be replaced entirely. If the slab or sidewalk has been damaged to the point where there are about as many cracks as there are pieces of intact concrete, then it is likely that lifting processes will not be effective. The only way to know for sure is to ask a professional if they feel they can lift the sidewalk in question.   

If they are unable to lift the sidewalk it will need to be replaced. This process will consist of three main stages: removal, replacement, setting. The removal of old concrete can be intensive and will require heavy equipment. Once this has been done, fresh concrete will be laid and cured. The setting process is the longest part of the undertaking. It could be days before the concrete is dry enough to set foot on.   

Many things can potentially go wrong in a property, including cracked and sinking sidewalk slabs. It is important to deal with these issues while they are small, as they can be a symptom of something much worse.   

Sidewalk Damage Is a Warning Sign   

Your property’s sidewalks are representative of the health of your foundation as a whole. Despite not being subject to the same pressures, they are affected by the same issues. Sinking concrete slabs, sidewalks, and other areas are often a warning sign that the soil is weak or unstable. These are not the only issues that can cause sidewalk damage, but soil-based problems are the most common.   

If the soil is struggling to deal with the weight of your property’s sidewalks, it is unlikely that it will be strong enough to properly support your foundation and the weight of your home. By paying attention to the warnings that more exposed concrete surfaces around your home show, you could save yourself serious time, money, and worry. If you investigate the issue fully at the first sign of damage, you could nip potentially serious foundation problems in the bud before they impact your whole home.   

Damaged Sidewalks Are Dangerous   

As well as being a huge red flag for your property’s foundation health, uneven or damaged concrete sidewalks around your home are dangerous. They present a serious tripping hazard to anyone who might use them but will have a disproportionate impact upon people who are already unsteady on their feet. Any elderly family members or visitors with mobility issues (or even vision problems) will be at an increased risk of serious incidents.   

If the issues are also affecting your driveway, they could even start to damage your vehicle. Uneven, unstable, or damaged driveways that have potholes and craters in them will cause excessive wear and tear on your car’s suspension system. They will also impact the lifespan of your tires and could even deform your wheels if a car is left on the driveway for too long.   

Just how much damage can settling do? As it turns out, it can do a lot. The biggest incentive toward fixing uneven concrete as soon as you notice early problem signs is the preservation of your concrete slabs. The longer you wait to lift your driveway’s slabs, the more likely it is that you’ll have to replace them. 

  • Settling and Breakage 

Uneven concrete slabs will break over time. The way they break depends on the size of the slab, where the soil shrinkage occurs, and how much weight the settled concrete has to withstand. Settling is most likely to happen at the edges of the concrete slab. This is because most driveways end where the front yard begins and most front yards have plenty of grass and soil. The front yard absorbs a lot of water, which spreads to the soil under the driveway. 

Because the edges are the weakest part of the slab, they are more likely to break off, especially if the slab is very large. Driveway slabs are especially at risk of breaking because of heavy cars. Most cars weigh about 4,000 pounds, which is a lot of weight to put on a slab with poor support. 

  • Preventing Breakage  

There are a few things that can be done to prevent your driveway’s concrete from breaking. You’ll want to try prevention methods because broken concrete can be very difficult to repair, especially if it’s a piece off the edge. Cracks and breakage in the middle of the concrete can be patched up, but the cracks still allow water to seep through. 

If you’re able to, avoid driving on the sunken slab or try to drive in such a way that only a small part is driven on. If you’re unable to cover the entire driveway, try to cover the slab that settled, at least until it’s time to lift it. Limiting the amount of moisture the slab is exposed to will prevent further settling and breaking. 

Uneven concrete is all about the soil that’s used as a foundation. When it gives way or shrinks and loses its topsoil volume, a void remains and there’s nothing supporting the concrete. This is something that cannot be prevented, and very little can be done in the face of earthquakes and floods, but certain measures can be taken in order to prevent soil erosion and shrinkage.  

  • The Kind of Soil 

The type of soil used as the foundation for the driveway impacts how severe and how quickly the settling is. Soils with big, grainy particles tend to wash away because water is able to pass through easily. It’s the kind of soil that doesn’t compact well, so it’s loose and shifty. It’s vulnerable to floods, snow, rain, and earthquakes. 

Expansive soils (often clay soils) compact well, so they are denser and make for a much better foundation. However, because of the clay content in the soil, expansion occurs at a higher rate. The more the soil is able to expand, the more it’s able to shrink. Despite its swell-shrink capacity, contractors still use clay soils because it compacts easily. This makes it easier to manipulate and saves time when laying down the foundation. 

  • Soil Shrinkage  

Soil shrinkage occurs when the moisture in soil dries out. As the moisture leaves the soil, the individual particles come together since there is nothing between them anymore. The soil becomes denser, but due to shrinkage, it loses surface volume. 

Once the soil loses surface volume, there is nothing supporting the concrete. With the added weight of cars, snow, and people walking on the driveway, the concrete gives way and settles on the soil. Soil shrinkage is a naturally occurring process that can’t be controlled or predicted, but placing a canopy over the driveway will limit the concrete’s exposure to the elements and mitigate the damage done by soil shrinkage. 

For decades, civil engineers have been trying to perfect the concrete lifting process by mixing different materials with cement and pumping that mixture under the slab. Even though these various mixtures have different advantages and disadvantages, the result is always the same: A short-term solution for a sinking slab that can sometimes make the situation worse. Luckily, we live in a time where we have the tools and the materials capable of providing homeowners with a long-term solution. That solution would be PolyRenewal™, our polyurethane foam injection procedure that permanently repairs sinking slabs. It’s a contemporary concrete lifting method that doesn’t disappoint, not only because of the results, but also because of its convenience.

What makes PolyRenewal™ so great is that it doesn’t have any of the downsides that makes mudjacking such a problematic method. The cement slurry in mudjacking eventually erodes with time as the particles get displaced due to water and expanding ice. The crack formed from this displacement makes it so that water permeates past the concrete and reaches the soil, which causes settling down the line. The polyurethane foam we use is impermeable, meaning that it doesn’t erode nor does it allow moisture to seep through and saturate the soil. The same amount of polyurethane foam that is injected under the slab will stay there for decades.

Polyurethane foam is also lightweight, perfect for the soft soil in Northern North Carolina, which shifts easily under too much weight. Cement is rough and heavy, so a mudjacking job does nothing but displace the soil further. Closed-cell polyurethane foam is dense enough to support heavy loads without disrupting the soil underneath. All in all, PolyRenewal™ is the superior concrete lifting option because it does what soil and cement cannot do: Provide the slab with a foundation that will not shift or wash away.

Why is Concrete Lifting Needed? 

Do you have uneven concrete floors in your home? Have you noticed cracks or separations in doorways? If so, you may need interior slab lifting to restore your floors. Concrete slabs sink and settle over time and allowing them to go unrepaired can cause serious damage to your home. Your driveway, pool deck, or concrete steps can also experience settlement so it’s important to inspect all your concrete structures for damage.  

bad concrete sidewalk

Prevent Tripping Hazards  

The common problem with damaged concrete is that these cracks and uneven surfaces create tripping hazards for you, your family, and any guests that may come to your home. Scraped knees or twisted ankles aren’t fun and can be avoided by repairing your concrete with PolyRenewal™. 

garage driveway fixed after polyurethane concrete lifting foam injections

Adds to Curb Appeal & Value 

Let’s be honest, cracked, raised, and uneven driveways or sidewalks are not only unsafe, but they also are not attractive either. Many times, weeds can stem out of the cracks, or they can be caused by invasive tree roots, plus once one part begins to crack it will start to spread. This major eyesore can influence the cost of your home if you decide to sell. By repairing the damaged concrete around your home, you can add value and enhance the aesthetics of your property. 

Cracked interior concrete floors

Prevents Other Problems in Your Home  

When your home’s concrete slab is undergoing problems due to a foundation issue, then you will notice signs throughout your home. Windows or doors will have a difficult time opening or closing, cracks can occur in other parts of your home, and the cracks in the floor allow water to enter your home and cause water damage.

Common Concrete Lifting Tips & Mistakes 

Like many problems, if your home’s concrete slab is cracking or sinking, the problem won’t remedy itself if you choose to ignore it. Unfortunately, in this case, it’s the complete opposite. The more you wait to fix these problems, the worse the cracks and unevenness will become, which will only cause worse problems for your home. 

Helpful Tips for Concrete Lifting 

  • Inspect Your Foundation for Damage 

Although many homeowners tend to notice concrete damage on the exterior surfaces and areas around their property first, there is also a likelihood that you’re dealing with damage to the interior as well. When the soil around your property shifts and settles it can cause foundation damage such as wall cracks, uneven floors, or bowing walls. These are all signs of concrete damage that need to be addressed as soon as possible. If the project is too large for PolyRenewal™ to fix, Tar Heel Basement Systems also offers a wide variety of foundation solutions for your exact situation. 

  • Check Frequently Used Concrete Areas 

Like many surfaces in your home, your concrete structures are constantly exposed to wear and tear which can cause damage over time. Places such as your concrete porch steps, garage floor, driveway, sidewalk, and pool deck are all susceptible to damage. If you notice an uneven slab in your driveway or a crack in your pool deck, it’s time for repairs. These areas are prone to creating tripping hazards for your family and can even cause vehicular damage if severely progressed.  

  • Let The Experts at Tar Heel Basement Systems Repair Your Concrete  

Don’t let damaged concrete around your home make you stressed. Choose concrete repairs from the experts at Tar Heel Basement Systems. Since 2003, we’ve been serving homeowners in Raleigh, Durham, Chapel Hill, and Stokes County, and helped them regain confidence in the concrete around their homes. By setting up a free inspection with us, you can feel good about knowing that our experts will thoroughly inspect the exterior and interior of your entire home to check for damage. Afterward, we’ll discuss the best solution in the industry for concrete lifting, PolyRenewal™ foam injections. This environmentally friendly, cost-effective, and quick curing solution makes it able to use your concrete the same day it is installed.  

Mistakes to Avoid When Dealing with Concrete Damage 

  • Say No to Mudjacking 

If the issue is sinking or settling slabs, mud jacking is a technique that’s been around for decades. The process involves mixing mud and concrete called “slurry” and pumping it under a sinking slab. The slurry becomes a hard, stable fill that is denser than soil, yet lighter than concrete. The process is sometimes called slab jacking or grout pumping. Mudjacking is messy, unpredictable, and temporary since the soil is likely to continue settling over time. 

  • Concrete Replacement Doesn’t Work  

One of the biggest issues with replacing your concrete is that you aren’t addressing the reason why it failed to begin with. That’s because most concrete sinks and settles due to problems with the soil beneath. Excess moisture can cause soil to soften, and dry and warm temperatures can cause it to shrink. Soil washout can also occur if enough water is present, like during a major rainstorm or snowmelt. So, when you pour new heavy concrete slabs on old unstable soil, chances are they will sink and settle just like the old slabs did, bringing you right back to square one.  

  • Don’t DIY Repairs  

Although DIY repairs can be tempting for homeowners regarding their costs and time-efficiency, they can also turn out to be disastrous. If you don’t have the proper knowledge, skills, or tools required to repair concrete, you may end up injuring yourself or furthering the damage. Concrete is also known to be extremely heavy and lifting it by yourself could be hazardous. It’s best to leave concrete repairs to the experts at Tar Heel Basement Systems, so contact us today to set up your free inspection.  

Find your service area

Wilmington, NC

Wilmington, NC

North Carolina's loamy sandy soil can cause problems for your Wilmington home’s structure. Your home could suffer from foundation settlement, wall cracks, uneven concrete, a leaking basement, or an overly humid crawl space. All these issues impact your home’s structural stability as well as your family’s health and safety.

Northern North Carolina Metro Area

Northern North Carolina Metro Area

The northern portion of North Carolina has a variety of features including inland forests and lakes, as well as coastal areas. No matter where you live, homes in this area of the state can sustain basement or crawl space flooding, foundation damage, and problems with sinking and uneven concrete. This is largely due to the humid climate and unstable clay soil throughout the area.

Raleigh/Durham/Chapel Hill Metro Area

Raleigh/Durham/Chapel Hill Metro Area

Basement or crawl space flooding, serious foundation issues, and sinking concrete are frequent occurrences in the Research Triangle area including Raleigh, Durham, and Chapel Hill. These problems can happen for a variety of reasons, but it all boils down to the type of soil underneath and around your home. You need reliable repair solutions to help you combat these issues and protect your home.

Winston-Salem/Greensboro/High Point Metro Area

Winston-Salem/Greensboro/High Point Metro Area

Due to the kind of soil found in cities like High Point and Greensboro, basements and crawl spaces experience frequent problems with flooding that can lead to foundation problems.

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    Our Service Areas

    Greensboro Location

    717 Green Valley Rd, Suite 200
    Greensboro, NC 27408

    Raleigh/Durham/Chapel Hill Location

    3333 Air Park Road
    Fuquay-Varina, NC 27526

    Winston-Salem/High Point Location

    2910 Griffith Rd
    Winston-Salem, NC 27103