If you have sunken or damaged concrete floors around your home, it can be incredibly worrying, as well as dangerous. Floors in spaces like garages, for example, are very prone to sinking and cracking for several reasons.
The potential causes of concrete damage and sinking in and around any home are numerous, but they really all come down to two factors: pressure and support. With too much pressure, or without the correct support, any concrete floor can be damaged very seriously, sometimes beyond repair.
Thankfully, there are many sophisticated and versatile solutions available for concrete lifting and concrete floor repair these days. The experts at Tar Heel Basement Systems can advise you every step of the way.
What is Concrete Floor Repair? Why is it Important?
Concrete floor repair is the process of rectifying damage to concrete flooring inside properties. It can be a fairly complex process and can involve elements of concrete lifting as well as the repair of cracks. In short, concrete floor repair is a process that addresses the needs of a particular home. Unfortunately, there are limitations on this repair process. For example, concrete floors which are very badly fragmented may need to be replaced rather than repaired.
This is not a good option – it is far better to repair flooring for a variety of reasons. That is why it is important to act quickly and deal with floor damage before it escalates to a point of no return.
Why You Should Repair Rather Than Replace
In previous years, a concrete floor that had sustained too much damage would need to be entirely replaced in order to achieve a flawless and high-quality finish. This process certainly provided stunning results, but there were many pitfalls.
Concrete replacement can be an incredibly intensive and expensive process that will not address the underlying causes of damage. Concrete floor lifting and repair, however, can address the causes as well as the visible signs of damage.
Concrete replacement is an intense undertaking that requires a lot of heavy equipment, such as jackhammers, backhoes, and skid steers in order to remove the existing, damaged concrete floor. Once the damaged flooring has been removed, new cement will be mixed and poured before being left to cure.
This whole process can take a few days, even more depending on the temperature and climate at the time the work is undertaken. This makes it thoroughly inconvenient, as well as expensive and destructive to your home. Worst of all, concrete replacement tends to end with the recurrence of most forms of damage. This is because it does nothing to address the underlying problems that are causing sinking and cracking in the concrete floors.
These days, concrete repair solutions are far more feasible and effective than they used to be – and far more effective at dealing with the actual causes of damage to your home. There are many different repair measures at the disposal of skilled professionals. Of course, the causes of damage to a property’s concrete floor can take many different forms.
The precise nature of a concrete floor repair process can vary from home to home because of this. For example, it may be necessary to undertake foundation repairs before concrete lifting and repairs can be undertaken. Likewise, if bowing walls have started to impact your floor, it will be necessary to support and straighten these walls before other repairs can be undertaken. Of course, the more quickly you notice a problem, the easier it will be to fix.
Concrete Floor Repair: The Best Solutions
Before you can even begin to plan repairs for your damaged concrete flooring, you must understand all the problems that are at work in your home. Accounting for and addressing the weak points or pressure points that are causing the damage and mitigating them is a big part of what professionals do during a formal inspection of a property.
Mudjacking vs. PolyRenewal™ Polyurethane Foam
In previous years, mudjacking might have been the favored solution for homes around Raleigh and Winston-Salem, NC, that were facing cracked or sinking concrete floors. This process is messy and inconvenient. Mudjacking involves pumping cement slurry into the space under a sunken concrete floor or slab.
This is a very invasive process, and the cement slurry used is incredibly heavy and slow to set. This means that it is likely to overburden soil that is already struggling to support the weight of the floor, and that it will take almost as much time as concrete replacement would to set. Of course, in the past, this was the best option for many homeowners.
Tar Heel Basement Systems recommends the PolyRenewal™ system to homeowners. The PolyRenewal™ system uses a two-part polyurethane foam to undertake the same process as mudjacking. This system is far less invasive, however, as it uses a slim injection spout to push the foam into the void under sunken concrete. The foam is also versatile and can be mixed to ensure a certain level of expansion and expansive force. PolyRenewal™ foam is water-resistant, lightweight, and incredibly quick setting. As you can see, PolyRenewal™ is the far superior choice when it comes to concrete floor repair.
What to Expect from PolyRenewal™ Installation
When you notice damage in your home, you should act quickly to ensure that the issues are dealt with promptly. PolyRenewal™ foam is the best option for floor repair, and while every repair process has its own quirks, they all begin with an inspection. This inspection is designed to ensure that every contributing factor is identified and accounted for in the final repair plan that is presented to you. This can take a little time, but once a plan of action has been agreed upon, things will move very quickly.
The actual process of PolyRenewal™ installation is fairly straightforward and will take less than a day in most cases. Better still, unlike older methods of repair and lifting like mudjacking, PolyRenewal™ is quick setting and effective.
PolyRenewal™ foam is stable, inert, lightweight, and waterproof, but most important of all is its ability to set quickly. Unlike the cement slurry used in processes like mudjacking, polyurethane foam sets around 15 minutes, meaning that you can resume normal use of your property far more quickly.
Once the installation area has been cleared of debris and prepared, the team can begin drilling. Drilling holes to act as injection sites is an important step in preparing a concrete surface for the installation of PolyRenewal™. These holes are generally about the size of a penny and will be precisely placed to ensure that they allow the polyurethane foam to expand and lift the surface effectively.
Injection ports are installed to ensure that the foam is effectively funneled into the void underneath a concrete surface without allowing it to escape to settle on top of the damaged concrete. These ports are removable and will be inserted into the drilled holes.
Once the injection ports have been installed, the two-part foam will be mixed to ensure the right level of expansion and force to ensure the right result. It will then be injected into the space under a damaged floor using the injection ports.
Smoothing and Sealing
Once the polyurethane foam has settled and cured fully the injection ports will be removed and the drill sites will be smoothed and sealed to ensure that moisture does not seep between the hardened foam and concrete. Once the installation process is complete, you should not have to deal with the issue again.
Once the injection ports have been removed and the drill sites have been smoothed, the team will undertake a cleanup process. The cleanup stage of a repair job should include the removal of all debris, along with the tools used to complete the process and any waste created by the process.
This is a basic framework for any repair process. The details of your concrete floor repair may vary somewhat, but these four steps will remain the same. The initial assessment will be a requirement for most professionals, unless you already have a written estimate that details the repairs that are needed.
Concrete Floor Repair
If you have noticed the concrete floor of your home is showing signs of damage or sinking, there are several issues that could be at work.
There are two main ways in which the concrete that makes up your floor can be fundamentally flawed. Either the cement mix itself is imbalanced or defective, or the process of laying and curing the concrete in question was improper or inadequate in some way. Problems with the mix of cement generally come from improper ratios of sand, water, and rock aggregate. For example, if there is too much sand in the mix, the concrete can become brittle and crumble as well as being prone to pitting.
Issues in the laying of the concrete floor, however, tend to involve the surface being disturbed after it is no longer malleable. This process, sometimes called hard troweling, is a method of compacting cement that can cause a lot of problems. Hard troweling can cause a lot of damage to a surface by creating seams where the concrete is weak as a result of inconsistent water distribution. Finally, if the cement is not cured or it is cured improperly, you will find that the concrete floor in question is quickly subject to damage.
If the concrete itself is perfectly healthy, the most likely cause of a sinking or cracking concrete floor in a property is underlying foundation damage. Issues like settlement and subsidence may have a wider impact on the property as a whole, but they are likely to lead to the damage and sinking of concrete floors directly above the most severely impacted sections of a property’s foundation. Of course, at its heart, this is an issue with the soil under a home.
Expansive soils, in particular, are very likely to cause damage to a property’s foundation because of the way in which they react to saturation and dehydration. As highly reactive soils, clay-based and peaty soils swell and shrink depending on their moisture content. This can put pressure on your property or leave it without support. Of course, they are not the only problem soils that properties in North Carolina need to worry about. Loose or unstable soils are equally problematic.
Expansive soil is soil that is heavily made up of absorbent materials like clay. They are incredibly unstable and likely to damage any structure that rests on them, but they are not the most common issue in North Carolina.
Expansive Soil is Changeable
Expansive soils are incredibly changeable and that’s what makes them so damaging. Properties that rest on expansive soils are more likely to deal with issues like frost heave, bowing walls, and foundation settlement. This is partly because of the way they swell when wet, putting excessive pressure on any structure that is adjacent to them, but it is also about the way they shrink when they are dehydrated.
This process of shrinking is what is most likely to cause a concrete floor to sink into the ground. When expansive soil shrinks, it can be almost half in size, and it will start to crack in certain places. This will leave large sections of a property without support and lead to a process of settlement for your foundation and the floor that it supports.
Loose Soil is Weak
Loose soil is prevalent in Winston-Salem, NC. This looser soil that sometimes contains sand is incredibly prone to being washed away by heavy rain and runoff. This soil is far more likely to shift and move underneath a property’s foundation or even the driveway. This will leave voids under a surface.
When these voids form, a property will begin to suffer as a result of a lack of support. The inevitable outcome is some form of sinking or settlement, but sometimes a property can start to shift its position because the foundation starts to slip. When this happens, the foundation of a property will need to be re-stabilized before the other damage can be repaired fully.
We understand the desire to have your concrete floor repaired as quickly as possible when you notice damage to your property. However, we urge you not to attempt DIY repairs, as structural repairs are incredibly dangerous and complex.
DIY Does More Harm Than Good
DIY has many useful applications, of course, but we at Tar Heel Basement Systems always tell our customers that DIY ends where structural repairs begin. This is because there is absolutely no margin for error when it comes to structural repairs. From the point of diagnosing the underlying causes of concrete floor damage, sinking, and cracks to the actual process of repair, it is important that structural repairs are undertaken carefully at every stage.
Some DIY work could end up in further damage or injury. You, your home, and your safety are important to us, so we urge you to contact us as soon as you notice any problems with your concrete floor or throughout your home.
Professionals Know How to Get the Best Results
Hiring a professional to address your concrete floor repair process is the best thing that you can do to ensure that your home is returned to full health quickly. First, professionals have the right skills and experience to ensure that you get the results that you need from the process of repairs. Secondly, they have the specialist tools that are required to undertake structural repairs to hand already (even an avid amateur would need to hire heavy equipment, thereby increasing costs).
Finally, professionals have access to the very best products and solutions. There are certain concrete floor repair and lifting tools and products, for example, that are not available in the average hardware store. Even if you are able to get your hands on them, things like polyurethane foam are dangerous when used improperly. As such, it is far better to allow a professional to take over the process of concrete floor repair. This will ensure that you get the best results the first time you address the problem.
Choose Tar Heel Basement Systems for the Best Results
We understand that you want your home to look its best and be at full health at all times. As such, concrete floor damage can be unsightly and worrying. Here at Tar Heel Basement Systems, we are concrete floor repair specialists. Our team is perfectly placed to help you get the best results from your concrete repair and lifting.
If you have concerns about your property or you have noticed damage to your concrete floor, we urge you to contact our team directly. Don’t hesitate to reach out to us to schedule a free inspection and repair quote. Once we complete a full assessment of your home, we will provide you with a tailored solution to your problem.