Properties in and around Raleigh and Winston-Salem, NC, often face damage to their concrete sidewalks as a result of issues in the soil they rest upon. From expansive and changeable soils to loose and weak soils, invading tree roots, and harsh freeze-thaw cycles, there are many things that can impact the health of a property and its attached structures. This can be incredibly frustrating and worrying for homeowners who are concerned about the cost and process of repairs.
Fortunately, concrete lifting services have advanced greatly in recent years and are now incredibly effective. Previously, concrete replacement might have been the best (or only) option for any serious kind of damage. These days, however, there are a number of solutions that will not only stabilize and repair the concrete sidewalk, driveway, or structure that has been damaged. They will even address the underlying causes.
What is Sidewalk Lifting?
Sidewalk lifting is the process of lifting damaged, sunken, or uneven sidewalks around a property back into its intended place. This repair process has been undertaken in a number of ways in the past. For example, this used to be through the use of mud jacking (which is now considered ineffective) but is now generally undertaken with foam injections, as it’s lightweight, inert, and far more effective in both the long and short term.
What can PolyRenewal™ Sidewalk Lifting Do for a Property?
PolyRenewal™ is a revolutionary system that has made it possible to lift damaged sidewalks with minimal disruption Like mud jacking, this involves injecting a filler substance to lift damaged concrete into place and hold it there.
Unlike the cement slurry used in mud jacking, however, PolyRenewal™ foam is lightweight, weighing only four pounds per cubic foot, and water-resistant. It will not overburden already weak soil, and as an inert substance, it will not leak chemicals into the earth. Finally, it is incredibly quick to cure and will render a surface fully usable the same day it is installed.
Alongside all these specific benefits, there are the more general benefits that sidewalk lifting as a whole offers. These are:
An uneven or damaged sidewalk anywhere on your property presents a real risk of tripping and falling to you and anyone else who happens to be in or around your home. While this could result in a simple slip, there are people who are at serious risk of injury when they fall or trip on concrete surfaces.
The very young, the elderly, and people who have issues with mobility are all at greater risk of falling in the first place. Likewise, when they do fall, these people are far more likely to suffer serious injuries as a result of this. When you take the time to lift damaged sidewalks, you minimize the likelihood that you, your family, or anyone visiting your property will have an accident like this.
Restoring Your Property’s Appearance
Cosmetic factors are important, and you should consider them, especially if you are getting ready to sell your home. Sunken, uneven, or cracked concrete sidewalks around your home will have a serious impact on the curb appeal of your property. This will not only put potential buyers off, but it could reduce the value of your home.
Of course, you don’t need to be selling your home to care about its appearance. If you like your property to look its best at any given time, we urge you to consider sidewalk lifting when you see noticeable damage and unevenness.
The concrete sidewalks and surfaces around your home need to be addressed. As well as being the face of your home to the outside world, they also can affect the health of your foundation. Properties that undergo foundation repair also might have damage to their sidewalks and other concrete areas as well.
As well as addressing the actual damage to your sidewalk, professional inspection and sidewalk lifting will help you to identify issues that might affect your foundation in the future. They could even help you to identify early signs of foundation damage and structural issues within your home. This will save you a lot of money on repairs in the long term.
These services can be found all over Raleigh and Winston-Salem, NC, but if you want to make sure you get the best results and the right level of quality, you should take your time in choosing the right concrete lifting service. When sidewalk lifting is undertaken properly, it should be a one-time task that addresses the actual cause of the damage, not just the cosmetic results.
The PolyRenewal™ Installation Process
Installing PolyRenewal™ foam is, relatively speaking, a straightforward and simple process, but it does require professional input. Nonetheless, in the hands of a professional, PolyRenewal™ is an effective tool that can be applied quickly to provide a simple and efficient result. The process of installation looks like this:
The first step in any PolyRenewal™ installation is the planning and drilling of holes into the damaged concrete surface. The holes drilled will generally be no larger than the size of a penny and will be covered up once the process is complete.
Secondly, injection ports will be installed to ensure that the installation of polyurethane foam goes quickly and smoothly. These ports create a seal around the foam injection equipment to prevent foam from escaping.
Once the damaged area has been fully prepped, the two-part foam will be mixed to ensure the appropriate expansion and expansive force. Once injected, the expansion of the foam will be supervised to ensure that the concrete surface is lifted into the appropriate position. This is generally a quick process.
Smoothing and Sealing
The polyurethane foam used to lift and set damaged concrete in place cures quickly, usually within 15 minutes. Once it has cured sufficiently, the installation ports will be removed, and the drill sites will be smoothed and sealed to ensure a seamless finish.
Once PolyRenewal™ has been effectively installed the concrete sidewalks that were damaged will appear even and smooth. Better still, they will stay in place without facing a recurrence of the movement and damage which caused the need for repair in the first place. This is just one of the benefits of PolyRenewal™ foam.
Repair vs. Replacement – Which is Better?
When you notice damage, cracking, or sinking in your property’s sidewalks, it is time to consider your concrete lifting options. A professional inspection will always be the first step. As well as being the best way to identify all existing damages and diagnose all underlying causes, an inspection will help your sidewalk lifting professionals to decide on the best solution for your home.
Broadly speaking, you have two options: sidewalk repair and lifting or replacement. In some cases, both will be an option, but if your sidewalk is too damaged, there will be no choice but to replace the concrete.
Concrete Sidewalk Replacement
Concrete replacement used to be the only option for people who were struggling with serious concrete slab damage or sunken sidewalks. This is a time-consuming and expensive process that only buys you time. The problem with replacement methods is that they do not actually address the underlying causes of damage and sinking in a sidewalk. So, the damage is likely to recur after a relatively short period of time.
Since the process of replacement is disruptive and expensive, it’s hard to justify when there are efficient lifting and repair options readily available. Replacement requires the existing, damaged sidewalk to be broken up and removed (which requires a lot of time and heavy excavation equipment) before fresh concrete can be placed. This will then take days, at least, to set.
Sidewalk Lifting and Repair
Sidewalk lifting and repair solutions, by contrast, are effective, efficient, and relatively cheap in comparison to full replacement. Better still, sidewalk lifting processes address the underlying causes of damage and sinking, thereby offering a high-quality, permanent solution.
The precise nature of the solution will depend on the causes of the damage to your sidewalk and the extent of the sinking and cracking. Generally speaking, however, the most likely sidewalk lifting measure that will be suggested is PolyRenewal™ polyurethane foam injection.
PolyRenewal™ foam is an up-to-date sidewalk lifting process that uses the same basic concept as mudjacking, while providing far better results. Professionals will be able to use this two-part foam to provide precisely the results required within minimal stress, mess, and fuss.
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.
Choose Tar Heel Basement Systems for Sidewalk Lifting
Tar Heel Basement Systems has been one of the most reputable concrete lifting and foundation repair services in North Carolina since we opened our doors nearly 20 years ago. Our team of skilled and experienced specialists makes light work of even the most complex tasks. This, as well as our dedication to exceptional customer service, has helped us to build a reputation for excellence.
If you are concerned about signs of damage to the sidewalks around your home, we urge you to contact our team to schedule a free inspection and repair estimate. All our inspection appointments come with no cost and no obligation to book repairs. However, you will be provided with a written estimate for the costs associated with our suggested repairs.