Why Does Concrete Sink?: Cause and Prevention

Isn’t it annoying to suddenly find the concrete of your home or other property sinking without knowing the reason why? In the process of building your home or your property, you wanted everything to be perfect and aesthetically pleasing to everyone’s eyes. And then suddenly, you wake up one morning only to find out that in some parts of your property, the concrete is starting to sink. Why does this happen?

Causes of Concrete Sinking

Here are some reasons or causes why the concrete in your property may sink.

  1. Poorly Compacted Soil
  2. A trusted and skilled concrete contractor should know how important it is to compact the soil before pouring the concrete. But if the contractor you hired failed to do so, this can be an issue, as the soil will start to compact irregularly under the weight of the concrete over time, which will eventually lead to the concrete sinking.

  3. Water Erosion
  4. Best practices include caulking or creating a seak between the joints. If water or moisture is allowed to intrude below the slab, there is a big possibility that it will cause erosion to take place. When this happens, the concrete on your property will sink and move. This can also create a gap or void under the concrete.

  5. Dry Soil Conditions
  6. Long periods of drought have a lot of negative effects, and one of these effects is the shrinking of the soil, especially in areas with lots of clay. This will result in sinking concrete because of the unstable sub-surfaces. Another cause of the concrete sinking is when the soil has been dried-out and then suddenly soaked with heavy rain. Voids may be filled with unstable moistened soil.

  7. Error in the Construction of Foundation
  8. Concrete sinking usually happens around the foundation of your home or property. This is because the area is excavated a few feet wider to allow workers to put in and remove the forms. If your contractor fails to backfill the area properly, it will settle over time and cause your concrete to sink.

  9. Animal or Pest Influences
  10. Voids under concrete created by animals such as groundhogs, chipmunks, and others can cause sinking of the concrete. Furthermore, pests like ants can also cause small pathways beneath the concrete to sink. When these voids are widened by running water, worse issues and problems can occur.

How to Prevent Concrete Sinking

If there are a lot of causes for the concrete on your property to sink, of course, there are also ways to prevent it from sinking, and here are a few of them.

  • Sealing the cracks or openings near the concrete works of your property using polyurethane caulk.
  • Make sure to pack any open sides of the concrete slab with soil to ensure that water cannot slip below them.
  • You should also make sure that your gutter discharges water at least five feet away from any of the concrete slabs on your property.
  • Don’t forget to establish the base of at least 4 inches of gravel and that it is compacted when pouring new concrete. Make sure that the base won’t move when you stomp your feet on it.
  • Drain pipes that are close to any concrete slabs like a walkway should be installed below the concrete and extended into the yard.

Final Thoughts

When deciding to pour concrete around your properties, make sure that you know the causes of sinking and that you also know the ways to avoid it. If concrete sinking does takes place, then hiring a trusted contractor like A1 Concrete Leveling of Des Moines will help determine the best course of action. 

Call us today for your concrete leveling projects, and we assure you that we will provide you with the highest quality services that you and your property deserve.