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  • Mollie McKee

Uncovering the Causes of Sinking Concrete: Understanding the Culprits

Updated: Jun 21, 2023

Sinking or settling concrete is a common problem that affects many structures, from driveways and sidewalks to patios and foundations. Understanding the causes behind sinking concrete can help property owners identify and address the issues promptly, preventing further damage and potential safety hazards. In this blog, we will explore some of the primary causes of sinking concrete and delve into the underlying factors contributing to this phenomenon.

  1. Soil Erosion: Soil erosion is a leading cause of sinking concrete. It occurs when water washes away or displaces soil particles beneath the concrete slab. This erosion weakens the soil's support, causing the concrete to sink or settle unevenly. Poor drainage, improper grading, and excessive water runoff can all contribute to soil erosion and ultimately result in sinking concrete.

  2. Soil Consolidation: Soil consolidation refers to the gradual compression and settling of soil over time. This process is typically a result of the weight of the structure or external loads placed on the soil. As the soil consolidates, it loses its ability to provide adequate support for the concrete above it. Over time, this can lead to sinking or settling of the concrete slab.

  3. Poor Soil Compaction: During the construction process, proper soil compaction is essential to ensure a stable foundation for the concrete. If the soil beneath the concrete was not adequately compacted before the slab was poured, it can lead to future settlement issues. Poorly compacted soil is prone to shifting, settling, and creating voids beneath the concrete, ultimately causing it to sink or become uneven.

  4. Plumbing Leaks or Broken Pipes: Undetected plumbing leaks or broken pipes beneath the concrete slab can contribute to sinking concrete. Water leaking from pipes erodes the supporting soil, weakening its integrity. Over time, this can cause sections of the concrete to sink as the soil beneath it becomes saturated and unable to provide adequate support.

  5. Tree Roots: The roots of large trees can exert significant pressure on the soil beneath concrete structures. As tree roots grow and expand, they can displace or compact the soil, leading to sinking or settling concrete. Moreover, trees that require substantial amounts of water can draw moisture from the soil, causing it to shrink and further contribute to the problem.

  6. Poor Construction Practices: In some cases, sinking concrete can be attributed to poor construction practices. Inadequate site preparation, insufficient reinforcement, improper concrete mixture, or subpar installation techniques can all contribute to future settlement issues. It is crucial to ensure that proper construction practices are followed to mitigate the risk of sinking concrete.

Sinking or settling concrete can be caused by a variety of factors, including soil erosion, consolidation, poor compaction, plumbing leaks, tree roots, and construction practices. Identifying the underlying causes is crucial to addressing the issue promptly and preventing further damage. Consulting with professionals who specialize in concrete repair and leveling can help determine the most appropriate solution for your specific situation. By understanding the causes of sinking concrete, property owners can take proactive measures to ensure the longevity and stability of their concrete structures.

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